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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 9, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta .Wednesday, May 9, 1973 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 43 VIETNAM IN PERSPECTIVE Once again, tha Vietnam- ese have made history. The North Vietnamese and, in the South, the Vietcong have dared to defy a Western super Power. The United States is withdrawing from participation in the war in Vietnam, and the people of Vietnam are going to be left to themselves to work out their own future. They are now back to where they were after the French had with- drawn and before the Amer- icans had intervened. By Arnold Toynbee, Written for The London Observer Vietnamese anti coloni- alism and nationalism will tell in favor of the political reunification of South and North; reluctance to come under a regime that is Com- munist as well as nationalist will tell in favor of a con- tinuance of the political di- vision of the country. We cannot predict what the reso- lution of forces in Vietnam is going to be. but we can feel fairly sure that the Viet- namese will not settle their country's destiny "democra- tically" in the Western sense of the word. The Western parliamentary representative form of government is not in the Vietnamese tradition. and the Vietnamese have rot had the opportunity of adopt- ing it, even supposing that they had had the wish. The sensational defeat of France and the still more momentous frustrations of the United States are the feats by which Vietnam has made history in our time: but its greatest achievement was its extrication of itself from China. From 111 B.C. till after 90 A.D. Vietnam was a Chinese province. It is the only country that has been incorporated in China for that length of time with- out having been permanently assimilated and Sinified. Keeping itself independent of China was Vietnam's princi- pal preoccupation till the French laid hands on the country more than a century ago. Against China for about nine centuries, and then against the West, Vietnam has been on the defensive: but it wears two faces. In Cambodian eyes, Vietnam is a persistent aggressor, and this not only since the North Vietnamese Army blazed the Ho Chi Minn trail. The whole southern half of the area now included in Vietnam- was conquered by the Vietnam- ese, step by step, from its previous inhabitants. The Cambodians are the last sur- viving remnant of thsse. For the American people, the withdrawal of their arm- ed forces from Vietnam spells the close of an un- happy chapter in the history of the United States. To Brit- ish and French observers (of course we were not disinter- ested the Ameri- cans bsfore Pearl Harbour seemed strangely blind to a very real German and Jap- anese menace. Since 1946. the Americans seemed to have been excessively ob- sessed bv Communism. U.S. not impressed When, in 1939. the Con- gress at Washington was en- acting the neutrality laws, no one would have guessed that, within seven years, President Truman would be taking Turkey and Greece under the wing of the United States. This was indeed a volte face. The Americans now committed themselves t.o world-wide intervention for the containment of Com- munism. Their military in- tervention in Vietnam has been one of the many ap- plications of this contra-isola- tionist policy. By the time when Ameri- can intervened in continen- tal Asia, the European ex- colonial powers were with- drawing or were being driven out. But the Ameri- cans not impressed. They believed that Ameri- can intervention in Asia was not imperialism. They also believed that American mili- tary technology was invinci- ble. They did not, understand the nature of the Asian war in which they were engaging. They thought, that this war too could be won by the techniques that had won World War II. They also mis- took the identity of the poli- tical force that they were challenging. They supposed that they were making war an Communism: They were actually making war on Asi- an nationalism, which is far more dynamic. The way in which the Am- ericans have conducted their way in Vietnam has changed the world's "image" of the United States. When a hospi- tal in North Vietnam was bombed by B-52s, the Swedish Prime Minister, Mr. Olof Palme, publicly compared the United States with Nazi Germany. Mr. Palme's stric- tures have touched the Am- ericans to the quick; they have fell indignant. Yet the bomber is truly the enemy of mankind, whatever may be the bomber's nationality, ideology, and objective. Bombing has obliterated the distinction batween uniform- ed combatants, who are legitimate targets, and civil- ians, who are not. This dis- tinction limited and allevia- ted the barbarism of the in- stitution of war. The distinc- tion was established with dif- ficulty: its obliteration has been a calamity. All peoples that have had the means to bomb have used these means, ever since the first essays during the First World War, when avia- tion was in its infancy. But, after the dropping of nuclear bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not. one more bomb ought ever to have been dropped, and the Uni- ted States ought to have takan the lead in putting an end to this nefarious prac- tice, since the United States had emerged from the Sec- ond World War as the strongest Power in the air, and, for a time, as the only possessor of the nuclear weapon. South suffered, too The Americans have be- come bombing addicts for two reasons. They have a passion for technology even when this is employed for fiendish purposes, such as the massacre of civilians or defoliation: and they want to wage war without sacrificing American lives. Thus, for Americans, bombing has a double attraction. The atro- ciousness of this way of wag- ing war has been aggravated by American technological ingenuity. Anti personnel bombs: napalm: these grue- some technical terms have now come to be associated with fhe world's image of the United States. So has the place name My Lai. The massacre of children, wo- men, and old men in a vil- lage in a region that the United States was professing to be protecting was horri- fying, and this apparent ac- ciuicscence of a majority of Ihe American public was still more disturbing. America's allies have no- ticed that, even when we take into account the Ameri- can bombing of North Viet- nam with B-52s in the last, act of the war. South Viet- nam, which officially is the United States' protege, has suffered more cruelly than North Vietnam at American hands. We are alarmed, and we shall not easily be re- assured. What about, the prospects? Hew are we to assess them in the light of President Nix- on's account to date? On the debit side there are two scar- let entries: his deliberate en- gulfing of Cambodia and j Laos in the war; and his j bombing of North Vietnam, j not with precision-bombers, but with B-52s, which were bound to inflict civilian casu- alties even if their official targets were legitimate mili- tary objectives. On the credit side are his withdrawal of the American armed forces from Vietnam and his de- tente with China and with the Soviet. Union. Link between soft water and heart disease London Observer LONDON The link between "soft" water and a substantially higher risk of heart disease is strengthened in a new report four doctors from the Medi- cal Research Council in Lon- don. In a comparison of 489 execu- tive-grade civil servants living in six soft-water and six hard- water towns, they found that those living in soft-water areas had significantly higher blood pressure, levels of fat (choles- terol) in the blood stream, and heart rates. Raised levels of all three are possible precursors of coronaries, other heart disease and strokes. This report, in the latest is- sue of THE LANCET, takes what scientists call the "water story" a stage further, bringing nearer the day when water au- thorities may have to consider hardening all water supplies. INCREASED RISK The researchers, who include Dr. Margaret Cravrford, and Professor J. Morris the ack- nowledged British experts in the field say: "The observed differ- ences in blood pressure, blood cholestrol and heart rate levels could be important in explaining a substantial part of the differ- ence in cardiovascular mortal- ity between these hard and soft water towns." The soft water heart disease link was first noticed in Japan. Subsequent American. Cana- dian and British studies con- firmed the link, suggesting that hard water could reduce the in- cidende of heart disease by as much as 30 per cent. One study of 60 major towns in England" and Wales showed that the death rate from heart disease among people aged 35 to 64 and 546 men and 248 wo- 'men per 100.000 in hard water areas compared with 751 men and 355 women in soft water areas. The MRC team, from the So- cial Medicine Unit at the Lon- don School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, are investi- gating the increased risk in a special study of middle-aged male civil servants in six hard- water and six soft-water towns. In the hard water areas the water supply contains roughly 100 parts per million of calcium when it comes from chalky, limestone regions compared with 10 parts per million in soft water areas. RATES RISING Heart disease rates are rising all the time but. in some areas where water has been softened, they have risen by as much as 20 per cent compared with 8 per cent in areas where water has become harder. The blood pressure, cholester- ol and heart rate studies are the first details of the investi- gation to be published, but they do not as yet suggest any phys- iological mechanism to explain the higher incidence of heart disease in soft water areas. In the next stage of the in- vestigation the doctors will re- port on the levels of other chemical substances in the blood and urine, and the preva- lence of sudden death from coronaries there is a sugges- tion that there is 'a higher in- cidence of death within one hour of an attack in soft water areas. They will also report on the level of trace elements in the tissues and in drinking water. There is some speculation that a complex reaction between sodium taken as salt in food and calcium may be impor- tant. Raised salt levels are as- sociated witti high blood pres- sure and people advised to cut down on salt in their food. The significance of lead in drinking water has also to be estimated. HARD FACTS The study of the 12 towns is providing hard facts rather than previous statistical links, and these may provide the evidence that doctors need before advis- ing water authorities to change their supplies a costly busi- ness and technically one which could be difficult. It would not just be a question of everyone getting what water from hard- water areas: there would not be enough to go around. Soft water would have to be artificially hardened, and just how much Other elements would need to be added would have to be care- fully balanced. The differences in blood pres- sure, fat and heart rate hi the hard and soft-water areas were not enormous, but the consis- tency of the differences could be important. In the six soft- water towns, 16 to 18 per cent of the civil servants had blood pressure in the very high ranges compared with 10 to 13 per cent in the hard-water areeas. Heart rate, persistently, was a few beats more 77 to 78 compar- ed with 74 beats per minute, and the cholersterol level in the blood was on average 245 com- pared with 237 mg per 100 ml. As one approach towards measuring the importance of the differences, the doctors have es- timated each man's risk of de- veloping coronary heart disease over a 12-year period. They say: ''This procedure results in a predicted 12-year incidence in the soft-water group of 14 per cent higher than that in the hard-water group. "We infer that the differences observed in mean blood pres- sure and cholesterol level might well be reflected in a fairly con- siderale difference in coronary mortality and morbidity." Start shopping on this page. Getting the right gift is as easy as 1-2-3. 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