FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Vietnam Veteran’s View: What We Leave Behind

by Tom Baxter

“Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) will continue to maim and kill Vietnamese for another 30 to 50 years despite recent efforts to tackle the problem, a prominent U.S. veteran of the Vietnam War said Monday. Jan Scruggs, president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said the war-ravaged country faces a “huge” task in clearing valuable arable land of landmines and UXO that still injure or kill about 2,000 people each year.”

When I saw this, I thought, “Jan Scruggs is wrong, UXOs are going to be killing kids in Vietnam well into the 22nd century.” I decided not call him on it. Scruggs is a good guy. He’s not that far off. I’m not going to be around 50 years from now, I probably won’t be around 30 years from now. Maybe they’ll clean them up. I doubt it, France hadn’t and they’ve been working on it for most of a century.

I haven’t heard of any Franco-Prussian War leftovers killing anyone lately, but a colonel in the elite French Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, made a mistake with a WWI UXO last year and left little for his widow to bury. It was remarkable that a colonel died, generally just a couple of sergeants and lower rank officers die each year.

What brought this to mind was I heard some war criminal, Runsfeld? Stufflebem? explaining that our killing civilian Afghans was ok, because the war would be over quicker. There is no problem no matter how many civilians die, as long we did not deliberately aim at them. In the words of Timothy McVeigh, they would be merely collateral damage.

Utilizing precision? smart? cluster bombs, where almost always, at least 100-150 of every 200 bombies explode on impact while spreading out over an acre or so shows our goodwill. The bombies are yellow, like the food packets we drop. But since they have explicit instructions in French, English and Spanish and we broadcast warning, drop leaflets about the difference, No Problem. Bombies are what they are called in Laos and a couple of dozen Laotian, Cambodia and Vietnamese kids die every year from them.

When year 2100 rolls around and some Panamanian, Nicaraguan, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Jugoslav, Iraqi or Afghan hears a boom and goes out finds some hamburger that used to be their child, the thought that some ancient terrorist enemy of humanity, peace, truth, justice and freedom was overthrown early, replaced by the latest choice of the United States government will provide cold comfort. This is especially true if wrong choices are again made, and client/enemies like the Taliban, Noriegia, Saddam Hussein, Diem and their replacements have to overthrown again and again, until we get it right.

I admit the few thousand UXOs we’re scattering over Afghanistan, probably won’t be visible above the background of millions left over from our proxy’s war against the Russians. But why do we have to add to a horrible problem? Tom Baxter served in the USArmy from 1966-69 and was in Vietnam from 1967-69.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail