Skip to comments.'60s Singer Still Calling for 'Nam Apology
Posted on 04/01/2005 8:22:26 PM PST by InvisibleChurch
It's been 30 years since the last bombs fell during the Vietnam War, and longtime peace activist Peter Yarrow says it's about time that America apologizes.
The singer-songwriter from the 1960s folk group Peter, Paul and Mary has grown gray, but his passion to fight for those affected by the war remains fervent.
During his first trip to Vietnam this week, he told The Associated Press that the war wounds of the United States won't heal until the nation makes amends a process he believes should involve helping Vietnamese suffering from the ill health effects of Agent Orange, a defoliant sprayed by U.S. planes during the war.
"All I know is that there's something that's really hurting the process of engagement, normalization and mutual respect in this equation," he said of U.S.-Vietnam relations. "And a real flash point is the issue of Agent Orange."
Yarrow, 66, performed a benefit concert before a packed crowd in Hanoi's Opera House to raise money for the cause and visited a village where U.S. veterans volunteer their time to help children suffering from diseases and birth defects believed to be caused by exposure to the chemical.
Yarrow, famous for the song "Puff, The Magic Dragon" and his rendition of Bob Dylan's classic "Blowin' In The Wind", decided to devote himself to the cause after years of activism ranging from marching with slain U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., to organizing concerts in Madison Square Garden to protest the unpopular war.
"Now, I'm here with that history and came to Vietnam ready to get down on my knees as one American and say, 'Please forgive us. We who are a good country and a great country in many ways also have made some terrible mistakes,'" he said.
Yarrow is among the first well-known anti-war activists to come to Vietnam since the war ended on April 30, 1975, when communist forces took over Saigon, the U.S.-backed capital of South Vietnam.
Actress Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam in 1972 where she met American prisoners of war and was photographed at a communist anti-aircraft gun site, earning her the nickname "Hanoi Jane."
In an interview prior to the release of her memoir next week, Fonda has that "... sitting on an enemy aircraft gun was a betrayal ... the largest lapse of judgment that I can even imagine."
Since the war, relations with the United States have warmed. Diplomatic ties were normalized in 1995 and a landmark trade agreement was signed in 2001, prompting an explosion of business. But the issue of Agent Orange remains a sticking point.
A U.S. federal court last month dismissed the first-ever lawsuit filed by Vietnamese against the American chemical manufactures, claiming they suffered severe health problems after exposure to Agent Orange.
U.S. aircraft dumped 21 million gallons of defoliant on Vietnam from 1962-71. Most of that was Agent Orange, which contains the toxic dioxin, blamed for causing diseases such as cancer, diabetes, spina bifida and a range of other health problems. However, the U.S. government maintains there is not enough evidence to link dioxin to those ailments.
But Yarrow said the science shouldn't matter. Instead, he said the United States should simply do the right thing 30 years after the war by treating the Vietnamese who say they suffer from exposure.
"It's not to me an issue about whether it's 30 percent or 80 percent of them being victims of Agent Orange ... You've got to say 'We, as a country, are sorry' or at least the individuals have to say it," he said.
While in Vietnam, Yarrow also traveled to Ho Chi Minh City where he attended a conference of international schools to promote Operation Respect, a nonprofit he founded to foster nonviolence in schools.
I'd forgotten why I hated Peter Paul & Mary.
Now I remember.
Our mission in Nam was totally justified. Halting the spread of the false Communist "gospel" was a sacred mission in and of itself, which could have yielded for the Vietnamese people even mere "worldly" benefits, for example: freedom of press, speech, religion, property, and so on.
Karl Marx was wrong. The Viet Cong were wrong. Marxist sympathizers in the U.S. are wrong, and always have been.
They need to apologize for holding to an ideology which killed more in its name since 1917 than ANY OTHER thus far (not letting any of the others off the hook, either...). That's one hell of a "brand management" issue, huh?
Anyone who is a Marxist today is a potential future NKVD officer who wants to take your farm, seize your property and put a bullet in the back of your skull.
No apologies are owed, none.
I'm still waiting for people like Peter to apologize to me for treating me like crap when I came home from fighting that he was probably too cowardly to do.
Piss up a rope, Pete.
I wonder if Yarrow has apologized to the 14 year old girl he molested in 1970.
ince you should only apologize for your own mistakes, my first thought was that he was going to apologize for helping to push the U.S. to abandon the South Vietnamese.
Peter,Peter,Peter----give it a rest.No one gives a rat's a** what you want and no one,with a brain, ever did.
Hey Peaceniks, I got your apology right here ( Placing middle finger on the nuclear button)
Go F yourselves.
I was just gonna ask if it was Peter or Paul who did time for molesting little boys. He's awful mouthy for a convicted pedophile.
Is ol' Pete still hitting on underage girls? Perhaps a long-overdue apology is in order.
Ask the Left explain Pol Pot. How about the Shining Path? How about the oh-so wonderful deeds of the FARC? What about the misdeeds of the Sandanistas? Or the stellar human rights record of North Korea and China? I'm sensing a pattern here .... oops
Tell the Left to stick THAT track record in their litte coat pocket. To even think that Kerry is "one of them" is really .....
He just needs to shut up and sing. Guess all the atrocities that were committed by the Vietnamese on the Americans don't need an apology.
Whoa, he's a ChiMo ? This needs to be shouted from the rooftops, if proven true. We need an anti ChiMo ping.
"I wonder if he will apologize to the thousands killed by the Communists "
I know you meant to type in "millions".
And the leftist marxist usefull idiots like Yarrow and the NY Times should all be tried and prosecuting for aiding and abetting the genocide of 100 million in the last century.
Had the Dems bombed Haiphong as did Nixon, we could have saved 40,000 lives and sopped the communists alot quicker.
Although he hangs out, and seems in agreement, with those two leftists, Paul is an avowed Christian and I am unaware of scandal in his past.
I just looked at my article file. Seems he did three months in jail in 1970 for taking 'immoral liberties' with a 14 year old girl. Sounds like a role model for America's youth to me.
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