Ariel S. Garfinkel, Scofflaw: International Law and America’s Deadly Weapons in Vietnam
With the recent passing of Senator John McCain, it’s clear how hard it is for many Americans see what we’ve done in the world. It’s much easier to see what others have done to us, in this case, the Vietnamese who held McCain captive and tortured him. Despite Trump’s demurrer that McCain was no “hero,” the week-long mourning and focus on his death and life speaks otherwise.
Ariel Garfinkel can help us better see who we are and who we’ve been. In her timely, informative, and piercing book, Scofflaw: International Law and America’s Deadly Weapons in Vietnam, she brings attention to the damage the U.S. did to the Vietnamese people both during the war and since, with its unexploded ordnance (UXO), and the lethal defoliant, Agent Orange. Because of these, people continue to suffer and die in excruciating ways.
Regarding UXO, Garfinkel writes, “Children are still being maimed by cluster bombs, their parents are still dying from grenades and mines, and the full removal of remaining live ordnance at the rate of success over the past two decades will reportedly take hundreds of years more.” As for Agent Orange, it is true that the U.S. government has acknowledged the significance of Agent Orange when it comes to care for our veterans, yet the government is unable and unwilling to acknowledge its responsibility for the death and devastation its has caused the Vietnamese people. According to the author, “an estimated 400,000 Vietnamese died as a result of exposure to the chemical sprays.” Read the rest of this entry »