What would you do if Trump won (and money was no object)?

Curl up into a fetal position until it's all over?

Curl up into a fetal position until it’s all over?

After Columbia hosted the Preppers expo over the weekend, this might be a good time to raise the question, “What would you do if Trump won?”

  1. Leave the country?
  2. Start a resistance movement?
  3. Curl up into a fetal position until it’s all over?

The standard answer, of course, is the first one. And that’s the one I propose to discuss.

I’ve thought about it.

But personally, I would not be able to seriously consider leaving the country. I couldn’t afford it, and all my family is here. But say those weren’t obstacles. What if I were, say, a billionaire (which would make Bernie Sanders hate me, but I could live with that) and could just buy a nice island and move all my family and friends there with me?

Would I do that?

I don’t think I would. I’m not trying to make myself out to be noble or anything, but I couldn’t abandon my country that way. I could maybe do something like that, at least for a time, if everything was fine back home. As a sort of extended vacation. But if the political order is collapsing? I don’t think I’m that big of a rat.

I realize there’s very little I would be able do to affect events by staying, but I would have to stay on the distant hope that I could do something by being here, even if it’s just as one voice among the millions. Even if it’s just my little blog, crying in the wilderness.

Also, Trump’s election would be a disaster for the whole world, perhaps every bit as much as for this country. Having someone like that with that kind of power would be extraordinarily dangerous internationally. And I’m not just talking about the possibility of war. He is so ignorant and willful he would wreak all sorts of havoc in all sorts of areas — think, just for one example, of his plan to “renegotiate” U.S. debt, throwing out the full faith and credit of our nation, upon which so much of the international financial order depends.

I couldn’t make like Prince Prospero in Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” walling myself off from the collapse of the world around me. It would be wrong. And besides, I don’t think it would work any better than in Poe’s version. “No man is an island” isn’t just something I say to bother the libertarians; I see it as a fundamental truth defining reality.

Here’s hoping we never have to find out, but what would you do?

53 thoughts on “What would you do if Trump won (and money was no object)?

  1. Pam Wilkins

    Interesting question, and one I’ve thought a lot about. I live right by the Canadian border and have a Canadian work permit (my institution has a joint degree program with a Canadian university). I’ve long considered trying to get a one-year visiting position at a university somewhere in Ontario, and a Trump election might move me from thought to action. But I do understand your point about national loyalty.

    As some might know, metro Detroit (where I live) has a very large Arab and Muslim population. I probably interact in a week with more Muslims than most people on this blog have ever met. I’ve heard indirectly that some folks in our region are calling their relatives in Canada and elsewhere, or, if they work for multi-national businesses, are far more open to being transferred out of the country than they once were. It’s really sad, and I’m angry on behalf of my students and their families.

    That said, Michigan is up for grabs, so our focus right now is preventing this deeply unpatriotic man from becoming president.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    “What would you do if Trump won and money was no object?”

    I do the same thing that I would do if Hillary wins: Continue living my life as before. The election of the chief magistrate of the federal government doesn’t affect me that much now, and it would affect me even less so if I was so rich that “money was no object”.

    For people who treat politics like rabid sports fans, I can see why this question would be an interesting thought exercise. It’s not really that hard for me.

    Brad, this would be like someone asking you the question: What would you do if the Gamecock football team went undefeated and won the SEC, and money was no object?

    My guess is that your answer to that hypothetical question would be something along the lines of “Um, nothing. I don’t care which football team wins the SEC championship this year.”

    1. Doug Ross

      I’m in the same camp as Bryan. Not worried, don’t want either Trump or Hillary to win. Either one can do things that make my life slightly more difficult and I would expect Hillary would have a greater chance of proposing things that would raise my taxes. Either of them will be polarizing enough to keep the current gridlock going.

      There is an option but it’s not one war mongers and abortion fans would go for.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      But see, I don’t have an obligation as a citizen to CARE how a football team does.

      And that’s the thing for me, you see: I’ve spent a great deal of my life spouting little sermons about how wonderful our country and our system is, like Oliver Wendell Douglas with the fife playing “Yankee Doodle” in the background. Trump winning would just drag all that through the mud.

      What it would be is a sort of last straw on my faith in democracy. I’ve expressed plenty of doubts about it over the years, and I’m quite adamant about how disturbing I find DIRECT democracy to be. But that just serves to bolster my pride in our republican form of government (to the extent that we still HAVE one, what with the 17th Amendment, and all those ballot initiatives in various states).

      If a majority of the electoral college or for that matter the popular vote went for Trump, I would no longer be able to assure myself with such sayings as “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” I would strongly suspect that some of the others were less bad.

      It would be a tremendous blow to me, as one who has lived by political ideas.

      Yes, there are more important things in life, such as God and my family. No question of that. But political ideas are a big part of who I am. More so than my being a journalist, as important as that is. All my career, I cared more about the issues we wrote about than I did about the trade of writing about it…

  3. Bryan Caskey

    Oh, and where would a freedom-loving person move, anyway? What country in the world is as free, as culturally diverse, and as tolerant as the USA?

    Answer: None.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, you’re absolutely right.

      I can still say that because Donald Trump has not yet won the presidency. After that, I’d have serious doubts about this country’s embrace of diversity and tolerance…

    2. Doug Ross

      How about Finland?

      “Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development.[15][16][17][18] In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital[19] and the Press Freedom Index, and as the most stable country in the world in the Failed States Index,[20] and second in the Global Gender Gap Report.[21] A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church,[22] though freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution.”

      Disclosure: My family tree on my mother’s side is 100% Finnish.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Real culturally diverse in Finland, are they?

        Side note, Finland is (was) home to the world’s deadliest sniper. In WWII, Simo Haya killed over 500 Russians in less than 100 days with a bolt action rifle earning him the nickname “White Death”.

        Simo Haya – White Death

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          As y’all know, I’ll always regret not having had the opportunity to serve in the military.

          At the same time, I’m glad not to have earned a sobriquet like “White Death.”

          There is a large middle ground. I’d be happiest as an average G.I. Joe or Willy, who did his duty and isn’t entirely sure whether any of the rounds he fired in action actually hit anybody…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            So weird to think of killing at least 500 men, one at a time, in a conflict that was such a relative WWII sideshow that until I read those Wikipedia entries just now, it would have been fair to say I knew virtually nothing about.

            It’s like when I went to Thailand and visited some historical sites in Kanchanaburi, and didn’t realize that Thailand was an Axis power (a minor one, under the thumb of Japan) until Burl mentioned it to me later. (I had just thought of it as yet another country batted about by the major combatants in the war.)

            You can THINK you know history, but you know nothing, Jon Snow…

        2. Doug Ross

          Bryan – the U.S. may be culturally diverse but I find people self-segregate within their own cultures. Take a walk down Main Street on Saturday morning during the Soda City Market and you’d think we WERE living in Finland. Or go to a Fireflies game or an event at Koger Center. How diverse is your world? Kids schools, church, gun club, office?

          Diversity is overrated. It’s how much (unforced) integration happens organically. I’d say places like Columbia may be diverse but there’s way too much tension to make it a positive trait.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Nah. I recently watched the whole season of “Fortitude” on Amazon Prime, and you can have the Great White North.

        But speaking of heritage, I recently discovered my own Nordic background.

        My daughter, mostly for health reasons, had her DNA analyzed recently. Among other things she learned that she is 99.9 + percent European, with a large portion of that being northern European, as in Scandinavian. She doubted the accuracy of that, since she had never heard of any of our ancestors being Norsemen.

        And then, about a month ago, I suddenly had a huge breakthrough in working on my family tree. I had never before gotten farther back than the 1400s on any branch of the tree (and of course most lines peter out in the 19th or 18th century), when suddenly — tracing back some maternal lines starting with my great-great grandmother Jane Hearst Chiles (wife of Patrick Henry Bradley, whom I’ve mentioned before) — I was well back into medieval times. The Chiles folks (more so than the Hearsts, through whom I’m related to William Randolph and Patty) were really connected, once you get back to England. There were enough prominent people whose ancestry was clearly recorded that I was able to reach back (through admittedly thin internet connections) far beyond the Tudors, back through the Norman Conquest, through a line of Norman noblemen, and then BANG! I was into Vikings who had invaded France and England. Danes, Swedes and Norwegians.

        So I guess there’s something to this DNA thing…

  4. Claus

    The freakin’ watusi.

    Honestly, I think I’d be better off with Trump than Clinton, at least financially.

    This is maybe the dumbest blog entry you’ve posted. People threatened to leave the country if George W. Bush was elected and re-elected, nobody left. People threatened to leave if Obama was elected and re-elected, nobody left. Now it’s the same with Trump. I can’t stand the sight or sound of Hillary Clinton but unless she owns Congress she’s neutered, err spayed as a President.

    Those who’d leave, where would you go? Would you renounce your US citizenship? What country would you be a refugee in? Would you be better off in that country?

  5. Norm Ivey

    I’d continue as before. The election of Trump is not the Death of the Republic. It might, however, be the Death of the Republican party. The sensible faction will have to re-organize themselves as a responsible, thoughtful party.

  6. Bart

    I have heard just as many say if Clinton wins, they would gladly move to Canada or some other country because they believe Clinton would do just as much if not more damage than Trump certainly would. The constant pandering to whoever she is addressing at the time and her demonization of Wall Street and the 1%, which by the way is closer to 56% according to some accurate assessments about the distribution of wealth in the US, yet she is paid 6 figures, $600,000+/- according to some reports, to deliver 6 figure speeches to the Wall Street contingent. The same people she wants to enact tax laws so they pay a much higher tax rate. Something is just not right about this and it smells of “smoke filled room politics”.

    As for Trump, this man scares me because it is not a far reach or conclusion that if he were negotiating with a foreign country or power, he might actually believe he could treat the negotiations like his reality show, The Apprentice, or one of his negotiations for a business deal. In politics and diplomacy, like it or not, this is something a leader simply cannot do. No doubt one needs to be an effective negotiator but at the same time remember that geopolitical politics and a business deal to build a casino are two entirely different animals. One can get up and walk out of a business negotiation for effect, I know, I have done it before, but to do the same thing in a sensitive situation on a global scale is not the same thing. Protocol is still a viable tool and respect and comportment are valuable tools when negotiating with leaders and representatives of other countries.

    I know I am repeating the obvious but is puzzles me when I hear people close to me praising the man when I know from experience with the way he operates from several years ago when I was active doing business in New York with several prominent clients who knew him personally. He is an opportunist and will use the legal system to his advantage to avoid paying legitimate debts; he will stage events to suit his purposes. Ask the former mayor of New York about Trump hiring guys to wear clothes similar to city employees to sit on buckets, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, leaning on shovels at a pothole that needed to be repaired just to embarrass the mayor, Ed Koch. He had a personal feud with Koch and did everything he could to create bad publicity for him. In other words, Donald Trump is a vindictive little man and he hasn’t changed. He could teach Hillary a few things about getting even.

    Yes, we need quality, honorable, and trustworthy leadership sitting in the Oval Office. We need someone who will take responsibility for their actions and not consistently blame others or deflect blame. We need someone who will hire the right people because a new administration hires close to 10,000 people to replace the ones from the previous administration. They are the ones who carry out the new administration’s agenda and if incompetents are put in place, everyone loses. We have witnessed in the last 2 administrations, Bush II and Obama, what happens when politics and ideology become entangled in the administration of justice and what is right.

    But, when one researches what the requirements are to relocate to another country, with the exception of a few who can be a benefit and offer needed services to most other countries, most who would actually try to relocate couldn’t. Read Pam Wilkins comment and then research what it takes to leave America and live in another country as a long-term resident alien or to become a citizen. And we thought our immigration laws were tough. Heck, unless we moved to a retirement compound in Mexico, it would be difficult to become a citizen there.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      This is a year in which we could have used some “smoke-filled-room politics.” We wouldn’t have been in nearly the fix we are in.

      First, we absolutely would not have Trump as the GOP nominee. It would never have come even close to happening. Nor would Cruz have ever been a possibility. Had GOP leaders been able to meet behind closed doors and choose the nominee, we’d have ended up with Jeb or maybe, if the party elders had wanted to be bold and reach out to a new generation Rubio. Or if they’d been deadlocked and we got really lucky, John Kasich.

      The difference on the Democratic side wouldn’t have been nearly as dramatic. Hillary would still have been the nominee (unless the leaders, worried about her baggage, had prevailed upon Joe Biden to accept their nod). But… and this is not a difference to sneeze at… Bernie would never have been a factor, even for an instant. Most of us would probably still not know his name, unless we were into trivia. And the impact of that? Hillary would not have been pulled to the left, and she’d be running a far more solid, viable general election campaign reminiscent of her husband’s embrace of the Third Way in the 90s.

      So we’d be better off all around…

      1. Doug Ross

        Why should this year have been any different? Just because YOU don’t like the guy who was selected by the process? There’s a reason why people lose elections and Trump tapped into a sentiment that could not be denied this year. John Kasich NEVER had a chance.. not when there were 16 candidates and not when there were 3. The majority of people looked at him and said “Nope, not presidential”.

        The time to have beaten Trump was LAST year, not after the fact. People like Lindsey Graham, Jindahl, Pataki, Huckabee, Kasich, etc. helped elect Trump by running vanity campaigns that diluted the vetting process when they had no chance of ever winning. What should have been a Trump, Cruz, Jeb, Rubio matchup in Iowa turned into a clown car with the lead clown jumping out first. Also, blame the primary system that gives far too much power to states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and (yes) South Carolina. Donald Trump isn’t the nominee if the primary started in Missouri, Massachusetts, and Georgia.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You mean like a “like” button? A number of people have asked for that (including folks you would not much agree with normally), but I don’t really “like” the idea. Makes it too much like Facebook.

  7. Karen Pearson

    If I had the means to leave the country, I would at least set up a quick escape route, and ensure that I could access my money. However, that’s not where I am, so I’m worried about riots, and the equivalent of brownshirts. Nor do I think Pence is a suitable president (although way above Trump). I have no problem with Hillary being “pulled to the left” because I think that the Democratic party has been pulled to the right over the past several years. My biggest concern is that congress will remain deadlocked, thereby ensuring that our government can accomplish nothing that it needs to do.

    1. Bart

      “My biggest concern is that congress will remain deadlocked, thereby ensuring that our government can accomplish nothing that it needs to do.”

      Maybe that is not such a bad thing at this stage of the political game or a rugby scrum would be a better analogy. Maybe we need to have a stalemate in Washington until some adults who are more in the middle and have sufficient communication skills to interact with each other and the general public can assume control and lead this country out of the mire and stench of identity politics. At this moment, it is not the majority of Americans who are involved in this nasty fight, it is a result of an active 9% of the voters who for whatever their reason(s) were, have put before us an almost intolerable situation and one that will test the conscience of the voters come November unless one is one of the 9%. But to be fair, if the 91% had taken time to participate, including me, maybe Trump wouldn’t be the nominee and maybe Sanders would be the nominee, not Clinton. Of course it is always interesting to engage or indulge in 20/20 hindsight.

      I find it intolerable that in order to insure Trump’s victory, Democrats crossed over and voted in Republican primaries for Trump. bud admitted to doing so and to me, that is a violation of trust and a slap in the face of the voting process. Although bud had every right to do so, abusing the right to insure or attempt to insure a victory by someone like Trump is the epitome of dirty politics. Just as dirty as buying a vote for a soft drink and a sandwich. According to some estimates, at least 25% to 30% of votes for Trump were cast by Democrats or Bernie supporters in the SC primary.

      I need a shower.

      1. Pat

        I’m tired of congress being deadlocked. They should have appropriated money for the zika virus in January. Some of what President Obama implemented by executive order wouldn’t have happened or would have been modified if congress had acted. Frankly, I think the Republicans are secretly (or not so secretly) glad that some orders were implemented and that the Democratic Party got credit for it.
        The Republicans have set themselves up for the current state of affairs.

      2. Karen Pearson

        I was hoping that maybe we could elect some adults to Congress. Or that some there would grow brains.

    2. Claus

      Karen, it won’t get any worse than BLM or the Occupy movement. You’ll have a handful of crazy nuts, look at the Occupy commotion that happened in Colulmbia, by what’s his face. Have you heard a single word about him sense? Just goes to show you these guys are a flash in the pan then forgotten.

      Either way, the only thing that will get accomplished in the next 4 years will be one or two Supreme Court Justice appointments. Other than that it’ll be politics as usual.

  8. Doug Ross

    If money was no object and I was concerned about what a President might do that would have enough impact for me to consider moving, I wouldn’t leave the country. I’d buy a big lot of land in Alaska and start a little community of people willing to work for what they need. It’s funny, I jokingly suggested on Facebook that I was 37% committed to renting a big bus in early October and driving across country to pick up any of my FB friends who were interested in moving to Alaska and got some partly serious responses from people across the political spectrum – a dope smoking self employed gutter installer/libertarian from Texas, a Hillary supporter/HR Manager from Massachusetts, a ob/gyn libertarian doctor from Colorado, and a Bernie fan/paralegal from California all were on board with chucking it all. I think that speaks to the general disgust with the entire system.

  9. Burl Burlingame

    So Trump wins, and you leave the county — and before long, like Sarah Palin, he quits because it’s too much like real work.

  10. Barry

    Continue to hope that a local media outlet except for Ron Aiken would cover the disaster that is the Richland County Recreation Commission, and the elected leaders that have covered for them for years.

  11. Phillip

    Let me state at the outset that I don’t believe Trump is Hitler, by a long shot. Maybe a megalomaniac but not an ideology-driven person, for one.

    But Karen is on to something here—-it’s not so much Trump as his supporters, more specifically the embrace and the hunger among a large segment of the American population for the authoritarian tone he sets. This may actually be more of a problem if he loses.

    But going back to my first sentence—much of my political perspective in life has been influenced growing with a mother who witnessed first-hand the German of 1933 (as a 13-year-old) and heard, growing up, the shrugging off of concerns with phrases like “oh, that’s just red-meat he’s tossing to his hard-core believers, he’ll have to govern more from the center once in office.” The laughing at the bombast of the speeches, until bit by bit, laughing at the speeches was no longer acceptable, and then eventually criminal.

    The thing is, you don’t want to wait too long that it becomes impossible or very difficult to leave. Again, circumstances are totally different here and now, and I am hopeful that our institutions would work to keep a President Trump in check to some extent. However, given how irrational and thin-skinned his behavior is, I wonder if he would bomb someplace just because its leader insulted him. It’s an unpredictable scenario, but I sure wouldn’t wait long to investigate options should Trump win.

    In the end, I couldn’t leave, because of caring for the very same 96-year-old mother who lived through the Third Reich and taught me so much about how a democracy could bring that government about. And on the question of staying or leaving, it’s not so much about us as individuals—but what about those of us with young children? What kind of place would be better for them to grow up? What is my son’s future in a nation that would even come this close to electing a Trump as leader? These are questions I think about a lot.

    1. Doug Ross

      I ask this in all honesty, Phillip… do you think the country today is potentially more dangerous for you and your family than it was during the mid-to-late 60’s? The race riots of the late 60’s make Ferguson look like a game of patty cake. Dozens killed in Newark, Detroit, and Watts… Compare Kent State to the Occupy Movement… not even close.

      My point is that things are not as bad as they’ve been in the past and we survived those tumultuous times. The Trump era will pass and hopefully take down a bunch of career politicians on both sides of the aisle. It appears that John McCain is in a battle for his political career and I’m very okay with him be “collateral damage” (how ironic) of Trump’s campaign.

  12. Phillip

    sorry, couple words omitted from earlier post…

    meant to say “growing up with a mother who witnessed first-hand the German election of 1933”

  13. Phillip

    The 60s were a turbulent time to be sure but our institutions worked for the most part, in my view. Enormous progress was made in civil rights through the Voting Rights Act and other steps. The Vietnam War eventually was understood to be not only misguided, but immoral, and political pressure forced LBJ out of office, and the US out of that country, though it took much longer than it should have. When a Chief Executive did abuse the powers of his office, the mechanisms put in place by the Founding Fathers worked perfectly: hearings were held, a bipartisan consensus emerged in Congress that the President must leave office, which he did via resignation prior to a full vote on impeachment and conviction.

    But Trump is (as has been said a million times by Brad and others) in a completely different category. Even a Cheney presidency would not be that worrisome. Trump combines unpredictability with this authoritarian bent in a way that would be unlike any President of either party since the beginning of the Republic. Today’s comments about Trump’s questioning our nuclear-weapons restraint (though I’m not sure I really buy Joe Scarborough’s story about unnamed sources) raises the stakes right there.

    I worry whether our governmental mechanisms could activate sufficiently or in time to stop some really outrageous actions by a President Trump; but more to the point, I am no longer sure that our nation (or a large portion thereof) would mind a more authoritarian, less “messy” government.

    1. Doug Ross

      The same mechanisms brought down Nixon, exposed Reagan’s covert policies, shamed Bill Clinton to the point where he SHOULD have resigned…

      The same will happen to Trump unless he adapts pretty quickly IF he wins. I’d actually like to see some odds on either Trump OR Hillary not finishing their first term. Trump might be a 3:1, Hillary around 10:1.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Everything Phillip just said is right and true — except of course for the part about “The Vietnam War eventually was understood to be not only misguided, but immoral.”

      Why can’t you settle for “misguided?” Why do you have to take it that extra step and give it that extra, self-righteous twist? By doing so, you bring up the thing I couldn’t stand about the Vietnam antiwar movement — all those kids seemed to think there was something uniquely awful about this war, which is absurd. This war was no more “immoral” than the average, and probably less immoral than most. It makes sense in a pacifist context, but that’s it. You have to believe ALL wars are immoral if you say that of this one.

      Here’s the bottom line on Vietnam: It didn’t work out for us in the end, and under the circumstances it probably never could have. But I’ve seen no indication that Kennedy and Johnson should have been able to tell that going in. And I certainly see nothing evil in their willingness to try to prevent a Soviet ally from imposing Stalinism on the South. It was completely consistent with our Cold War policy of containing the Soviets, which I believe was a VERY moral thing to want to do. We’d had to make a deal with the devil during World War II, but after 1945, with the Nazis gone, the Soviets were the biggest threat to liberal democracy and the principles underlying it.

      To another point: “Even a Cheney presidency would not be that worrisome.” Of course it wouldn’t. Just as it’s right and true for a Republican to say, “Even a Clinton presidency would not be that worrisome.” And the problem we have is that too many people on the left AND right are so accustomed to demonizing people on the other side that a lot of people are unable to see that all bets are off here — that no matter how much you dislike Cheney, or Clinton, or Ted Kennedy or Jesse Helms or whoever got you worked up in the past, Trump is a UNIQUE threat…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, and here’s the problem with making Vietnam out to be worse than it was. It blinds liberals to the fact that LBJ was their last truly GREAT president. His fall from grace was a national tragedy. It undermined Humphrey and therefore led to Nixon and inexorably to Watergate and to the beginning of our long crisis of faith in our government.

        And that is TRAGIC, a great loss to the country. It led to a sickness of which Trump is the latest and by far worst iteration…

      2. Doug Ross

        I’m reading the biography of the young Vietnamese girl who made the front pages of newspapers after being horrifically burned by napalm dropped on her village. Any country that would use napalm would have questionable morality to begin with.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            That’s what I was talking about. Vietnam war protesters lacked perspective. But none of the things that they thought were uniquely awful about Vietnam were in any way unique…

            1. Doug Ross

              So they just couldn’t help themselves is the excuse? Ok.

              An American was in charge of coordinating the bombing runs by the South Vietnamese. Plenty of people in the chain of command thought it was okay to burn people alive in the most painful way possible.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              I don’t know where I said anything like “they just couldn’t help themselves.”

              I just said it wasn’t uniquely awful, and doesn’t say anything one way or the other about Vietnam.

              Napalm is terrible stuff….

        1. Claus

          Doug, what about incendiary bombs used during WWII? Blowing up munition factories in Germany were one way, but limited damage, adding in incendiaries pretty much made the factory completely unrepairable. Napalm was an effective tool in Vietnam, it was intended to smother the enemy more than to burn them alive. The same theory behind the flamethrower. Burn off the oxygen and 100% of the occupants hiding in that hole are dead and won’t shoot back at you. If battle you tend to do and use what ever is necessary to make sure you’re not the one who dies in the battle.

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah, and if women and children are roasted in the process, “Eh, what me worry?”

            My Lai was also one of our finest hours as a moral nation. The couple years he spent under house arrest were certainly a just punishment for killing 22 people.

            1. Doug Ross

              It only took a year for it to become public knowledge. No coverup there by the moral chain of command.

            2. Tex

              Doug are you familiar with war? I know if you had been drafted you’d have been a conscientious objector, no problem with that because during times of war the military need litter bearers, chaplains, medics, cooks, mechanics, etc… too. Smart bombs and precision bombing runs weren’t exactly an option back during WWII, you bombed in mass hoping that 10% of the bombs hit the target. We did it to them, they did it to us. How many civilians were killed at Pearl Harbor, the only true attack on this country?

              War is not all what you saw in old 1940’s war movies where everyone died instantly from a single ricocheted gun shot or strafe from a machine gun. Hell the US buried Japanese alive by bulldozing their tunnel entrances closed and driving and blasting over the tops of the tunnel area, those poor bastards would probably have loved to been burned to death. Are you familiar with how our prisoners were treated over there (Japan, Germany, Korean, Vietnam)? It wasn’t exactly Hogan’s Heroes.

              Killing women and children has been going on since the cavemen. How best to eliminate a species than to rid it of it’s next generation or ability to reproduce? Is it morally correct, not in any sense but it happens and will continue to happen between any two war parties.

    1. Phillip

      Bryan, don’t blame me— I made what I thought was a pretty innocuous, generally accepted statement in the context of another topic…but I keep forgetting that is a dangerous topic here. Brad, your Vietnam historical-revisionism has been on display before, but I must say that Vietnam War as “less immoral than most” is staking out bold new terrain. “You have to believe ALL wars are immoral if you say that of this one.” Seriously? We were MORE moral killing a million or more people in this tiny country on the other side of the planet who were no threat to us, than we were in fighting Hitler and the Axis forces? What interesting new form of moral relativism is this?

      You have written elsewhere eloquently about the existence of evil, and of the existence of true right and wrong, of a moral universe. Opposing wrong is not “self-righteous,”—it does not require any special smugness or belief in one’s moral superiority to oppose the wrong. I don’t call you self-righteous because of your opposition to abortion, for example, even if we disagree on certain legal paths that could or could not be taken. So I take exception to the term “self-righteous” being applied to me or those who stood up at the time to oppose that war.

      We can all be flawed, but nevertheless that does not disqualify us from looking at actions and saying, that was wrong and immoral—-in that case we treated an entire nation of people as mere pawns in our global game, their lives meaningless relative to American lives, 50,000 of which, though, we also sent to their end for no good reason, horribly difficult still and tragic though that truth is to face. So it takes no special moral superiority to see the Vietnam War as immoral, as history’s verdict seems to agree, save a few apologists here and there.

      “Here’s the bottom line on Vietnam: It didn’t work out for us in the end….” Right, because it—like everything that happens in the world—is all about us.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        First, let me apologize for two things, Phillip:

        I’m sorry I called you “self-righteous.” That seemed apropos at the time because I was objecting to the escalation from “misguided” to “immoral,” which I see as entirely unnecessary. But no, I do not see you, Phillip, as a self-righteous person, and it distresses me to have denigrated you in any way.

        Second, sorry about your comment being held until I noticed it this morning. I’m not sure what the red-flag word was that caused it to be held.

        I’ll have to stick by my assertion, though, that “This war was no more ‘immoral’ than the average, and probably less immoral than most.” Such a statement in no way suggests that it was less immoral than the one that we all see as “the good war,” the war against Hitler. Even though a case could be made there if one were feeling particularly contrarian.

        But I was taking a much longer view than that.

        Lately, working on my family tree, I’ve been reading about some of the nastier wars in European history. For instance, to my great shame, I had some Norman ancestors involved in the “Reconquista” of the Iberian peninsula. Nothing in U.S. history was as nasty as that, by a long shot.

        I’m sorry, but our efforts to protect the South from Stalinist domination — and all the suffering our allies there were subjected to after 1975 (see: Vietnamese boat people) — really put our motivations in a higher category than conquest of territory, the bruised feelings of royalty, or any of the usual motivations in human history.

  14. Claus

    Damn, I’m really getting tired of having a well thought out response and find out that it’s been deleted. Maybe one of these days I’ll learn what is approved and what is not. This is the only blog I’ve ever been involved with where people are censored. Which may explain why there’s only about a dozen people who post.

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