NPR ran a story this morning on this weekend’s ‘peace’ demonstrations in the US. The reporter noted that many of those demonstrating were veterans of Vietnam war era protest. In a revealing slip of the tongue, one woman recalled how those protests had “ended Vietnam”.
Indeed they did. Within two years of the US withdrawal, South Vietnam had fallen to communist rule. Thousands were murdered by the new regime, an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 people (out of a population of twenty million) were incarcerated in concentration (oh sorry, ‘re-education’ ) camps for periods of up to ten years, and hundreds of thousands of boat people took the dangerous and often fatal route into exile. Quarter of a century later Vietnam remains a communist dictatorship.
Doubtless the Vietnamese are most grateful to the peace campaigners of yesteryear.