02 May 2005

Vietnam and US

Viet Nam just celebrated the anniversary of what they see as the successful reunification of their country, after decades of war against foreigners, primarily the French and Americans.

I'm sure their leadership and veterans thought it was an important event to commemorate, but the impression I've gotten when I visited Viet Nam is that for most people, it's just history. Sure, here and there I've run into veterans who would refuse to talk with me because I am American, but they are the rare exception. Overwhelmingly, the Vietnamese are friendly and welcoming to us Americans.

When talking to people there, I hear that they have emotionally moved on in a way that many Americans have not. I suppose it's always easier for the victors, and even more so if you see yourself as having fought in a clearly noble cause - national independence - rather than the moral ambiguity most Americans seem to feel.

I think the one thing we should all celebrate is that that war is over. I wish I could say the same about Iraq.