Thursday, December 09, 2004

World in 90 Days -- Vietnam Log

This is part of the log from an American tourtist in Vietnam. For the complete article, visit

In the US, it seems that the war with Vietnam or, the American War as they call it here, is just a distant memory. As far as our generation is concerned, it's been over for a long time. We only know it through the films that we may have seen or through the veterans who we might know. Here in Vietnam however, the effects of the war are still everywhere. Whether it's the middle-aged beggar with no legs working a Saigon street, the completely pock-marked countryside of Cu Chi, or the child whose parents' exposure to Agent Orange caused him to be born with awful deformities, it isn't hard to find the war's presence here. The fact that the country is still recovering from a war that ended almost thirty years ago isn't surprising given that the US/South Vietnamese forces dropped more bombs on this small country than the total number of bombs that were dropped in the Korean and Second World Wars combined!
I think that all US citizens should visit this place. Certainly, the way that the war's history is presented here is peppered with blatant propaganda but it's important for Americans to see that our great country made a horrible mistake in waging war with these people and that some of the worst attrocities were committed at the request of our leadership.
In spite of all this, the Vietnamese people that we've encountered have the intelligence and grace to recognize that the American people, including the GIs, were, for the most part, strongly against the war. I have been treated with nothing but pure hospitality and generousity since we arrived and my initial fears of the people's reactions were quickly abated.


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