24 April 2003 - Ho Chi Minh
War Remanants Museum

There really isn't all that much for a tourist to see in Ho Chi Minh city. There are several museums, but I only went to two.

One of them was the War Remnants museum. I believe it used to be called the American War Crimes museum and was housed in the former US embassy, but I guess times change, and you can't bang on potential investors all the time.

However, although it has changed in name, by nature it is still pretty much the same. There is an odd juxtaposition of the weapons of war, glorifying it with statistics of how fast, how large, how great these weapons are, against the effects of war, which show the horrors of what it can do to a nation.

Probably the most memorable aspect of the museum is the section on US war atrocities. It doesn't pull many punches here as it catalogues them one after another. The methods used to get information out of prisoners, from dragging them behind tanks to throwing them out of helicopters. The massacres, when entire villages, including women and children were killed, for what reason, I still don't know. The use of Agent Orange and other defoliants that left an everlasting impact in the form of crippled and deformed children.

Surely these were war crimes, as much as any other? Why wasn't anyone brought in to task for this? How do we prevent things like this from happening again?

If Vietnam is meant to stir American conscience, then maybe we should have made the instigators of the war against Iraq see this museum and see what is possible when people believe thoroughly that they are doing right and don't give a damn about the consequences.


posted on Friday, May 02, 2003 - permalink
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