Amnesty and the Vietnam war



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Purpose: The objectives of this study were: (1) To survey the history of amnesty in America as well as other selected countries; (2) To ascertain whether or not precedents, concerning amnesty in the United States, have been set; (3) To define the categories of political offenders in the United States; (4) To determine the arguments for and against the granting of amnesty; (5) To determine conclusively the best action to be taken with respect to the American Vietnam War resisters. Methodology: The methodology used in this study to accomplish the objectives were: (1) Collect data from agencies and organizations concerning amnesty; (2) Collect data concerning historical amnesties; (3) Personal interviews with Vietnam Veterans; (4) Review literature on the amnesty issue; (5) Correspond with Gold Star Parents for Amnesty; and (6) Refine data to indicate similarities and differences in American amnesties. Conflict: A. Arguments Against Amnesty: 1. The political offender has committed an illegal act and should have to stand punishment for committing a crime. 2. To grant amnesty would be to make a mockery out of the military service. 3. To grant amnesty to those who resisted would be to tell those who suffered bodily injury or lost loved ones in the war that their loss was of no benefit. 4. The majority of the people of the United States are opposed to the granting of unconditional amnesty. B. Arguments For Amnesty: 1. To unite the country 2. To allow the country to make use of her exiles 3. To honor the feelings of the Gold Star Parents for Amnesty 4. To allow Americans the right of disapproval on immoral grounds 5. To recognize that the Vietnam War may have been illegal 6. To honor religious views 7. To accept that man reacts out of moral conscience. Conclusion: Research supports the conclusion that the only fair and just solution of the Vietnam War resisters is unconditional amnesty. The people of the United States have suffered long enough from the division of the country, placed there by the military involvement in Vietnam. Unconditional amnesty is a recourse which would unify the country. By solving this problem of the past, the problems of the future could then be faced.



Vietnam War, 1961-1975--United States., Amnesty--United States.