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Powers and the Vietnam War

But for Gary Powers Kennedy would undoubtedly have lost the extremely close 1960 Presidential Election to Nixon.  Then JFK and his brother would not have been assassinated.  What about Martin Luther King Jnr?

In particular it's unlikely that the Vietnam War would have escalated.  After the Berlin Wall;  the Bay of Pigs; and the Cuban Missile Crisis; Kennedy was said to be determined to 'draw a line in the sand' - for freedom.  The Eisenhower/Nixon White House is reported to have been more interested in Laos.

After the disasters of 1961 Kennedy is reported as telling the New York Times: "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place."  This choice had the added benefit helping out President Ngô Đình Diệm, the Vatican endorsed: 'Saviour of Vietnam', a fellow Roman Catholic who'd pleaded for US (and Australian) help to prevent the country falling to the Communists. 

Since the defeat of the French in Vietnam there had been US military advisers supporting the fragile government of South Vietnam that had been 'elected to power' by violently suppressing the opposition.  The governing Cần Lao Party thereafter claimed to be democratically elected but to be unable to hold further elections due to a state of martial law.  The leaders were a Roman Catholic elite in a country that was predominantly Buddhist.

Eventually even Kennedy would grow sick of the excesses of the poisonous Diệm Regime; temporally terminate diplomatic relations; and agree to a CIA supported coup in which two of the Diệm brothers were murdered.  See Vietnam on this website - scroll down and read more below the image of Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon. 

Nevertheless, by the time of Kennedy's own assassination there were over 15,000 US 'advisors' and around a hundred Australian 'advisors' and support people in Vietnam. His successor President Johnson (LBJ) would drop the pretence that these were non-combatants and  increase the number to 550,000; Australian personnel would rise to a peak of 7,672.  This commitment would only begin to decline after Nixon, eventually, won the 1968 Presidential election.


The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC
The names of 58,307 US fighting men and women who died in action and a further 1,626 missing in action
426 Australians also died in action and more later from the repercussions, including some I knew
Over two million Vietnamese: combatants (on both sides) and civilians also died
The communists won in the end but to what end?  See Vietnam on this website




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In the footsteps of Marco Polo





Travels in Central Asia


In June 2018 we travelled to China before joining an organised tour in Central Asia that, except for a sojourn in the mountains of Tajikistan, followed in the footsteps of Marco Polo along the Great Silk Road. 

Read more: In the footsteps of Marco Polo

Fiction, Recollections & News

Peter Storey McKie



My brother, Peter, is dead. 

One of his body's cells turned rogue and multiplied, bypassing his body's defences. The tumour grew and began to spread to other organs.  Radiation stabilised the tumour's growth but by then he was too weak for chemo-therapy, which might have stemmed the spreading cells.

He was 'made comfortable' thanks to a poppy grown in Tasmania, and thus his unique intelligence faded away when his brain ceased to function on Sunday, 22nd May 2022.

I visited him in the hospital before he died.  Over the past decade we had seldom spoken. Yet he now told me that he often visited my website. I had suspected this because from time to time he would send e-mail messages, critical of things I had said. That was about the only way we kept in touch since the death of his daughter Kate (Catherine). That poppy again.  

Read more: Peter Storey McKie

Opinions and Philosophy

Losing my religion





In order to be elected every President of the United States must be a Christian.  Yet the present incumbent matches his predecessor in the ambiguities around his faith.  According to The Holloverse, President Trump is reported to have been:  'a Catholic, a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, a Presbyterian and he married his third wife in an Episcopalian church.' 

He is quoted as saying: "I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion..."

And whatever it is, it's the greatest.

Not like those Muslims: "There‘s a lot of hatred there that’s someplace. Now I don‘t know if that’s from the Koran. I don‘t know if that’s from someplace else but there‘s tremendous hatred out there that I’ve never seen anything like it."

And, as we've been told repeatedly during the recent campaign, both of President Obama's fathers were, at least nominally, Muslim. Is he a real Christian?  He's done a bit of church hopping himself.

In 2009 one time United States President Jimmy Carter went out on a limb in an article titled: 'Losing my religion for equality' explaining why he had severed his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after six decades, incensed by fundamentalist Christian teaching on the role of women in society

I had not seen this article at the time but it recently reappeared on Facebook and a friend sent me this link: Losing my religion for equality...

Read more: Losing my religion

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