How about we apologise for sending troops to Vietnam instead?
Apology to Vietnam veterans for unfair post-war treatment
The Government will publicly apologise to Vietnam War veterans and their families, recognising the servicemen were not treated fairly when they returned from war. The apology, which will be made in Parliament on Wednesday, was agreed to in a memorandum of understanding between the Government, the Ex-Vietnam Services Association and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association in 2006. The memorandum, a $30 million package that resulted from a report on the veterans' concerns, also includes an ex-gratia payment of $40,000 for those with prescribed medical conditions and a $25,000 payment to the spouses of veterans who have died. "The apology will recognise that Vietnam veterans were not treated fairly on their return to New Zealand after the war," Prime Minister Helen Clark said.
How about we apologise for sending troops to Vietnam in the first place? The understandable fury directed at troops on their return home is healthy and important – one really does need to let troops who go into manufactured wars (Gulf of Tonkin was a big lie remember?) know that they will be demonized on their return, because as a soldier you have a free will, if you choose to get involved in a manufactured war, you deserve all the contempt you get, but the issue here was that our Government should NEVER have sent our troops into a manufactured war in the first place and most of the contempt by protestors should have been heaped on the Governments of the day. Even if we dislike what troops did, there is no excuse for the appalling health and mental problems that resulted from this war being left to wreck the lives of vets without true Government aid. The whole sorry exercise should remind Governments that when they ask NZers to risk their lives for a foreign conflict, as a Public we demand the highest level of justifications and not just sucking up to the Americans.