Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Zugzwang
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    21 Jun '18 00:01
    Given the recent discussions about 'caged children' near the US border,
    here's some historical context about 'caging' people:

    The US-backed Saigon regime of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
    was notorious for abusing political prisoners, including in 'tiger cages'.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1973/03/03/archives/4-south-vietnamese-describe-torture-in-prison-tiger-cage-center-of.html

    "4 South Vietnamese Describe Torture in Prison ‘Tiger Cage’"
    --Sylvan Fox

    "A group of recently released political prisoners, reportedly spirited into
    Saigon secretly, described today how they were beaten, tortured and
    ultimately crippled during years of confinement at the Government's
    island prison on Con Son.

    One of them, a young man, in describing his year‐long detention in the
    tiny cells that have come to be known as tiger cages, said:
    During that time not a single day passed that we were not beaten at least once.
    They would open the cages and they would use wooden sticks to meat us from above.
    They would drag us out and beat us until we lost consciousness."

    https://www.historiansagainstwar.org/resources/torture/luce.html

    "The Tiger Cages of Viet Nam"
    --Don Luce

    "My best friend was tortured to death in 1970. Nguyen Ngoc Phuong was a gentle person.
    But he hated the war and the destruction of his country. He was arrested by
    the U.S.- sponsored Saigon police in one of his many anti-government demonstrations.
    After three days of continuous interrogation and torture, he died.
    "He was tortured by the (Saigon) police but Americans stood by and
    offered suggestions," said one of the men who was in prison with him."

    "There were, however, many Vietnamese who were tortured by Americans
    before being turned over to their Saigon allies and put into jail.
    Reports of suspected Viet Cong being thrown out of helicopters, peasant
    farm people tied to stakes in the hot sun, and young men led off to execution
    by U.S. soldiers are well-documented by U.S. soldiers and journalists.
    The U.S. paid the salaries of the torturers, taught them new methods, and turned
    suspects over to the police. The U.S. authorities were all aware of the torture."

    Why did the victims of these 'tiger cages' receive little sympathy in the USA?
  2. Zugzwang
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    21 Jun '18 00:111 edit
    "It is time we recognized that ours, in truth, was a Noble Cause.’”
    --President Ronald Reagan on the USA's wars in Indochina

    To this day, nearly all Americans evidently cling to that absurd self-flattering belief.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/14/america-in-vietnam-the-enduring-myth-of-the-noble-cause/

    "America in Vietnam: the Enduring Myth of the Noble Cause

    "John Marciano’s new book, The American War in Vietnam, Crime or Commemoration?
    (Monthly Review 160 pp), is an excellent primer on that war, its historical context, the
    terrible crimes perpetrated by the U.S. on that tiny country and why the truth about the
    war still matters. As the subtitle of the book indicates, Marciano has written this book to
    challenge the official version of the war which will be portrayed in the “Commemoration of
    the Vietnam War” announced by President Barack Obama and the Pentagon – a
    commemoration which is to take place through 2025, the 50th anniversary of the war’s end.
    ...
    Marciano sets out to debunk this Noble Cause myth which serves not only as the justification
    for the American War in Vietnam, and the crimes committed in the course of that conflict,
    but also for every other of the numerous wars the U.S. has and continues to fight throughout the globe.

    In my view, this Noble Cause myth may be the most powerful and enduring propaganda
    trick ever perpetrated. And, it works so well because the audience for the trick — the
    U.S. people — are such willing and eager participants in the charade.

    "Before getting to the conduct of the war in Vietnam, Marciano focuses on the actual
    reasons the U.S. was there as contrasted with the stated goals. Thus, the U.S. did not
    send tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers to kill and die in Vietnam in order to defend
    democracy and freedom, as we are meant to believe. Rather, after World War II (in
    which the U.S. had received significant help from Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh guerilla
    fighters to fight off Japan) the U.S. initially entered the fray in Vietnam in order to defend
    French colonialism there.

    And, as has been quite typical of the U.S.’s willing collaboration with fascists and even
    Nazis after WWII, the U.S. allied with recently-defeated Japan in helping to defeat the
    Vietnamese independence effort against the French. As Marciano explains, “[i]n a
    stunning shift in history, U.S. vessels brought French troops [many of themselves who
    had just fought on the side of Vichy France] so they could join recently released Japanese
    troops to support France’s attempt to crush the Vietnamese independence "movement.”"

    [My note: The British also fought hard to restore France's colonial rule over Vietnam.]

    "As Noam Chomsky has argued often over the years, the goals of the U.S. in Vietnam to
    destroy a popular independence movement dictated its methods. That is, in order to
    crush a movement supported by the vast majority of the Vietnamese population, that
    population had to be terrorized and destroyed in large measure. And, that is exactly
    what the U.S. proceeded to do, intentionally violating the laws of war in the process."

    "Thus, as we are reminded by Marciano, the U.S., with its superior air and fire power,
    killed approximated 3.8 million Vietnamese (8% of its total population), and created over
    14 million refugees. Meanwhile, the U.S. destroyed Vietnam’s environment for decades
    to come, dropping 20 million gallons of poisonous herbicides over South Vietnam.
    Citing historian Marilyn Young, Marciano relates that “some 9,000 hamlets out of a total
    of 15,000 were destroyed, as well as 25 million acres of farmland and 12 million acres of
    forest.”
    Moreover, children are still being born in Vietnam with horrible birth defects due to the
    Agent Orange we dumped on that country. And, yet, as Marciano explains, even the
    “human rights President” Jimmy Carter took the position that no apology is necessary
    and no obligation to rebuild Vietnam warranted given that, in his remarkable words,
    “the destruction was mutual.”

    "Still, the U.S. government, including the Obama Administration, continues to portray the
    American War on Vietnam as a Noble Cause, and attempts to sanitize and white-wash
    the war by referring to such horrible crimes as the My Lai massacre – a massacre
    repeated over and over by the U.S. in Vietnam – as a mere “incident." "
  3. Behind the scenes
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    21 Jun '18 00:531 edit
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    Given the recent discussions about 'caged children' near the US border,
    here's some historical context about 'caging' people:

    The US-backed Saigon regime of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)
    was notorious for abusing political prisoners, including in 'tiger cages'.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1973/03/03/archives/4-south-vietnamese-describe-tortu ...[text shortened]... the torture."

    Why did the victims of these 'tiger cages' receive little sympathy in the USA?
    Why did the victims of these 'tiger cages' receive little sympathy in the USA?



    Probably for the same reason the American military victims of tiger cages received little sympathy from the Viet Cong. We live in an imperfect world Duchess, sometimes bad things happen. Why are you bringing this up?
  4. Zugzwang
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    21 Jun '18 01:172 edits
    Originally posted by @mchill
    Why did the victims of these 'tiger cages' receive little sympathy in the USA?

    Probably for the same reason the American military victims of tiger cages received little sympathy from the Viet Cong. We live in an imperfect world Duchess, sometimes bad things happen. Why are you bringing this up?
    "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”
    --Elie Wiesel

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre

    "The My Lai Massacre ... was the Vietnam War mass murder of unarmed Vietnamese civilians
    by U.S. troops in South Vietnam on 16 March 1968. Between 347 and 504 unarmed
    people were massacred by the U.S. Army soldiers. ... Victims included men, women,
    children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated."

    On the several earlier occasions that I have posted this, I cannot recall even one American
    here clearly condemning other Americans for the My Lai Massacre or the (almost successful) cover-up.
    Some 'patriotic' Americans apparently attempted to excuse the massacre, implying that
    the American soldiers did nothing seriously wrong by rape, torture, and murder.
    Most Americans seem to empathize much more with the American rapists and murderers
    than with their Vietnamese victims.

    I suspect that most Americans today would prefer complete censorship of the My Lai Massacre.
    That may mean that Americans will be more likely to commit more such massacres in their future wars.
  5. Behind the scenes
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    21 Jun '18 01:30
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”
    --Elie Wiesel

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Lai_Massacre

    "The My Lai Massacre ... was the Vietnam War mass murder of unarmed Vietnamese civilians
    by U.S. troops in South Vietnam on 16 March 1968. Between 347 and 504 unarmed
    people were massacred by the U.S. Army soldiers. ... Victims incl ...[text shortened]...

    I suspect that most Americans today would prefer complete censorship of the My Lai Massacre.
    I suspect that most Americans today would prefer complete censorship of the My Lai Massacre.



    I don't know what most Americans would prefer regarding the My Lai Massacre. The few conversations I've listened to from Americans on this subject are that the entire Vietnam war was a waste of resources, and a mistake, all but a few history buffs would prefer to forget this half century old war and move on.
  6. Zugzwang
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    21 Jun '18 02:031 edit
    Originally posted by @mchill
    I suspect that most Americans today would prefer complete censorship of the My Lai Massacre.

    I don't know what most Americans would prefer regarding the My Lai Massacre. The few conversations I've listened to from Americans on this subject are that the entire Vietnam war was a waste of resources, and a mistake, all but a few history buffs would prefer to forget this half century old war and move on.
    "...the entire Vietnam war was a waste of resources, and a mistake."
    --Mchill

    Most Germans could say the same about the Second World War.
    I note, however, that few Americans seem willing to admit the USA's many terrible crimes.

    Many Germans may prefer to forget all about the Second World War and the Holocaust,
    which came to an end in 1945, about 30 years earlier than the USA's wars in Indochina.
    But the Germans seem more honest than the Americans in acknowledging their war crimes.

    Here's more of what the 'patriotic' American Mchill's determined to ignore in his 'moving on'.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/14/america-in-vietnam-the-enduring-myth-of-the-noble-cause/

    "The U.S., with its superior air and fire power, killed approximated 3.8 million Vietnamese
    (8% of its total population), and created over 14 million refugees. Meanwhile, the US
    DESTROYED VIETNAM'S ENVIRONMENT FOR DECADES TO COME, dropping 20 million
    gallons of poisonous herbicides over South Vietnam. Citing historian Marilyn Young,
    Marciano relates that “some 9,000 hamlets out of a total of 15,000 were destroyed, as
    well as 25 million acres of farmland and 12 million acres of forest.” Moreover, CHILDREN
    ARE STILL BEING BORN IN VIETNAM WITH HORRIBLE BIRTH DEFECTS DUE TO THE
    AGENT ORANGE WE [USA] DUMPED ON THAT COUNTRY. And, yet, as Marciano
    explains, even the “human rights President” Jimmy Carter took the position that no
    apology is necessary and no obligation to rebuild Vietnam warranted given that, in his
    remarkable words, “the destruction was mutual.”"

    The Vietnamese who inhabit land poisoned by US toxic chemicals, evidently leading to
    an unusually high rate of birth defects, lack Mchill'x luxury of forgetting about what the
    USA did to their society and their environment when he's 'moving on'.

    How much sympathy would a Vietnamese baby born with such severe birth defects find in the USA?
    Probably none if it would involve blaming the USA in any way for the baby's condition.
  7. Behind the scenes
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    21 Jun '18 13:551 edit
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    "...the entire Vietnam war was a waste of resources, and a mistake."
    --Mchill

    Most Germans could say the same about the Second World War.
    I note, however, that few Americans seem willing to admit the USA's many terrible crimes.

    Many Germans may prefer to forget all about the Second World War and the Holocaust,
    which came to an end in 1945, about ...[text shortened]... the USA?
    Probably none if it would involve blaming the USA in any way for the baby's condition.
    I note, however, that few Americans seem willing to admit the USA's many terrible crimes.



    Ok Duchess, here it is:

    America is guilty of many terrible crimes. -Mchill (An American)

    Are you happy now? Does this make you feel better? Are you fulfilled?
  8. SubscriberTom Wolsey
    Aficionado of Prawns
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    21 Jun '18 13:57
    Originally posted by @mchill
    I note, however, that few Americans seem willing to admit the USA's many terrible crimes.



    Ok Duchess, here it is:

    America is guilty of many terrible crimes.

    Are you happy now?
    I 2nd that motion. America is guilty of many terrible crimes.

    (fyi that's why so many Americans seek to reduce the size and control of government)
  9. Subscriberno1marauder
    Humble and Kind
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    21 Jun '18 17:493 edits
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    "It is time we recognized that ours, in truth, was a Noble Cause.’”
    --President Ronald Reagan on the USA's wars in Indochina

    To this day, nearly all Americans evidently cling to that absurd self-flattering belief.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/14/america-in-vietnam-the-enduring-myth-of-the-noble-cause/

    "America in Vietnam: the Enduring M ...[text shortened]... massacre – a massacre
    repeated over and over by the U.S. in Vietnam – as a mere “incident." "
    Duchy: To this day, nearly all Americans evidently cling to that absurd self-flattering belief.

    Of course, that is utter and complete nonsense based on Duchy's pre-existent hatred of the US' People but little else. For obvious reasons, there haven't been too many recent polls about the war in Vietnam, but as of 2000:

    A new Gallup poll conducted November 13-15, 2000 finds that nearly seven out of 10 Americans (69% ) believe that sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake.

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/2299/americans-look-back-vietnam-war.aspx

    I see no reason to believe there has been any significant change in those figures, but others are free to cite contrary evidence (polls not opinion pieces would be nice).

    That same article shows that starting in February 1968, a plurality of those polled said the war was a mistake from the beginning and that became a majority by August of that year. So Duchy has been wrong about the American attitude toward the war for, oh, about 50 years.

    Interestingly, unlike Duchy, the People of Vietnam overwhelmingly have a favorable view of the US, up to 84% in 2017: http://www.pewglobal.org/database/indicator/1/country/239/
  10. Zugzwang
    Joined
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    21 Jun '18 18:42
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    "It is time we recognized that ours, in truth, was a Noble Cause.’”
    --President Ronald Reagan on the USA's wars in Indochina

    To this day, nearly all Americans evidently cling to that absurd self-flattering belief.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/14/america-in-vietnam-the-enduring-myth-of-the-noble-cause/

    "America in Vietnam: the Enduring M ...[text shortened]... massacre – a massacre
    repeated over and over by the U.S. in Vietnam – as a mere “incident." "
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/14/america-in-vietnam-the-enduring-myth-of-the-noble-cause/

    "America in Vietnam: the Enduring Myth of the Noble Cause"

    "John Marciano’s new book, The American War in Vietnam, Crime or Commemoration?
    (Monthly Review 160 pp), is an excellent primer on that war, its historical context, the
    terrible crimes perpetrated by the U.S. on that tiny country and why the truth about the
    war still matters. As the subtitle of the book indicates, Marciano has written this book to
    challenge the official version of the war which will be portrayed in the “Commemoration of
    the Vietnam War” announced by President Barack Obama and the Pentagon – a
    commemoration which is to take place through 2025, the 50th anniversary of the war’s end.
    ...
    Marciano sets out to debunk this Noble Cause myth which serves not only as the justification
    for the American War in Vietnam, and the crimes committed in the course of that conflict,
    but also for every other of the numerous wars the U.S. has and continues to fight throughout the globe.

    In my view, this Noble Cause myth may be the most powerful and enduring propaganda
    trick ever perpetrated. And, it works so well because the audience for the trick — the
    U.S. people — are such willing and eager participants in the charade."

    The unanimous 'thumbs down' so far (probably by Americans) to my post QUOTING
    AN AMERICAN CONDEMNING US WAR CRIMES in Indochina evidently shows that
    [most of] "the U.S. people — are such willing and eager participants in the charade."

    More knee-jerk US flag-waving may be expected here as usual.
  11. Subscriberno1marauder
    Humble and Kind
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    21 Jun '18 19:032 edits
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/14/america-in-vietnam-the-enduring-myth-of-the-noble-cause/

    "America in Vietnam: the Enduring Myth of the Noble Cause"

    "John Marciano’s new book, The American War in Vietnam, Crime or Commemoration?
    (Monthly Review 160 pp), is an excellent primer on that war, its historical context, the
    terrible crimes perpetra ...[text shortened]... er participants in the charade."

    More knee-jerk US flag-waving may be expected here as usual.
    Duchy: The unanimous 'thumbs down' so far (probably by Americans) to my post QUOTING AN AMERICAN CONDEMNING US WAR CRIMES in Indochina evidently shows that [most of] "the U.S. people — are such willing and eager participants in the charade."

    So you think the number of "thumbs down" given a post on an internet forum is more indicative of popular attitudes than scientifically conducted opinion polls?

    As Mr. Spock would say "Fascinating".

    Suppose we existed in a non-Duchess64 centric universe, would such a belief be consistent with observed reality?
  12. Zugzwang
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    21 Jun '18 19:183 edits
    Originally posted by @mchill
    Why did the victims of these 'tiger cages' receive little sympathy in the USA?

    Probably for the same reason the American military victims of tiger cages received little sympathy from the Viet Cong.
    We live in an imperfect world Duchess, sometimes bad things happen. Why are you bringing this up?
    I know that this forum's full of 'patriotic' Americans who find it extremely painful to acknowledge
    the full realities (the mainstream US media typically presents a whitewashed version at best)
    of US war crimes.

    "...American military victims of tiger cages received little sympathy from the Viet Cong."
    --Mchill

    It's very disingenuous and unfair to compare the treatment of the small number of
    American POWs captured by the NLF (who regard the American label 'Viet Cong' as pejorative)
    with the much larger number of South Vietnamese captured by the US military or
    imprisoned by the Republic of Vietnam (US-backe Saigon regime).

    The NLF was a hunted guerrilla force, harried relentlessly by overwhelming US airpower.
    The NLF did NOT have the luxury of building large prisons to house US POWs comfortably.
    Indeed, the NLF had to struggle to maintain any fixed bases at all in South Vietnam.
    In contrast, the Republic of Vietnam (well-supported by US aid) had far more resources
    at its disposal to take custody of its prisoners if it cared at all about humanitarian standards.

    To sum up, the Republic of Vietnam's (Saigon regime) brutal treatment of South Vietnamese
    prisoners (who were largely civilians rather than NLF fighters) is much less excusable
    than the sometimes mistreatment by the NLF of American POWs because the Republic
    of Vietnam had far more resources than the NLF to provide adequate care of prisoners.

    I would add that I have read some memoirs or other accounts by Americans who were
    captured by the NLF. These Americans do not complain of being tortured or mistreated
    by the NLF other than experiencing the general hardship that the hunted NLF had to endure.
    As I recall, after a white American nurse was released by the NLF (in a prisoner exchange),
    she was quickly asked by other Americans whether she had been raped by the NLF.
    (American and South Vietnamese soldiers frequently raped women and girls.)
    She said that she had not been raped, yet she found it hard to convince Americans because
    these other Americans were convinced that the NLF must behave at least as badly as
    the South Vietnamese soldiers. In her case, she presumably would have received
    more sympathy from other Americans if she had claimed being raped by the enemy
    than she did by denying it and saying that she had received decent treatment.

    Now I don't claim that the NLF were saints, and I suspect that NLF men occasionally did rape
    Vietnamese women, even though it would go against the NLF's goal of drawing popular support.
    I don't know of any case of an American woman accusing a NLF man of raping her.

    I also know that the US media embraced accounts of torture by American POWs held
    in North Vietnam (not by the NLF in South Vietnam) such as Senator Jeremiah Denton
    as rationalizations to support the US war in Indochina and excuse US war crimes there.
    Jeremiah Denton (who died in 2014), John McCain, and other US POWs (apart from
    those who committed war crimes) have my sympathy. But it needs to be pointed out
    that many more innocent Vietnamese suffered worse than they did.

    Looking it at from the other side, a former NLF commander described how his men tried
    to take care of an American POW (already sick when captured) in their guerrilla camp.
    This American POW refused to eat Vietnamese food because he found it unpalatable.
    The NLF men themselves were very short of food and barely had enough to survive.
    The NLF tried to keep the American POW alive until he could be sent to North Vietnam.
    At significant risk, an NLF man managed to steal a chicken. The NLF commander said
    that this chicken could have fed ten of his men, but he decided to give it all to the American.
    But the American continued to grow sicker (the NLF lacked advanced medicine) and
    weaker and died. The NLF buried him and reported they had no POW to send north.
    This account was written after the war, when it was no longer necessary for the NLF to
    produce propaganda to influence US public opinion against the war.

    If I had been an American who was captured by the NLF, would I have been afraid?
    Of course, there's always the fear of the unknown. I might have been abused, but
    (as some Americans reported) I may have been treated as decently as circumstances
    allowed for the NLF. I expect that I would have been able to convince the NLF that I
    would be more valuable alive than dead to them, particularly if I was able to give an
    honest report of humane treatment after being released.
  13. Behind the scenes
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    21 Jun '18 22:511 edit
    Originally posted by @duchess64
    I know that this forum's full of 'patriotic' Americans who find it extremely painful to acknowledge
    the full realities (the mainstream US media typically presents a whitewashed version at best)
    of US war crimes.

    "...American military victims of tiger cages received little sympathy from the Viet Cong."
    --Mchill

    It's very disingenuous and unfair t ...[text shortened]... , particularly if I was able to give an
    honest report of humane treatment after being released.
    It's very disingenuous and unfair to compare the treatment of the small number of
    American POWs captured by the NLF (who regard the American label 'Viet Cong' as pejorative) with the much larger number of South Vietnamese captured by the US military or imprisoned by the Republic of Vietnam (US-backe Saigon regime).


    Call me crazy Duchess, but I really don't care about this subject at all. This war ended when I was 17. I'm now 63. I've moved on, maybe you should too.
  14. Zugzwang
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    22 Jun '18 02:13
    Originally posted by @mchill
    I note, however, that few Americans seem willing to admit the USA's many terrible crimes.

    Ok Duchess, here it is:
    America is guilty of many terrible crimes. -Mchill (An American)

    Are you happy now? Does this make you feel better? Are you fulfilled?
    I appreciate Mchill writing that the USA 'is guilty of many terrible crimes'.
    It shows more honest self-criticism (for once) that many Americans seem capable of.
  15. Zugzwang
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    23 Jun '18 20:13
    The USA practiced a form of chemical warfare in Indochina, dumping a massive amount
    of Agent Orange, which has left much of Vietnam still infested by toxic chemicals.
    This American toxic contamination has evidently contributed to a higher rate of birth
    defects and many other health problems in the affected areas.

    As far as I know, the US government has generally attempted to deny or minimize its
    responsibility, refusing to offer any apology or reparations, and opposing some scientific
    findings (there still may be some dispute) linking Agent Orange exposure to birth defects
    or other health problems in Vietnam. To their credit, some American NGOs have tried
    to help some (sadly, too few) Vietnamese apparently afflicted by US toxic chemicals.

    https://nypost.com/2017/09/28/agent-orange-is-still-causing-deformities-in-vietnams-babies/

    "This is the Legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam"

    "A deadly chemical deployed during the Vietnam War is still being linked to hormone
    imbalances in newborn babies half a century later.

    A new study links exposure to Agent Orange sprayed during the conflict to increased
    levels of certain hormones in women and their breastfeeding children decades later,
    potentially putting them at higher risk of health problems.

    Previous research has shown a link between exposure to herbicides that contain
    chemicals called dioxins — such as Agent Orange — and prostate cancer in men."

    "Study lead author Prof. Teruhiko Kido, of Kanazawa University in Japan, said:
    “Dioxin hotspots in the South of Vietnam are of the most severely polluted regions in the world.”

    Given the realities of American racism and resentment toward the Vietnamese (who
    defeated the USA), the USA may never offer any apology or reparations to Vietnam.

    Years ago, I read that a journalist interviewed an anonymous US government official who
    bitterly said, in effect, that he could never forgive the Vietnamese for beating the USA,
    so he hoped that Agent Orange would kill or disable as many Vietnamese as possible.
    I am not saying that all or even most Americans feel that way, but some apparently do.
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