Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Vietnam apology that rings hollow

When NZ withdrew its troops the trauma for many of us was just beginning. We were brought back on a civilian aircraft in civilian clothes and were told to get off the aircraft and go away. The official word from the army was not to tell anyone you'd been in Vietnam. We were aliens in our own country. A march down Queen Street in Auckland turned into a riot. We were pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables. People were screaming out 'baby killers!' That wasn't much good for the psychological state of the soldiers who had just returned from a war zone. Some returned soldiers suffered physical and psychological injuries. I would think the problems (for vets) have been created out of neglect. Neglect on the part of the government, neglect on the part of society and to some extent neglect on the part of the army."

Rick Thame Victor Five Coy

Helen Clark, Phil Goff and a large number of other Labour Party members are going to "apologise" on behalf of the New Zealand Government this Thursday 29 2008 over Vietnam Veteran's appalling treatment by the government of the time and subsequent administrations. There was no government assistance for soldiers as there was in other wars, no welcome home, no acknowledgment of the bravery shown in battle against the Vietcong and they were told to shut their mouths and not talk about their horror again.

Many Vets committed suicide, became hospitalized with mental problems and have a myriad of health problems. Some of these things also happened to subsequent generations of family members.

They will never forget what happened, during the war and after.

I just have one question.

Will Helen Clark, Phil Goff and her Labour colleagues personally apologise for spitting in the soldiers faces during the Queen Street riots?

It must be election year.

c Political Animal 2008

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