Vietnam’s Legacy of Lies

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It was difficult to control my emotions — specifically, my anger — during my visit to Vietnam last week. The more I came to admire the Vietnamese people — their intelligence, love of life, dignity and hard work — the more rage I felt for the communists who brought them (and, of course, us Americans) so much suffering in the second half of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, communists still rule the country. Yet, Vietnam today has embraced the only way that exists to escape poverty, let alone to produce prosperity: capitalism and the free market. So what exactly did the 2 million Vietnamese who died in the Vietnam War die for? I would like to ask one of the communist bosses who run Vietnam that question. “Comrade, you have disowned everything your Communist party stood for: communal property, collectivized agriculture, central planning and militarism, among other things. Looking back, then, for what precisely did your beloved Ho Chi Minh and your party sacrifice millions of your fellow Vietnamese?”

There is no good answer. There are only a lie and a truth, and the truth is not good.

The lie is the response offered by the Vietnamese communists and which was repeated, like virtually all communist lies, by the world’s non-communist left. It was (and continues to be) taught in virtually every Western university and was and continues to be spread by virtually every news medium on the planet: The Vietnam communists, i.e., the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong, were merely fighting for national independence against foreign control of their country.

First, they fought the French, then the Japanese and then the Americans. American baby boomers will remember being told over and over that Ho Chi Minh was Vietnam’s George Washington, that he loved the American Constitution, after which he modeled his own, and wanted nothing more than Vietnamese independence.

Here is the truth: Every communist dictator in the world has been a megalomaniacal, cult of personality, power hungry, bloodthirsty thug. Ho Chi Minh was no different. He murdered his opponents, tortured only God knows how many innocent Vietnamese, threatened millions into fighting for him — yes, for him and his blood soaked Vietnamese Communist Party, backed by the greatest murderer of all time, Mao Zedong. But the moral idiots in America chanted “Ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh” at antiwar rallies, and they depicted America as the real murderers of Vietnamese — “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”

The Vietnamese communists were not fighting America for Vietnamese independence.

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  • Canuck

    Great article. It brings to mind Winston Churchill's observation that history is written by the victors. This article could just as well have been written about China or Russia.

    • PAthena

      History is not written just by the victors. Thucydides was an Athenian who wrote a history of the Peloponnesian War, which Sparta eventually won over Athens. The Bible was written by losers – the Jews, defeated by Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, etc. French historians wrote French history, Victor Hugo wrote the novel Les Miserables based on the defeat of Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo. German historians have written histories of Germany about World War I and World War II when Germany was defeated.

  • Irandissident

    You could say the same about China which in terms of "mode of production" resembles slavery more than any other form when you consider the population at large.

    Then you can say this about Iran where many were killed and their assets expropriated because of their wealth (they called them "Taaghootee" , an extremely derogatory Islamic term) but now the elite rulers in the Islamic system make the Shah's upper class look like paupers.
    Once in 1979, they ridiculed the Queen's mother by showing her apartment on TV, having not one, but TWO bathrooms !!!! Now the sons of the Ayatollahs and the regime elite own huge apartments on top of high rises with not only private swimming pools in the sky but automobile parking garages next to their penthouse units up there. The very few Lamborghinis in Iran are owned by their sons.
    What happened to all those slogans, the anger, the class vengeance and sacrifices of the naive followers whom no one remembers?…. In the meantime poverty, prostitution, addiction and corruption has risen to levels never imagined a generation ago

  • Alexander Gofen

    Indeed, there is little difference between the history of the Vietnam War as told by the Communist Party of Vietnam and what just about any college student will be told by… any professor in America, Europe, Asia or Latin America! Or Israel.

    That is because the free world was complacent relying on self appealing values of our freedom of expression, free market and similar, and allowed the Commies and fellow travelers to take advantage of us during the last 100 years.

    So the Bolsheviks – and now the LIBERASTs did take the full power in the school, universities and the media: just as if the USSR apparatchiks sit in every key position of power.

    Now just dream how to take the power back. And if a hot civil war is the only solution, I will sign up anyway, because there is no other place on this planet to flee farther from this filth and abomination…

    • ajnn

      Complacency is a bitter foe that will bring down even the strongest.

      It is truly wacky the nonsense that emanates from our academic elites. I do not understand how they can swallow this nonsense as it is so full of contradictions, inconsistencies and known falsehoods.

      Perhaps the next generation, untainted by nostalgia for the anti-war movement will do better. But I doubt it. Please notice how completely anonymous are the heroes of the civil rights movement who came before Martin luthor king. Their risks were tremendous, even greater than MLK, as they built a foundation for justice from the ground up. Yet they are forgotton.

      History is an imperfect vehicle for communicating what happpened.

  • guest

    Hate to burst this little fairy tale, but South Korea was a military dictatorship for about, oh, three decades after the Americans "liberated" them. And all of those dictators had US backing. It was only when progressives – students, unionist and liberal clergy, rose up that the dictatorship was finally overthrown and democracy arrived.

    The rest of your little tale is equally full of nonsense propaganda.

  • J Trinh

    I am Vietnamese American, came from South Vietnam. I am very impressed by the article but I wonder why the US left south Vietnamese in hands of those stupid communists?! Not only that but when I read news about South president Nguyen Van Thieu 's head was threathened to be cut by president Nixon during the Vietnam war, I felt sorry for south Vietnam supported by that "half way done job" by America. Could you tell how much people suffered by the "unfinished war" that America did for many countries such as Vietnam and Afganistan, so on? I hate to see my tax going to the war in other countries then the Gov't left those countries behind the same as how President Bush and Obama have been doing in Afganistan, the job has not yet done !

  • J Trinh