I continue to be active in peace and justice work over these 50 years through VietNam Vets Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, Gold Star Families Speak Out and Mass. Peace Action, among others. We carry on the pledge to you to make sure you did not die in vain and will be remembered eternally for helping to bring an end to war.
Bonnie (Mary) Gorman RN, Quincy, MA
To you, the 58,000 dead soldiers who fought in our Viet Nam war, whose names are on the Wall–
Again, I am writing to you, third year in a row, and wishing I had some good news to share. Alas, I don’t.
The U.S., under Trump, is attacking countries and people around the world––supporting Israel’s missile attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, and maybe next the West Bank. He has “given his permission” for Israel to take Syria’s Golan Heights, in violation of the UN. And has certified that Israel’s capital can move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which will exclude the presence there of Palestinians who also claim Jerusalem as their capital.
Trump is trying to dismantle President Maduro’s government in Venezuela and the Venezuelans are suffering with no electricity and shortages of food and medicines. In the first two years of his regime, Trump has tripled drone strikes in five countries and thousands of innocent people have died or suffered injuries. The U.S. is supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, the poorest country in the world, where cholera is raging and food and medicine is in short supply. This week we supported a bombing of a hospital in Yemen. Tragically, 4 children and 1 health worker were among the 7 killed. 8 other civilians were wounded. Trump thinks we have given too much relief to Puerto Rico already. He says there will be no more, even though there were more than 3,000 deaths from Hurricane Maria and much infrastructure was destroyed.
Perhaps most devastatingly, Trump has pulled the U.S. out the Paris Climate Agreement, which 185 countries have signed on. Trump seem incapable of understanding the consequences of our deteriorating climate and rising seas and what’s in store for the world, especially the low-lying countries and islands who are already suffering the loss of land… or, he has too many friends in the oil/gas/fracking business.
And Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal which was designed to shut down Iran’s efforts to produce nuclear bombs. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has kept track of the world’s potential nuclear destruction, has moved the nuclear clock to two minutes to midnight. Yet, the U.S. has announced we will spend three trillion dollars upgrading our nuclear strike force.
Not a pretty picture, is it? But we in Veterans for Peace are struggling every day to right some of these wrongs. We are fighting the privatization of our VA hospital system. We are fighting against the U.S. intention to build more naval bases in Okinawa, Japan. We are fighting to Move the Money from our military to civil necessities… infrastructure, education, health care and more.
And we are remembering the war in Viet Nam and the consequences. A superb exhibit about the massacre at My Lai in 1968 has been traveling the county, waking people up to the insanity of our invasion and the horror of body counts of civilians––our method of counting dead Vietnamese peasants as proof that the war was being won.
We are doing podcasts of the stories of GI’s who tried to stop the war, some of whom spent years in prisons for their efforts. I wish you could hear them. Maybe you can. They are telling their stories to discourage the next generations from being enticed into our military for the next wars. We are visiting high schools on Parent/Teachers night, and offering literature to the students and their parents about where they can find support for attending college without joining the military, and what kind of promises recruiters offer their children that won’t be delivered.
So here we are. The world is not in good shape and we wish you were here to help us make it better. We are very sorry that you had to fight and die in the U.S. war in Vietnam and we feel that you would be working with us to help us find peace all over the world. Wouldn’t you? I feel sure you would.