December 8, 2008

Tunnels of the Viet Cong

-Trev crawling along a few meters underground in the Củ Chi Tunnels.-

While in Saigon we were able to take a trip 70km north to visit the Củ Chi Tunnels. The Củ Chi Tunnels are famed for their use by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Many say that it was this intricate and extensive underground operation that eventually persuaded the American forces to withdraw.

-Built first for the war between Vietnam and France (First Indochina War) , the tunnels truly felt their worth during the war between America (Second Indochina War).-

-Our guide demonstrating how to enter the tunnels through the secret entrance.-
(30cm x 20cm opening)

The tunnels, originally built as small entities by individual villages, were eventually connected to form over 200 km of passageways encompassing communication and supply routes, sleeping arrangements for various levels of guerrilla warriors and displaced villagers, kitchens, hospitals, water wells, weapon stores and hiding spots for Vietnamese guerrillas fighters.

-Lowering the tunnel roof to cover his tracks.-

-Spikes made from unexploded US bombs are used in booby traps against US soldiers.-

One aspect of the visit that floored us was seeing the Vietnam War from the perspective of the communist locals. As North Americans, we've been indoctrinated our whole life by the American view of the war. We've only seen the war from one vantage point. It was interesting to have the tables turned. We learned about the 'evil' Americans and about the 'heroes' that were brave enough to spend their lives 'hunting the enemy-Americans'. At the end of the day I believe that we had a more comprehensive view of the atrocities of war. Both sides spew propaganda, both sides kill mercilessly. Doesn't matter whose side is chosen, war is a terrible thing.

-Just another example of a use for unexploded ordnance.-

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