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Related Categories: International | Anti-War
4/30/20: 45th Anniversary of Victory in Vietnam
by repost
Thursday Apr 30th, 2020 11:04 AM
On April 30, 1975, the "little people in black pajamas" of Vietnam defeated the mightiest, most despicable war machine the world had seen since Nazi Germany, namely the US military, as they chased the US military and their local lackeys onto helicopters, boats and planes, causing celebrations around the world, including here in the Bay Area where we, who opposed the war machine and resisted the draft, danced in streets. Today, Vietnam has ZERO deaths from the coronavirus because it has SOCIALIZED medicine. For more, see https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/30/a-letter-from-viet-nam-on-the-occasion-of-the-45th-anniversary-of-the-end-of-the-war/
On April 30, 1975, the "little people in black pajamas" of Vietnam defeated the mightiest, most despicable war machine the world had seen since Nazi Germany, namely the US military, as they chased the US military and their local lackeys onto helicopters, boats and planes, causing celebrations around the world, including here in the Bay Area where we, who opposed the war machine and resisted the draft, danced in streets. Today, Vietnam has ZERO deaths from the coronavirus because it has SOCIALIZED medicine. For more, see https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/30/a-letter-from-viet-nam-on-the-occasion-of-the-45th-anniversary-of-the-end-of-the-war/, A Letter From Viet Nam on the Occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the End of the War by Mark Ashwill, 4/30/20.

Pertinent paragraphs on the American War Against Vietnam and Vietnam’s progress thereafter:

“For the Vietnamese, there was untold suffering and wholesale death but also martyrdom and triumph. They emerged victorious and the US, the mortal enemy of the day, hastily returned home to nurse its wounds and attempt to justify the unjustifiable, a futile process that continues to this day and will only end with a national truth and reconciliation commission either on- or offline.”

“The Vietnamese had no choice but to defend themselves and do everything in their power to force the US and its surrogates to pack up and go home, and its client state to surrender. A history of invasion, occupation, and war taught them many survival lessons. Vietnam was left to pick up the pieces but at least it was unified and at peace, a lofty goal achieved and a longstanding dream fulfilled.”

“The 1st Indochina War with the French, bankrolled by your government, became an inevitability. Their crushing defeat in May 1954 at Dien Bien Phu in the hills of northwestern Vietnam marked the end of the eight-year war and the French government’s attempts to continue its exploitation of Vietnam, which rid its country of yet another foreign invader and occupier.”

“The Geneva Accords of 1954, which your government chose to ignore, stipulated that Vietnam would temporarily be divided at the 17th parallel – later to become the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – until a national election was held in 1956. According to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s memoirs and other US sources, HCM [Ho Chi Minh] would have received 80% of the vote, thus unifying his country.”

“Your government’s contempt for this international peace treaty and a democratic election made the 2nd Indochina War inevitable, yet another missed opportunity. Imagine what Vietnam, the US, and the world would have looked like if this election had been permitted to take place? Imagine how many people would have the survived the 1960s and early 1970s and how many others would have remained intact in body, mind, and spirit.”

“Again, with the initial support of the majority, you chose the wrong fork in the road. You came to the southern half of a divided Vietnam, first as “advisers,” then as soldiers, hundreds of thousands of you, wave after wave. Many of you were initially true believers who, like your government, saw the world in black and white terms, good vs. evil, democracy vs. Communism. You came without speaking Vietnamese or knowing anything about the country’s culture or history. Your ignorance, arrogance, and ideological tunnel vision resulted in wholesale death and destruction in a country just slightly larger than New Mexico. About three million of you “served” in that travesty of a war, nearly 10% of that generation.”

“You dropped nearly 8 million tons of explosives on Vietnam’s cities and countryside, nearly four times as much as was used in World War II, 10% of which did not detonate upon impact. According to the Vietnamese government, unexploded ordnance (UXO) has been responsible for more than 100,000 injuries and fatalities since 1975, leaving many of the survivors permanently disabled.”

“You sprayed nearly 20 million gallons of Agent Orange, an herbicide and defoliant chemical, on 12% of Vietnam’s countryside targeting food crops, mangrove wetlands, and forests. This poison, which has seeped into soil, ponds, lakes, rivers, and rice paddies, enabling toxic chemicals to enter the food chain, has caused horrific birth defects and a long list of disabilities and illnesses in an estimated four to five million Vietnamese and counting.”

“Your military and that of your client state, the Republic of Vietnam, and other countries that joined you in this immoral, unjust, and unjustified war, killed nearly 4 million Vietnamese, over half of whom were civilians. Most of this slaughter occurred in a span of seven or so years – from 1965-1972. (In case you’re wondering how this is inhumanly possible, read Kill Anything That Moves – The Real American War in Vietnam by Nick Turse.)”

“This reign of terror among the civilian population, Vietnamese families just trying to make a living and survive a war not of their making, included all manner of abuse and torture, the rape of women and girls, the poisoning of wells, indiscriminate beatings of people, young and old, and the killing of farm animals. What did you accomplish? Was it worth it?”

“Even after the war ended in April 1975, the US extended a trade embargo it had imposed on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (“North Vietnam”) in 1964 that caused considerable damage to the nation’s economy and the well-being of its people until it was lifted in 1994 by President Clinton, a year before the normalization of diplomatic relations.”

“Your government is still searching for the remains of US MIA, who number just over a thousand. US soldiers among whom nearly half are classified as “no further pursuit.” Did you know that there are 300,000 Vietnamese MIAs, several hundred thousand “lost wandering souls” who have yet to find peace, according to Vietnamese culture, because they have not yet been laid to rest?”

“Many of your veterans never overcame that war, the defining event of their lives. They are the homeless, the addicted, the lost ones afflicted with PTSD who continue to take their lives on a daily basis even as they approach the natural end of their lives. Some have come back to do penance or have been doing the same in various ways in the US with trips to Vietnam. They are driven by a compelling need to make amends in their own modest way, to try to piece together what they and their comrades systematically destroyed, if only in their own minds.”

“Others still inhabit a red, white, and blue fantasy world of patriotic (read nationalistic) service in which the war was a noble undertaking. They throw out terms like honor, duty, and sacrifice that are akin to Orwellian phrases like “war is peace” and “freedom is slavery.””

“Many continue to live with the trauma of what they witnessed, heard about, or participated in. Regardless of whether or not they accept the cold, hard truth about their generation’s war, most lost their innocence at a tender age and many struggle to retain their sanity even into their twilight years.”

“Nearly 4 million Vietnamese and over 58,000 of your fellow citizens did not die in a war of economic systems or ideologies. The fighting was not about a free market vs. a centrally-planned economy. It was about Vietnamese governing Vietnam without continued foreign interference. Vietnam won the war because it forced the US to exit from that bloodstained debacle.”

“Vietnam won because its cause was just, its sacrifice supreme, and its military strategy brilliant. This will come as a shock to many of you but 30 April 1975, the day Saigon fell for the US and those Vietnamese who hitched their collective cart to the South Vietnamese client state and its benefactor, was a day of national liberation and joyous celebration for most Vietnamese. It was the day Vietnam became a unified, independent, and sovereign nation.”

“With 51 active cases and 0 deaths vs. over 835,000 active cases and nearly 60,000 deaths in the US, as of April 29th,Vietnam offers myriad instructive lessons for other countries, starting with the dos and don’ts of how to cope with a global pandemic. Vu Duc Dam, deputy prime minister, said last month that the total number of confirmed cases will not reach 1,000, if prevention measures are strictly adhered to (my italics). While no one can predict the future, he may very well be right, based on recent results. It is an extraordinary and potentially historic achievement worth aspiring to.”

“In his 1966 book Vietnam North: A First-Hand Report, Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett wrote about the ingenuity of Vietnamese medical professionals in successfully confronting difficult medical and surgical issues created by another war that included bombs and resulting injuries for those lucky enough to survive.”

[Wilfred Burchett was the outstanding Australian reporter who provided weekly columns to the newspaper, the National Guardian, and many volumes of books, on the Vietnamese liberation struggle.]

The 45th anniversary of Victory in Vietnam begins a series commemorations, including May Day which commemorates the struggle for the 8 hour day and is now International Workers’ Day, Victory in Europe, May 8-9, the 75th Anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany and September 2, the 75th Anniversary of the defeat of Imperial Japan. This is the heritage we, the workingclass, defend.
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