I forwarded this first to a delegation of Veterans For Peace who are now touring Viet Nam for 17 days, and I am accompanying them. They have seen some of the terrible legacies of the war in Viet Nam — consequences very similar to what neighboring Laos and Cambodia have experienced. So this article has special resonance for them.
It is also a reminder of the hard bargain the U.S. insisted upon during negotiations with Viet Nam which led to normalization of diplomatic relations in 1995. The current government of Viet Nam was required to repay an old debt of the Saigon regime which collapsed in 1975, loans which had been provided during the war totaling some $145 million US dollars. The Vietnamese eventually agreed, and repaid the first installments totaling about $15 million before then-Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John McCain intervened (and rightly so, in the opinion of many veterans) with congressional action which converted that debt to an “education” fund to provide study opportunities for Vietnamese students in the U.S. and American students in Viet Nam. That was better than an outright repayment, of course — particularly when U.S. humanitarian assistance at that time was less than $4 million a year, for efforts related to UXO cleanup and disability programs that might bring some relief to families facing the awful consequences of Agent Orange.
Sometimes simple fairness and justice, common decency, and morality must take precedence over the U.S. government’s bookkeeping requirements. (It might occur to some of us that the U.S. Ambassador in Cambodia should be reminded of that.)
MARCH 11 201
Fury in Cambodia as US asks to be paid back hundreds of millions in war debts
Half a century after United States B-52 bombers dropped more than 500,000 tonnes of explosives on Cambodia’s countryside Washington wants the country to repay a $US500 million ($662 million) war debt.
The demand has prompted expressions of indignation and outrage from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
Over 200 nights in 1973 alone, 257,456 tons of explosives fell in secret carpet-bombing sweeps – half as many as were dropped on Japan during the Second World War.
The pilots flew at such great heights they were incapable of discriminating between a Cambodian village and their targets, North Vietnamese supply lines – nicknamed the “Ho Chi Minh Trail.” Tiếp tục đọc “Fury in Cambodia as US asks to be paid back hundreds of millions in war debts”