Administrator’s  note   Haditha in Iraq and My Lai in Vietnam. The questions and answers between two Vietnamese Americans below are noteworthy.

Hi Thai Anh

Am doing a piece of Haditha and My Lai comparison. It ‘ll be great if you answer some of these:

Do you think this is turning point in Iraq for the US the way My Lai was during the Vietnam War? The Media is really breaking news now and turning against the war effort.

A lot of parallels have been drawn about the two incidents, My lai vs Haditha… what is your take on it?

VN community is very conservative and supportive of the war. But will  this change their minds? What do their own experiences tell them?

How do you think the war is going so far?

Thanks

Andrew

Thai Anh’s reply:

“Like the in-living-color of the Viet-Nam war news-broadcast at 6pm of yesteryear, the Iraq situation explodes in American faces most every day with the number of American dead and maimed by roadside IED and car bombs and the tenfold casualties and

fatalities of Iraqi but right in broad daylight (with CNN around-the-clock news, one does not need to wait for the 6 o clock news as with the VN war).

Yet, President Bush’s blunder aside, there is not a single morsel of doubt in my mind with regard to the turning point in Iraq. It ultimately rests with the Iraqi people.

Are the future and welfare of the Iraqi ultimately belonging to the Iraqi people? Iraq after all belongs to the Iraqi people – Kurds, Sunni, Shiite notwithstanding. What do the people of Iraq really want? A country under one flag, but with pluralist and democratic participation? Then they need to work it out. American occupation is temporal, people wish for Yankees Go Home may come true, but surely no country wants to be left holding the bag. Especially, after US involvement.

Are the Iraqi blaming Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld for messing it up? Then by Allah fix it before the U.S. cut and run. Isn’t the lesson of VN clear?

I really resent the fact that people are drawing parallels between Iraq and Vietnam. Sure, My Lai was unspeakable and Haditha is abhorrent and for our sake, I hope Haditha is an aberrant exception. But a war outcome does not rest on one incident alone. My Lai did not provide the turning point for the other side in VN, did the Tet Offensive? (Yes, but who was losing?) The turning point in VN: America (read public opinion) inconstancy and Thieu’s total reliance on the U.S.

VN was already fighting our own war of independence and asserting our right to find our own place under the sun long before the US got involved. VN is not Iraq. Vietnamese are not here to decide that Iraq was worse before Bush had his little war and toppled Saddam, but Vietnamese can say that the U.S. left VN in a worst shamble then when it first found it.

To me it doesn’t matter how I think the war is going in Iraq. It matters more how the leaders and the people of Iraq can do to change their situation. If I was an Iraqi, I would not leave the fate of my country to the whims and fancy (red fickle) of the American public (opinion), it had effed us up. It will surely eff Iraq too.”

Nguyen-Khoa Thai Anh

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