When will we ever learn to LOOK before we LEAP into the next potentially disastrous conflict??
This morning, 18August 2023, I sat through the military service being held in Canberra, Australia’s capital, to commemorate the ending of the Vietnam War.
It was particularly painful to see amongst the crowd assembled in Australia’s Capital City, there to commemorate the ending of that bloody, ultimately useless, destructive and, for we Australians, a war that we should never have been a part of.
It was a war that started out years prior, following the ending of World War 2 and the US’s promises to the nations of South East Asia that it would also define the ending of the rule of European colonial powers being continued. A promise - ignored by the US , once that war had ended. It became a fight between Vietnamese nationalists, wishing to rid their country of their French colonial rulers, that then escalated into a conflict, eventually drawing in the United States of America (USA), themselves slavishly followed like a dog following its master — Australia.
The service, and the sight of so many now elderly veterans in attendance, now in their latter years of life, proudly wearing their colourful medals and ribbons, designating them as participants. The majority of them at the time had been unwilling young men, most without even a clue as to where Vietnam was, let alone any good reason why their government needed to send them to war against its native people, communist or otherwise.
At the time, the young Australians committed to fight in Vietnam, were powerless to go against the decision to go to war against North Vietnam, that had been made without any really extensive, deeper thinking at the time, as to a sensible, strategic reason to do so. That decision was made with little or no thought as to the long term consequences, that would follow 5 years of hell, destruction, killing and distraction from any good reason to be fighting against a people so far away from the shores of their homeland. That decision having been made by less than a handful of people involved within the Federal Government of the day.
But there they were, and it was there — when the fighting finally ended in 1975…