Focus on the Land
Soldiers don’t start wars
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Re: Vietnam Remembered exhibition, Tairawhiti Museum
Your editorial of August 20, 2012 attributes the lack of respect for our Vietnam vets to the deep division within New Zealand society which existed at that time. In my opinion it was not the public of New Zealand who “shunned them” after they came home but our politicians and mainstream media, who cowardly sought to distance themselves from the negativism of that war.
As Winston Peters reminded us when he and Willie Apiata VC opened the excellent current exhibition at the museum: “Soldiers don’t start wars. But they have to go and do the job. They were soldiers doing a job. And as veterans they continue to do a job.”
I attended the opening last Friday evening because an uncle led one of the medical teams at Bong Son, and because I was one of those who marched in protest against our government’s commitment to a corrupt regime propped up by US foreign policy.
I had no animus for our vets then or now and I have yet to meet a single person who has. Looking at them assembled on Friday night, it would be a brave fool who tried to take any of them on — let alone 40 years ago.
Mr Peters is correct to encourage them to speak out for the recognition they deserve.
It is a mean-spirited government which now seems to be ignoring the recommendations in the Law Commission’s report: A New Support Scheme for Veterans (www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-war-pensions-act-1954).
It contains recommendations for improving the lot of all returned servicemen, including from Afghanistan.
WINSTON MORETON RNZNVR 104300
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