John Kerry on the Vietnam War: Earlier and Now
by Stephen Lendman
From August 4 - 8, Kerry visited five Asian countries, including the ASEAN Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ending his trip in Hanoi, Vietnam - enlisting support against legitimate Chinese activities in its own waters, risking direct confrontation to solidify Washington’s military footprint in a part of the world not its own.
He highlighted America’s current relationship with its former foe - ludicrously calling earlier US Southeast Asian naked aggression "a diplomatic failure."
Saying “(t)he war that took place here half a century ago divided each of our countries and stemmed from the most profound failure of diplomatic insight and political vision.”
US/Vietnamese relations reflect a “profound and timely lesson” to the rest of the world, showing enemies can become allies, he claimed.
“Vietnam and our shared journey from conflict to friendship crosses my mind frequently as I grapple with complex challenges we face today.”
“That we are standing here today celebrating 20 years of normalized relations is proof that we are not doomed merely to repeat the mistakes we have made in the past. We have the ability to overcome great bitterness and to substitute trust for suspicion and replace enmity with respect.”
Washington has interests, not allies. Nations like Vietnam are exploited to serve them. Former enemies, now friends, can become adversaries again anytime they assert their sovereign independent rights.
Kerry saying America “recognizes that only the Vietnamese people can determine their political system” is polar opposite US policy. They can do anything they want as long as Washington rules are obeyed.
Kerry’s remarks ignored the nightmare US forces inflicted on nonbelligerent Southeast Asian countries - for Vietnam, a 30-year war, beginning before Washington’s direct involvement.
From 1965 - 1973, US terror bombing of Vietnam dropped eight million tons of munitions - threefold the amount used during WW II, about 300 tons for every Vietnamese man, woman and child.
Napalm, other incendiary devices, cluster bombs and other terror weapons were used. Agent Orange’s deadly legacy remains.
In August 1961, aerial and ground spraying began against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Thousands of sorties were flown. Trucks, boats and soldiers mounted with backpacks were used.
About five million acres were contaminated. Millions of gallons of dioxin-containing defoliant were used. Horrific consequences followed - felt to this day.
Dioxin is one of the most deadly known substances. It's both natural and man-made. It's a potent carcinogenic human immune system suppressant. Minute amounts cause serious health problems and death.
Agent Orange kills! It accumulates in adipose tissue and the liver. It alters living cell genetic structures. Exposure results in congenital disorders and birth defects. It causes cancer, type two diabetes, and numerous other diseases.
It remains toxic for decades. It enters the food chain and water supply. Crops, plants, animals and sea life are poisoned.
Millions of Southeast Asians were adversely affected - either perishing, becoming chronically ill and/or being disabled for life. Future generations suffer like earlier ones.
Sarin nerve gas was used in Laos - later confirmed by former Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer.
Millions of Vietnamese perished. So did around 600,000 Cambodians and Laotians - US inflicted genocide against Southeast Asians threatening no one. Civilians suffered most of all. Human suffering continues to this day.
John Kerry was a decorated Vietnam War veteran - awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. In 1971, he protested America’s involvement. He gave back his medals.
He testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he’d later chair before becoming Secretary of State. He discussed “over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans” admitting they committed war crimes.
Kerry said “they personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, bl(ew) up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages (like) Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravages of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”
“(N)othing in Vietnam…threaten(ed) the United States of America.” Claiming US involvement aimed to “preserv(e) freedom…is…the height of criminal hypocrisy.”
“We saw firsthand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime...We rationalized destroying villages...to save them.”
“We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very cooly a My Lai” massacre and many others like it.
“We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of orientals.”
That was an earlier John Kerry - unlike today’s calling premeditated genocide against millions of Southeast Asians “a diplomatic failure.”
He was never a war hero. As US senator and Secretary of State, he’s an unindicted war criminal multiple times over. Throughout his government service, he supported all US imperial wars, including ongoing ones in multiple theaters.
He’s part of a ruthless, immoral regime, defiant of democratic values. Its endless wars threaten humanity’s survival.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.