Made in Vietnam


David S:
I helped someone transport a table home from the store today. Once we got it into the house I noticed the words “Made in Vietnam” on the box. Thirty five years ago our government was sending young men by the thousands to fight the communists in Vietnam. Now, just one generation later, our government is apparently quite happy to do business with that same communist government. Must be those communists are just fine after all. So how come 60,000 American men had to die? Could it be that one asshole named Johnson and another asshole named Nixon needlessly sent all those men to their deaths?

The guys who died aren’t complaining, although maybe they’re rolling over in their graves. But what about the American soldiers who were wounded there? How would you explain to a wounded veteran that the guy we are doing business today with might be the same one who shot his leg off 35 years ago?

Thirty five years ago our government showed no respect for the lives of the men they sent to Vietnam. Today they show no respect for the ones who sacrificed so much there.

On the subject of Vietnam, a few days ago some Vietnamese people filed a suit in New York suing the companies who made Agent Orange, alleging they did war crimes.

From today's Telegraph:

Some of the largest chemicals groups in the world have defended themselves in court against charges they committed war crimes by supplying the US with Agent Orange during the Vietnam war.

Lawyers for companies including Dow Chemical and Monsanto were responding to a lawsuit that claims up to four million Vietnamese suffered dioxin poisoning from the chemical. Agent Orange, which it is claimed caused birth defects and cancer after seeping into the food chain, was dumped by US warplanes on Vietnamese forests between 1962 and 1971 to destroy sources of food and water used by the Vietcong.

More than 30 companies are named in the suit, which is seeking class action status. Lawyers for the companies are asking a district judge in Brooklyn, New York, to dismiss the claim. The case is regarded as a pivotal test of the reach of the US legal system as it considers the power of the president to authorise the use of hazardous materials during war.

The state department lawyers have warned the case threatens the right of the president to go to war at all. It said that if the plaintiffs’ case was successful, it could “open the courthouse doors of the American legal system for former enemy nationals and soldiers claiming to have been harmed by the US armed forces during war.”

John Moore, one of the lawyers for the Vietnamese, said the chemical companies should be held accountable. “We are only suing the chemical companies. We can’t sue the government as they are immune, unfortunately. They should be called to task as well.”

He said the companies knew that Agent Orange was highly poisonous but continued to make it for profit. The companies argue they only produced the chemical following US government specifications and that there has never been a proven connection between the defoliant and the health problems.

If the lawsuit is successful, billion of dollars could be awarded towards an environmental clean-up and in compensation to the victims.

Judge Jack Weinstein is expected to issue a written decision in the next few weeks. Andrew Frey, a lawyer for Dow, said: “We think it is up to the US government to decide whether what it did was wrongful and whether it should pay restitution. The court should not be second guessing the president’s decisions, which were made after studying the human health consequences and as a military judgment and very likely saved a lot more lives than it injured.”

He added that international laws in the 1960s did not recognise corporate liability. However, the plaintiffs have cited precedents from the years after the Second World War when makers of the gas used in Nazi death camps were convicted of war crimes.

Judge Weinstein said: “The fact that all power was centralised under Hitler did not permit all people operating under his orders to violate international law.”

However, he was skeptical about the plaintiffs’ claims that the use of Agent Orange did indeed violate international law, saying it was far from clear whether agreements barring weapons such as poison gas applied to the case. In 1984, seven US chemical companies, including Dow and Monsanto, paid $180m to keep a US veterans’ class action out of court.[/b]

BRTD with a D-AL avatar:
We should've done the best thing for the Vietnamese people and our veterans, and respected the right to Vietnamese democracy simply allowing Vietnam to have fair elections and elect Ho Chi Minh. Our veterans would've never been sent to a place they never should've, and Vietnam would've been spared their war.


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