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Repeated Vietnam Tragedies

Jan 27, 2020 | 0 comments


In 1962, the government of South Vietnam and the United States began the implementation of the Strategic Hamlet Program. The strategy was to isolate the rural population from contact with and influence by the Viet Cong. Villagers were rounded up and moved to communal locations where they could be protected and governed by the more “trusted” South Vietnamese government. Below is an image of a then, newly constructed hamlet village with militia guards.  It should come as no surprise that the half-baked program was a massive failure. To ensure the villagers would not return to their traditional homes, the houses...

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A War Against Gentle Giants and Humanity

Jan 20, 2020 | 0 comments


Jacob Shell, in his book Giants of the Monsoon Forest, highlighted a little-known fact that the during the Vietnam War, U.S. helicopter pilots were ordered to target elephants that were presumed to be employed by the North Vietnamese to transport munitions to the south along the Ho Chi Minh trail in neighboring Laos. There is no doubt that elephants were used to transport goods but the degree of the carnage and deliberate targeting of them came as a surprise. Moreover, there are accounts of up to twenty-eight elephants killed in one province alone. Further, helicopter pilots were instructed to recover...

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Move Over Scotland Suntory Is Here

Jan 13, 2020 | 0 comments


Prior to the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972 and following 27 years of U.S. occupation, one could fly to Okinawa, purchase the permitted three bottles of duty-free Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch, sell two of the bottles back in Japan at retail prices, pay for the round-trip airfare and have a free bottle. Therefore, Johnny Walker Black was the currency to support mainland visitors to Okinawa. Most “sophisticated” tipplers in those days would not have considered drinking Suntory Japanese whiskey but it has now arrived. In fact, the price of Black Label has slid to $15 a bottle...

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Who Says A Homogeneous Society Is the Most Efficient?

Jan 06, 2020 | 0 comments


The author lived in Japan from 1970 to 1973. During that time, Japanese business practices and their extreme work ethic were predicted to be the wave of the future that would lead to economic world dominance by Japan. The U.S. GDP per capita in 1970 was $5,234 compared to a level of $2,038 for Japan. Over the ensuing years, the Japanese economy spiked in 1987 to become $25,051 per capita relative to $21, 417 for the U.S. The Japanese fell behind in 2000 and in 2018 the Japan GDP per capita was $39,289 relative to $62,795 for the U.S. For...

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Dilemma of The Plight of The Rohingya

Dec 30, 2019 | 0 comments


Over two and a half years ago, The Elephant Story published a piece on the plight of the Rohingya. A subsequent article placed the blame on General Min Aun Hlaing for an unknown number of deaths and relocation of more than 700,000 of the ethnic minority Islam Rohingya people from the Rakhine state of northwest of Myanmar to Bangladesh. The general led the campaign to eradicate and suppress these people. Only a few days ago, the heretofore widely accredited “saint,” Aung San Suu Kyi, who was once named in the British parliament as “conscience of a country and a heroine...

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