Behind Colin Powell’s Legend – My Lai

From the Archive: Colin Powell’s role as a military adviser in Vietnam during the My Lai massacre has continued to elude scrutiny, Robert Parry and Norman Solomon said in 1996.

By Robert Parry and Norman Solomon (first published in 1996)

On March 16, 1968, a bloodied unit of the Americal division stormed into a hamlet known as My Lai 4. With military helicopters circling overhead, revenge-seeking Americal soldiers rousted Vietnamese civilians — mostly old men, women and children — from their thatched huts and herded them into the village’s irrigation ditches.

Photos of victims of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam galvanized public awareness about the barbarity of the war. (Photo by U. S. Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle)

As the round-up continued, some Americans raped the girls. Then, under orders from junior officers on the ground, soldiers began emptying their M-16s into the terrified peasants. Some parents desperately used their bodies to try to shield their children from the bullets. Soldiers stepped among the corpses to finish off the wounded.

The slaughter raged for four hours. A total of 347 Vietnamese, including babies, died in the carnage that would stain the reputation of the U.S. Army. But there also were American heroes that day in My Lai. Some soldiers refused to obey the direct orders to kill.

A pilot named Hugh Clowers Thompson Jr. from Stone Mountain, Ga., was furious at the killings he saw happening on the ground. He landed his helicopter between one group of fleeing civilians and American soldiers in pursuit. Thompson ordered his helicopter door gunner to shoot the Americans if they tried to harm the Vietnamese. After a tense confrontation, the soldiers backed off. Later, two of Thompson’s men climbed into one ditch filled with corpses and pulled out a three-year-old boy whom they flew to safety.

A Pattern of Brutality

While a horrific example of a Vietnam war crime, the My Lai massacre was not unique. It fit a long pattern of indiscriminate violence against civilians that had marred U.S. participation in the Vietnam War from its earliest days when Americans acted primarily as advisers.

In 1963, Capt. Colin Powell was one of those advisers, serving a first tour with a South Vietnamese army unit. Powell’s detachment sought to discourage support for the Viet Cong by torching villages throughout the A Shau Valley. While other U.S. advisers protested this countrywide strategy as brutal and counter-productive, Powell defended the “drain-the-sea” approach then — and continued that defense in his 1995 memoirs, My American Journey.

After his first one-year tour and a series of successful training assignments in the United States, Maj. Powell returned for his second Vietnam tour on July 27, 1968. This time, he was no longer a junior officer slogging through the jungle, but an up-and-coming staff officer assigned to the Americal division.

By late 1968, Powell had jumped over more senior officers into the important post of G-3, chief of operations for division commander, Maj. Gen. Charles Gettys, at Chu Lai. Powell had been “picked by Gen. Gettys over several lieutenant colonels for the G-3 job itself, making me the only major filling that role in Vietnam,” Powell wrote in his memoirs.

But a test soon confronted Maj. Powell. A letter had been written by a young specialist fourth class named Tom Glen, who had served in an American mortar platoon and was nearing the end of his Army tour. In a letter to Gen. Creighton Abrams, the commander of all U.S. forces in Vietnam, Glen accused the Americal division of routine brutality against civilians. Glen’s letter was forwarded to the American headquarters at Chu Lai where it landed on Maj. Powell’s desk.

“The average GI’s attitude toward and treatment of the Vietnamese people all too often is a complete denial of all our country is attempting to accomplish in the realm of human relations,” Glen wrote. ”Far beyond merely dismissing the Vietnamese as ‘slopes’ or ‘gooks,’ in both deed and thought, too many American soldiers seem to discount their very humanity; and with this attitude inflict upon the Vietnamese citizenry humiliations, both psychological and physical, that can have only a debilitating effect upon efforts to unify the people in loyalty to the Saigon government, particularly when such acts are carried out at unit levels and thereby acquire the aspect of sanctioned policy.”

Glen’s letter contended that many Vietnamese were fleeing from Americans who “for mere pleasure, fire indiscriminately into Vietnamese homes and without provocation or justification shoot at the people themselves.” Gratuitous cruelty was also being inflicted on Viet Cong suspects, Glen reported.

“Fired with an emotionalism that belies unconscionable hatred, and armed with a vocabulary consisting of ‘You VC,’ soldiers commonly ‘interrogate’ by means of torture that has been presented as the particular habit of the enemy. Severe beatings and torture at knife point are usual means of questioning captives or of convincing a suspect that he is, indeed, a Viet Cong…

“It would indeed be terrible to find it necessary to believe that an American soldier that harbors such racial intolerance and disregard for justice and human feeling is a prototype of all American national character; yet the frequency of such soldiers lends credulity to such beliefs. … What has been outlined here I have seen not only in my own unit, but also in others we have worked with, and I fear it is universal. If this is indeed the case, it is a problem which cannot be overlooked, but can through a more firm implementation of the codes of MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam) and the Geneva Conventions, perhaps be eradicated.”

Glen’s letter echoed some of the complaints voiced by early advisers, such as Col. John Paul Vann, who protested the self-defeating strategy of treating Vietnamese civilians as the enemy. In 1995, when we questioned Glen about his letter, he said he had heard second-hand about the My Lai massacre, though he did not mention it specifically. The massacre was just one part of the abusive pattern that had become routine in the division, he said.

Maj. Powell’s Response

The letter’s troubling allegations were not well received at American headquarters. Maj. Powell undertook the assignment to review Glen’s letter, but did so without questioning Glen or assigning anyone else to talk with him. Powell simply accepted a claim from Glen’s superior officer that Glen was not close enough to the front lines to know what he was writing about, an assertion Glen denies.

After that cursory investigation, Powell drafted a response on Dec. 13, 1968. He admitted to no pattern of wrongdoing. Powell claimed that U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were taught to treat Vietnamese courteously and respectfully. The American troops also had gone through an hour-long course on how to treat prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, Powell noted.

“There may be isolated cases of mistreatment of civilians and POWs,” Powell wrote in 1968. But “this by no means reflects the general attitude throughout the Division.” Indeed, Powell’s memo faulted Glen for not complaining earlier and for failing to be more specific in his letter.

Powell reported back exactly what his superiors wanted to hear. “In direct refutation of this [Glen’s] portrayal,” Powell concluded, “is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.”

Powell’s findings, of course, were false. But it would take another American hero, an infantryman named Ron Ridenhour, to piece together the truth about the atrocity at My Lai. After returning to the United States, Ridenhour interviewed American comrades who had participated in the massacre.

On his own, Ridenhour compiled this shocking information into a report and forwarded it to the Army inspector general. The IG’s office conducted an aggressive official investigation and the Army finally faced the horrible truth. Courts martial were held against officers and enlisted men implicated in the murder of the My Lai civilians.

But Powell’s peripheral role in the My Lai cover-up did not slow his climb up the Army’s ladder. Powell pleaded ignorance about the actual My Lai massacre, which pre-dated his arrival at the American. Glen’s letter disappeared into the National Archives — to be unearthed only years later by British journalists Michael Bilton and Kevin Sims for their book Four Hours in My Lai. In his best-selling memoirs, Powell did not mention his brush-off of Tom Glen’s complaint.

MAM Hunts

Powell did include, however, a troubling recollection that belied his 1968 official denial of Glen’s allegation that American soldiers “without provocation or justification shoot at the people themselves.” After mentioning the My Lai massacre in My American Journey, Powell penned a partial justification of the American’s brutality. In a chilling passage, Powell explained the routine practice of murdering unarmed male Vietnamese.

“I recall a phrase we used in the field, MAM, for military-age male,” Powell wrote.

“If a helo spotted a peasant in black pajamas who looked remotely suspicious, a possible MAM, the pilot would circle and fire in front of him. If he moved, his movement was judged evidence of hostile intent, and the next burst was not in front, but at him. Brutal? Maybe so. But an able battalion commander with whom I had served at Gelnhausen (West Germany), Lt. Col. Walter Pritchard, was killed by enemy sniper fire while observing MAMs from a helicopter. And Pritchard was only one of many. The kill-or-be-killed nature of combat tends to dull fine perceptions of right and wrong.”

While it’s certainly true that combat is brutal, mowing down unarmed civilians is not combat. It is, in fact, a war crime. Neither can the combat death of a fellow soldier be cited as an excuse to murder civilians. Disturbingly, that was precisely the rationalization that the My Lai killers cited in their own defense.

But returning home from Vietnam a second time in 1969, Powell had proved himself the consummate team player.

For more on Colin Powell’s real record, please check out the “Behind Colin Powell’s Legend” series.

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114 comments for “Behind Colin Powell’s Legend – My Lai

  1. i
    October 21, 2021 at 11:53

    I have another explanation for the massacre, especially in the case if there had been several of them. Slaughtering villages was a common practice to fight guerrillas during WWII. Especially in Yugoslavia. When Titos partisans killed German troops in an ambush, the Waffen SS would go in their village and kill the people they find. This was supposed to demoralize the enemy. “If you attack us , we kill your family”, as well as to stop support for guerrilla warfare among the civilian population.
    What makes it plausible the US adopted this strategy?
    Well the US took over the war from France. The main fighting force in Vietnam at that time was the french foreign legion. Which at that time was mainly made up of former Waffen SS soldiers, that tried to avoid prosecution for war crimes, by joining the Legion Etranger. Which shielded them from prosecution. Maybe the Americans just adopted their tactics.
    That would mean that those massacres were not accidents, but military strategy.
    That they were not executed by misled individuals, but conducted by the military leadership.

    But that is just a theory.

  2. Zhu
    October 19, 2021 at 19:23

    “Life is cheap in Asia”, we told each other. :-(

  3. Ron Chandler
    October 19, 2021 at 03:42

    Powell was just another arse-kissing chicken shit*, just like David Petraeus and a long line of arse-kissers inbetween.
    * spoken to Petraeus’ face by Admiral Fallon.

  4. Anonymetron
    October 19, 2021 at 00:03


    Following Patric’s gentle chiding re: altmedia “Truth, the whole…”

    CN shows how it’s done… in SPADES!

    Reading Bob, to self: “Sure liketa read more BP…” DONE!
    Then Joe’s Actual UN Experience!…
    Then Scott’s “What’s a Real Spook Think!”


    & Comments: sometime meat2 an article’s veggie AuGratin… Plenty4 da Carnivore HERE… But… DESSERT!

    Guess i gotta break out da ol’ Readin
    Specs… 4 My BP FEAST!!!

  5. Spring River
    October 18, 2021 at 19:44

    I came across this story and images upon Netscape days. The image of the first pic has haunted me since. The kid could have been me. Napalm victims, AO ones, and those of Rolling Thunder /Christmas 72 from which I luckily escaped…I have banged my head when at home alone many times.

    And the images of the wars since…

    How do most live with this constant stream of violent wars?

  6. Jason
    October 18, 2021 at 18:25

    For more depth on this topic, read Nick Turse’s “Kill Anything That Moves.”

    Powell was a cog in a vast machine.

    Nick Turse had a recent article on this website.

  7. Paul E. Christen
    March 23, 2018 at 22:28

    I was crew chief on a Huey and I had the position of a machine gunner on the left side of the aircraft. We were at that time stationed in Chu Lai. My company was D Troop 1/1 Cav. My aircraft was one of several that carried the first team of investigators to the scene of the massacre at My Lai. Yes, there was war crimes committed. It was a bad situation because the enemy did (VC) did not wear uniforms and you did not know whom was going to try and kill you. Less than a year after the massacre our company again killed many people including both women and children whom had AK’s and explosive devices. It was you or them. It was a tough call for a 19 year old person. The war was a total waste of 58,000 American’s and the untold number of Vietnamese. I look back after nearly 50 years and wonder why this country needs to be involved in civil wars around the world. I only hope someone stops these crimes.

    • Spring River
      October 18, 2021 at 19:47

      You had no right going to VN to kill anyone.

      • Charly
        October 20, 2021 at 04:52

        “With the proper conditioning, and under the appropriate circumstances, it looks like almost anyone can and will kill!
        “Education” is a term for training that turns normal young women / men into enthusiastic killers.
        Drugs in War: How armies arm their soldiers against fear, fatigue and weakness Alcohol and cigarettes were always faithful companions of the soldier. Today the armed forces use a number of substances to suppress killing inhibitions and fears. And they have active ingredients researched so that the fighters never get tired again.

      • Chris
        October 20, 2021 at 17:55

        Clearly you are forgetting that the National Government, has that control on its citizens. Via the draft or simply the compulsory of trying to improve one’s standing via military service. The 535 members of congress wanted them there so they were sent. It was a tragedy for the enlisted personnel and for civilians of Vietnam caught in the cross fire. Your response to this veteran is short sighted and naive.

    • James Simpson
      October 19, 2021 at 03:35

      Vietnam was not a civil war, and neither were most of the other wars that the USA chose to begin or escalate. You’re attempting to justify what you admit were war crimes by claiming that women and children needed to be slaughtered because, without evidence, they allegedly carried guns and bombs. As for your hope that “someone stops these crimes”, millions of Americans have been trying to do so since Vietnam. Why not join them rather than snipe from the sidelines?

    • Trao
      October 19, 2021 at 14:22

      The fact that you are able to immediately quote a number of American lives lost, but apparently have NO CLUE how many Vietnamese people died, is the exact proof of the problem.

      One clearly matters to you, and one clearly does not.

    • Zhu
      October 19, 2021 at 19:29

      Three million Vietnamese is the usual estimate. Now Kamala Harris is trying to persuade Vietnamese leaders that they need us to protect them from Chinese “bullying”!

  8. Nicholas S
    March 22, 2018 at 10:29

    Unfortunately, Soldiers shooting at civilians is not new! My mother told me a story which happened during ww2. She was 6 yrs old and had caught measles and nobody wanted her in the air raid shelter . She was taken by her mother to the forest outside of town to hide from aircraft bombs etc. so whilst crossing a field a American or English plane began strafing them and luckily they came across a tree. They survived by moving behind the tree as the plane made repeated attempts to shoot them. A 6 yr old and her mother! The pilot probably was lauded and wore his medals with pride and I wonder what other targets of opportunity he did find? I guess all we can do is show both the good and the bad in equal measure, hopefully this will prevent unnecessary demonisation and minimise evil and cruel acts in the future and provide witnesses with the strength to stand up to these acts.

  9. March 19, 2018 at 09:44

    This is not surprising, considering how blatantly he lied to the United Nations (and the whole world) in order justify George W. Bush’s military invasion and occupation of Iraq.

  10. nondimenticare
    March 18, 2018 at 13:59

    Annie in a way we are in a kind of Boot Camp. You are also correct that Boot Camp is a time for an Annie in a way we are in a kind of Boot Camp. You are also correct that Boot Camp is a time for an indoctrination into a world far different from the one you are currently residing in. Conditioning for this transformation begins by first introducing the young recruit to a new rough and tough world, where mommy & daddy can’t help you. It becomes a world where you are taught to obey orders, and orders given you are commands you must carry out, with no questions asked. During this indoctrination you are to be made to feel as though you are a nobody, a mere body is all you are, and this shouldn’t offend you. Why, because you belong to the military first, and everything after that, although allowances are made for God & family, but other than that you are a part of a great unit, and that’s that.

    Bravo, Joe T.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 18, 2018 at 16:27

      Who posted this? Who is nondimenticare? Joe

    • mike k
      March 18, 2018 at 22:45

      And check your conscience (if you had one) at the door.

      • mike k
        March 18, 2018 at 22:47

        BTW the boot in boot camp is for brutality.

        • mike k
          March 18, 2018 at 22:50

          When you come out of Basic Training, you’ll be proud to be a zombie.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 19, 2018 at 11:38

            Mike, take it easy I think nondimenticare was agreeing with my comment I made to Annie. Joe

  11. RBC
    March 18, 2018 at 11:31

    “But Powell’s peripheral role in the My Lai cover-up did not slow his climb up the Army’s ladder.”

    Well, that’s an interesting sentence. I think you can make a pretty good case that his climb up the ladder was greatly facilitated by his willingness to lie.

  12. March 18, 2018 at 07:11

    Isnt that the way the AMERICAN military do their stuff anyway and always blame the other party, ask your self when ever have you heard the military or government accept wrong doing, i came from a country that was invaded by this government and military, and the pattern and lies are very consistant even in todays roll in the system. Dont get mad with me yet just review your honest pathway to hell.

    • mike k
      March 18, 2018 at 10:23

      The precious American Way of Life is founded on lying. Take away the lies, and the whole sick charade collapses.

      • Sam F
        March 18, 2018 at 17:17

        There is much truth in that. The US has a very large fraction of the population engaged almost entirely in markups and deception services. Advertising is nothing but lies without standards of truth. So is most investment handling and lawyering. Much of our industry consists of flipping, retail markups, and billing fraud, our only real growth industries. Many can hardly survive without accepting rationales of corruption.

        One wonders whether our primitive state of civilization can support any moral education or good citizenship with such a distance between the people and honest production and service activities, as we had when the nation was formed. Certainly it needs major reforms to end public and private corruption of all kinds.

        • March 19, 2018 at 05:02

          @ Sam F.: “Advertising is nothing but lies without standards of truth. So is most investment handling and lawyering.”

          Methinks you’re in the grips of hyperbole. We have laws that are enforced that enforce truth in advertising, albeit they permit some small degree of departure. Investment handling is likewise subject to regulation. (Those who violate investment law get all the press, but it is true that many banksters have escaped prosecution.) And while there are some bad applies among lawyers, the vast majority hew to the ethics of the profession, which are likewise enforced. Certainly it can not be said that lawyers are “without standards of truth.” Every lawyer owes the tribunal a duty of candor and lawyers can be disbarred for violating that requirement. Likewise, the Rules of Evidence are certainly aimed at getting to the truth.

  13. geeyp
    March 18, 2018 at 06:46

    Can you just imagine if we sent/had ground troops in Russia? The same war crimes, the SAME war crimes would happen there. The troops frustration and immaturity and racism would occur once again.

  14. March 17, 2018 at 23:06

    “Diversity” simply means equal opportunity killing. As if good is somehow accomplished by having more ethnic diversity of those doing evil.

  15. CitizenOne
    March 17, 2018 at 21:19

    The methods used by helicopter gunships in Vietnam were the same methods used in Iraq. Fire in front of them and if they so much as move a muscle vaporize them. They must have been up to something.

    The complete disconnect of the pilot who drops the atom bomb on a city in a time of war is juxtaposed with a vision that the pilot is dropping the atomic bomb on his home town knowing that everyone and everything he ever knew would be vaporized in an instant due to his actions. Drop the bomb on your mothers head. Kill your brothers and sisters and torch them with napalm while spraying them with bullets while you are laughing because you are just killing ants.

    It is no real difference between what we call acts of terrorism and acts of war except they are just terms used by both sides to justify their actions.

    The system rewards people who keep a well defined and razor honed definition between the differences in words for the same stuff.

    Colin Powell defended the practices of the military and was richly rewarded with promotions since he constantly defended the practices which by any measure would be deemed to be terroristic.

    Such is the killing machine called our defenders of freedom. Freedom for us but death for them.

    How sad that we are still caught up is a new cold war with Russia just like we were at the end of the last great war.

    The whole stinking system just demands that we are going to be in a permanent state of military aggression.

    The way the media has corralled Trump I think he should call off his lawyers from the porn star and instead sue the media for being responsible for WWIII. That would be money well spent.

    • Sam F
      March 18, 2018 at 17:09

      Yes, Trump or the DOJ could go after the media as agents of foreign powers (israel and KSA), as racketeers engaged in serial crimes, and perhaps for treason, in making information war upon the United States.

      The Russia-gate (= Israel-gate) absurdity is so far advanced, so groundless, and so damaging to the US, that a good case can be made that the mass media should be seized and handed over temporarily to the universities (with preparations) until we have constitutional amendments restricting funding of mass media and elections to limited individual contributions. This is truly an historic opportunity to restore democracy in that area.

      To ensure that we get those amendments, we must at the same time investigate and dismiss most of Congress for taking bribe “donations” then hold new elections with purely federal funding and university media, demand the amendments, and dismiss Congress until we have the amendments working and a press and elections free of money power. This would be most significant improvement of Western government since the Constitution itself.

    • Brandon F
      October 19, 2021 at 00:17

      “the media for being responsible for WWIII”
      If you knew how right you were in that statement!!

  16. March 17, 2018 at 18:39

    Thank you for once again piercing the mist and outright lying that conceals the horrors of so many in our own government.

  17. Annie
    March 17, 2018 at 18:15

    The link is posted by Gregory Herr above and is really interesting.

    The Vietnam Syndrome and the Project for a New American Century – Christian Appy
    On Reality Asserts Itself, Mr. Appy says that Israeli preemptive and punitive war became a model for US foreign-policy

  18. Lois Gagnon
    March 17, 2018 at 17:29

    If we’re honest with ourselves we have to come to terms with the reality that the US has always been run by war criminals. It’s why we’re where we are at the moment. Debunking the original myth I think should be one of our highest priorities. As I’m sure everyone here knows, it’s a thankless task, but I see no other way to bring this rampaging Empire to a stop before it brings down the whole planet.

    • Annie
      March 17, 2018 at 18:16

      The link is posted by Gregory Herr above and is really interesting.

      The Vietnam Syndrome and the Project for a New American Century – Christian Appy
      On Reality Asserts Itself, Mr. Appy says that Israeli preemptive and punitive war became a model for US foreign-policy

    • geeyp
      March 18, 2018 at 06:42

      Yes, Lois. I wouldn’t spit my coffee if we learn that our CIA did the London chemical agent attack.

    • mike k
      March 18, 2018 at 10:16

      Exactly Lois. But the massive shock and resulting one eighty needed to awaken the masses, is one that they are determined not to experience. So much sweeter to dream on. Overcoming people’s resistance to the scary and unpleasant truth of our situation is a key problem in supporting our survival as a species. Our problems are truly the result of what most of us hold in our minds. Our possible therapy and recovery must involve deep changes in how we think.

      The human race is failing, and dangerously close to it’s extinction. Most people on Earth today live in unconsciousness and denial of this obvious reality. The very small number who are fully aware of this are at a loss how to turn this desperate situation around. Ironically, those in the best position to save us from our onrushing fate are those least inclined to act in order to do so. Their psychological blindness is even deeper than that of the masses who they so assiduously lie to and delude.

      • Lois Gagnon
        March 18, 2018 at 10:57

        I know what you mean. The truth causes way too much cognitive dissonance.

    • Sam F
      March 18, 2018 at 16:49

      Yes, the myths should be debunked after they have served to illustrate principles to the young. But as when renovating a badly deteriorated historic building, one generally hopes to preserve what can still function. If the history represented is not very important in itself, a major renovation can be far more functional without needless destruction of what is irreplaceable.

      When the history is very significant, and the structures of government can be adapted well to correct the problems, there can be much value in leaving what can still serve well, and adding what the old structure did not do properly. There is danger that excessive conservation will lose sight of the upgraded goal, but also danger that a completely new structure will fail where the old one worked.

      The original structure of the Constitution failed in several key areas:
      1. No protection of elections and media from the tyranny of economic power concentrations;
      2. Inadequate provision for workable checks and balances, especially over the Executive branch;
      3. No prohibition of treaties that exceed the federal powers (such as NATO being used for non-defensive wars).
      Of course one should add that it did not prevent slavery or economic exploitation (indentured servants), nor provide specific means for equal rights for women, nor prevent exploitation of native Americans, and a host of other issues, but these were mostly left out to gain initial consensus, await social developments, etc. so were more omissions than defective structure.

      Much of that could be fixed pretty well with Amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited individual donations, and to provide better checks and balances within each branch and across branches. The US should also repudiate treaties like NATO or renegotiate them to be purely defensive, and an Amendment to limit treaties would be useful. Amendments to explicitly prohibit foreign wars, prohibit promiscuous surveillance, etc would be very helpful.

      But even if all this were widely agreed among those who care, we no longer have the tools of democracy to make such reforms, because the mass media and elections are already controlled by money. So debunking the national mythology is just a first step, and the next steps are precluded until the US is reduced by isolation, embargo, and military defeats, to such poverty and injustice that whole classes rise up in desperate rebellion against forces of repression greater than those faced by any revolution in all human history. I am not sure that such a rebellion is possible, although far more likely in 60-80 years than anytime soon.

      Meanwhile far more comprehensive means of public debate and political education can be devised, and perhaps the means of suppressing dissent and even revolt can be eliminated, so that the courageous voices are heard, and can avoid future mistakes.

      • March 19, 2018 at 04:48

        @ Sam F.: “… restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited individual donations …”

        Sam, I’ve put a lot of thought and research into campaign finance reform. I’m pretty convinced that the only workable solution is to eliminate donations completely and publicly fund campaigns. So long as donations are permitted, politicians will be responsive to those who donate and will ignore the rest. Many Americans can’t afford to donate any amount. Do we leave them behind?

        There is a proposed amendment, the We the People Amendment, that can do the job and already has the endorsement of eight states, over 600 local governments, and 53 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. (.) See endorsing governments and co-sponsors here and here

        Unlike other proposed amendments, this one leaves no discretion in the hands of any branch of government, whether state, federal, or local (we all know how abysmally congressional discretion on campaign finance reform failed before the Citizens United decision.) This amendment creates a judicially enforceable right “to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.” And it applies not only to elections but also to ballot measures.

        The We the People Amendment abolishes all corporate constitutional rights:

        “The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

        “Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

        “The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.”

        In my considered view, getting money out of politics is the required first step to any meaningful reform of our system of government and deserves a very high priority in any citizen group’s activities, regardless of their particular issue. So long as money is permitted to control our government, reversal of any citizen gain has a price tag. See

        I do not mean to denigrate the other issues you raise. But in my view, we can’t reach other significant reforms without first getting the money out of elections and ballot measures. Elected officials must be responsive to voters, not to the highest bidder.

        • March 20, 2018 at 20:55

          Dr. Merrell, you’re right. There may be others, but they are all likely vulnerable to corruption.

        • robert e williamson jr
          October 18, 2021 at 20:22

          I couldn’t agree more with your comments on getting the money out of politics.

          Thank you for the information!

          I have another idea, if an individual serves in CIA, no runs for President, the Senate or the House.

          Maybe that would help kill the cycle perpetuated by the defense industry. Or something very similar. CIA members have great loyalty to their masters and the organization. And too many former members of that organization have a violent history as related to their past endeavors. Who knows about those things happening now?

          The part not to be said out loud is the organization has had unfounded authority over congress through intimidation, without a word being uttered. You involve yourself, never adequately explained, in the death of a sitting president you tend to make a very big impression of people in general, let alone the vulnerable politicians who inhabit D.C.

          Thanks again your are an asset to CN. IMHO

          Thanks CN

  19. mike k
    March 17, 2018 at 16:48

    And how many died in Iraq due to Powell’s lies before the UN? He is clearly a major war criminal, and would have been executed if he faced a Nuremberg type trial.

    • Annie
      March 17, 2018 at 17:32

      Mike, I read a recent article and they’re putting the death toll in Iraq at 2.4 million, and continuing.

    • BobS
      March 17, 2018 at 20:33

      “He is clearly a major war criminal…”
      Not according to VIPS member Lawrence Wilkerson- Powell was only acting with the best of intentions when he did his UN dog&pony act after being fed lie after lie by the CIA.
      As far as I know, Wilkerson has never commented on Powell’s role in the My Lai cover-up.
      By the way, in Kill Anything That Moves, Nick Turse shows that My Lai was hardly an aberration.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 17, 2018 at 21:18

        Bob I put down on my ‘dream sheet’ when attending Naval Boot Camp first choice Vietnam. The very next day my Company Commander had myself and the other two guys who wrote down our choice of duty Vietnam, come to his office. Upon entering I saw the dream sheet I had written down my request for duty in Vietnam. My Company Commander turned towards me saying, ‘son I just returned from my second tour of Vietnam, and if I thought it was a war worth fighting, or that we were fighting to win I’d be the first to sign off on this request’. Then while he erased my Vietnam request he looked up and said, give me another location request.

        I was stationed in the Navy amphibs, and when the My Lai story broke many a Marine told us stories of how My Lai was fairly common. So Bob you are right My Lai was hardly an aberration. It’s very good you brought this up, because a lot of people just don’t get it.

        The best way to describe this situation, is let’s put a fairly normal person into a very, very dark scenario, where darkness goes to such a whiteness that you can’t think straight. You are tired, and hungry, and scared deep down inside. The peer pressure is insurmountable, and you are very young with lots to look forward to. Then we portray the enemy as something not human. You see your friends die everyday your on duty, as death is all around you. Then on top of this your only friend suddenly becomes your M4.

        Okay Bob. Joe

        • Annie
          March 17, 2018 at 22:07

          Joe, your navy commander was rather exceptional. The two relatives I mentioned had no such luck. They have always stressed that before they went to Vietnam they were taught to see the Vietnamese as non-human, GOOKS, whether they were men, women or children. That’s where it starts, in training, and the hate and fear is transported over there. Of course our cold war rhetoric, a fear and loathing of communism, started after WWII. True that the war reinforces that hate and fear, no one can deny that. On some level one could say we’re in boot camp for a possible confrontation with Russia. We’re indoctrinating people with fear, and hate for a country and a people few Americans know anything about. That comes first. Theresa May can go before Parliament and the lot of them buy that Putin’s Russia tried to poison Skripal and his daughter using their signature poison, Novichok, and they applaud her, and she can do this with no evidence. When Jeremy Corbyn spoke and asked for evidence he was roundly booed even by his own party. The only thing that could explain such stupidity is the groundwork has already been laid by the US.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 17, 2018 at 23:31

            Annie in a way we are in a kind of Boot Camp. You are also correct that Boot Camp is a time for an indoctrination into a world far different from the one you are currently residing in. Conditioning for this transformation begins by first introducing the young recruit to a new rough and tough world, where mommy & daddy can’t help you. It becomes a world where you are taught to obey orders, and orders given you are commands you must carry out, with no questions asked. During this indoctrination you are to be made to feel as though you are a nobody, a mere body is all you are, and this shouldn’t offend you. Why, because you belong to the military first, and everything after that, although allowances are made for God & family, but other than that you are a part of a great unit, and that’s that.

            On a serious note it would be murder to send these new recruits into battle without the proper training, and conditioning. So to the young baby faced recruit learns very quickly to find value in even the things they may hate, such as a Boot Camp.

            Well when was the last time you ever heard a politician say nice things about their potential enemy. In fact you can clearly see this propaganda mind melt in real time, since Annie you brought up Theresa May. I was so appalled by the reactions of the British Parliament’s shouting down of Jeremy Corbyn, that on another article here on CN I posted a link to that sad story. Where we find a perfect example of what you are talking about Annie, is in the awful display of ignorance that went on that day in the British Parliament over Corbyn’s merely warning his fellow English people to not be to hasty when claiming Russia was behind this poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Victoria. Actually on another level Corbyn guards his words very tightly when referencing Russia, similar to how Bernie, or Obama, does.

            On the subject of my luck having such a conscience CC in Boot Camp, well in Boot Camp I was the drummer in the rock band. Not that it should matter, but my CC was a Black man. The only reason I’m telling you this, is because the Blacks in the military for a longtime were not treated equally. So my take on my Boot Camp CC, is that he may have seen the BS better than some blinded patriot White guy… I don’t know, but I’m thankful for his scratching that dream sheet request out. Joe

          • Annie
            March 18, 2018 at 00:40

            Joe, one more thing, but not on boot camps. Why in God’s name would Putin/Russia use a poison that points to them as the culprits? They want more sanctions? They want their ambassadors thrown out? They want to further ostracize themselves? Putin might as well have left his finger prints near the crime scene. I don’t follow British politics, but here and there you read that Theresa May is perceived as a weak prime minister, and people talk about the good old days with Blair, so she’s the perfect foil to push this crap since she’s trying to toughen her image and seem pro-active, as well as garner the support of her party. Tillerson before or after his expulsion also identified Russia as the culprit. I wouldn’t be surprised if we did it.

          • geeyp
            March 18, 2018 at 06:38

            Hello Annie. They were called gooks here at home, too.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 18, 2018 at 09:23

            I know Annie, there are to many inconsistencies to the official story. Like how the Russian chemist who wrote the book, which you can buy on Amazon for $30 where he instructs you on how to mix together a match of Novichok poison, lives in Princeton NJ. There is more, but it is being ignored. This is what Corbyn was pointing to. Corbyn wasn’t in any way defending Russia he was just saying to take it slow before starting a second Cold War. If this were about a common criminal why any expensive defense lawyer would jump on this case, because there is so much going on here that is questionable. And Annie as usual there is so much wrong with May’s accusations that it all begs to be questioned to how stupid do they think we citizens really are, but still the media repeats it over and over until we stop resisting their constant messaging. Hang in there though, because you are better than them, and with a little luck we will all make it to the other side of all their lies. Joe

          • March 19, 2018 at 03:14

            Annie, I’ve sometimes thought of doing an article on how to recognize pro-war propaganda (my psywar experience stuck with me). Certainly, demonization and depersonalization of the intended enemy’s leadership and its populace ranks very high in that list of clues.

            For example in our current climate, it’s too easy to pass off Islamaphobia and Russophobia as just the rantings of mentally disturbed individuals. In reality, it’s carefully orchestrated propaganda that prepares our populace for war.

      • mike k
        March 18, 2018 at 10:04

        I guess Powell on trial could try a “I didn’t know I was lying” defense. A bit like Eichmann, “I was just following orders”. Wouldn’t hold up if I were a judge or juror.

  20. exiled off mainstreet
    March 17, 2018 at 16:29

    A friend of mine, a retired mechanic who in the army worked as a mechanic in the US Viet Nam headquarters motor pool around 1968-9 told me more than once that there was a My Lai every two weeks or so. The difference was that the My Lai situation was disclosed, but the other massacres remained undisclosed.

  21. Annie
    March 17, 2018 at 16:06

    Having had two relatives who fought in that war their propensity for violence started in Boot Camp. The Vietnamese were referred to as gooks, not men, not women, not children, but GOOKS. They were indoctrinated with kill them first before they kill you, and every man, woman and child was seen as a potential threat. A child could be carrying a grenade behind his, or her back, and was your potential killer. When one asked his drill sergeant why they were going there, he replied, “If we don’t go there, they’ll come over here and rape your mother, your sister, kill your father…” In WWll there was a gentlemen’s agreement to avoid civilian casualties and that certainly wasn’t heeded, since many more civilians died, men, women and children then died in the military.

    • Annie
      March 17, 2018 at 17:34

      My post was not directed at anyone’s comment.

    • March 19, 2018 at 03:00

      “The Vietnamese were referred to as gooks, not men, not women, not children, but GOOKS.”

      Also “slopes” and “dinks,” and yet other depersonalizing terms. I was very aware of that because my particular role in psychological warfare required that I get inside the heads of the enemy, so to speak, and was thus forced to think of them as individual human beings.

      But depersonalization of the enemy happens in every war. It’s perhaps too much to ask of a young soldier to think of the enemy as a fellow human being as he is pulling the trigger to kill him. Some emotional distance is at least desired if not required.

  22. Annie
    March 17, 2018 at 16:04

    Having had two relatives who fought in that war their propensity for violence started in Boot Camp. The Vietnamese were referred to as gooks, not men, not women, not children, but GOOKS. They were indoctrinated with kill them first before they kill you, and every man, woman and child was seen as a potential threat. A child could be carrying a grenade behind his, or her back, and was your potential killer. When one asked his drill sergeant why they were going there, he replied, “If we don’t go there, they’ll come over here and rape your mother, your sister, kill your father…” In WWll there was a gentlemen’s agreement to avoid civilian casualties and that certainly wasn’t heeded, since many more civilians died, men, women and children then died in the military.

    • will
      March 20, 2018 at 16:47

      depended on what color the civilian was. among other things,

  23. Annie
    March 17, 2018 at 16:01

    Having had two relatives who fought in that war their propensity for violence started in Boot Camp. The Vietnamese were referred to as gooks, not men, not women, not children, but GOOKS. They were indoctrinated with kill them first before they kill you, and every man, woman and child was seen as a potential threat. A child could be carrying a grenade behind his, or her back, and was your potential killer. When one asked his drill sergeant why they were going there, he replied because if we don’t go there, they’ll come over here and rape your mother, your sister, kill your father… In WWll there was a gentlemen’s agreement to avoid civilian casualties and that certainly wasn’t heeded, since many more civilians died, men, women and children then died in the military.

  24. Gregory Herr
    March 17, 2018 at 15:34

    Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome, “perception management”, and learning to love war again

    Iraq forces slaughtered and 147 American soldiers dead so Bush, Sr. can be exultant.

  25. Joe Tedesky
    March 17, 2018 at 14:20

    In no way could I defend the soldiers who slaughtered the defenseless, but above the atrocities committed by the enlisted men who’s respect for humanity had flipped their switch turning these GI’s into raging killers, I hold the Officer Corps responsible for these war crimes. While young American men were exposed to the horrors of fighting the VC, their officers weren’t so involved in the killing fields, but as Gordon Duff reflects on his wartime experiences in Vietnam you will get to see just how the grunts were left to do the dirty work, while their leaders sat in the officers lounge believing what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

    Seeing such notables as General David Petraeus left to delve into his bag of experimentation it would suggest that not much as changed for what today’s veteran soldier needs to deal with.

    • Bob Van Noy
      March 17, 2018 at 15:43

      Thank you Joe. Here’s what Gordon Duff concludes in that article:

      “The real threat is and has been what the military represents, de facto martial law for nearly two decades, total surveillance, controlled press, plunging standards of living, hopeless and idiot political theatre and a culture of unreality, even fantasy, replacing coherent thought.” Gordon Duff

      I’m going to include a link about Operation Phoenix which was at the very heart of the Vietnam War. Note: For those unfamiliar with conspiracies, when you begin to read this link you will think “What does this man have to do with Vietnam?” please continue reading and you’ll come to the answer. Also, for the more adventurous, should you read to the bottom of the page you will see the links to virtually every serious national crime since President Kennedy’s Assassination. In short, this IS the link…

      • Anon
        March 19, 2018 at 09:51

        Read Douglas Valentine on Phoenix. The History of the CIA.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 19, 2018 at 23:28

        Thanks Bob that was an interesting read. Imagine living the life Theodore (Ted) Shackley (no thanks).

        I’m in the beginning of reading, Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years’ by David Talbot .
        If you haven’t already got a copy of this book I suggest you do, because you will enjoy it. So far Talbot’s Book is revealing a Bobby, that although I surmised as much, the book goes into some really good depth to how hard driven Bobby could be. I’m only 20% into the book, but it’s turning out to be a great book about the Kennedy Brothers. Joe

        • Bob Van Noy
          March 20, 2018 at 08:59

          As always, thank you Joe…

    • Kiza
      March 17, 2018 at 19:58

      Good insight as usual, Joe. Probably, the whole arrangement was pretty sick from the start: young men drafted by lottery to suffer from heat, diseases and danger in the humid jungles of SE Asia, whilst their lucky compatriots were drinking, listening to rock, and having sex with girls, even the girlfriends of the boys in Vietnam. To add insult to injury, they were treated to the opprobrium of the US public and hippies of the time. Is it a surprise then that they would take it out on the weaker and unluckier below them in the life’s packing order – the unarmed Viatnamese civilians? It is the old equivalent of kicking/killing the dog, how they ended viewing the Vietnamese civilians. The typical transfer of aggression. The officer corp found the arrangement useful, because violence and terror are a convenient short cut to the goal of winning. Despite the wishy-washy proclamations about getting the population to our side to isolate VC, we smash-in a few heads and the rest will beg to come to our side. It may have worked with some other nation but not with the Vietnamese. To this day, it is inappropriately called the Vietnam War, whilst the Vietnamese call it appropriately the American War, which came after the Frech War.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 17, 2018 at 20:33

        Kiza good to read your comment as usual.

        I have told this story before about my friend Walt who enlisted into the Marine Corp, and lied about his age, Walt was 17. When Walt came back he had an emotional moment when he suddenly told my cousin and I a dreadful story. Apparently Walt’s camp was overrun with VC. Walt, because he was the youngest in his platoon was doing kitchen duty when the VC raid started. Walt said how in an instant he was face to face with a VC soldier, Walt remembered, ‘if you think long you thought wrong’, as Walt squeezed the trigger of his M4 and took his invader out. Later, (this is the part where tough young Walt shed a tear) as Walt removed the dead VC’s hat Walt suddenly realized he had killed a women. Walt who once I saw fight 3 guys at one time, and win, but with his shooting a women Walt could not handle his kill.

        Funny thing Walt volunteered for another tour of duty in Vietnam, and with that we never saw Walt again. Afterwards my cousin and I would ponder to if Walt hesitated before deciding to fire his weapon, and as the saying goes, ‘if you think long you thought wrong’.

        To all of those responsible for sending young people such as Walt off to war, I wish it were they, the politicians who were to fight these wars of choice… I’ll bet ya peace would become standard operating procedures in our nation’s capital, that’s a certain. You want a war, then go fight it yourself, and tell us how it feels.

        Thanks for your comment Kiza, it’s always good to hear what you have to say. Joe

        • evelync
          March 18, 2018 at 11:06

          Joe, it’s heartbreaking to read this 1996 Parry-Solomon article and the comments by you and others here who suffered so unfairly as victims and (often forced) perpetrators of our wars. You of course are correct. In a just world the ass holes who start these unnecessary wars that wreak havoc and make us less safe should be sent out into harms way. We need everyone serving in the White House and Congress to have family serving in the armed forces. Maybe they’d think twice about it.

          I wish we had a law that required elected officials serving in Washington to take an oath to never send anyone in our armed forces into harms way unless this country is under threat of invasion.

          They’re trying to bankrupt us to feed the MIC and the Big Banks and the rest of their campaign funders and they may get their wish yet….

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 18, 2018 at 16:24

            You got it right evelync. Just as during those years we Americans were bogged down in Vietnam it was a guessing game to if we were even fighting these wars in order to win them. After all these years I have come to the conclusion that we were never really intent on winning that war, because as long as the war raged on the MIC was making tons of money. For all these years that that MIC industry has profited I shutter to think the comeuppance when it comes, as I hope the industry itself pays dearly, and the rest of the innocents find a soft landing.

      • March 19, 2018 at 01:46

        “… young men drafted by lottery …”

        The lottery didn’t kick in until late 1968 or early 1969, somewhere in there, just as the number of U.S. troops in Viet Nam peaked at about 540,000. It didn’t help any of us that the draft boards got to earlier.

        “To add insult to injury, they [war vets] were treated to the opprobrium of the US public and hippies of the time.”

        That’s incorrect. We weren’t treated like conquering heros (we weren’t), but the public was well aware that the vets largely had been forced to Viet Nam by the draft. I passed through Oakland four times in my various trips to and from Viet Nam (the last my return in 1970) wearing my U.S. Army uniform and got nothing but respect and sympathy from the anti-war protesters. The stories of spat-upon Viet Nam War veterans has been rather thoroughly debunked. See e.g., In fact, the anti-war movement of that era was all too aware that most of our soldiers in Viet Nam were not there by choice, but had been swept up by the Draft. Indeed, there was scarcely a family in America that did not have at least a cousin who had been drafted and sent off to Viet Nam. If anything, the public was apologetic for what the vets had been put through.

        The meme of vets being looked down on by hippies and the public didn’t come along until many years after the war was over. My best guess is that it originated with military/industrial complex propagandists seeking to portray the anti-war movement as insensitive to veteran sensibilities.

        • March 19, 2018 at 07:02

          Good post Paul -I too went through Frisco on my return trip in 71 and was told that I didn’t have to wear my uniform when going home. I don’t remember being spat on but I sure don’t remember any oo-rah receptions – I do remember some pretty bad looks from some folks in the airports I went thru. I’m sure the USG was using psych on us even on the way home but I also didn’t recall any warm reception from the WWII guys who were my Dad’s best friends including my Uncles. I spent 33 years in Alaska with my best friend from Nam and we had plenty of time to dissect the whole journey – I haven’t lived in the US for many years – I keep moving on – here and there. As my last destination is – obvious. Spacibo

        • Kiza
          March 19, 2018 at 08:26

          Thank you for that first-hand clarification, I sincerely appreciate it. It makes the anti-war movement of the time even smarter than I thought. Yet, these were my minor points and the corrections do not make the people drafted less of losers than they were made to be (appology, nothing personal). Doing such terrible work for someone who is counting money as the result of your great sacrifice supposedly for the nation.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 19, 2018 at 23:41

          Paul it was 1969 when I was walking down the street in my Navy dress blues. Along my way I was passing a record store. In the window was a pretty hippie girl who was combing through the record selections. So my being a flirtatious 19 year old I gave the girl a friendly peace sign, and she returned my friendly gesture by giving me the middle finger.

          Those were some conflicting times. I found praise could come from the least unexpected places, while condemnation was to be found among the few who because of their utter frustration with the Vietnam War found a solider/sailor in uniform to be a fitting scapegoat.

          If it had not been for all these wars my country has engaged in, then otherwise my life could have been considered a walk through Eden. Joe

        • Will
          March 20, 2018 at 16:36

          I’ve read that there are in fact no documented cases of returning vets being spat upon

      • doray
        March 19, 2018 at 10:28

        I call it the Vietnam invasion. The Vietnamese people were not a threat to America. Our criminal leaders invaded their nation and slaughtered them indiscriminately with impunity, something we’re still doing on a global scale. The article last week about the 15th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, another nation that wasn’t a threat, says we’ve slaughtered two and a half million people. The US government is still the biggest terrorist organization on the planet.

        • RJOGuillory
          March 23, 2018 at 22:27


    • Kiza
      March 17, 2018 at 20:26

      One other point from me Joe. I do not know how much the US public is aware that Colin Powell has become the most globally recognisible symbol of US war-insighting lies. The photo of Powell holding a vial of white powder with only two fingers (as one would instinctively do if one was really holding a dangerous biological weapon) in U.N. during the speech justifying the unprovoked US attack on that country (to satisfy the Zionists and to steal oil) is simply iconic and has become the image encapsulating the whole end of the 20th century. In other words, US dominance/empire at the end of the century = Colin Powell with vials, he has become a symbol of a nation and of an era. I am sure that he will be in many (non-US) history books.

      I hate it but I would be tempted to suggest that this turned out to be an amazing case of Cosmic Justice. A man who rose through the military ranks by covering up for his superiors ended up a global symbol of lies. The reason I think that this would be inaccurate is that his political superiors, the Neocons, knowing quite well his “strongest point” simply applied it to kill two birds with one stone – used his personal popularity with the US people to promote their venture and scuttled his possible political career. Therefore, there is not much cosmic in it, then the Zionist beast is well known for such ruthlessness towards its even faithful servants, out of pure caprice, because they can and becaus someone needed to do it. I almost feel compassion for the poor war-criminal bastard, but this is before I read the link supplied in the article.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 17, 2018 at 21:01

        What is blowing my mind, is the new warhawks are America’s liberal class. I should call these phonies what they really are, and that is they are pseudo limousine liberals of the worst kind. Talking about pseudo limousine liberals it kills me to how Bill Maher trashes Putin. Now Maher would be just the kind of person I was talking about in my previous comment where if you want to go to war then you go fight them, and leave the rest of us alone. People with the rap that Maher has drive me nuts.

        Your opinion of Colin Powell makes sense, considering of how it was often said that Powell was the only adult in the room when debating these issues of war. Plus if you recall Powell’s Pottery Barn rule, “you break it, you own it”. Powell had also the insight, that although he doesn’t like Assad, at least Powell had the foresight to consider what would life be like in the Middle East without Assad. Now take some of that, and taken with how the Neocon’s seem to think, and yes Powell had to go.

        The good thing we citizens received from the Powell episode was we got a truth teller in Lawerence Wilkerson.

        Take care Kiza. Joe

        • Kiza
          March 17, 2018 at 22:58

          Yes, I totally agree re Wilkerson, he is a complete outlier in the US establishment and a really great human being, the old style East Coast American gentleman (well he is a university professor now, I belive).

          But I do not quite agree re. Powell. He declared a lot of nice rules, one a bit less famos than the Pottery Barn Rule was the original America First rule: military intervention only when and if in strictly America’s interest. Like all of his other wonderful rules it lasted only until his political ambitions forced him to fall into DC Group Think and totally invert his rules. Therefore, he was a generator of wonderful rules but a case study example of sacrifice of soul to careerism. Also, there is nothing that the unprincipled like more than to compromise and shame those who declare principles, thus he ended up in U.N.

          Finally, in France with its long tradition of populism and left-wing populism in particular, they have a wonderful phrase for the faux-left. They call them la gauche caviar, the caviar eating, shampaine sipping hypocrites who talk about the socialism ideals but applied to others. Therefore, the limousine liberals are a common behavior of the some on the left, such as all of talking heads. It is an extension of the ancient domination principle – sacrifice for the believers, benefits for the (cheer)leaders.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 18, 2018 at 02:08

            Ah, It was 71 and I was 21 when I frequented a cafe in Gulf Juan at the end of March when a French student told us sailors of how our country America was but a baby with a lot to learn, as we were dumbstruck and confounded by this young Frenchmen’s reference of our dear beloved country’s youthful age, as we good examples of U.S. Seaman got right back at him when we said, ‘oh yeah but we will nuke you’…. that’s when after the awkward second of silence everyone look at each other until someone cracked a smile as we all started laughing and we Americans bought another round, and then another… until we all closed down that small cafe.

            It’s coincidental you brought up careerism, because after I replied to you I was watching the young pundits on MSNBC (on mute) and I was thinking of whether they are star struck and in denial or do they really believe in what they are doing, and before anyone says it….yes it’s the money, but I’m questioning what’s the rationale behind their career advancement?

            Robert Parry was a model of the kind of career dedication it takes to make a long lasting influence. Our pop culture has envolved into a tv reality culture. John Lennon was right, nothing is real.

            Powell can be proud of his overall advancement and transition from military to civilian… someone knew those vials & photo charts weren’t bogus, and they still let Powell go out there on camera and flush his career away with the knowledge there was no WMD in Iraq. I mean the evidence was wrapped around the preferred outcome of the study to go to war with Iraq. When I listen to certain things Powell says publicly, like shutting down GTMO, and it’s with stuff like this with him is to why I think the Empire doesn’t like him. Right now it seems to appear that whoever is at the top they are a sadist at heart, or something like that, but in a political way, sorry sadist.

            Got carried away there, but you don’t seem to mind it. But how’s the weather after all? Joe

          • Kiza
            March 18, 2018 at 04:49

            It was an extremely hot day on the Eastern Australian seaboard today, about 104 degrees F where I am. Our summer is saying bye bye and starting to move towards you. It is only t8me, you would say.

            Thanks for sharing your interesting stories with us here. I, for one, enjoy them a lot, probably more than your grandchildren.

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 18, 2018 at 09:33

            Thanks Kiza. I hope my walks down memory lane help to explain whatever point it is I’m trying to make, and most importantly you the reader may relate, and reminisce a bit reflecting upon your own memory of the past.

            I’m in Florida and it’s been in the mid 70’s, but the sun is out, as we move towards the spring. Joe

          • cmp
            March 18, 2018 at 12:28

            Joe & Kiza, I thought that I would chirp in, because I had posted this back on March 13, 2018, with James O’Neill’s CN article, ‘The Strange Case of the Russian Spy Poisoning’.

            I had posted it because of the similarity with the fomented hysteria of the poisoning case in England, but it speaks directly to your thread too:
            On April 8, 2005, CIA Director Porter Goss ordered an internal review of the CIA in order to determine why doubts about Curveball’s reliability were not forwarded to policy makers. Former CIA Director George Tenet and his former deputy, John E. McLaughlin, announced that they were not aware of doubts about Curveball’s veracity before the war. However, Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s European division, told the Los Angeles Times that “everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening.” .. And, on June 26, 2006, The Washington Post reported that “the CIA acknowledged that Curveball was a con artist who drove a taxi in Iraq and spun his engineering knowledge into a fantastic but plausible tale about secret bioweapons factories on wheels.”

            (..for some..) It’s dog eat dog. (.. just feed that beast) .. And, they could care less who is wearing the milk bone under wear.

            TY and keep up the great work you guys!

          • March 18, 2018 at 12:48

            Might one add that the French government and military have been entirely infiltrated by the CIA and Mossad via Sarkozy, Hollande, and now Macron, as the French and American military industrial complexes continue to feed on both countries’ respective economies, while continuing the same murderous policies of colonialism around the globe. Of course, the French military did not need to wait for Sarkozy; when the French got their asses handed to them in Vietnam, they, in turn, took it out on Algeria. Vivent les droits de l’homme!

          • Joe Tedesky
            March 18, 2018 at 17:20

            Thanks cmp & mijkmild for contributing to my post. Joe

          • March 19, 2018 at 13:56


            “While the stereotypical image of the Vietnam anti-war protester is hippies on campus, flowers in hand, by 1968 every major demonstration was actually led by active-duty officers. Most had returned so horrified by what they had seen and done, they became the most vocal and forceful voices in the anti-war movement.”

            Thank you sincerely Joe. Why they scraped the draft, stole the economy, and propagandized the meaning of ‘heroic’. You remind me of a good old friend of mine named Robert Colodny, whom i met for the first time as green snowflake of 17, my freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh.

          • mijkmild
            March 19, 2018 at 14:37

            For the purpose of semantics, let us define ‘hippy’ as an overwhelming instinct to get back to the indigenous; and ‘snowflake’ as characterized by untarnished innocence and unfamiliar with the necessity of violence and aggression in worldly affairs.

            “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

            “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

            “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

            “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

            “Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.”

            “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”

            “A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”

            “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

            Mahatma Gandhi

            Read more at:

        • doray
          March 19, 2018 at 10:33

          Bill Maher is a stupid Democrat shill. Anyone who still claims the Democratic party is any different from the Republican party is either a shill or beyond ignorant. He’s a war-monger apologist.

          • Will
            March 20, 2018 at 16:45

            Hardly anyone is all bad or all good. Nor is Bill Maher stupid. He is rather inconsistent though….and of course the Democratic party IS different from the Republican party. Whether that makes much of a difference in the outcome is open for debate, but as a group, they are notably different. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something; most notably, non participation in civic life

      • Leroy
        March 23, 2018 at 17:51

        I and my co-workers were more or less forced by my boss to attend some Inspirational Seminar that had the likes of Terry Bradshaw and yes, Colin Powell as speakers. It was an arena-style event. My boss being an unabashed fundie Christian undoubtedly wanted to inspire us that way, as there was an almost Evangelical fervor to the whole shebang. It mostly ended up being an advertisement to sign up for some “educational bullshit.

        Bradshaw was actually quite good, and funny as hell. One of his lines was, and I paraphrase, “When I look down the field and there’s only three guys hanging on to my receiver, well, that’s when I throw the ball!”

        Anyways, when Powell took the mic, I had to get up and walk around until he was done. No matter what his other qualities, he can never be forgiven for his role in that 2003 invasion. And that fucker was a paid speaker, to serve as an inspiration to those who attended. In fact, he was just another two-bit whore who would grub for money wherever he could get it.

        And to think he might have been President…


    • Will
      March 20, 2018 at 16:34

      except the junior officers of the infantry and marines ( and navy swift boat officers)who died at a higher rate than the enlisted men,per capita

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 20, 2018 at 23:24

        I always thought of how the majority of junior officers I had met while serving in the Navy, that they were more like us enlisted recruits than the higher brass. I would also tell you that like everything else of how we should never paint so broadly with a large brush that there are plenty of good higher grade officers, as well.

        On the other hand the regular troops are nothing but bodies. Although to a serving soldier/sailor this is no secret, it is something that should be clarified, if no other reason but as to appreciate what these enlisted people are up against, or consigned to if to be exact.

        All my criticism is leveled against the higher echelons of not only the military, but of our political structures. So in short, while I cannot condone murder, I still hold a lot of respect for our enlisted, and for the many who while holding rank they never forgot from where they came from. Joe

    • E Wright
      March 20, 2018 at 22:41

      Recruits learn in boot camp to fear their NCO’s, not the officers. There is an alternative chain of command from company comander through his first sgt to the other nco’s and this often establishes company culture. So look to the character of the CO if you want to find out what is going on.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 20, 2018 at 23:36

        You are bringing back memories. I’ll never forget of how once aboard my first ship I was still calling E6’s ‘Sir’, and boy did they correct me on that one. The best came once when a decorated Captain stopped me for not saluting him. I apologized, but just as I was in the middle of telling this insulted Captain of how sorry I was (I actually was walking down the street not paying attention I’m 19 at the time) so while I’m searching for the best words to lay on this veteran office the Captain snapped to attention at the same time telling me to salute this E2 sailor…so I did as I was ordered. After the Captain and me saluted this enlisted man, I said to the Captain, ‘Sir, excuse me Sir, but with no sign of disrespect Sir, why did you and I salute that enlisted man? The Captain looked at me and said, ‘Son I don’t know what their teaching you in Bootcamp but when you see that blue ribbon around a member of our armed forces that means they were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor’.

        First off I played drums in the rock band while I was in Bootcamp. We musicians weren’t even allowed to carry rifles, the Navy didn’t want us damaging our hands. Secondly I was afraid to ask the Captain, ‘what is the Congressional Medal of Honor, Sir’. Joe

  26. Zachary Smith
    March 17, 2018 at 13:11

    For more on Colin Powell’s real record, please check out the “Behind Colin Powell’s Legend” series.

    That was a nice link, for I learned Powell was worse that I’d ever imagined.

    • Paul G.
      March 18, 2018 at 22:56

      Powell’s behavior working in the Bush administration demonstrates a clear consistency with his Vietnam experience- a total ass kisser. His strategy in war was a strategy for his own personal advancement. His rather rapid rise through the ranks indicate a true talent in the art of organizational ladder climbing; while at the same time showing disinterest in and failure as a military leader with integrity. As far as patriotism is concerned, his main loyalty was to himself not country.

      • doray
        March 19, 2018 at 10:17

        Powell’s main loyalty is to the war profiteers who run the US.

    • E Wright
      March 20, 2018 at 22:28

      I cottoned onto him as he was reading his speach at the UN. It was obvous that there wasn’t a shred of evidence in the report. It was all fluff. Yet no western government challenged him. Democracies? Not much.

      • E Wright
        March 20, 2018 at 22:29


  27. Jeff
    March 17, 2018 at 13:10

    Sadly, the US has a history of stepping into other people’s civil wars (including those that we instigated) to ensure the victory for whatever right wing authoritarian that we think will be a reliable satrap for the American regime. Then we turn the corporations loose to loot the country. And our treasury.

    • geeyp
      March 18, 2018 at 06:23

      Another great post, Jeff. Colin Powell: I think these Mr. Parry stories say it all regarding this lying “human”. We see these CIA men, posing as military, with their decorated uniforms with fake and made up medals given to them, as they are not military. I don’t suppose Colin Powell would ever rat on them either. Fake vials of anthrax; he’s just a circus showman for the media. It’s all a sick joke, though it’s hard to laugh. Do these people give a crap what is good for the country?

      • geeyp
        March 18, 2018 at 06:31

        Also, this story can easily remind you of those pictures with the stacking of the naked prisoners at the US torture sites all over the world during the second Iraq “war”. With, of course, the imprimatur of weasel Dick ‘5 deferments’ Cheney, and his partner W. (stands for weasel,also a weasel). I don’t wish to slander the animal weasel .

      • KiwiAntz
        March 18, 2018 at 17:06

        Yeah, it’s amazing that Theresa May didn’t recruit the services of this old fraudster Salesman, Colin Powell & provide him with a fake vial of Novichek? That hagwitch Theresa May could pay Powell to hold up & present another vial of BS, in front of the gullible & stupid British Parliament as proof that Russia “did it”? And just for further proof, label in large letters “made in Russia”? Hey it worked before, when Colin Powell sold this utter crap to the American people to prove that “Iraq did it” with 9/11 which provided the excuse to invade a Country that had nothing to do with this attack? I didn’t see him holding up any vials labelled “made in Saudi Arabia” the Country where most of these Terrorists came from?

        • doray
          March 19, 2018 at 10:15

          That’s IF you believe there were ANY hijackers at all. The Project for a New American Century arm of the US Government pulled off their “New Pearl Harbor” to justify their pre-planned invasion of the Middle East. The US Government Inc. is the biggest terrorist organization the world has ever seen. Its manifest destiny has brought death and destruction to millions of innocents both here and abroad.
          How can you tell when they’re lying? When their lips are moving.

          • E Wright
            March 20, 2018 at 22:23

            I’m not sure whether you are for real or are deliberately trying to discredit a legitimate debate. Not many people who regularly read CN for alternative opinions are conspiracy theorists, as the msm like to call them. That is, the belief in wild fact free hypotheses. On the other hand, there are many easily esablished facts out there which discredit common narratives and thats what we want to hear about.

          • RJOGuillory
            March 23, 2018 at 21:56

            …let is see if Russia and Chinese ingenuity has brought down the American Military Machine. Let’s hope.
            RJ O’Guillory

    • Dagandy
      March 18, 2018 at 10:26

      Right wing or left wing … perspective doesn’t matter to the MIC ,profits do .

  28. Zachary Smith
    March 17, 2018 at 13:10

    For more on Colin Powell’s real record, please check out the “Behind Colin Powell’s Legend” series.

    That was a nice link, for I learned Powell was worse that I'd ever imagined.

Comments are closed.