Skip to comments.And now a word from the 'dominoes' (disputing Kerry's senate testimony)
Posted on 10/15/2004 12:45:08 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
DURING THE Vietnam War, John Kerry testified before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee panel that an investigation conducted by Kerry and his group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, revealed that U.S. soldiers committed atrocities in Vietnam. The investigation was called Winter Soldier.
Now that Kerry wants to be president, some of his former military colleagues say they still resent his allegations. They believe that Kerry slandered his colleagues as war criminals merely as a pretext for gaining support for the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. They believe he was pandering to those who said the "domino theory" was not valid, that the Vietnamese communists were nationalists, not terrorists.
One way to try to resolve those conflicting views is asking those affected most by the war - the South Vietnamese. Philadelphia has a large Vietnamese community composed mostly of Vietnamese refugees. Some were "boat people" who fled the horror of communist Vietnam on rafts, boats and pieces of driftwood, risking their lives. Others are more recent arrivals. All fled the utopia that Vietnam was supposed to become, according to Kerry and his anti-war colleagues.
Quyen V. Ngo was a boat person. He was rescued by an U.S. merchant ship after three nights at sea. Born near Haiphong, his parents fled communist North Vietnam for the South in 1953.
A captain in the South Vietnamese army (ARVN), Ngo says he never saw any atrocities by U.S. soldiers, nor did he hear of any. He said he did not believe Kerry's tales about U.S. troops systematically committing war crimes. He thinks Kerry fabricated them. And testimony like Kerry's, Ngo believes, encouraged the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong communists to kill more Vietnamese and U.S. soldiers.
Ngo believes to this day that those Americans who opposed the war did not see the truth about it and the communists. Thuoc Nguyen was an ARVN soldier. Captured in June 1975 by the communists, he was imprisoned until October 1984. His only crime, he says, was that he was a soldier. He never saw or heard of any atrocities by U.S. soldiers.
Be Hua was an ARVN colonel. He was sent north to a re-education camp for eight years, he says, simply because he was an ex-soldier. He, too, says he was not aware of any atrocities by American soldiers. He said that he "only read about it in communist newspapers after the war."
Quang Nguyen was an officer in the South Vietnamese navy. He worked closely with the Swift boats. He was not aware of any atrocities - and he served 15 years in the navy.
Tran-Van-Ca was an ARVN major. He served 12 years, 10 months, 7 days in re-education camps simply because he was a former ARVN soldier. While there, he witnessed the execution of 20 of his colleagues because the communists wanted to show the populace, during an election, that they must do what the government says. They executed his friend during election season because "they want to show people that this will happen to you if you don't do what told to do."
Mary Ray is a leader of Philadelphia's Vietnamese community. She came to the United States because of what she calls the horror of communist rule. She said the Vietnamese community in Philadelphia is enthusiastic about President Bush, and think of him as a strong leader.
She was incensed about the criticism of Bush's National Guard service. "This man served in the Army," she said, starting to point to people around the table. "This one in the Navy. This one was a police officer. They all served their country. Does it really matter how they served?"
The folks I talked to say they believe George W. Bush is the candidate to lead the war on terror. They believe John Kerry will be too equivocal. They believe he proved he was incapable of guiding American foreign policy because of his anti-war protests.
They also believe he is incapable of guiding U.S. foreign policy because of his Senate opposition to GOP policies and his overall hostility to the CIA. And they should know.
Michael P. Tremoglie is a local writer.
Just as New Europe, which fought oppression joins with Bush, while Old Europe is bribed by oppressors who export terror around the world.
Good article! I wish the South Vietnamese would make a documentary on the realities of Vietnam and the millions that were slaughtered when the US withdrew.
This experience left me with a deep appreciation for the freedom we have in America. I can only begin to imagine the gratitude these Vietnamese immigrants have for the freedom they have found in America. The ugly truth of tyranny must be witnessed to be fully comprehended. Many of our fellow Americans seem to treat freedom as an abstraction, taking it for granted, much as a child takes its parents' love for granted. They jeopardize us all with their immaturity.
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