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Letter: Lost in Vietnam, deceived in Iraq

For someone complaining about revisionist history, the letter writer does a pretty good job himself ["U.S. didn't lose Vietnam War," April 8]. The Vietnam War didn't start in 1975, it began with the Vietnamese people fighting for independence from France in the 1930s.

The United States funded 70 percent of the French war effort until the French finally conceded defeat at Dien Bien Phu. The resulting Geneva Accords of 1954 temporarily divided Vietnam, and unifying elections were to be held in 1956. The U.S. ally, South Vietnam, refused to hold those elections because Ho Chi Minh would have won. The rest of the U.S. participation in the continuation of the war was to keep those free elections from being held.

But the bottom line of Vietnam isn't the shame of losing the war, which we most certainly did. It's that we were there in the first place.

Newsday didn't go far enough in its editorial about the Iraq War ["Hard-learned lessons of war," March 24]. Like our part of the Vietnam War, the critical question is whether our leaders, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, intentionally lied in order to start the Iraq War. Of course they did, and that means that they are guilty of the death of 100,000 people and are war criminals.

David Kulick, Flushing