A few years after the Vietnam War started I had the fortune to meet many American soldiers far away from America in another country who told me first hand stories of a war that they were forced into. Years later in America right here in San Francisco I got to hear the first hand stories of Vietnamese who has fled their country.

Many Americans to date have not had the time to analyze why America went to fight a war we had no business messing with a sovereign nation. The fact remains we sent many soldiers many of them of color. In years to come they came home dead in body bags and we as a Nation failed to honor innocent women and men that were brained washed to go to war in Vietnam. Much as many service men and women are fighting today in Iraq.

In Vietnam we had the North which we called our enemies and the South that we called our allies. On every front in spite of having the best technology and equipment we were NO match when it came to guerilla warfare in the jungles of Vietnam.

I want to focus on the victims that were the local people the Vietnamese who are very, very proud of their home land. Very proud of their National Flag and I have one flying in my office and I am not Vietnamese.

Thousands of Vietnamese got into boats and fled to some imagined freedom not knowing that the Oceans were mean and that pirates were waiting to prey on victims. Thousands of women were raped. Men killed and the horrible scenes witnessed by children. Today many of them are grown and they still carry with them the scars of their flight to freedom from their beloved home land.

It is not easy to tell some one about cannibalism when the Vietnamese are famous for their cuisine. Having being influence by the French and other cultures. Many of the victims had to resort to cannibalism to survive. Those Vietnamese that fled had to eat human flesh to survive and many a time 5 to 10 percent survived in the open oceans. The others perished. Many committed suicide. Some landed in foreign countries like the Philippines and Thailand and had to live in filthy camps. Some made it to other countries like Austria, Germany, France, Canada, the United States and elsewhere.

Very few experts have made an analysis of the plight of thousands of Vietnamese. Here in San Francisco and San Jose we can meet so many of them and enjoy their friendship and culture. The under laying factors of torment, survival, courage, hope, and so many other qualities are revealed in their talking to you or sometimes just a simple smile.

Many spoke fluent French and were well educated but had to take menial jobs to make a living. After going through hell any job was heaven. I met Vietnamese in Austria, Germany, Northern Italy, France, Holland, and the United States and in many other places.

I paused to tell them of my unique relation with a country and a people I admire. They open up to me and soon we become friends. It is a shame that the United States has not learned from the episodes that took place in Vietnam. Today we are in Iraq where too many civilians have died and thousands of Iraqis have scars much more then inflicted on them by that cruel son of a gun Saddam Hussein.

To my Vietnamese friends I say I have written this because I wanted to. To my Iraqi friends I say we should have learned but have not. America is a noble Nation and not all of us agree with those that make stupid decisions in the White House.

To the people of Vietnam I say let freedom ring and to the Iraqi the land of the Prophets let the blessing be on you and the people of the world. Let us learn to be slow to make war and learn to embrace women, children, and men of good faith. Surely we can live to love and love to live; it is better then killing human beings. KARMA always catches us with any Nation. Today we see it but do not pause to think why?

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