|April 30, 1975, the Vietnamese people celebrated the liberation of Saigon|
That struggle began against Japaneses occupiers, continued against French colonists trying to make a comeback, and ended by defeating their American replacements. The price of freedom was more than three million Vietnamese lives, most of them lost in what they refer to as the American War. The United States also lost more than 58,000 of its own young citizens in its war in Vietnam.
That number was come up a lot this week, as the number of American lives lost to coronavirus has surpassed the number of American lives lost in the Vietnam war. US talking heads as diverse as Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson have noted it, but all too often, the way they have put it is like this:
"The number of U.S. coronavirus fatalities has now surpassed the death toll from the Vietnam War."I beg your pardon, Vietnamese lives matter too! If you insist on putting it that way, please correct your language to make it clear you are acknowledging only American deaths. The current worldwide death toll from the coronavirus is less than a quarter-million, not one-tenth the death toll from the Vietnam War. Let's all work to keep it from getting anywhere close.
Breaking: U.S. death toll from coronavirus surpasses that of Vietnam War https://t.co/ffxId249gb— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) April 29, 2020
Now Vietnam is an independent socialist country of 96 million people that has gone from being one of the poorest countries is the world with per capita income below US$100 per year, to a middle income country with per capita income of US$1,910 by the end of 2013, according to the World Bank.
When Capt. Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, wrote about his concerns about the coronavirus outbreak on his ship, and then was fired for it, US President Donald Trump blamed him for stopping in Vietnam, and made the racist insinuation:
"Now I guess the captain stopped in Vietnam and people got off in Vietnam. Perhaps you don't do that in the middle of a pandemic..."Trump would do well to learn from Vietnam's handling of this common crisis facing all of humanity, instead of trying to scapegoat them for it. Vietnam has been exemplary in its handling of the coronavirus. It may be the only country on Earth in which the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a drop in demands on funeral homes!
The government of Vietnam acted quickly after the first 2 cases of COVID-19 were discovered in the country in late January. It restricted travel into Vietnam, and quarantined tens of thousands of people. Most importantly, they quickly rammed up testing, and tested widely. Reuters reported yesterday:
Vietnam increased the number of laboratories that can test for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, from three at the beginning of the outbreak in January, to 112 by April.That ratio for Trump's America is a mere 5.8!
As of Wednesday, 213,743 tests had been conducted in Vietnam, of which 270 were positive, according to health ministry data.
That ratio of 791 tests to every confirmed case is by far the highest in the world, according to data from health ministries compiled by Reuters. The next highest, Taiwan, has conducted 140 tests for every case.
Vietnam, a country of 96 million bordering China, appears to have succeeded where many wealthier and more developed countries have not. It has contained COVID-19 to a relatively small 270 cases and zero deaths: https://t.co/yLXOnHk2dp— James Pearson (@pearswick) April 29, 2020
Vietnam had only 16 people who had tested positive for coronavirus when the USS Theodore Roosevelt came calling, and they were far to the north. Eventually, more than 950 crew members, including the captain, tested positive for COVID-19, so probably it was the Vietnamese that were running the greater risk by allowing the USS Roosevelt to call on their port. Imagine the graciousness and hospitality of Vietnam to welcome a warship, from the same country, and of the same type, that was used to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of its citizens a half century ago. This is something else we can learn from Vietnam.
For more on the Vietnam War, see my documentary, narated by Martin Sheen, Vietnam: American Holocaust, now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Trump's New Wall? If we put the names of all the Americans killed my coronavirus to this date on a wall, we already know how long it will be.