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.