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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

While I never assume to speak on behalf of my brethren in the antiwar veterans' movement, I must also share the fact that within these groups there is a diversity of opinion. My own insight continues to evolve. There is always an impulse to justify one's actions, even among those of us who broke away from the mainstream and joined the opposition during the Vietnam War era.

I am sure that a factual reporting of problems faced by dissenters inside Vietnam is not "egregious." Let the facts speak for themselves. An objective assessment would include the tragic use of military power against the people of Southeast Asia, as well as the understanding that communist governments are authoritarian. We could have found a better way, yes. The Vietnam War was unnecessary, yes. But being in denial about any authoritarian tendencies is also not an effective posturing.

I served in Vietnam, I protested the war vehemently, venomously, with a fierce anger. I also know that I am against authoritarian regimes that commit dissenters to abuse.

Jim Willingham

St. Petersburg, FLorida

Feb 7 2008 - 12:13pm

Web Letter

Maybe if this piece had been published in the 1950s and 1960s its naïveté would have been overlooked and pardoned. But today? Still, I found it fascinating and frightening that an American writing in a supposedly progressive journal would adopt such a righteous tone when criticizing another country for running "show trials" and its governing class for hogging the economic cake. This from a country that presided over Abu Ghraib and still presides over Guantánamo Bay. Having just visited Vietnam, I can report to your readers that for the first time in a long while the Vietnamese people are happy because they have food on the table and the freedom to live from fear of US sanctions and bombs. I think the US has done enough in Vietnam--and it's time The Nation show the people there some respect and stop publishing such egregious rubbish.

Bui Nhat Minh

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Feb 4 2008 - 6:01am

Web Letter

I'm sorry. The idea that the United States is in a position of moral superiority to the present political leadership of Vietnam is farcical in the extreme. I am an American living in Vietnam and, while I have no illusions about political realities here, I find it nauseating to think that the present American Administration, which infiltrates Quaker peace groups and is responsible for the death of a million people in Iraq, would presume to censure the Vietnamese government over matters of democracy and religious freedom!

Virginia Lockett

Da Nang, Vietnam

Feb 2 2008 - 1:15am

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