50 Years After The War Vietnamese Still Suffer From Consequences
Considering Vietnam's experience both in war and in peace, Vice Chairman of the United States Institute of Peace sees the courage and hopes that the war's lasting consequences will be resolved.
George Moose, Vice Chairman of the United States Institute of Peace.
A webinar on “Overcoming the Consequences of War, Moving Forward Together" was held by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on August 3. At the event, George Moose, Vice Chairman of the United States Institute of Peace shared his experience and perspective on solving war consequences in Vietnam.
According to Moose, when he became a diplomat in the U.S. Department of State, he spent the first three years working in Vietnam. In 1969, he was sent to Quang Ngai, a province in central Vietnam, shortly after the My Lai massacre was mentioned in the international press. After that, he worked at the U.S. Consulate General in Da Nang.
He said that though the U.S. Consulate General in Da Nang was very far from the U.S. military airport in Da Nang, he knew at that time a lot of planes were there to spray Agent Orange.
George Moose returned to Quang Ngai a liaison officer for the International Commission for Supervision and Control in 1973, shortly after the signing of Paris peace accords.
The vice-chairman and his wife returned to Vietnam in 2014. "We spent 3 weeks traveling from the North to the South. It was a time that we will never forget. After more than 50 years, the Vietnamese people are still suffering the consequences of the war, everything still exists before us."
During the period from August 1961 to October 1971, the US military tested and used 100,000 tons of several dozen different types of toxic chemicals, most of which were CS, Agent Orange, Agent White, Agent Blue, and a significant amount of Agent Purple, Agent Pink, and blue Agent Green. Agents orange, purple, pink, and green contain dioxin impurities.
George Moose said he was determined to visit Son My memorial in Quang Ngai province, where American veterans and their organizations had contributed to develop the region, and War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, which illustrated the war devastation.
"What surprised us was that wherever we went, we were welcomed by Vietnamese people, there was no feeling of being ignored or rejected. This is living proof of Vietnamese people's tolerance," he said.
Considering Vietnam's experience both in war and in peace, George Moose sees the courage and hopes that war consequences will be resolved. "That made me appreciate this conference and its initiatives. I hope the two countries work together to settle war consequences," he shared.
According to incomplete statistics, Vietnam currently has about 75,000 Agent Orange victims of the second generation; 35,000 of the third generation. Agent Orange is reported to affect the fourth generation in some localities.
More than half of the victims are civilians in many provinces. In Kon Tum, Quang Nam, and Quang Ngai, among Agent Orange victims, civilians account for 70.7%, 75.4%, 67.9% respectively. 85% of households have at least two victims, 3% have at least five.
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