Monday, January 3, 2011

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War is remembered by Americans as one of the single most important periods of U.S. history. It was an affront to the American spirit, which, in spite of the disastrous Korean War, could still feel a straightforward sense of accomplishment in having met and conquered the enemy in World War II. The intransigency of president after president, general after general, and the desperate lengths to which the U.S. army went to somehow attain a victory in Vietnam could be exemplified no better than in the tragically severe Operation Ranch Hand, in which millions of gallons of herbicides, collectively referred to as Agent Orange, were used to defoliate large swathes of jungle terrain which hid enemy forces. The possible collateral damage to the environment and subsequent generations of Vietnamese was clearly not taken into account. And as the U.S. continues to ponder its questionable role in Vietnam, particularly in light of recent events in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Pakistan, the Vietnamese must still deal with the very real and brutal consequences of some of the world’s most wide-ranging and catastrophic incidents of chemical warfare.

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