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The Failure of Overwhelming Force


In April of 1975, North Vietnamese tanks rolled through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon, effectively putting a cap on the Vietnam war. A decade or so of war in a foreign country that took 50k American lives (just during the fighting, we won’t get into the deaths decades after) and an estimated three million Vietnamese lives, many of whom were on our ‘side’. The American government made up a threat as a pretense for war and threw countless lives and funding at it. Napalm was dropped, chemical warfare developed, countless bullets and landmines were dumped into the country.


In March of 2003, George W. Bush decided to keep the war his daddy started and bombed the shit out of Baghdad, even though many of the senior officials called the term “A bunch of Bull”.


The American response to any perceived threat overseas is force in some manner. Not just bombs and invasions, but also sanctions which are sold as a way to squeeze the offending government, but in reality just hurts the local population by denying necessary food and medicine.


Historically, America is simply a bully using its power to get what it wants. There are countless South American coups involving everything from death squads to soft coups that force out socialist leaders. The entirety of the Cold War was arms escalation dumping money into the pockets of weapons manufacturers. It’s easy to say Vietnam and Korea were lost wars, but winning and losing goes far outside the realm of mission goals when boots are on the ground.


It’s easy to say the Federal Troops in our own back yards is American diplomacy being used against it’s own people, but lets not forget the Chicago Police having a literal black site where they disappeared people to without booking or processing. Just a spot to take and abuse prisoners with no repercussions. Overwhelming violence has been used by the powers that be since day one. From the shitty hall monitor in school to the cop on the street, the people with power are often the ones you don't want with it, because enforcement of rules is always some form of power control that is also violence. What is a fine but miniature sanction? Even the threat of imprisonment for not paying those fines comes with the implied violence of arrest, or processing, of jail time unless you come up with the money to bail yourself out, and then hire a lawyer. It's all violence from the moment the cop says "hey you..."


What American forces have failed to learn is we are losers. We lose wars unless we have a lot of help at our backs. Even WWII was half fought before we decided to jump in. Even then the British and Russians did most of the heavy lifting. Raw, naked force was used to failure in Korea, in Vietnam, in Desert Storm, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We have been effectively repelled in every war (unless we cheat and use atomic weapons) and yet we do not seem to learn that overwhelming force will not work against an American.


Even the Americans who aren’t waving flags and pledging allegiance at the top of their lungs every day has a desire to fight. Our history, our media, the way we think and act if incredibly violent. The difference is the government will always escalate and force their opposition to take up arms against them. Power structures in this country can deal with an already demoralized enemy, but it cannot win against an ideology no matter how many death squads they run runs to.


This is the failure of overwhelming force. The belief that you can grind a population under your heel and never get resistance. It can work for a time, but it never works forever. Eventually revolution comes for the ones in power, and win or lose, it effects permanent change on the leadership and the population. The only uncertainty is what kind of change will we see