Action in the Black Sea in the war in Ukraine brings back memories of my part of what was perceived by the locals as an invading force that destroyed the civilians and their homes in Vietnam.
I was a Navy noncommissioned officer aboard a destroyer participating in Operation Sea Dragon. It is generally acknowledged that both Sea Dragon and Rolling Thunder were war crimes as they invariably destroyed civilian targets, and we had not declared war on North Vietnam.
Our duties aboard the destroyer were, along with a cruiser, to destroy the railroads, highways and fuel depots along the North Vietnamese coast.
There was much less justification for an invasion of Vietnam than Russia has for their actions in Ukraine. Vietnam is not on the U.S. border and cannot threaten the U.S. Vietnam never was part of the U.S. or a territory of the U.S. Few Vietnamese speak English or are interested in becoming part of the U.S. The Vietnamese, like the Ukrainians, were persistent in rejecting the invasion of their country.
Vietnam had been a colony/possession of China, France, Japan and, again, France. In every case, the Vietnamese opposed occupation and prevailed. The U.S. military was likely to say that we never lost a battle, but the politicians lost the war. We killed more than a million Vietnamese in the process, mostly civilians. I also lost more than 58,000 of my comrades, and today it is estimated that almost a million of them have debilitating conditions due to their participation in that war.
The war in Vietnam was a great success for what President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower called the military industrial congressional complex, as have been our other invasions of other countries. Afghanistan surpasses Vietnam as the most profitable war for the MICC.
The wars in Iraq — or was there just one long one? — enriched former Vice President Dick Cheney, Halliburton and other war profiteers. Now we have finally figured out how to enrich the MICC without getting our fellow Americans killed. As I have heard, we will oppose Russia to the last Ukrainian.
Rowland Lane Anderson
Editor’s note: Mr. Anderson served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1968, which included 14 months of combat in Vietnam, He is a lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.