Bob Kerrey and the ‘American Tragedy’ of Vietnam

This sad history returns because of Bob Kerrey’s appointment as chairman of the American-sponsored Fulbright University Vietnam, the country’s first private university. That appointment has also prompted the Vietnamese to debate how former enemies can forgive and reconcile.

What is not in dispute is that in 1969 a team of Navy SEALs, under a young Lieutenant Kerrey’s command, killed 20 unarmed Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, in the village of Thanh Phong. Mr. Kerrey, who later became a senator, a governor, a presidential candidate and a university president, acknowledged his role in the atrocity in his 2002 memoir, “When I Was a Young Man.”

Those in the United States and Vietnam who favor Mr. Kerrey’s appointment see it as an act of reconciliation: He has confessed, he deserves to be forgiven because of his efforts to aid Vietnam, and his unique and terrible history makes him a potent symbol for how both countries need to move on from their common war.

To read more of this article, click here.

Create Wealth – San Francisco Chronicle Letters to the Editor, March 30, 2016

Regarding “Fidel spurns Obama’s presents” (March 29): Fidel Castro’s critique of President Obama’s Havana speech correctly concludes that Cuba is “…capable of producing the food and material wealth that we need with the work and intelligence of our people.” What Cuba needs to do (and Fidel Castro would no doubt agree) is find a way to unleash the work and intelligence of its people. Cubans’ biggest complaint is that they are tied down by a bureaucracy that prevents them from creating wealth.


The writer is president of Green Cities Fund, which sponsors humanitarian development projects in Cuba and Vietnam.

Cuba’s Economy – San Francisco Chronicle Letters to the Editor, March 23, 2016

Regarding “Beyond a half century of futility” (Editorial, March 22):

President Raul Castro is correct when he claimed Cuba has no political prisoners as short term “detentions” are now used to control dissent. What Cubans complain of the most, however, is the moribund state-controlled economy that kills incentive. Understandably, Cuba fears opening the floodgates to capitalism which could result in an oligarchy as exists in Russia (and the United States), but it must find a way to open its economy to the energy and creativity of its people.

TOM MILER, Oakland

The writer is president of Green Cities Fund, which sponsors humanitarian development projects in Cuba and Vietnam.

Inequality in Cuba (New York Times – The Opinion Pages)

FEB. 27, 2015

To the Editor:

Re “As Cuba Opens Door to Private Enterprise, Inequality Rushes In” (news article, Feb. 25):

One suggestion Cuba might consider to solve the inequality that capitalism is producing would be a more liberal approach to the alternative of independent worker cooperatives, which effectively compete with the capitalist world in countries like Brazil, Spain, Canada and even the United States.

If, for instance, coffee farmers were permitted to join together into cooperatives that could sell directly abroad, they might see the same success as coffee farmers did in Vietnam when its government allowed independent cooperatives.

There are many groups, like Kiva (which has generated many millions of dollars of investment funds), eager to foster cooperative, socially responsible development.

Oakland, Calif.

The writer is president of Green Cities Fund, which sponsors humanitarian development projects in Cuba and Vietnam.

View PDF: 2.27.15NewYorkTimes.doc

The Center for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

In 1972 Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Pierre Dominique Gaisseau traveled to Vietnam and made a film on the hospital Green Cities Fund co-founder Tom Miller established there with renowned reconstructive surgeon Arthur Barsky to treat war-injured children. The film was shown throughout Canada (on CBC) and the U.S. (NBC and PBS). With the help of Japan and Australia, the hospital continues to this day.

Watch the film here:

High Tech Lynching

Letters to the editor – San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lesson to blogger

The Shirley Sherrod forced resignation should not only be a lesson on the importance of responsible journalism (“Sherrod controversy was about journalism, not race,” Open Forum, July 30), but it also should become a lesson to blogger Andrew Breitbart for his attempted high-tech lynching of Ms. Sherrod.

I wish her success in her defamation of character lawsuit against him.

Tom Miller, Oakland

Afghan War

July 26, 2010 – New York Times

Leaked Documents Offer Candid Look at Afghan War

To the Editor:

Re “The Afghan Struggle: A Secret Archive” (“The War Logs,” front page, July 26):•

To the Editor:

It should come as no surprise that Pakistan has been aiding the Taliban (“Pakistan Spy Unit Aiding Insurgents, Reports Suggest,” “The War Logs,” front page, July 26) since Pakistan needs the Taliban in Afghanistan as a buffer against the expansion of its rival India’s power in Afghanistan.

Concentrating on Iraq, the Bush presidency ignored this political reality. One hopes that the Obama presidency will not, and that it will end the war with a realpolitik compromise, instead of feeding the public misguided platitudes about building democracy, helping women and, oh yes, fighting terror, as an unquestioning Congress hands over billions more for the war.

The WikiLeaks may not be the Pentagon Papers all over again, but they show that the foundation upon which American war policy in the region rests is nothing but sand.

Tom Miller
Oakland, Calif., July 26, 2010