November 14, 2010

“It became necessary...” – from Vietnam to Afghanistan


INFAMOUS VIETNAM WAR QUOTE:

“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”
       Comment by an unidentified U.S. Army Major during the Vietnam war
       This oft-cited and satirized remark was reported by Associated Press journalist Peter Arnett in a story published in American newspapers on February 8, 1968. The Major was referring to destruction of the village of Ben Tre by American bombs, to prevent it from being taken by the Communist Viet Cong troops.


DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN A MONTH LATER:

“In splintered gardens that once grew green, on rubble where a graceful tower had stood, U.S. Marines advance under fire. Here was a paradox of war: the only way Hué could be won was by destroying it.” 
       From the caption of a photo showing the remains of the city of Hué during the Vietnam War
       In Life magazine, March 8, 1968


HILLARY’S UPDATED FEEL GOOD VERSION:

“Our military leaders...want to have a successful counterinsurgency operation that doesn’t destroy Kandahar in the effort to save Kandahar.”
       U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
       In remarks about America’s “counterinsurgency” strategy in Afghanistan, during a joint appearance with Afghan president Hamid Karzai in Washington on May 14, 2010. To date, most of Kandahar’s buildings are still standing. (Of course, there have also been roughly 7,000 Afghan civilian casualties since 2006.)


ROGER CORMAN MOVIE VERSION:

“Gas-s-s-s!...or It May Become Necessary to Destroy the World to Save It!” 
       The full title of a 1970 Grade B apocalyptic cult comedy movie directed by Roger Corman 

       (OK, maybe Grade Z, but it does have a rare movie appearance by Country Joe and the Fish.)


DR. DUBYA STRANGELOVE VERSION:

“It Became Necessary to Destroy the Planet in Order to Save It!”
       Khalil Bendib
       Algerian-born American political cartoonist
       Title of a 2003 book collecting some of Bendib’s scathing cartoons


A NON-IRONIC CIVIL WAR VARIATION:

“In order to destroy the Rebellion it became necessary to destroy slavery.”
       Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899)
       American writer, orator and social and political activist
       Comment about the Civil War in his Centennial Day speech at Peoria, Illinois on July 4, 1876

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Further reading: books of quotations and war and peace…

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