Damn that war still pisses me off. In an argument at Iconic Photos about the above picture. God I lost it once again. I am amazed at how pissed off I get when a discussion of that war happens and people try to argue about how, in the above argument, for instance, that that photo was staged or altered in some way.
My point being that who ever did it (apparently the S. Vietnamese AF) it was our fault, because we were the ones who prevented free and open elections in the South and decided to back the continuation of a colonial war for about 20 more years (although we personally weren't there in full military force for the entire 20 years). Therefore, in my opinion we are morally responsible for every death and every bit of destruction that happened there.
I'll go farther, we are at least partially responsible for the Cambodian holocaust, because we over threw the Sianouk government and put in its place an unpopular and unstable military dictatorship that fell once we withdrew. That then led directly to Pol Pot. Now are we the only ones who are responsible? Of course not. The Pol Pot and his minions themselves have a major or perhaps the major share of responsibility. Of course when Vietnam invaded and over threw the Pol Pot regime, we supported Pol Pot even though by that time the horrors that he perpetrated were widely known.
So yeah, I'd say that we as a nation are greatly responsible for what has happened in that peninsula since 1954. I am reminded of Grant's belief that the Civil War was god's punishment on the United States for the Mexican War, or for an unjust war waged by a greater power on a lesser.