Comments: Happy Birthday to Me!

This is your path.

Posted by Amanda Rex at August 23, 2011 12:53 AM

Happy Belated Birthday Aaron!

You seem like you could do good/terrible disaster travel guides.

Read Franz Schurmann's The Logic of World Power and Bruce Cummings two-volume History of the Korean War while you're on a roll. There are a lot of indispensable books, but those two should be at the top of any list on the US in Asia from WWII on.

Posted by N E at August 23, 2011 01:37 AM

Happy birthday Aaron.

Your discussion of the photo reminds of this old post of mine regarding Vietnam, referencing a CNN article from 2004.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at August 23, 2011 02:53 AM

@Amanda - I'm pretty sure my true path includes more heirloom tomatoes. And a pony.

@NE - For several years, I've kept a list of the books you mention in comments you write. I'm a slow reader and will never make it through them all, but it's a great benefit to me nevertheless. Those two books are on the list. Thank you!

@JV - The gift that keeps on giving, huh?

Posted by Aaron Datesman at August 23, 2011 06:56 AM

Nice post

Posted by Mattes at August 23, 2011 07:24 AM

Happy Birthday Aaron.

Thank you for a post that deals with subjects we must deal with if we are to improve upon them.

One of the reasons these things happened then and are resurgent now is that our governing philosophy has morphed to the point we have become a wartocracy.

That tracks in a different direction than we are used to historically.

Posted by Dredd at August 23, 2011 09:03 AM

so Vietnam took 30 years to recover- how long for Iraq?- the grand horror of these war crimes is the lag suffering of a lost generation for an entire country

Posted by frankenduf at August 23, 2011 09:11 AM

@frankenduf -

Vietnam hasn't recovered; far from it. If you're an optimist, it's possible to believe that the half-life of dioxin in the soil is 30 years. If you accept this scenario, then at a minimum it will be several centuries before the area in the picture returns to its natural bounty. This is true for huge areas in southern Vietnam.

More realistically, large portions of Vietnam have been functionally destroyed for all of history. I don't really believe that dioxin is harmlessly purged from the environment with a 30 year half life. I've asked experts in the field of bioremediation, and there's no known process by which this poisoning could be remedied. Plants now grow there, sort of, but the ill health of everything shown in that photo is very palpable.

Nuclear fallout and depleted uranium munitions are equally serious, or more serious, crimes against our future. But I haven't been to Iraq, so I don't (yet) have any vacation photos to share which might illustrate why we should all be horrified.....

Posted by Aaron Datesman at August 23, 2011 10:02 AM

Happy Birthday, Aaron. I didn't know that you're only a kid. The years pass more quickly after 40--trust me. I just hope they're not so grim.

Posted by Paul Avery at August 23, 2011 01:41 PM

What's really disturbing about the Tories allegedly not knowing that Andy Coulson was still being paid by News International (read; spy for Murdoch) when he was hired by David Cameron to work at No 10 Downing Street is that he could have been being paid by anybody, Russia, Iran, um, Labour, anyone at all! Aren't these people supposed to be securely vetted before they can work close to a high-level security environment? It would be nice to see that pompous idiot Cameron get some serious criticism over this but beyond that it's just not funny...

Posted by Dragon Images at August 23, 2011 11:10 PM

Happy birthday, for both the sober thoughts and more happy times.

Posted by Batocchio at August 24, 2011 12:26 AM

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Posted by Susan at August 24, 2011 12:34 AM

Aaron, I hope the earthquake did not affect your office building. Keep safe.

Posted by Rupa Shah at August 24, 2011 06:16 AM

You do richly deserve both of those things. Do they make ponies for people over six feet tall?

Posted by Amanda Rex at August 24, 2011 05:59 PM

Amanda, your question reminds me of a blog I once chanced upon which kept track of deliberately inaccurate Wikipedia edits, some of which were quite amusing, and I imagine all of which got their users banned. (I don't remember the URL; anyway, it may not still be around.)

Somebody kept mucking up the article on Shetland Ponies, insisting that British scientists had secretly developed highly aggressive 40 ft tall Shetland Ponies after Dunkirk to protect against a Nazi invasion.

It was funnier than how I'm describing it because it was couched in dry, tony-sounding pseudo scientific language.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at August 25, 2011 02:42 AM

Happy Birthday Aaron !

Posted by Nhu at August 25, 2011 04:45 AM

Jonathan, that's awesome. My boyfriend and myself once vandalized the horoscope pages to see what kind of turn around there was for something seemingly less important. It was a matter of minutes.

Posted by Amanda Rex at August 25, 2011 01:33 PM

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Posted by Jeffery at August 26, 2011 04:34 AM

Agent Orange touched me in the pictured location.
the effects of it took about twenty years to manifest in a way that could not be ignored.

Posted by minor player at August 27, 2011 02:45 AM

By the way, Vietnam is gearing up to build several nuclear power plants. (

Nuclear power—the preferred energy source for anti-imperialists the world over.

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