Written 2006/11/14, modified 2016/04/27
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A Vietnam War Remnants Museum (Saigon) photo of a victim of a white
phosphorus bomb used by the USA against the Vietnamese
I apologise if some people find this photo shocking.
War does terrible things to people, would it be better if we lived more in
ignorance of how shocking some of those terrible things can be, or is
it better to face the terrible facts?
The war called the Vietnam War in Australia, the Vietnam Conflict in the
USA and the American War in Vietnam is a wonderful example of the
futility of war.
is guilty of committing many terrible
war crimes in its efforts to win this war, but they lost it.
The Vietnamese communists 'won' the war, but now – thirty years later
– Vietnam is fast changing to a capitalist system.
The Vietnamese people are still living under a regime that allows limited
personal freedom – this is nothing new, both sides of the Vietnamese
conflict at the time Australia became involved were oppressive.
Making killing acceptable?
Fighting is normally considered unacceptable.
Killing our fellows is unacceptable and illegal; many would consider murder
to be the worst crime of all.
Except in war.
In war fighting and killing can not only become acceptable but even
admirable – simply because they are sanctioned by the state.
Killing the enemies of the state is OK.
It is the brave and right thing to do.
Killing in peace and war.
Four million were killed during that war, 7000 have been killed since the war,
and in 2008 ten people were still being injured each
month by left over mines and cluster bombs in Quang Tri province alone.
The damage to Vietnam's people and environment was horrendous.
What did the war achieve for either side?
One might have hoped that the USA and Australia would have learned from the
Vietnam war that war can be futile. Even this did not happen.
The governments of both countries stupidly started an equally futile war in
Iraq in 2003.
The Cold War
The Third World War might easily have come out of the Cold War.
That it didn't is probably due mainly to the fact that no leader of either
the USA or the USSR was stupid enough to risk so much destruction for
so little possible gain. (Ronald Reagan was nearly stupid enough, George W.
Bush was stupid enough, but came to power after the Cold War was over).
More can be read on the futility of war at