Washington: President Barack Obama has slammed America’s treatment of Vietnam veterans, describing it as a ‘disgrace’, and vowed that combat troops returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would not suffer similar dishonour.
Obama said the Vietnam war was ‘one of the most painful chapters in our history’, especially ‘how we treated our troops who served there’.
“You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valour,” he said while addressing veterans before a monument dedicated to the 60,000 Americans killed in Vietnam.
“You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened,” the Telegraph quoted Obama, as saying.
According to the paper, he announced that the US would begin a 13-year programme of honouring three million Americans who had served in the conflict.
The invasion of Iraq, which Obama has often called ‘the wrong war’, remains deeply controversial, for the Bush administrations’ promise of finding weapons of mass destruction, which never surfaced, and for the 4,500 American troops killed.