“Kids are dying who shouldn’t die,” said Robert Beck, a World Vision doctor. “They die in our arms. It’s hard to believe. There’s no excuse for it.” Unending human agony and suffering have become the characteristic marks of the broken lives and devastated lands of the people of Indochina. Millions have now died who should not have. The brutality has always been hard to believe. There has never been any excuse for it.
The Cambodians and the Vietnamese are people of a gentle spirit, people who have mostly just wanted to live their simple agrarian lives in peace, people who have a deep love and respect for their small but lush country, rich in resources and beauty. All that was before the Americans came. All that was before the world’s largest power attempted to impose its own will on the people of Indochina, attempted to control their fate rather than allow them to determine their own. The consequence of that intervention has been the sacrifice of millions of human lives on the altar of American ideological necessities.
It has been too long for any Vietnamese to remember what peace must be like. Their lives have been shattered by the imperial designs of the French, the Japanese, the French again, and, finally, their once-beautiful country has been almost destroyed by the Americans. As always, it is the people and the young boys turned into soldiers who pay the price of war while those who prosecute and benefit from the fighting advance their purposes.