nytimes.com (may have a paywall, google headline and click link there to read the article)
quote:Anniversaries are the time for war stories to be told, and the stories of my family and other refugees are war stories, too. This is important, for when Americans think of war, they tend to think of men fighting “over there.” The tendency to separate war stories from immigrant stories means that most Americans don’t understand how many of the immigrants and refugees in the United States have fled from wars — many of which this country has had a hand in.
quote:Such stories are common among the Vietnamese people I know. For many, like the southern Vietnamese veterans who will not find the names of their more than 200,000 dead comrades on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, the war has not ended. That is because they are not “Vietnam veterans” in the American mind. Our function is to be grateful for being defended and rescued, and many of us indeed are. The United States welcomed hundreds of thousands of refugees from Southeast Asia in the years after the war. You would be hard pressed to find a more patriotic bunch than us, from the law professor who helped write the Patriot Act to the scientist who designed a bunker-buster bomb for the Iraq war. You can also count among our numbers many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
quote:Some may see our family of refugees as living proof of the American dream — my parents are prosperous, my brother is a doctor who leads a White House advisory committee, and I am a professor and novelist. But our family story is a story of loss and death, for we are here only because the United States fought a war that killed three million of our countrymen (not counting over two million others who died in neighboring Laos and Cambodia). Filipinos are here largely because of the Philippine-American War, which killed more than 200,000. Many Koreans are here because of a chain of events set off by a war that killed over two million.
quote:We can argue about the causes for these wars and the apportioning of blame, but the fact is that war begins, and ends, over here, with the support of citizens for the war machine, with the arrival of frightened refugees fleeing wars we have instigated. Telling these kinds of stories, or learning to read, see and hear family stories as war stories, is an important way to treat the disorder of our military-industrial complex. For rather than being disturbed by the idea that war is hell, this complex thrives on it.
I don't have time to read the article right now but...
Is the general tone that, if we better understood the aftermath of war and were more sympathetic to the survivors, we would feel guilty enough to change the military-industrial complex? This seems to be pushed and the "we can argue about the causes for these wars" line seems entirely dismissive.
Now I may be colder than some, but I think being more honest about WHY we choose to go to war has at least some hope in preventing them in the future. Sympathy will not overcome propaganda and media silence by those who are part of the cycle.