Skip to comments.Vietnam protesters fall silent
Posted on 04/28/2005 1:58:45 PM PDT by naturalman1975
MANY myths and half-truths about the Vietnam War whipped up by the communist propaganda machine have been allowed to persist unchecked in discourse about Iraq. Today, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, perhaps some lessons can be learned from this painful chapter in history.
A point of view held by the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s and still taken as fact by some people today is that the Vietnam War was a civil war, not one fomented or directed by the communist north, which, in turn, was being instructed by China.
With that belief, the anti-Vietnam War movement denounced US involvement in Vietnam as an act of interference. The Vietnamese Communist Party's official biography on leader Ho Chi Minh and the Chinese Communist Party confirms that the communists in the north received instruction from China and were supported by the rest of the communist bloc with aid to foment the war and to spread Marxist-Leninist ideology.
The Vietnam War should thus be seen, rightly, as a fight to preserve freedom and democracy by the people of South Vietnam against communist invasion.
The anti-war movement supported the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (the Vietcong) portrayed by communist sympathisers in the West as independent from Hanoi. Party documents now reveal it was a product of the north.
As such, members of the anti-Vietnam War movement let themselves be deceived by the communists. Some influential people in the West, wittingly or not, abetted the communists in their deception.
Novelist Graham Greene wrote The Quiet American in 1955 in which he denounced the US and South Vietnam as engaged in acts of terrorism against the Vietnamese people. He could not provide any verifiable detail about one such alleged incident which he asserted was true.
At the time Greene wrote, thousands of people in the north were slaughtered in the so-called land-reform campaign initiated by Ho Chi Minh under the directives of Chinese advisers. Greene was happy to ignore that campaign.
Noam Chomsky, the leading anti-war intellectual, vowed "to speak the truth and to expose lies" as a reason for his pro-Vietnamese communist stand. As he made this passionate avowal, North Vietnamese poet Nguyen Chi Thien was imprisoned for doing just that, writing the truth about the communists. Nguyen was imprisoned for 27 years.
The Western media turned what was a military success on the part of the non-communist forces in the south to a political victory for the communists. The Tet Offensive of 1968 was an unmitigated disaster for Hanoi. Yet it was pictures of US carnage that were publicised to a war-weary audience.
The media also relayed ad nauseam the picture of a South Vietnamese soldier shooting a Vietcong, in civilian clothing. The message was loud and clear -- this is the kind of atrocity that the South Vietnamese army did to their own people, with the backing of the US. The Western media did not report the massacre of 4000 unarmed civil servants and civilians in the city of Hue, committed by the communists.
Nguyen Ngoc Loan, the South Vietnamese officer in the picture, passed away in 1998. Neil Davis, the Australian war correspondent killed on assignment in Thailand, set out the background to the killing when interviewed for David Bradbury's 1980 documentary Frontline. The Vietcong shot by Loan had, not long before this picture was taken, led a team of communist terrorists who killed the family of a South Vietnamese officer, including his 80-year-old mother, his wife and his children. How often is his background explained?
Following their victory in 1975, the communists, hailed as liberators by their sympathisers, put more than 1million people in concentration camps, appropriated property, nationalised all means of production, evicted people from their homes and stripped people of their savings. Before the end of the war, South Vietnam was at par with other developing countries in the region. Now, after 30 years of "liberation", Vietnam ranks with the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world.
After 30 years of peace, intellectuals, artists, Buddhist monks, Catholic priests, tribal people, even communist war heroes, are subject to arrest, torture, harassment and imprisonment for peacefully demanding freedom and democracy.
What is occurring in Vietnam sparks protests from human rights organisations around the world. Amid all of these voices of protest, the deadening silence from the anti-war camp is telling. Those who supported the communists still refuse to see the stark evidence.
It was the pressure from the anti-war elite that forced the US administration to pull troops out of Vietnam. The hasty US retreat made South Vietnam prey to a ruthless enemy still fat with Soviet largesse and left behind it a trail of indescribable human suffering culminating in the boat people tragedy.
Are we going to let this happen to Iraq? Troop withdrawal should be a process that happens gradually to allow the precious new democracy in Iraq time to build up its national security and strengthen its governing institutions in the face of fundamentalist savagery.
Building a democracy is a long process. While 80 million Vietnamese people are now doomed in slavery, the chances for the Iraqi people to live in a society that respects freedom and is based on the rule of law is within reach.
Quynh Dao is a member of the Australian-Vietnam Human Rights Committee and a former refugee.
Report from Hanoi Jane's homeland I see.
The partition in 1954 between North and South Vietnam was originally intended to be temporary, dividing the country between those who had supported the French and those who had fought them. It was supposed to lead up to nationwide elections.
By any rational sense of the term, the Vietnam War was indeed a civil war between the Communist North and the anti-communist South. There were many Communist supporters and fellow travelers in the South, but all the anti-communists had quickly fled or been wiped out in the North.
Another mess left by the French to be cleaned up.
Another mess left by the French to be cleaned up.
Also the communist government is surprisingly eager to sample the benefits of a market economy and trade, but (Boy Clinton aside) it is rumored that negotiations over the size and shape of the bargaining table may require a few more decades . . .
Good morning Vietnam!
Real history written by a Vietnam native ping ...
The Vietnam war was the longest in our nation's history.
1st American advisor was killed on June 08, 1956,
and the last casualties in connection with the war occurred on May 15, 1975, during the Mayaquez incident. Approximately 2.7 million Americans served in the war zone; 300,000 were wounded and approximately 75,000 permanently disabled. Officially there are still 1,991 Americans unaccounted for from SE Asia.
Vietnam was a savage, in your face war where death could and did strike from anywhere with absolutely no warning. The brave young men and women who fought that war paid an awful price of blood, pain and suffering. As it is said: "ALL GAVE SOME ... SOME GAVE ALL"
The Vietnam war was not lost on the battlefield. No American force in ANY other conflict fought with more determination or sheer courage than the Vietnam Veteran. For the first time in our history America sent it's young men and women into a war run by inept politicians who had no grasp of military strategies and no moral will to win. They were led by "top brass" who were concerned mainly with furthering their own careers, most neither understood the nature of the war nor had a clue about the impossible mission with which they'd tasked their soldiers. And the war was reported by a self serving Media who penned stories filled with inaccuracies, deliberate omissions, biased presentations and blatant distorted interpretations because they were more interested in a story than the truth! It can be debated that we should never have fought that war. It can also be argued that the young Americans who fought so courageously, never losing a single major battle, helped in a huge way to WIN THE COLD WAR.
Ping for a good read
Take that, Jane Fonda! I heard her say something about people calling her a communist and she was denying it in her appearance in Seattle yesterday.
Turns out that, like so many of the ideas pooh-poohed by the vacuous (or complicit) Left during the Woodstock days, this one was far more true than false. When Vietnam fell, Cambodia and Laos followed shortly, with a harvest in blood unseen since Stalin's purges.
Even in the countries that never went Communist - Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, the mainstream have become very soft toward Communism, and other procrustean ideologies, including Islamism, in far greater measure than was the case during the 1950s. The US failure to hold our ground in SE Asia (including the disintegration of SEATO) has led to a geopolitical power vacuum. The remaining free nations of SE Asia have increasingly been kowtowing to Beijing and are no longer necessarily reliable allies of the US. While not completely falling to Communism, they have certainly gotten into something that resembles Finlandization.
good read bump
Why was China following a Marxist-Lenin model? Did they have some type of partnership back then?
If Nixon hadn't caved into the minority anti-war crowd
and listened to the Silent Majority
Hanoi Jane AND Hanoi Kerry
would have been prosecuted for their treason in the 70's,
while Nixon was still President.
Sacrifice begets Sacrifice:
MEL's -PASSION- was sparked by -WE WERE SOLDIERS-
"Can they still be?"
a) A person charged with absence without leave or missing movement in time of war,
or with any offense punishable by death,
may be tried at any time without limitation.
Who is allowed to bring charges? Can that be done by civilians?
And how do we get a copy of the Paris Peace Treaty?
I completely forgot that anniversary was rolling around this year. I'm going to have to lift a glass or two to everyone who never came home. Anyone else inclined to do so is welcome to join me.
...ain't LOVE grand..?
"Who is allowed to bring charges?"
I would think the US Attorney General.
Also that office would gather the abundance of evidence.
And the FBI has proof of his treason.
Hanoi Kerry Timeline of a traitor
includes FBI files
Kerry and Julia traveled to Paris, France and met with Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, the Foreign Minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of Vietnam (PRG), the political wing of the Vietcong, and other Viet Cong and Communist Vietnamese representatives to the Paris peace talks, a trip he now calls a "fact-finding" mission.
(U.S. code 18 U.S.C. 953, declares it illegal for a U.S. citizen to go abroad and negotiate with a foreign power.)
LOVE is very grand Ronnie :)
Yes, I've read all the links. Has anyone with Pointy Heads though? ie., powers that be.
What's ironic is that after the Fall of Saigon in '75, the remaining VC were disarmed and found themselves in Reeducation camps.
Whether some other officer up the chain of command could have convened a Courts Martial, I don't know. You'd have find and ask a Navy Jag.
Something happened though. Kerry's contractual commitment was up in the summer of '72. His discharge was in '78.
I attended the "Vietnam and the Iraq War" presentation given at the University of Chicago Law School by Professor Geoffrey Stone 20 January 2005. As a veteran of the Vietnam War from August of 1969 to January of 1971, serving as an infantry squad leader in a mechanized infantry company, and with another unit as a tank commander on an M48A3 tank; I was keenly interested in the form that the lecture might take. After a cursory reading of Professor Stone's curriculum vitae, I suspected that Professor Stone's take on the South East Asian conflict might indicate a general disapproval of the United States war effort. My suspicions were proven correct. The lecture was an attempt to paint the American war effort in Vietnam as misguided at best and an imperialistic effort to establish SE Asian capitalistic hegemony at worst. The antiwar left was portrayed as being noble and idealistic rather than populated by a hard core that actively hoped and worked for a US defeat, the US government as destructive of basic civil liberties in its attempt to monitor their activities, and the North Vietnamese and Vietcong as nationalists who wished to preserve their unique culture against an imperialistic onslaught. He described the South Vietnamese government in terms that were heedless of the South Vietnamese governments struggle to survive a relentlessly ruthless Communist assault while he stated the South Vietnamese government was engaged in an unwarranted assault on human rights. He neglected to mention ANY of the numerous genocidal atrocities of the Vietcong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA). He described the Tet Offensive as a surprise for the United States in which 1100 American soldiers died and 2300 ARVN soldiers, and not much more about it.
I challenged Professor Stone on the following. The reason that the United States opposed nationwide elections that were to be held in accordance with the 1954 Geneva accords was due to the murder and intimidation campaigns carried out by Ho Chi Minh. This fact is in Professor R. J. Runnel's book Death by Government, in which he cites a low estimate of 15,000 and a high figure of 500,000 people in the murder by quota campaign directed by the North Vietnamese Communist Party Politburo that would have made the election a corrupt mockery. This campaign stipulated that 5% of the people living in each village and hamlet had to be liquidated, preferably those identified as members of the "ruling class." All told says Runnel, between 1953 and 1956 it is likely that the Communists killed 195,000 to 865,000 North Vietnamese. These were non combatant men, women, and children, and hardly represent evidence of the moral high ground claimed by many in the antiwar movement. In 1956, high Communist official Nguyen Manh Tuong admitted that "while destroying the landowning class, we condemned numberless old people and children to a horrible death." The same genocidal pattern became the Communists standard operating procedure in the South too. This was unequivocally demonstrated by the Hue Massacre, which the press did a great deal to downplay in its reporting of the Tet Offensive of 1968.
I pointed out that the National Liberation Front was the creation of the North Vietnamese Third Party Congress of September 1960, completely directed from North Vietnam. I pointed out that the Tet Offensive of 1968 was a disastrous military defeat for the North Vietnamese and that the VC were almost wiped out by the fighting, and that it took the NVA until 1971 to reestablish a presence using North Vietnamese troops as local guerrillas. I pointed out how the North Vietnam military senior commanders repeatedly said that they counted on the U.S. antiwar movement to give them the confidence to persevere in the face of their staggering battlefield personnel losses and defeats. I pointed out the antiwar movement prevented the feckless President Lyndon Johnson from granting General Westmoreland's request to enter Laos and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail or end his policies of publicly announced gradualist escalation. The North Vietnamese knew cutting this trail would severely damage their ability to prosecute the war. Since the North Vietnamese could continue to use the Ho Chi Minh Trail lifeline, the war was needlessly prolonged for the U.S. and contributed significantly to the collapse of South Vietnam. The casualties sustained by the NVA and VC were horrendous, (1.5 million dead) and accorded well with Gen. Ngyuen Giaps publicly professed disdain for the lives of individuals sacrificed for the greater cause of Communist victory. To this day the anti-war movement as a whole refuses to acknowledge its part in the deaths of millions in Laos and Cambodia and in the subsequent exodus from South East Asia as people fled Communism, nor the imprisonment of thousands in Communist re-education camps and gulags.
When he tried to say that United States should have known it could not put down a local popular insurgency, I pointed out that the final victorious North Vietnamese offensive was a multidivisional, combined arms effort lavishly equipped with Soviet and Chinese supplied tanks, self-propelled artillery, and aircraft. I pointed out to him that it was the type of blitzkrieg that Panzer General Heinz Guederian would have easily recognized. I said how I didn't recall seeing any barefoot, pajama-clad guerrillas jumping out of those tanks in the newsreel footage that showed them crashing through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon. This spectacle was prompted by the pusillanimous withdrawal of Congressional support for the South Vietnamese government in the wake of the Watergate scandal, which particularly undermined this aspect of President Nixons foreign policy. It should be noted that a similar Communist offensive in the spring of 1972 was smashed, largely by US air power; with relatively few US ground troops in place.
There were legions of half-truths and omissions that this professor spoke to in his extremely biased lecture. When I asked him why he left out so much that was favorable to the American effort in Vietnam, he airily dismissed my argument as being just another perspective, but tellingly he did not disagree with the essential truth of what I said.
Professor Stone struck me as just another liberal masquerading as an enlightened academic.
He was totally unable to relate how the situation in Iraq is comparable to the situation in Vietnam, so I volunteered a comparison for him. A seditious near traitorous core of anti-war protesters is trying to undermine U.S. efforts there with half-truths, lies, and distortions. I said that in that respect, the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam are very similar. A significant difference is that thus far the current anti-war movement has not succeeded in manifesting contempt for the American military on the part of the general U.S. public as it did in the Vietnam era.
When I was in Vietnam, I recall many discussions with my fellow soldiers about the course of the war in Vietnam and their feelings about it. Many, if not most felt that "We Gotta Get Outta this Place," to cite a popular song of the time by Eric Burden and the Animals, but for the most part they felt we should do it by fighting the war in a manner calculated to win it. I do not recall anyone ever saying that they felt the North Vietnamese could possibly defeat us on the battlefield, but to a man they were mystified by the U.S. Governments refusal to fight in a manner that would assure military victory. Even though there was much resentment for the antiwar movement, and some (resentment) toward career professional soldiers, I never saw anyone who did not do his basic duty and many did FAR MORE THAN THAT as a soldier. Nineteen of my friends have their names on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington DC. They deserve to have the full truth told about the effort for which they gave their young lives. The U.S. public is not well served by half-truths and lies by omission about such a significant period in our history, particularly with their relevance toward our present fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Good for you, Brother!
Thanks for the ping. Always good to get a little refresher course in real history.
Are you familiar with the term 'useful idiot?'
Thanks for the ping!
so verra verra many thanks for the ping
(I'll try to start hangin' 'round here a little more oftener)
Now could somebody please tell me how to change my tagline?
Never forget and never forgive the treason.
Oh, they see it alright.
It's just that they are on the other side.
Socialism is a cancer that gets into some peoples' souls that way.
Meanwhile, NPR is still adhering to the party line and broadcasting 'human interest' Vietnamese refugee stories from Oakland, CA.:Why I left Vietnam -- the US came and made my life unbearable.
and it wasnt peasant guerillas we were fighting, it was combat hardened nva regulars.
Thanks for the ping. I think the Kerry and Fonda pics will show up at the WHCD on Saturday. I'll ask the WHC about sKerry's SF 180 and welcome Barberella.
I'll ask the assmebled WHC "Is it Safe?"
Exactly. And Diem cancelled the elections because everyone felt that Ho (who lived in Boston for a while) would win. We supported him in that decision until we deposed him under Kennedy who totally misread the will of the Vietnamese in both the north and the south.
In case my link doesn't work, I found it on this page, at the top right, same photo.
You have to allow Active X controls in order to view it.
heck, we've seen how the anti-everything American nuts here at home have been largely marginalized...
perhaps we will eventually chalk up Vietnam as an anomoly, thanks to patriotic Americans using the internet as a modern day Committees of Correspondence, so to speak, to communicate and shoot down their arguments and appearances.
I know here in Syracuse, NY...we've successfully stolen the thunder of the loonie left for over 2 yrs now. They don't get any media attention anymore.
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