Letter to the Editor (May 11, 2018)
Re: Vietnam. Vietnamese have lived on that land mass for thousands of years. Most of the U.S. soldiers deployed to there believed, as they were told, they would be fighting bad guys who came from a whole different other country to the north to make trouble in the south. I do not condemn them. This turned out to not be true.
In the 1800s, the French militarily forced the Vietnamese to surrender control of their lands to them. The French did not pay money or anything else for the lands.
French colonial rule was abusive. Many U.S. Americans wanted natural resources, and what value the French had added with buildings, etc., of the Vietnamese whom they calculated were not intelligent enough to defend their own property. In 1943, since the French had arranged to export most of the rice, masses of ordinary, common, peasants went severely hungry without adequate food and between 1 and 2 million starved to death. In 1945, leading Vietnamese declared Vietnam an independent nation. Also in 1945, another famine began. The new ruling party gave an administrative order to the people: break open the rice bins. They did, they cooked and ate, and another famine was averted.
The masses saw the Viet Minh/Viet Cong as the only group or organization that cared about their physical survival. They remembered with gratitude who did what for them when they were in extreme need. In 1943, the Vietminh with a literacy campaign reached 1 million Vietnamese. The language experts with the Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Lutheran Bible Translators teach that a person who can read his mother tongue can successfully deal with those who would exploit him, such as telling him sewing machine oil is cooking oil. The U. S. were partners with the French by aiding them. In 1952, 70 percent of war material came from the U.S. More Americans realized why Vietnamese in the south had allegiances to the Viet Minh and supported them. One lesson to learn is that Presidents will lie to us for wars that are not what they say they are for.
John D. Rosenbaum,
retired social caseworker