Friday, March 30, 2012

Haunted by Vietnam? Try Algeria

When I Google "haunted by Vietnam" I get 87,000 hits. Currently it seems that Obama and the military are the ones haunted. I think though that we're mostly over the Vietnam war, except perhaps as it gets wrapped up with the cultural war and what we call the "Sixties". If I'm right maybe the U.S. is a bit more mature than the French, or maybe the Algerian war was much more traumatic for the French than Vietnam was for us.

That's the conclusion I draw from reading Dirk Beauregarde's post, keyed to the 50th anniversary of the end of the Algerian war, including interviews with relatives of Algerian soldiers serving with the French army.  Lots of trauma there, perhaps somewhat parallel to the Loyalists after the American Revolution.

A sidenote: JFK first made his national mark as a liberal and policy  thinker (as opposed to a politico who tried to be the VP candidate in 1956) by a speech on Algeria attacking French colonialism.

Another sidenote: The Battle of Algiers is highly regarded.

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