The question of Vietnamese war dead : LUSENET : Vietnamese American Society : One Thread

The question of Vietnamese war dead I find it rather strange that there has been not only absolutely no response in several months to Mr. Willingham's comments [see below], but also absolutely no new comments in the "Open Forum"? What gives with this situation? As a Vietnam War veteran ('67-'68) and a current friend of Mr. Willingham, I am well aware of the vast numbers of Vietnamese people who were killed by U.S. military firepower (including, of course, herbicides and other chemical weapons utilized during the war in Vietnam). I was stationed at Bien Hoa AFB at the time of the 1968 Tet offensive, and personally witnessed the burial of over 800 bodies after the offensive was quelled in the area. The bodies of the dead--men, women, and children, combatants and non-combatants alike-- were collected for burial in two large holes in the earth that we dug with our heavy engineering equipment. As a result of this experience, I have long wondered what the body count was for the entire war-- not of American GIs, but of Vietnamese citizens in both north and south Vietnam. I have heard General Giap state that some 5-7 million Vietnamese were killed during the war with the U.S. A friend in Finland recently stated he thought it was much less, somewhere around 2-3 million. Does anyone have a firm figure on how many were killed during the U.S. War? It has often gotten me in trouble with other vets in therapy groups when I try to refocus the conversation from the 58,000 dead GIs to a reflection on the millions of dead Vietnamese "we" killed. I have spent the last 35 years feeling like a "good German" who participated in the slaughter of millions of people simply because I followed the orders of my country to go and participate in this madness, in order to avoid going to jail as a draft resister. I would like to know the truth of the matter, now that age is starting to catch up with me, so that I can talk openly, honestly and accurately about my experiences with my two young sons.


James N. ("Jim") Welch MA 34th Engineer Battallion (Construction) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 19 January 2003

-- Ho Chi minh Dam tac (vietnam congsan nuoi-heo nhieu qua thui' ', October 06, 2004

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