Friday 2 September 2011

The Vietnam/American War

To everyone outside Vietnam it is known as the Vietnam war, but in the country where it happened the refer to it as the American war. The American government were frightened of communist victories after world war 2, and as the communist troops were taking over Vietnam they poked their noses in, first Kennedy, then Johnson made it a lot worse and finally Tricky Dicky had to conceed that it was a losing battle. I'm no expert on the Vietnam war, but I know it was one of the first wars where jornalists were able to report in technicolour and they were given pretty much free reign to do so. Therein lies the rub, without military or government control the real costs of the war (the innocent victims, non-milliary casulties and destruction of the country - the 'collateral damage') were beamed into the American people's homes and caused a major backlash against the war. Public opinion was swayed and huge demonstrations in the US and across the world added to the deterioration of the American offensive. As I showed in this post, the Viet Cong fighters evaded the US troops, hiding in tunnels and in order to find the hideouts and make fighting easier the American troops dropped bombs of napalm and sprayed the thick jungle with agent orange, these chemicals annihilhated the countryside, caused huge damage to towns and cities, and worst of all scarring, burning and deformaties to not only those exposed to it, but also down the line in generations to come. Children are still being born with all kinds of deformaties, some not even living to see their 10th birthday. In the war remnants museum in Ho Chi Minh city you can see a chronology and documentation of the war atrocities, and the numerous newspaper reports of demonstrations across the world, as well as an exhibition showing the affects of Agent Orange and how it has devastated lives. The American soliders who flew the planes that spread the chemical have been compensated for the affects agent orange had to them and their families. The Vietnamese victims have never been compensated, even though many are worse affected than the soldiers. Also at the museum there are a few victims who sell hand-crafts or play music for the tourists in a bid to make some money, and on our tour of the Cu Chi tunnels, the first stop was a factory where victims worked to make egg-shell decorated souviners. The War remnants museum in HCMC is a very sad and humbling place, and for once it wasn't the British charging in all guns blazing and ruining a perfectly good country and culture.

"Burn all, destroy all, kill all". And that's exactly what they did.

Torture of people taken captive, civilian or not, was to try to find out the whereabouts of Viet Cong stongholds. These all failed.

Some victims of Agent Orange have managed to make a living from unusual artistic talents

This caption accompanies the following image of disgarded corpses

A typical prison cell, they took turns to stand at the door as it was the only place to get oxygen.

I hate that this says 'mopping up' as if people are dirt that needs cleaning away.

So many pictures of bodies in various states of torture, and tossed into mass graves.

Didn't work out very well eh, Curtis. D**khead.

In the museum I couldn't remember the photographers name, that I studied at uni, which was very annoying. So I will now forever more remember this famous photo was taken by Nick Ut.

Before and after napalm razed the jungle to the ground

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  1. you should read "the girl in the picture." I have been reading it on the beach the past few days and am almost finished, very informative and interesting read about the Viet Nam war... will probably be checking this out when we get to Saigon. hope all is well!

  2. Ah yes, I'm waiting for Wendy to finish it, she bought a dodgy copy in HCMC. SO jealous that you're on a beach while I'm back in class :-(