On the outside looking in: A US American in Vietnam

VnExpress By Mark A. Ashwill   February 7, 2019 | 11:03 am GMT+7

On the outside looking in: A US American in Vietnam

Vietnamese women at a wet market in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Valentina Aru

 
An ‘other’ reflects on the ways in which he and many others feel they belong, why Vietnam is home.

I have spent over 40 percent of my adult life outside of my home country, never content with having my soul controlled by geography, to paraphrase George Santayana. I carry a U.S. passport but it doesn’t define me. I am a U.S. ex-patriot and global citizen who calls Vietnam home.

It was during my first visit to Hanoi 23 years ago this month that this country – with its tragic yet inspirational millennia-long history – cast its spell on me.  After moving here in 2005, I joined a select group of expats – an estimated 100,000 of them, according to official sources – who live in the midst of 97 million Vietnamese.

Continue reading “On the outside looking in: A US American in Vietnam”

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Vietnam’s Latest Demand for Agent Orange Compensation Described as Last Resort

VOA August 29, 2018 6:10 AM


FILE - The cleaning operation of the area that was used for storing Agent Orange is seen from a plane taking off from Danang international airport.
FILE – The cleaning operation of the area that was used for storing Agent Orange is seen from a plane taking off from Danang international airport.

How a U.S.-Backed University in Vietnam Unleashed Old Demons

Politico

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey is pictured. | AP Photo
U.S. State Department via AP

Former Senator Bob Kerrey thought he could help heal the wounds of war. Instead, he reopened them.

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — On May 25, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry took the stage at the luxury Rex Hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Earlier on their trip together, President Barack Obama had announced a major development in a project Kerry had championed: The Vietnamese government had granted a license for Fulbright University Vietnam, the country’s first independent, private and nonprofit liberal arts university. About $40 million from the U.S. government would go toward the project, along with 25 hectares of rent-free land donated by the Ho Chi Minh City government. On this day, the two countries would officially mark the milestone. Continue reading “How a U.S.-Backed University in Vietnam Unleashed Old Demons”

Vietnam’s Sad Hunt: 300,000 Missing Souls

New York Times
Dec. 21, 2018

Decades after the war with America ended, Vietnamese families continue to search for the remains of their kin who are still missing in action.

By Joseph Babcock  (Mr. Babcock, a teacher of writing, is working on a book about contemporary Vietnam)

A war veteran places incense on graves in Hanoi on the national Day for Martyrs and Wounded Soldiers. Credit Hoang Dinh Nam / Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

On July 27, the day a collection of remains believed to be those of American soldiers lost in the Korean War were flown out of North Korea, I was driving from Hanoi to Vietnam’s rural northern province of Yen Bai. My host that morning was Ngo Thuy Hang, the 42-year-old vice director of Marin, a local nonprofit devoted to helping Vietnamese families locate the remains of their loved ones. Continue reading “Vietnam’s Sad Hunt: 300,000 Missing Souls”

Forest Harvester Reported 750-pound Bomb on Acacia Plantation in Hai Lang District

Chuck Searcy: This report is from my colleague Ngo Xuan Hien at Project RENEW, describing another finding of a big bomb in Quang Tri Province which was safely removed to the demolition site and destroyed.  The bomb is bigger than most ordnance cleaned up and destroyed every day — usually cluster bombs, grenades, artillery rounds, mortars — but now even these infrequent occurrences of 500-pound or 750-pound bombs are treated somewhat routinely.  That is to say, local people are no longer alarmed, once they report the finding they are confident that NPA-RENEW technicians or other NGO teams coordinated by the Provincial Legacy of War Coordination Center will come quickly to the site and handle the threat skillfully and professionally, and residents can soon return to their normal activities.  The situation is being managed, and that is the key to long-term safety and protection of villagers, farmers, school children.

Hai Lang District, Quang Tri (28 November 2018) — Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams managed by NPA-Project RENEW on Wednesday safely destroyed a 750-pound U.S. aircraft bomb at their Central Demolition Site in Hai Que Commune. It was identified an air-dropped general purpose bomb, M117 series, that was extensively used by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War. Read more here.

Hien Xuan Ngo
Communications & Development Manager
Project RENEW

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200 years to go before Laos is cleared of unexploded US bombs from Vietnam war era

SCMP

  • In the world’s most heavily bombed country, 20 million UXO have been cleared in the 45 years since clandestine US war ended
  • That leaves another 80 million still to be dug out and defused, if foreign governments continue funding the work.
  • BY PADRAIC CONVERY

     / UPDATED ON 

    Thanksgiving is an American tradition that is unknown in most of the world. Fifty years ago, however, it landed in Laos, the small, impoverished Southeast Asian nation that was to become perhaps the longest-suffering casualty of the United States’ war in Vietnam.

    Thanksgiving is held on the fourth Thursday in November. In 1968, that fell on November 28, and on that day, at the height of the war and on the orders of president Lyndon B. Johnson, turkey dinners were helicoptered in to American soldiers who were on a mission to sever the Ho Chi Minh Trail – the network of paths and tracks that constituted North Vietnam’s military supply lines to the south of the country – that ran through eastern Laos.

    Vietnam war photographer on PTSD and his final battle, with cancer

    LBJ’s festive dinners were flown in at the same time as the US began dropping millions of bombs on the trail, which it had already been targeting for four years. Half a century later, Laos is still dealing with the deadly legacy of that bombing campaign, which left an estimated 100 million pieces of unexploded ordnance on the ground. Continue reading “200 years to go before Laos is cleared of unexploded US bombs from Vietnam war era”

    Quang Tri mobilises resources to settle post-war landmines

    VNA WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2018 – 9:45:00

    Unexploded bombs and mines found in Quang Tri province (Photo: VNA)

    Quang Tri (VNA) – The central province of Quang Tri has mobilised more than 20 projects and non-project aid packages worth over 4 million USD in the first nine months of the year to address the lingering consequences of bombs and mines left by wars across the locality. Continue reading “Quang Tri mobilises resources to settle post-war landmines”

    U.S. prepares for biggest-ever Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (R) meets Vietnam’s Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam October 17, 2018. 

    REUTERS WED OCT 17, 2018

    Phil Stewart

    BIEN HOA AIR BASE, Vietnam (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday visited a former American air base in southern Vietnam that will soon become the biggest-ever U.S. cleanup site for contamination left by the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

    Standing near a skull-and-crossbones warning sign meant to keep people away from toxic soil, Mattis was briefed by Vietnamese officials about the massive contamination area. Continue reading “U.S. prepares for biggest-ever Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam”

    RENEW project handles 590 explosive devices in Quang Tri

    VNA SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2018 – 17:52:00 PRINT


    Various explosive devices found at the construction site in Quang Tri (Photo: nhandan.com.vn)

    Quang Tri (VNA) – A team of the “Restoring the Environment and Neutralising the Effects of the War” (RENEW) project said it safely moved 590 explosive devices from a construction site in the central province of Quang Tri.

    The mission took place from October 10-11, right after the team received a report on explosive devices from workers, who were building a guest house of Quang Tri town’s military high command at a location near the southern bank of Thach Han river.

    At the site, the team found many devices, including shells and mortar shells, at a depth of 2 metres, with their detonators remained intact.

    The devices were moved to a safe site for defusing in Trieu Trach commune, Trieu Phong district.

    RENEW, mainly sponsored by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), aims to help Quang Tri, known as one of the provinces hardest hit by the war, settle post-war bomb and landmine impacts.

    To date, more than 131 million square metres of land in Quang Tri province have been mapped out as confirmed hazardous areas that need full clearance. The NPA’s teams have destroyed about 70,000 pieces of dangerous ordnance, helping to eliminate the risks of death and injury for local residents.-VNA

    Vietnamese, US veteran pilots gather in Hanoi

    Vietnamese and American veteran pilots, who were once enemies of each other in the air during the anti-US war, reunited in Hanoi on October 3 for the third time.

    Vietnamese, US veteran pilots gather in Hanoi, social news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news
    Vietnamese and American veteran pilots, who were once enemies of each other in the air during the anti-US war, gather in Hanoi on October 3 for the third time.

    Present at the gathering were Lt. Gen. Nguyen Duc Soat, hero of the People’s Armed Forces and head of the Vietnamese veteran pilot delegation, Charlie Tutt, head of the US veteran pilot delegation, representatives from the Air Defence – Air Force Service under the Vietnam Defence Ministry, and veteran pilots of the two countries. Continue reading “Vietnamese, US veteran pilots gather in Hanoi”

    Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million in world’s first Roundup cancer trial – Vụ kiện đầu tiên trên thế giới về thuốc diệt cỏ Round-up gây ung thư, Monsanto buộc phải bồi thường 289 triệu Đô

    (Reuters) – A California jury on Friday found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company’s glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, caused his cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages.

    FILE PHOTO: Monsanto Co's Roundup shown for sale in California

    FILE PHOTO: Monsanto Co’s Roundup is shown for sale in Encinitas, California, U.S., June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

    The case of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer. Monsanto, a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

    The jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers.

    SPONSORED

    It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

    Monsanto in a statement said it would appeal the verdict. “Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews…support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” the company said.

    Monsanto denies that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, causes cancer and says decades of scientific studies have shown the chemical to be safe for human use.
    Continue reading “Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million in world’s first Roundup cancer trial – Vụ kiện đầu tiên trên thế giới về thuốc diệt cỏ Round-up gây ung thư, Monsanto buộc phải bồi thường 289 triệu Đô”

    Remembering Đinh Tôn: 50 years later

    Update: June, 16/2018 – 09:00 vietnamnews

    Đinh Tôn.

    Viet Nam News By Thomas Eugene Wilber

    It began in Thọ Xuân District, Thanh Hóa Province, Việt Nam

    At about 4pm local time on Sunday, the sixteenth day of June 1968, air force Captain Đinh Tôn and his wingman, Captain Nguyễn Tiến Sâm, taxied their MiG-21single seat fighter jets to the northwest end of Thọ Xuân airbase and lined up to take off. Completing final checks and accelerating to a normal launch transition, they climbed to about 300 metres altitude, banking to the right and heading south at a speed of 800 kilometres per hour. Continue reading “Remembering Đinh Tôn: 50 years later”

    War-ravaged Vietnamese province receives $10 mil from Norway for mine clearance

    VNExpress By Vu Minh   April 18, 2018 | 05:02 pm GMT+7

    War-ravaged Vietnamese province receives $10 mil from Norway for mine clearance

    Unexploded ordnance are found in Vietnam’s central province of Quang Tri. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Ha

    The Norwegian People’s Aid has already helped remove 70,000 tons of unexploded ordnance from Quang Tri Province.

    Vietnam’s central province of Quang Tri has received $10 million from a Norwegian organization to help clear unexploded ordnance.

    The deal with Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) was signed on Wednesday and will sponsor a project expected to run until 2022, Vietnam News Agency reported.

    Vietnam is one of the most heavily contaminated countries in the world when it comes to explosives. Between 1945 and 1975, during two wars with French and American invaders, more than 15 million tons of explosives were dropped on Vietnam; four times higher than the amount unleashed during World War II.

    Continue reading “War-ravaged Vietnamese province receives $10 mil from Norway for mine clearance”

    Rev. James Swarts: Remarks at Spring Action 2018

    Rev. James Swarts, President of the Rochester chapter of Veterans For Peace, was a member of the VFP tour group which traveled Viet Nam for 18 days recently, with stops in Ha Noi, the former DMZ and Khe Sanh, Da Nang, My Lai (on the 50th anniversary of the massacre there), and Sai Gon.

    Statements by Pres. Donald Trump and U.S. government (and British and French) officials to justify American military actions in Syria are painful reminders not only of lies we were told about Viet Nam a half century ago. We heard echoes of those same lies regarding Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and many other places in the world that are now much worse off after our military actions — actions that were illegal, no matter how we try to parse the meanings of the documents and international agreements that we signed. Continue reading “Rev. James Swarts: Remarks at Spring Action 2018”

    The 1968 “Hue Massacre”

    by D. Gareth Porter
    “Indochina Chronicle,” #33, June 24, 1974

    Six years after the stunning communist Tet Offensive of 1968, one of the enduring myths of the Second Indochina War remains essentially unchallenged: the communist “massacre” at Hue. The official version of what happened in Hue has been that the National Liberation Front (NLF) and the North Vietnamese deliberately and systematically murdered not only responsible officials but religious figures, the educated elite and ordinary people, and that burial sites later found yielded some 3,000 bodies, the largest portion of the total of more than 4,700 victims of communist execution.

    Although there is still much that is not known about what happened in Hue, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the story conveyed to the American public by the South Vietnamese and American propaganda agencies bore little resemblance to the truth, but was, on the contrary, the result of a political warfare campaign by the Saigon government, embellished by the U.S. government and accepted uncritically by the U.S. press. A careful study of the official story of the Hue “massacre” on the one hand, and of the evidence from independent or anti-communist sources on the other, provides a revealing glimpse into efforts by the U.S. press to keep alive fears of a massive “bloodbath.”1 It is a myth which has served the U.S. administration interests well in the past, and continues to influence public attitudes deeply today. Continue reading “The 1968 “Hue Massacre””