Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's All Been Said

“It's all been done. It's all been done. It's all been done before.”
The Bare Naked Ladies

“I expect you will be questioned about the release of the Mosleys. No doubt the pith of your case is health and humanity. You might however consider whether you should not unfold as a background the great principle of habeas corpus and trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the British people for ordinary individuals against the State. The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without judgment by his peers for an indefinite period, is in the highest degree odious, and is the foundation of all totalitarian Governments, whether Nazi or Communist.....Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilisation.”

Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Closing the Ring
Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, 1951, pg.679
Appendix A, Book Two: The release of the Mosleys: Constitutional Issues

“...that hope still burned, the myth that the problem with the ARVN was a lack of training; Americans had been training the Vietnamese army for a decade, and still held to the hope that more training was the solution...”

David Halberstom, The Best and the Brightest
Ballantine Books, New York, 1992
pp 559-560

“But the American officials in supporting the Saigon government insisted that they were defending 'freedom and democracy' in Asia. They left the GIs to discover that the Vietnamese did not fit into their experience of either 'communists' or 'democrats.'
“Under different circumstances this invincible ignorance might not have affected the outcome of the war. The fiction that the United States was defending 'freedom and democracy' might have continued to exist in a sphere undisturbed by reality, a sphere frequented only by those who needed moral justification for the pursuit of what the U.S. Government saw as its strategic interests. Certain 'tough-minded' analysts and officials in any case ignored the moral argument.”

Frances FitzGerald, Fire in the Lake
Vintage Books, New York, 1972
pg. 7