Thirty-nine years later, the official US position towards crimes by the US military in Vietnam has not changed: there have been no apologies for US conduct during the war, no reparations, no intentions of prosecuting US government officials or military personnel for war crimes in Vietnam. Instead, there is a romanticizing and glorification of the overall performance of the US military.
Bruno Jantti, Le Monde diplomatique
May 5, 2014 | The American public’s ignorance of the core facts of the war (or indifference to it) may seem surprising. Take a Gallup poll in November 2000: of respondents between 18 and 29, 27% said the US was backing North Vietnam, 45% said South Vietnam and 28% expressed no opinion at all. What about support for the war among the US public at the end of the 1960s? According to a Gallup poll in July 1969, more than a year after the My Lai massacre, 53% of respondents approved of Nixon’s handling of the war.
If many Americans do not know the basic outlines of the history of the war, their knowledge of US crimes against Vietnam and the Vietnamese is not likely to be high either. Yet the US dropped more bombs in South Vietnam than the total number of bombs dropped by all sides in World War II put together – in fact more than twice the amount. Twelve million acres of Vietnam’s forest and 25 million acres of farmland, at least, were destroyed by American saturation bombing; and over 70 million litres of herbicidal agents were sprayed over the country.
Bruno Jantti is an investigative journalist specializing in international politics.