stroy"--all this and far more is endemic to a war that can never be "legal" or moral so long as it is fought. For what is truly exceptional and unintended in Vietnam, from the Government's viewpoint, are the B-52 missions, defoliants, and artillery attacks that do not ravage villages and fields. Specific weapons and incidents are deplorable, but we must see them as effects and not causes. The major undesired, accidental aspect of the entire Vietnam experience, as three administrations planned it, was that the Vietnamese resistance, with its unshakable roots everywhere in that tortured nation, would survive and ultimately prevail rather than be destroyed by the most intense rain of fire ever inflicted on men and women. For the history of America's role in Vietnam is not one of accident but rather of the failure of policy.
Given what is so purposeful and necessary to the United States' war in Vietnam, and the impossibility and the undesirability of America relating to that nation by other than military means, there is only one way to terminate the endless war crimes systematically and daily committed there--to end the intrinsically criminal war now, to withdraw all American forces immediately. And while the Vietnamese succor and heal their wounds, Americans must attempt to cure their own moribund social illness so that this nation will never again commit such folly and profound evil.
Eric Norden is a free-lance writer who lives in New York.
Seymour Hersh is a journalist who has covered the Pentagon for UPI. In 1970 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his account of the My Lai massacre.
David Welsh is a free-lance writer and former editor of Ramparts.
Dr. Erich Wulff worked in South Vietnam for six years as a member of a West German Medical Mission.
Jean Bertolino is a French journalist who reported from Vietnam.
Jonathan Schell is a specialist in Far Eastern history and a journalist.