Human Rights Watch: Should Vietnam’s Prez Publicly Blast Obama over Agent Orange Victims During Visit?

Dear HRW people:

You just asked Obama to publicly denounce Vietnam’s treatment of dissidents when its president visits Washington on July 25. You said

“If criticizing the Vietnamese government is a crime, President Obama should show solidarity with dissidents by committing the crime himself,”

Why did you not also call on the Vietnamese president to publicly criticize Obama on July 25? Could the Vietnamese president not use the occasion to “show solidarity” with over a hundred thousand Vietnamese children who are, today, seriously harmed thanks to US use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War? According to a recent McClatchy report

U.S. aid for these people so far has amounted to a pittance. According to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, only $11 million of the $61.4 million that Congress has allocated since 2007 – a year after then-President George W. Bush pledged to help clean up contaminated areas – has been earmarked for public health programs in Vietnam.

The report notes that, in contrast, the US has paid out billions to US veterans of the war.

I wonder if HRW has any solidarity with victims of US aggression. Might that lack of solidarity have anything to do with the revolving door between HRW and the US State Department?

Joe Emersberger

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