1950 – The U.S. commits itself to the Korean War

On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces poured over the border separating the North and South parts of the peninsula, invading South Korea. This was considered a threat by the United States for two reasons: first, because the North Korean regime was Communist, and the Domino Theory was still widely believed; and second, because if South Korea fell, it would threaten American and allied forces in Japan.

Two days later, America announced that it would come to the aid of South Korea. Aside from the desire to oppose Communism, the Truman administration was keenly aware of the failures of appeasement at the start of World War Two, and did not wish to repeat this mistake.

In the end, the Korean War would last a little more than three years, cost nearly 4 million lives in total, and set the precedent for the Vietnam War – all for some very minor changes in the border between the two states.

Referenced in:

We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel

1976 – Air France Flight 139 is hijacked to Entebbe

Air France Flight 139 was carrying 246 passnegers and 12 crew on a routine flight from Athens to Paris when it was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells. They took the flight to Benghazi in Libya, where it refueled (and a single hostage was released) and then on to Entebbe Airport in Uganda the following day – where Idi Amin’s regime was only too happy to give them aid and support. The hostages were moved from the plane to the airport terminal, and in the following week, more than half the remaining hostages were released, leaving 106, most of them Israelis (and a majority of the crew, who would not abandon their responsibility to the hostages).

As diplomatic talks stalled, and Amin permitted additional terrorists to join the hijackers, the Israeli government decided to take decisive action. On July 4, Israeli forces raided the terminal, freeing the majority of the remaining hostages. Four hostages died (including one who had been released and was then in a Ugandan hospital), and one of the Israeli soldiers was also slain. Seven of the eight hijackers and 45 Ugandan soldiers were also killed. The crew memnbers of the Air France flight, who had remained at their posts throughout it all, were decorated as heroes in France.

Referenced in:

Raid on Entebbe — The Mountain Goats
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2005 – Bunny Greenhouse testifies regarding Halliburton's corruption

Bunny Greenhouse was a rising star in the United States Army Corps of Engineers until the year 2000. Suddenly, under a new CO, her previously spotless performance appraisals were less so, something Greenhouse attributes to racism and sexism (claims which the US Army is yet to investigate).

In 2005, she testified before a public committee hearing of the Democratic Party regarding the Army’s deals with Halliburton, in particular with regard to waste, inefficiency, fraud, abuse of power and general corruption. Naturally, this led to the end of her military career, as the Bush White House apparently believed that free speech was something whistleblowers should be made to pay for.

Her actual words that day were an indictment of Halliburton, and by extension, the political, military and economic climate in which that company thrives: she described Halliburton’s dealings as “the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.”

Referenced in:

Millenium Theater — Ani Di Franco