Noam Chomsky 15 Feb 2012 12:33
American decline is real - but the US remains the world's dominant power by a large margin.
Significant anniversaries are solemnly commemorated - Japanís attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, for example. Others are ignored, and we can often learn valuable lessons from them about what is likely to lie ahead. Right now, in fact.
At the moment, we are failing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F Kennedyís decision to launch the most destructive and murderous act of aggression of the post-World War II period: the invasion of South Vietnam, later all of Indochina, leaving millions dead and four countries devastated, with casualties still mounting from the long-term effects of drenching South Vietnam with some of the most lethal carcinogens known, undertaken to destroy ground cover and food crops.
The prime target was South Vietnam. The aggression later spread to the North, then to the remote peasant society of northern Laos, and finally to rural Cambodia, which was bombed at the stunning level of all allied air operations in the Pacific region during World War II, including the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this, Henry Kissingerís orders were being carried out - "anything that flies on anything that moves" - a call for genocide that is rare in the historical record. Little of this is remembered. Most was scarcely known beyond narrow circles of activists