Shorter Fritz Fischer's "Making Them Like Us", chapters 1 and 2...,
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Shorter Fritz Fischer's "Making Them Like Us", chapter 4...,
Fritz Fischer's curious usage of the word "ignominious":
It's getting more interesting as we go along, I'll give it that. There's been a considerable respite from the variations on Marlboro Man Mystique and we're getting to some brass tacks. Here's one little item, from Making Them Like Us, p.84:
volunteers were supposed to stay out of political crises altogether, acting like the volunteers in the Dominican Republic during a coup in 1965, when they served as nurses and medics during the street battles, attending both rebels and government supporters. Many of them treated wounds inflicted by American soldiers sent by Lyndon Johnson to support the government. ...
Most volunteers found it impossible to act in such an apolitical fashion. Even the reality of the Dominican crisis did not fit the image the Peace Corps and US government tried to portray. As they were serving as neutral noncombatants, the volunteers drafted a petition to send to LBJ, insisting the US army pull out of the country. They argued, "Our Dominican experience convinces us that the Constitutionalist Forces have overwhelming popular sympathy."
This is an interesting story about the events following Operation Power Pack, in which 23,000 US marines were sent to the DR to prevent the return of the Dominicans' first elected president, Juan Bosch, who was overthrown by a Trujilloist military coup two years earlier. This is of course the very definition of defending democracy.
I've seen the accusation thrown around that the CIA both assassinated General Trujillo (who was put into power after the US ceased its 8 year long occupation of that country back in 1924) in 1961 and then organized the coup of his elected successor in 1963, but I'm utterly unfamiliar with the evidence, if there is any. Some people even say Bosch's election itself was engineered. Those spooks are everywhere and they're busy. This question is sort of beside the point, though, as the Dominican military might as well have been an adjunct to the Texas National Guard at that point. All JFK's ambassador had to say was "it's an internal Dominican affair" and the message would have been delivered, which, one way or the other, it was. That, too, is how you defend democracy.
So, naturally, when the Dominican public demanded the return of the elected leader of the Dominican Republic it was necessary to kill a few thousand of them and send a message about their proper role in civil society. We defended military rule, which, because the military's natural role is to defend the private interests that ensure the economic freedoms which are the fundamental basis of all political freedom, is how you defend democracy.
Coincidentally this is almost exactly the same sequence of events that just occurred in neighboring Haiti over the past few years, down to the Brazilians taking over our operations after the marines left for their other ongoing war. Same story, same island, different half, different decade.
Anyway, I just wanted to point out that I find Fritz's next sentence curious. Fritz editorializes:
Luckily for the volunteers, [former Peace Corps deputy direct and special assistant to the President] Bill Moyers intercepted the petition before Johnson saw it, saving them an ignominious exit from their posts.
Yes, I suppose it is lucky that Lyndon Johnson never heard one word crosswise about how to properly defend democracy, and the public never heard a word about the volunteers' subsequent exits or the scandalous, democracy-hating behavior surrounding them. Second guessing our indisputably noble mission to defend freedom, how ignominious!