Monday, January 31, 2005

History: Wash; Rinse; Repeat!

Shiites Iraqis voted yesterday in a "free and fair election."

Shiites Iraqis voted yesterday, despite "deadly attacks."

Shiites Iraqis voted yesterday, with a "record turnout" of 72% "over 50%," but an "accurate vote count won't be available for at least 10 days."

Shiites Iraqis voted yesterday.

But why yesterday?

Why January 30th?

Jan 30 1649

Oliver Cromwell beheads the British monarch
King Charles I, at Whitehall.

Jan 30 1835

Andrew Jackson is the subject of the first
recorded assassination attempt on a U.S. president.
After a man fires shots at him, Jackson beats
the shit out of his would-be assassin.

Jan 30 1945

The largest maritime disaster in history leaves
7700 dead after a Soviet submarine torpedoes
the Nazi ship Wilhelm Gustoff.

Jan 30 1948

Mohandas K. Gandhi assassinated by
Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse.

Jan 30 1962

Two of the Flying Wallendas die
when their human pyramid of seven
people collapses in Detroit.

Jan 30 1968

North Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive,
in which they suffer a defeat and 46,000 dead.
The Tet Offensive shocks complacent American television viewers
who have been led to believe by the Johnson administration
that the war has already been won.


Flashback to the 60's: A Sinking Sensation of Parallels Between Iraq and Vietnam


Published: January 29, 2005

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 - Not quite 38 years ago, enmeshed in a drawn-out war whose ultimate outcome was deeply in doubt, Lyndon B. Johnson met on Guam with the fractious generals who were contending for leadership of South Vietnam and told them: "My birthday is in late August. The greatest birthday present you could give me is a national election." LINK

And then there was this...

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote: Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.


A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

Significance Not Diminished

The fact that the backing of the electorate has gone to the generals who have been ruling South Vietnam for the last two years does not, in the Administration's view, diminish the significance of the constitutional step that has been taken.


Captured documents and interrogations indicated in the last week a serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be required to render the election meaningless. This effort has not succeeded, judging from the reports from Saigon. LINK (Paid Subscription Required)

Jan 30 1972

British troops kill 13 unarmed marchers in Londonderry,
Northern Ireland. This incident becomes known as
"Bloody Sunday" and marks the beginning of
a new extended round of violence.

Jan 30 1973

G. Gordon Liddy found guilty
of Watergate charges.

Jan 30 1976

George HW Bush becomes director of the
Central Intelligence Agency, a position which
he holds until 1977.

Jan 30 2005

Dick Cheney celebrates his 64th birthday.
Shiites Iraqis vote in a "free and fair" election.

Pay no attention to The Dick behind the curtain.

His birthday wish came true yesterday.


Johnson and The Dick both got what they wished for.

I remember someone else with a birthday wish...

Stalin agrees in June 1941, to invalidate
the Soviet-German partition of Poland. ...
gives instructions for Warsaw to be
"Jew free" by Hitler's birthday.

Heavy, heavy sigh.


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