Communism

Sue

Hi there Craig,

In several of your posts now, you're mentioned that we are entering WWIV. Um Craig,... there never was a WWIII. You suggested, (affirmatively I might add) that the war on Communism was WWIII. I took graduate World History in 1996 and I can tell you first hand, there was no WWIII mentioned in the text I was assigned (Harvard published in 1989). World War constitutes just that....the World. It seems to me that the World did not engage in that fight against Communism, only Eisenhower, JFK, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, (zilch Carter) and Reagan....and oh yes, McCarthy.

So, WWIII hasn't occurred Craig and hopefully never will.
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Craig replies

Well, don't call it WW 3 if that offends you. The conflict among the communist countries and the west lasted from about 1945 to about 1989, and still goes on a bit, and convulsed a large part of the world, and resulted in many millions of deaths. And a lot of us thought it was a pretty big deal.

We stopped the expansion of Communism. It was a very bad system. I have been to a number of communist countries, and they were not pleasant, especially for the citizens of those countries.

We did not have to fight wars. We could have surrendered to the Japanese and Nazis, or the Communists. We could have become Nazi supermen, or a Japanese colony, or Communist. Or we could continue to turn the other cheek, and hope that the tyrants will tire of killing our people and leave us alone. There are always choices other than war.

Communism was pretty bad. The following are taken from several sources. Perhaps they overstate the numbers - who knows? Hard thing to count very accurately.  But I think even you and your author of your Harvard Published History Book (1989) would agree that the Communists were just a bit over the top. Or perhaps not.

TYRANT KILLINGS - UNJUST, UNNECESSARY OR UNNATURAL DEATHS

The US has been engaged in three major conflicts during the lives of our parents. There are of course many varying estimates of unjust, unnecessary or unnatural deaths committed by tyrants, but these estimates appear reasonable.

There is considerable overlap in the generations. For the purposes of this discussion, written from the view point of a baby boomer, the generations are our Grandparents born around 1880-1900, our Parents born around 1910-1925, we early Baby Boomers born around 1946-1953, and our children, born around 1968-1985.

World War II 1941 - 1945 Directed by our grand parents, fought by our parents.

Hitler 34,000,000 killings

Hirohito (Japan: 1926-89) 1,000,000 over a million unjust, unnecessary or unnatural deaths

Hirota Koki (Japan: 1936-37) 1,000,000 " "
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Struggle with Communism 1945 -1989, and to present. Directed by our parents, fought by us, mostly cold war, hot war in Greece, Vietnam, Korea, Central America, Africa, Asia


Stalin 20,000,000 to 60,000,000 unjust, unnecessary or unnatural deaths killings

Mao 10,000,000 to 76,000,000 unjust, unnecessary or unnatural deaths killings

Ho Chi Minh (North Vietnam:1945-69) 1,700,000 over a million unjust, unnecessary or unnatural deaths

Kim Il Sung (North Korea:1948-94) 1,000,000 " "

Lenin (USSR: 1917-24) 1,000,000 " "

Pol Pot (Cambodia: 1975-79) 1,700,000 " "

China ((75 to present) ? ? Little outside reporting

Vietnam (75 to present) ? ? " "

Laos ? ? " "

Tibet ? ? ' "

Cuba ? ? " "







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Sue

It doesn't offend me that you consider the Cold War WWIII, if that's your understanding. Your understanding is not historically accepted. The Cold War was and is a big deal, but just that....a Cold War. The Cold War also had a sub title, It's known as the Arms Race. Who had the biggest, baddest and made the biggest boom on the world block, was the prevailing mental headset in Washington and Moscow.

It's rather factitious Craig, in your stating... "We stopped the expansion of Communism." We had a PART in it, but we did not single-handedly stop the expansion of Communism. Many countries did their part also in haulting, as well as disrupting the communistic process. Albania and the former Yugoslavia immediately come to mind. There are others.

Craig, I find it extremely discomforting the United States citizens' notion that we are superior to everyone else. We seem to think that the world is our treadmill and thus act accordingly. We display an 'Our way, or the Highway' mentality. Just who the hell are we, to tell another country how they should govern themselves? Contrary to most American's thinking, we have NOT set the best example and continue to set ignorant precidence. I am ashamed and embarassed at what this country has become. On September 11 this country passionately joined hands with the rest of the world and we held our heads up high. In our eagerness and to take revenge and prove that we can stand up against terrorism, we released the comforting hands of our friends and neighbors around the globe. Fighting terrorism with terrorism, only breeds a resolve in propogating more terrorism. For every innocent Iraqi citizen who falls victim
to a marine bullet, the survivors of that victim become won over to the cause of fighting against those that injured their family, their country and their religious beliefs.

Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread. America has embarked on a long and arduous journey, for which she will pay dearly...in lives and in credibility.
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Craig - It is good to know that Albania and Yugoslavia helped us stop international Communism. Professor Rummel cites Yugoslavia as one of the mega murder countries.


I fell into a great deal in 1979. The Marine Corps Reserves sent me to Oberamergau, Germany to study Electronic Warfare.  I traveled with my Commanding Officer.  We were the only Reserves - everyone else was full time military from a variety of NATO countries - Germany, England, Holland, Belgium, Italy, etc. 


The class was great - learned a lot about Electronic Warfare, NATO, and our allies.


All the other officers treated the two weeks as a normal duty - they stayed around the base.  My boss and I rented a car, and drove around like crazy.  We decided to sneak behind the iron curtain.  We hid everything that showed that we were military, attending a Secret EW Course. We tried first to get into czechoslavakia - a grim entry, with a telephone pole serving as their border gate - swinging into their country - designed to keep their people in, not us out. Grim place - would not let us in.


Next we tried Hungary. They made us cool our jets for 3 hours - took our car for 2 hours, then let us in.


We drove around Hungary- another grim poor place.  There were Russian and Hugarian troops - they did not like each other. We went to a grim hotel with a little old lady safeguarding each floor.  The bar was filled with angry soldiers looking for a fight.


We left Hungary to go into Yugoslavia - the border between Communist Hungary and Communist Yugoslavia was heavily guarded - felt like a free place relative to Hungary. I did kind of dumb prank there - in an area filled with Communist troops - went into the washroom -put a Marine Corps Decal on the mirror to let them know we had been there.


Incidentally, the border between Yugoslavia and the west was not guarded well - the Communists knew they had nothing to fear from the west. They had great security between the Communist "allies".


When we got back to the base we really wanted to tell our fellow officers where we had been - but did not dare. We asked them if any of them had ever been behind the Iron Curtain - no they said, would not dare, out would come the rubber hoses and torture.


My boss and I did not talk about this for a number of years, but I presume I am beyond the reach of the long arm of the US government - I hope. Don't tell anyone.









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Susan

"That said, genocide however did not accompany every communistic take over (Cuba, Vietnam, Korea, Central America), at least not to the extent with which had occurred in Cambodia, whereby the entire population was at risk and not just the educated elite.
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Craig

Why do you think Cuba, Vietnam, and Korea killed any fewer than Cambodia? They were equally bad. The same evil regimes that initially took power are still in power in those three countries. They were and are police states. They are totalitarian regimes who do not let the media or the UN look into their internal affairs. Pretty hard to get an accurate count of the countless murders committed by these evil regimes.

Professor Rummel cites every researcher on this tragic subject at


He writes:

"Few deny any longer that communism--Marxism-Leninism and its variants--meant in practice bloody terrorism, deadly purges, lethal gulags and forced labor, fatal deportations, man-made famines, extrajudicial executions and show trials, and genocide. It is also widely known that as a result millions of innocent people have been murdered in cold blood. Yet there has been virtually no concentrated statistical work on what this total might be.

Finally, at the extreme of totalitarian power we have the greatest extreme of democide. Communist governments have almost without exception wielded the most absolute power and their greatest killing (such as during Stalin's reign or the height of Mao's power) has taken place when they have been in their own history most totalitarian. As most communist governments underwent increasing liberalization and a loosening of centralized power in the 1960s through the 1980s, the pace of killing dropped off sharply.

Communism has been the greatest social engineering experiment we have ever seen. It failed utterly and in doing so it killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children, not to mention the near 30,000,000 of its subjects that died in its often aggressive wars and the rebellions it provoked. But there is a larger lesson to be learned from this horrendous sacrifice to one ideology. That is that no one can be trusted with power. The more power the center has to impose the beliefs of an ideological or religious elite or impose the whims of a dictator, the more likely human lives are to be sacrificed. This is but one reason, but perhaps the most important one, for fostering liberal democracy. "
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Sue

They were pretty bad, but not genocide. As far as Cuba is concerned. For many years now, Cuba/Fidel Castro has posed no threat to the USA and yet, we continue our economic restrictions against this little island. Enough is enough. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
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Craig

I will give you Cuba, who only murdered 73,000 people. I think you should acknowledge North Korea and North Vietnam.

The midpoint of Professor Rummel's civilian death by government estimates are:

Cuba 73,000

North Korea 1,663,000

Cambodia 2,035,000

North Vietnam 2,500,000

A million murders here, a million murders there, pretty soon you are talking genocide. 

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Marie

My family and I were in Berlin the summer after the Wall came down – I remember seeing Russian soldiers on the street in front of the Branderburg Gate selling all they had - hats, medals, gloves... anything...so they could make enough money to buy a train ticket to return home to Russia – obviously the occupational Army was disbanded and left these soldiers to fare for themselves in Berlin....

We bought a piece of the wall for $1 - and a Russian fur cap...

The bus trip into East Berlin was really sobering - passing freely through Checkpoint Charlie and the abandoned watch tower, seeing the barbed wire and grave stones of those who had died trying to escape just beyond the wall on the eastern side - the contrast between modern West Berlin and grey, run-down high-rises in East Berlin where the most beautiful architectural churches still stood in tact - was a like a trip in a time machine... The man-made brick wall is down...man-made walls are still sadly going up.
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Taffy

In the summer of 1972, we went to Europe with the kind of carefree attitude that I can't imagine having ever again. We didn't have much money, either, but Europe was still cheap.

We picked up a new VW Superbeetle at the factory in Wolfsburg, near the East German border. It came with about half a cup of gasoline, just enough to get around to the front of the factory where Volkswagen had gas pumps.

Then we went to Berlin. We were issued special East German traveler license plates at the border, and had a devil of a time explaining when one of them fell off somewhere en route. It was just our first misstep.

West Berlin was amazing -- a thriving, booming place characterized by hearty German appetites and obsessive German cleanliness. (I can say these things because I am half German, though it is my Irish quarter that is really pushy and tends to predominate.)

We walked into East Berlin, changing a (required) small amount of deutschmarks into whatever the East German currency was. We were warned as we entered not to take any photographs of transportation or political material.

It was grim from the beginning. As Marie noticed decades later, it was like stepping through a time machine. Rubble lay as if World War II had ended a week earlier. The buildings still standing were dilapidated and it was a real chore to figure out how to spend that East German money, which we knew would not be exchangeable on return. We went to a museum that had the tiled/mosaic walls from (I think) Nebuchadnezzar's palace. They were set up along the walls of the museum, and seemed as odd as they were beautiful. It was as if we were heading to something amazing, something that never did show up.

Then we walked back and went again through the looking glass into booming West Berlin.

Oh, and we had some company for a while when we first set out in East Berlin. Remember that warning about pictures of political materials and transportation?

My not-yet-then-husband had walked maybe a block inside East Berlin before he stopped and took a picture of a billboard featuring Angela Davis, on the wall of an elevated train system.

A couple of colorless men in nondescript suits followed us all the way to the museum. They were gone when we left.
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Julie

Thanks Charlie,  I'm sharing this because it bears repeating! He is now remembered!

'Ed Freeman... A True Hero'

You're an 18 or 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965. LZ Xray,Vietnam . Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his H uey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.

Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses.

And, he kept coming back...... 13 more times..... and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise, ID ......May God rest his soul.....