Sorry not to have answered earlier..... There are so many points that deserve a reaction in what you write that I needed to make sure I'd have enough time to cover them all.....
I can't believe you're so confident in the government propaganda you're been exposed to.
"There are many U.S Vietnam War-era veterans who claim that they and their offspring also suffer the effects of exposure to Agent Orange. It wasn't just the "peaceful and totally innocent native population" that suffered."
OK but just consider the figures. "During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the United States military sprayed nearly 20,000,000 US gallons (75,700,000 l) of chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. (...) The Vietnam Red Cross reported as many as 3 million Vietnamese people have been affected by Agent Orange, including at least 150,000 children born with birth defects. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects. (...)
By April 1993, the Department of Veterans Affairs had only compensated 486 victims, although it had received disability claims from 39,419 soldiers who had been exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam."
"Agent Orange was a defoliant intended to deprive Viet Cong troops of plant cover during their military excursions into South Viet Nam."
This was not the only purpose. More globally, the purpose was to deprive Viet Cong troops of plant cover, deprive the population from food supplies, and to make water resources poisonous.
"In 1965, members of the U.S. Congress were told "crop destruction is understood to be the more important purpose ... but the emphasis is usually given to the jungle defoliation in public mention of the program." (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_orange#Use_in_the_Vietnam_War
"Hardly in the category of Saddam Hussein's use of poisonous gas against the Kurds, eh?."
I will not elaborate on a crime scale.
"I would be surprised if the Communist government of Vietnam termed such a museum anything other than "American War Crimes.""
The museum is now called "War Remnants Museum".
"Operated by the Vietnamese government, the museum was opened in September 1975 as "The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government [of South Vietnam]." Later it was known as the Museum of American War Crimes, then as the War Crimes Museum until as recently as 1993. Its current name follows liberalization in Vietnam and the normalization of relations with the United States." (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Remnants_Museum_
"No way are they going to admit their own culpability in what occurred."
I'm not sure I catch what you actually mean with this sentence. Are you making the Vietnamese responsible for starting the war with the US? Of course, there has been war crimes on the Vietnamese side. I don't believe the Viet Minh and the Viet Cong were nice people when they dealt with the US troops. But, at least they did not use chemicals such as Agent Orange.
"But I don't think all the blame for what occurred is on U.S. France was involved there first during the 1950's. Then when they couldn't handle it, France pulled out and U.S. gradually took responsibility. At any time, North Viet Nam could have been content to operate in their own territory, but they pursued aspirations to dominate South Viet Nam."
I htink you have to go back to WWII to get a more global picture. Ho Chi Minh was an independentist, who set up an anti-colonial movement called the Viet Minh "League for the Independence of Vietnam". At the beginning, he received some support form the US Secret Services in his fight against French colonial power. At the end of WWII, the US obtained that the Japanese (who controlled Vietnam since the Japanese Coup on March 9, 1945) had to be disarmed by the Chinese (who? Chang Kai Check maybe) in the North, and the British in the South, as a means to to bring the French back in power. (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_French_Indochina_Campaign
Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh wrote and declared independence of Vietnam in Hanoi on September 2, 1945 (soruce:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proclamation_of_Independence_of_the_Democratic_Republic_of_Vietnam
Then, the French, under de Gaulle decision, set up the "Corps expéditionnaire français en Extrême-Orient" (French Far East Expeditionary Corps), with the aim to reconquer power in Indochina. Their action started in November 1945. (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Far_East_Expeditionary_Corps
The French Indochina war lasted from 1945 until 1 August 1954. The French fought against the Viet Minh, still an independentist movement, organized as a guerrilla. The end of the war was the Dien Bien Phu battle on APril 12, 1954, followed by the Geneva Conference, April 26 July 20, 1954 (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conference_
After the Geneva agreement, and the partition of Vietnam, the Viet Cong (a contraction of Vit Nam Cng-sn, (Vietnamese communist)) appeared in 1956. (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viet_Cong
The Hanoi government always considered it was in charge of the whole Vietnam and did not really recognize South Vietnam, qualifying it as a puppet regime. The Hanoi government, held by the Viet Minh, created the Viet Cong in the South, as a continuation of its independence war.
At the same time the South Vietnam government did not fulfill its obligation generated by the Geneva agreement, giving arguments to the North to fight against it. Little by little, it actually became a puppet regime under US control. For instance, the CIA organized a coup, leading to the arrest and assassination of South Vietnam president Ngo Dinh Diem (source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrest_and_assassination_of_Ngô_ình_Dim
"U.S. has certainly made its share or more of mistakes. And it may well be that the wealthy and powerful in U.S. have had selfish and greedy motives that translated into military action."
I do think so. Who benefitted from the Vietnam war? Maybe some generals, undoubtedly the US military industrial complex.
"Still, the bulk of the American people, seeing U.S. emerge as "the leader of the free world" post-WWII have had as their motivation the perception that we are the only ones who can deter powerful forces of evil and help provide for people in other countries the right to self-determination."
Maybe this was the way things were presented at that time. But, after a few decades, you're not obliged to believe this any longer. Be critical!
"We weren't there trying to dominate