Thursday, September 13, 2007

Final Blog? Read on

Greetings from My Beloved Saigon

September 13, 2007

I haven’t really been away from writing. I’ve been doing a lot of it over the past few years since I’ve moved back to my old haunts in Saigon. Even now, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Saigon writing this. I’m surrounded by banana palms, waterfalls, wooden bridges over small indoor ponds and light, smooth music is playing in the background; a perfect setting for writing.

My earliest blogs highlighted some of the things I have been doing here; teaching at a university, writing, travelling and photography. I’ve written a lengthy novel, begun another one, and have had to travel to the US a few times, passing through the beautiful Central Coast even as recently as June of this year.

Viet Nam is such a beautiful country and the people are gracious. I’ve travelled nearly the entire breadth and length of the country from the South to the North, the Central Highlands and the Northern and Southern coastal towns along the Eastern Sea (South China Sea). It is now September and I’ve just returned home two weeks ago from mysterious Halong Bay in the north.

I’ve made many friends throughout the country, including those in various government ministries, theater and the arts, literary circles, photographers and many more representing all spectrums of Vietnamese society from the abject poor to the rich. I’ve been involved with the Vietnamese since February 1970 when I first arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon. It is now called Tan Son Nhat International Airport. I have many personal Vietnamese connections here and in the States. My first wife is Vietnamese, we were married in Saigon in 1971, and my oldest children are half Vietnamese, half American. My oldest daughter was born in Saigon. All of them live in the US.

One of the reasons for not writing this blog for a long time is that no matter what I wrote about the condition in the US, it wouldn’t change anything. The US is in a constant state of perpetual divisiveness that cannot be changed. It is a very sad state. Majority desires are ignored while inexcusable deaths continue to mount daily in Iraq and Afghanistan in a war on terror created by the current administration.

The divisiveness extends down into the heart of the people. Anyone who reads article comments in the online-version of the Tribune will realize that no matter what a story is about, commentators – mostly cowardly anonymous people afraid of using their own names – begin a downward spiral of epithets about race, immigration and “us versus them.” I have seen some very hateful and racist comments. Of course, I used my own name with the Tribune when reporting them as violations. I’m proud of my name.

In this blog, there have been two detractors; again writers who do not have the nerve to use their own names, but prefer to cower behind such sobriquets as “anonymous” and “spectator.” I have enjoyed their comments because I know they must stay up late at night using the dictionary to write very eloquent replies. I will admit “spectator” did provide some very positive comments and constructive criticism for which I am grateful, but his offereings were laced with a facetiousness flavor. Below are a few of Mr. or Ms. Anonymous’s comments for your entertainment, sans corrections.

Greetings from the peoples republic of San Luis Obispo to the
peoples republic of South Vietnam. I hope American investment has made a
difference in the quality of your life.I hope you are treating Tom Hutchings
well, we surely do not want the pinko back.
11:28 AM
Anonymous nói...
Fuck you Tom! You hateful commie bastard! All fags are the same...hateful
and fulla shit!Go pack an ass and a bag and get out of town you scum!
Anonymous nói...
Fuck you you commie prick! Leave my country you
asshole! You and all your muslim brothers! go fuck up some other country! we
like this one just the way it is!If you don't then shut the fuck up and leave
you fag!

(Tom’s note: the logic of the syntax can leave one confused. Also, the Vietnamese word "noi" means "says" in English. It got translated somehow in Google that way.)

“We like this one just the way it is!” This comment is perhaps the most saddest I’ve seen. People losing their homes, jobs lost, civil liberties eroded, the venerable Constitution of the US trod upon, politically-inspired terminations of US Attorney lawyers, sex scandals, hundreds of millions of US dollars missing in Iraq, American servicemembers and contractors indicted on theft, bribery, corruption, rape, murder, and the list simply continues on and on; both political parties are equally culpable in the US being “just the way it is.” I trust that Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Fox News, Bill Riley and others would be proud of you, Sir or Madam Anonymous.

For now, it is now time to say good-bye.

With this post, I end my “one-note song” lyrics about the most abject failures in American politics since January 2001, when GWB assumed his current position. I realized long ago it was affecting me and I no longer wanted to rent space out in my head over such negative things that continue unabated and unchallenged by what once were a courageous people. The American people, for the most part are a good and generous people, but the pervasive feeling is one captured by fear, suspicion and confusion. Americans have forgotten their roots and allowed this deplorable situation to become out of hand.

However, I am not finished writing.

As a columnist for a Saigon business magazine, and political commentator for another daily newspaper that pays well for my comments, I have many stories under my belt and will share those with the readers of this blog.

As a travel photographer, with a nice little business here on the side, I will share photographs that depict the beauty of the Vietnamese, the culture and some of the most enchanting and mystical places on earth.

Au revoir to the old and bonsoir to the new. Check back regularly for new articles and photos about life here in Viet Nam.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm Back - 13 September 07

Still in Saigon

I've been busy and wanted to let you know I'm still here and back writing the blog. Come back in a day or so and read my latest "transition" blog from Saigon. You'll be slightly surprised. In the meantime, enjoy this pseudo-lithographic photograph of Halong Bay (Vinh Ha Long). I returned just a couple weeks ago from my second visit to this mystical place. See you soon.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Personal Message to "President" George W. Bush

You are so full of shit!!!

By Thomas Hutchings
Ho Chi Minh City

Fearing rebuke, George W. Bush is adopting a new Iraq strategy. The administration is now leading an effort to stem the tide of the Republicans who are starting to jump ship from Bush's abject failure. Now, they are hinting that the congressional resolution opposing Bush's call to send more American lives to their deaths are assisting terrorists.

Bush is sinking to a new low. A landslide of Americans, over 70% by a recent poll, disapprove of Bush's Iraq War policy. Yet, he is stubborn as an ass and says he'll do it anyway. So much for Democracy. And now, to suggest that those who oppose him are assisting terrorists is nothing more than the pathetic whining of a loser; someone who does not deserve respect.

That is why I am proud to say, as an American who has opposed the war from the beginning, "Mr. George W. Bush! You are full of shit!"

Bush's View of Democracy

"I'll do what I want!"

Thomas Hutchings
Ho Chi Minh City - In the so-called democratically held election in November 2006, the American voters renounced the hateful Republican Party's policies. Those policies included graft, corruption, election fraud, bribery, illicit sex and the usual "perks" of elected office. Americans, though, also renounced the Republican Party's conduct of the American War in Iraq.

Only 29% of Americans approve of Bush's handling of the illegal war.

Now, the new congress is taking measures to reduce the war. A non-binding resolution by the US Senate would send the message to Bush that the US commitment in Iraq "can only be sustained" with popular support among the American public and in Congress."

Again, with only 29% of Americans approving of Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops into peril, it is reported that "Presidential spokesman Tony Snow said resolutions passed by Congress will not affect Bush's decision-making. "The president has obligations as a commander in chief," he said. "And he will go ahead and execute them."

Now, that's what anyone would call a Model of Democracy! Forget what the people think; forget what the people demand and forget what their elected representatives act upon legally. Bush will still do as he damn well pleases. Bush is a model of repression and dictatorship.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rice Logic Encourages Attacks Against US

Rice's statement in Jerusalem provides authorization for attacks against US troops

Thomas Hutchings
Ho Chi Minh City

The United States attacked an Iranian liaison office in Iraq. The office was in the process of approval to become a consulate and was operating with the Iraqi government’s approval. Bush personally approved the attack on the diplomatic mission.

Early Sunday morning, January 13, 2007, US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice provided the rationale stating, “The United States is simply responding to Iranian activities that have been going on for a long while now that threaten not just to destabilize the chance for Iraq to proceed to stability but also that endanger our forces.” Ms. Rice was speaking prior to a meeting with Israel’s foreign minister in Jerusalem, Israel.

Iranian officials describe as an intervention in Iranian-Iraqi affairs.

Using Ms. Rice’s logic, carte blanche is now given to other nations to respond to America’s aggression in Iraq. America’s War in Iraq based on Bush Lies has completely destabilized the region. Iraqi nationals realized long ago their country was better off with Hussein, even though he was a ruthless leader. At least, under Saddam, they had hospitals, schools, electricity, water and relative peace. The incompetence of the moronic Commander-in-Chief has thrown the Middle East into turmoil and is fostering militant terrorism worldwide. This is not my opinion' this is the conclusion of CIA reports, as mentioned in an ealier blog on this site.

The Bush doctrine of "I'll do what I want and no one can stop me" has already completely destabilized Iraq and the region with his Cowboy Crusade. I do not condone violence and completely opposed to war. The reason for my living in Viet Nam is because it is a country at peace. It has known war. It is also completely bewildered that America has not learned its lesson from their disasterous war here in Southeast Asia.

America: you got what you paid for. I just wonder why you sit quietly and allow this to happen. What ever happened to the Spirit of '76? You've forgotten your roots, America. You're no longer a nation of brave people, but cowards who have allowed a liar to ruin the country, it's economy and its reputation around the world. America should be ashamed.

Man Gone Mad
Tom Hutchings

A view from overseas: America’s quagmire in Iraq

By Thomas A. Hutchings
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

A recent poll conducted after Mr. George W. Bush’s speech calling for additional troops to be sent to Iraq indicates 70% of Americans are opposed to this plan. The US military’s storming of an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and its inability to effectively confront the violence in Iraq demonstrates a War Gone Mad and pursued by a Man Gone Mad.

The Friday 1/12/07 Opinion in USA Today states the “Criticism comforts enemy.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The authors, Andrew C. McCarthy and Clifford May, believe that Bush’s war-fighting abilities should not be micro-managed. They surmise that America must and shall win in Iraq for to do otherwise would mean a moral defeat for America and a guarantee of more terrorism and more dead American citizens. Perhaps Mssrs McCarthy and May should climb out from under their covers and face the real world.

It was the intentional lies by George W. Bush and his administration’s act of aggression to invade Iraq in the first place. America’s own intelligence community has clearly stated that world terrorism increased dramatically due to the invasion of Iraq. Instead of lessenig world terrorism, Bush is throwing gas on the flames of terrorism.

Criticising the US Government is a right and privilege of every citizen. The US now has the most opaque government led by a man completely incompetent to represent America. Iraq is cool to Bush’s plan, England will be reducing their troop strength and America would best be served to begin pulling out of Iraq immediately. Those who demand that America stay in Iraq are mere jingoistic, moronic sychophants of a lying president.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Incompetence of an Alleged President
Tom Hutchings

Didn't We Already Go Through This?

29 November 2006

Ho Chi Minh City -- As the world watched the horror that was the beginning of Bush's personal Iraq War, the looting of Baghdad and the realization that Bush lied about Hussein's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, their attention was interrupted briefly.

On May 1, 2003, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was stationed off the coast of California, near San Diego. Like a child with a new toy, Bush emerged from the back seat of a jet that landed on the carrier and strutted like a proud peacock in a flight suit.

As Bush made his speech declaring that combat operations in Iraq were over, he was posed in front of a huge sign that indicated, "Mission Accomplished." This was a huge red, white and blue banner produced jointly by the Navy and the White House.

Now, as Iraq is in their civil war, created by Bush's lies, he has said on November 28, 2006, he would not pull troops out "before the mission is complete."

Before the mission is complete? What did he declare on May 1, 2003?

Now the Taliban is increasing in Afghanistan, a country that Bush of his typical gross errors in judgments, and he diverted troops and funds for his lied-about war in Iraq. Now, Bush is beggin in Latvia for NATO to help in Afghanistan. This so-called President is becoming delusional and also refuses to acknowledge that Iraq has finally plunged into civil war.

Just like his ever-changing rationale for the war, Bush has no idea what he is doing. It is no small wonder the world deems him the most dangerous individual to world peace.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Blood on a Lying President's Hands
Tom Hutchings

November 23, 2006

Ho Chi Minh City -- According to Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times (11/23/2006):
According to the report, 3,709 Iraqis were killed in October, up slightly from
the previous high in July, and an increase of about 11 percent from the number
in September.

We know their blood is on Bush's hands.

Bush's Real Visit to Viet Nam
Tom Hutchings

November 23, 2006

Ho Chi Minh City -- Last month, on October 24th, I wrote the following:

When Bush visits, the country will give him a dignified reception, though, because the Vietnamese have grace and style. Bush will think he is the man of the hour, but all will resume laughing at him when he finally leaves. When the Vietnamese pour out to see him in Ho Chi Minh City, I'll be there with my camera, but I'll be more concerned about taking the photos of many wonderful Vietnamese; not a disgusting rogue cowboy who does more harm than good.

That's exactly what happened.

As a resident of Ho Chi Minh City for the past two years, I am very close to the Vietnamese people. In fact, I have been close to them for the past 37 years beginning when I served during the American War.

President Bush’s camp reported warm, welcoming and cheering crowds that waved as he passed by and he warmly waved back. Nothing could be further from the truth. I saw the presidential motorcade speeding through the city at breakneck speeds. Side streets were filled with motorbikes and anxious riders who simply wanted to move on with their lives; perplexed at how one man can command such power to have traffic police clear streets and keep them free of people.

Other friends, at other places, also saw a speedy motorcade sans waving and cheering crowds. There was no waving or cheering that anyone saw or heard. There were only questions about the US not learning its lesson after Viet Nam and frustration with the Bush Administration and it’s retreat from democratic rule.

Bush’s presence and statements here were an embarrassment. Not only did he not bring the Permanent Normalized Trade Relations agreement with him, but his visit was completely sanitized and he had no contact with local people at all.

Everyone is glad he's left.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam as Bush's Political Tool
Tom Hutchings

Tom Hutchings
6 November 2006
Ho Chi Minh City -- International media reports that the world is divided regarding Saddam Hussein's sentence to death by hanging. Announced two days before the US mid-term elections, the sentence will give the spiteful Republicans something to cheer about and encourage their "eye for an eye" followers to get out and vote.

Bush, who must be living in the vacuum of a plastic bubble, announced the verdict is a

"milestone in the Iraqi people's efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant
with the rule of law."

Somehow, it doesn't seem to hard to reverse and replace a couple words for it to read,

"somehow the American people have replaced the rule of law with the rule of a
if one could refer to current US leadership (oxymoron) that way.

Sadly, this verdict, which is the decision of an American approved judicial system, will have far more ramifications in the world than Bubble Boy Bush and his lackies will ever imagine. If anything, the world sees the Iraq invasion as a means for America to gain more oil, and the oil profits are not going to the Iraqis. If anyone is murderous, it is Bush who set a record for most capital punishments carried out in Texas and the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis who had nothing to do with al Queda, as Bush kept incorrectly and purposely insisting.

When the leader of a country can maliciously and purposely use blatant lies to carry out a personal vendetta (After all, Bush did use the rationale for going after Hussein that "after all, he tried to kill my dad") against another country, then where is the fairness in a resultant death verdict for the former leader. Yes, Saddam is a horrific man. He deserves justice. But it begs the question, is the justice accomplished by a puppet court in a puppet American government? It somehow doesn't seem like justice.

The best thing America could do is to ask the Iraqis to give Saddam a life sentence under UN supervision; begin a systematic withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and allow the country to gain some equilibrium. It will take time, and during that time, the American people can begin focussing on the tremendous national debt that will bankrupt America within another 40 years. But, that's another story.