Wednesday, February 11, 2015

War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City

Yesterday we visited the War Memorial Museum here in Ho Chi Minh City. It was filled with picture of American war crimes during the ‘60s and ‘70s.

The War Remnants Museum in HCMC showcases a few artifacts left from the long war here and a lot of history chronicalizing one of America's darkest chapters. It was very moving. Interesting to see so many young Westerners visiting the Museum.

I experienced the same feelings of shame and heartache that I did in the war memorial in Hiroshima a year ago. It made me ashamed to be an American, and even ashamed of the human race.

So depressing, yet one sign on the wall affected me more than the others. It read:

In the war of aggression in Vietnam, the US not only used conventional bombs and armaments, but also chemical weapons to wipe out surrounding natural recourses and prevent the forward march of the Liberation Army of South Vietnam. In the 10 years from 1961 to 1971, toxic rains poured down continuously on Central and South Vietnam, defoliating mountains, plains and crops, destroying clean water resources and upsetting the delicate ecological balance.
According to US Defense Department data, the US Air Force sprayed 72 million liters of toxic chemicals of various types on Vietnam, including 44 million liters of Agent Orange containing 170 kg of dioxin. In a study by scientists at Columbia University, (New York) published in Nature magazine, the total volume of toxic chemicals that the US sprayed over Vietnam amounted to approximately 100 million liters, and the content of dioxin reported was double that of previously announced gurus. According to the study, 3,851 communes suffered direct chemical spraying and the chemicals directly affected between 2.1 and 4.8 million Vietnamese people.

Yes, the US War machine poisoned between two and five million women and children. Think about that the next time you cast your ballot, or fail to.

1 comment:

Kristoffer Gair said...

I love the way you ended this piece, Alan. And you're right. We need to think about things like this before we cast a vote or decide if we'll cast a vote.

I have a friend from Vietnam who just started working in the US on a visa. He wasn't sure what to expect, but it wasn't overly positive. Fortunately, they have been extremely good to him and while there may be negative aspects in the future, I'm relieved he's seeing a positive side right now.