Sick Joke of the Year: Al Gore in Vietnam

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THE CURRENT favourite for the Workers Solidarity 1998 Sick Joke of the Year Award is that infamous newspaper of record, The New York Times - for a profile it ran of US Vice-President Al Gore. It prominently tipped Al Gore to run for US President in 2000. In doing so, the NYT notes that Al Gore has many "qualities" that recommend him for the job, including an avid interest in the environment, going back to when Gore was just a lad. (Ah it's lovely!)

The NYT goes on to explain that Gores "green" consciousness first became obvious in Vietnam during the war, when he served in the US forces there. In an article he wrote at the time, for 'Stars and Stripes' (the US Armed Forces paper), Gore marvelled at the inventiveness of the ordinary Vietnamese peasants who made use of old empty Coke and Pepsi tins to make huts and implements to farm with. Gore though this was a great example of recycling! (We kid you not).

However, while Gore was noticing these eco-friendly practices, he appears to have missed all the napalm and Agent Orange defoliant that was raining down all over South Vietnam at the time. During the war, US forces dropped tons of noxious chemicals on civilian areas every day of the week. Even today the effects of this environmental terrorism are still being felt by the population of Vietnam.

But if you have a news item to rival this 'gem' from the NYT, don't forget to let us know.

Kevin Doyle

This article is from Workers Solidarity No 55 published in October 1998

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