ethel’s words

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Our Incursion Into Viet Nam: Stretching Intent

There was a conspiracy; it grew and grew. Nixon visited in forty-nine. Was that the beginning? His best friend was in the tire business, wasn’t he? Old what’s his name? (Is my memory deluding me?)

Somebody wanted to exploit a not-wholly (yep) tapped source of rubber as well as rich off-shore oil sources. But so long as the market was fulfilled (if not fully filled) with Viet Nam rubber, that would-be entrepreneur could not exploit his plantation and get rich, except to un-seat the French and the puppets of the French. How to grab that rubber, secure that oil, and hold the coastline to Asia?

The solution was: Make up a story about the Bolsheviks invading Viet Nam. No, not them; nor the Trotskyites. No, that won’t sell today--make it “Commies”. Then we can invade Southeast Asia and destroy the rubber plantations.

We did. (But that was not the goal.) The French may have been ungenerous, but at least they left the rubber and its French name--Michelin, and finally wised up and got out rather than continue the game of greed.

And that is why the so-called rubber bands you buy today aren’t worth a damn. They don’t stretch well, or they give up the stretch on the job, or they come out of the package already mutilated; and the fingers of rubber gloves can’t tolerate a good fingernail.

I wonder if other rubber products are as undependable.

Ethel C. Hale