Monday, July 11, 2005

A changed mind who wants to change minds: Duong Thu Huong

In today's NY Times (registration only, of course) there is a book review featuring a Vietnamese novelist who is new to me, Duong Thu Huong .

Huong, 58, is an excellent example of a changed mind, not to mention a courage and outspokenness that reminds me quite a bit of Oriana Fallaci:

In 1994, through the intervention of Danielle Mitterrand, France's first lady at that time, Ms. Huong was allowed to come to France to receive an award. She was offered political asylum. "I said, 'Thank you, but in my country fear crushes everything, brave soldiers have become cowardly civilians,' " she recalled. " 'That's why I have to return. I return to do one thing: to spit in the face of the regime.' "

Here's a summary of Ms. Huong's activities:

Her sins, it seems, are many. Her novels dissecting life under one of the last Communist regimes are published and well received in the West. She is a former Communist Party member who was expelled as a traitor. And above all, she is a dissident - a "dissident whore," one party leader said - who refused to be silenced even after spending eight months in prison in 1991...her priority is to denounce the Hanoi government as irremediably corrupt and abusive...

"It is my mission to do so on behalf of those who have died under this shameful regime," she said, speaking fluent but heavily accented French. "Because I have a small reputation abroad, I have to say these things. I have to empty what is inside me to feel my conscience is clear. The people have lost the power to react, to reflect, to think. Perhaps I will give people courage."

It's the changed-mind aspect of her story that especially interests me. Huong was born in North Vietnam and indoctrinated as a child in the party line. She became an actress during the late 60s, and went to entertain the troops:

"I joined a group of young artists performing for the troops and victims of the war. The slogan was: 'Our songs are louder than the bombing.' We would silence the screams with songs."

But even then, she recalled, she noticed that party members enjoyed special privileges. A bigger shock followed when South Vietnamese prisoners arrived in her zone. "I discovered the truth that we were also fighting Vietnamese," she said. "Yes, we were being bombed all the time by the Americans, but they were high in the sky and I never saw them. I only saw Vietnamese."

She kept her thoughts to herself, as she did after the war when she met up with relatives in Ho Chi Minh City (as Saigon was renamed) and realized that the defeated were better off than the victors.


Ms. Huong later was privy to some revisionist history on the part of the North Vietnamese, which fed her disillusionment:

One freelance job proved to be another eye-opener. Working for a group of army generals, she ghost wrote a history of the Vietnam War. "The generals would discuss among themselves how to correct my text to suit their interests," she said. "They wanted to increase the number of Vietnamese who died to show that no sacrifice was too great for the people."

After one of her novels was published in the 80s and became a source of some controversy for the Party:

"The party's general secretary, Nguyen Van Linh, offered me a house of the kind reserved for ministers if I would remain silent," she said. "I told him, 'I fight for democracy, I place myself on the side of the people and would never agree to be like a minister.' My principle is that you can lose everything, even your life, but never your honor."

That last sentence is the key to the attitude that propels people such as Huong (and Fallaci, by the way) to take the risks they do. When faced with experiences and personal observations that contradicted her early indoctrination, she chose to jettison the belief system in which she had been raised, and to fight it with all her considerable powers of expression. Her sense of personal honor required such a course of action.

37 Comments:

At 8:48 AM, July 11, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

What courage!

 
At 12:20 PM, July 11, 2005, Blogger VietPundit said...

neo,

Another dissident Vietnamese writer you might want to check out is Nguyen Huy Thiep. Another changed mind is Colonel Bui Tin. Unlike Berkeley, Hanoi has many changed minds. I will write about this topic later.

 
At 1:04 AM, July 12, 2005, Blogger Dreamer said...

Incredible! Did she author her book in the west, then? Wouldn't it be great to trojan horse it into the Chinese nets?

 
At 1:38 AM, July 12, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

In this same vein, the VietQuoc website, VietQuoc being a prominent nationalist, non-communist party. At VietQuoc is this interview with Duong Thu Huong.

 
At 2:32 AM, July 12, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

I have not read Duong Thu Huong's book and will only comment on Neo neo-con's thoughts.

"Huong, 58, is an excellent example of a changed mind".

I get the feeling you like people like yourself, that is "courageous" people who "jumped ship", joined the other team against all odds (so to speak), after "seeing the light".

"..her priority is to denounce the Hanoi government as irremediably corrupt and abusive..."

Priority? How about the good things they've done, like kick out the colonialists? Raise food production, mend international relations, attracted foreign investment, create jobs? Not worth mentioning.

No doubt things would have gone much better for them if, through the last century, the Vietnamese would have just rolled over and played dead to western interests, ..but maybe THEIR HONOUR WOULDN'T PERMIT THEM.

As for corruption, she should speak out about it. Yet corruption is not exclusively Vietnamese, in fact it's going to take them a long time to catch up with us, big time corruption anyway.

"Because I have a small reputation abroad, I have to say these things. I have to empty what is inside me to feel my conscience is clear."

As long as she derides a communist regime I expect her audience here to
grow. Anyone who points out the abusive deficits of any of our capitalist foreign allies will be ignored entirely.

"The people have lost the power to react, to reflect, to think. Perhaps I will give people courage."

She could have been speaking of America or any European democracy as well. She's certainly given me courage (as maybe you noticed).

"It's the changed-mind aspect of her story that especially interests me."

I was right, you found a friend :-)

"But even then, she recalled, she noticed that party members enjoyed special privileges."

We have no people of privlidege in our country, ..only the worse wealth distribution in the world? Give me a break, privledge exists everywhere.
..Not that it makes it right.

"Yes, we were being bombed all the time by the Americans, but they were high in the sky and I never saw them. I only saw Vietnamese."

What's her point, if you don't see them they're not there?

"..and realized that the defeated were better off than the victors."

Excuse me, this is also the same everywhere. In fact, if Vietnam had inavaded and ruled America for 80 years, I would like to see what we would to our fellow countrymen who collaborated with the enemy. I'd bet a far uglier scenario then what played out in Vietnam after
their war.

"The generals would discuss among themselves how to correct my text to suit their interests," she said.

She could have been talking about US preperations for any of it's wars, including Iraq.

"They wanted to increase the number of Vietnamese who died to show that no sacrifice was too great for the people."

Politicize intelligence? Not us. Nope. Nobody does that.

"The party's general secretary, Nguyen Van Linh, offered me a house of the kind reserved for ministers if I would remain silent," she said.

Nobody else does that type of thing either.

"I told him, 'I fight for democracy, I place myself on the side of the people and would never agree to be like a minister.' My principle is that you can lose everything, even your life, but never your honor."

Good for her. I like her.

"When faced with experiences and personal observations that contradicted her early indoctrination, she chose to jettison the belief system in which she had been raised, and to fight it with all her considerable powers of expression. Her sense of personal honor required such a course of action."

I think American's could learn alot from this woman. We all should also take more risks to voice our opposition to the many crimes, domestic and international, that the United States has and continues to commit. Yet I have a very strong feeling that her message will only be politicited too, that is used merely to discredit "our enemy" and justify our destruction of Indochina. Propoganda.

She is a brave woman. ..Now who the hell are we?

 
At 8:22 AM, July 12, 2005, Anonymous stephen said...

"Excuse me, this is also the same everywhere. In fact, if Vietnam had inavaded and ruled America for 80 years, I would like to see what we would to our fellow countrymen who collaborated with the enemy. I'd bet a far uglier scenario then what played out in Vietnam after
their war."

Well, that raises an interesting question. What should we do with your kind? After all, you are proud of ridiculing and rejecting your own country.

 
At 10:33 AM, July 12, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

starvation in north korea, abject poverty in cuba, stagnation and heresy in north viet nam - where are the marxists when ya' most need a diatribe against elected government and capitalism and competition?

 
At 11:08 AM, July 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt things would have gone much better for them if, through the last century, the Vietnamese would have just rolled over and played dead to western interests,

Yes, that's exactly what I would maintain. I'm married to a refugee from SE Asia--one of the countless refugees that John Kerry, George McGovern, and Noam Chomsky said wouldn't exist. I like the rhetorical identification of the Communists with "the Vietnamese" though...very typical. Learn that in freshman comp last year?

Do you know the first thing the NVA did when they got into power? Liquidated the remains of the Viet Cong. The second thing was set up concentration camps for their domestic enemies, of which they had an enormous number for a "popular resistance party." I'm sure none of this bothers you, because the evil colonialists were gone...along with millions of others who fled the regimes you would never want to live under.

 
At 2:07 PM, July 12, 2005, Blogger Minh-Duc said...

Ho (the commenter) comment is the worst nonsense I have ever read. Comparing Vietnam and the West is assanine stupid. In the West, people criticize the government on the daily basic and free do do so. In Vietnam, people go to jail for any form of criticism, even something as non-political as raising the issue of corruption. How stupid can a person get?

 
At 2:33 PM, July 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Minh--

"Ho" is just upset that he can't send you to a re-education camp.

 
At 3:22 PM, July 12, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

Perhaps but a few don't already know this, but Minh-Duc has a very informative post up, which in turn is referenced by Belmont Club in yet another great post.

 
At 7:09 PM, July 12, 2005, Blogger Huan said...

being Vietnamese of Northern descent i have to laugh at the notion that the US invaded and occupied Vietnam, that the war was somehow anything other than a civil war between two ideologies receiving support internationally. i laugh because obvious some would rather cling in ignorance to well worn lies and propaganda than the pursue the truth apart from media reports and hearsays.

on second thought, i think it sad to prefer such ignorance over truth.

oh well. to each his own poison.

 
At 3:15 AM, July 13, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Stephen:

"Well, that raises an interesting question. What should we do with your kind? After all, you are proud of ridiculing and rejecting your own country."

Besides collaborating with an invading enemy and criticizing your
own countries policies to be two, quite distintively different things (I hope), I'm not "proud of ridiculing and rejecting my own country". This is only a discussion, I'm voicing my opinion. A little sensitive to criticism are you? Christ, listen to yourself, you sound like the hard heads in Hanoi, not an American.

Nevertheless my original point goes unchallenged. What would WE do to the "traitors" that collaborated with an invading or occuyping enemy? What would the SOUTH (Vietnam) have done to the northern communists if they had won? If Indonesia, the Phillipines, or any other western backed, anti-communist
quasi military dictaorship is any indication it would have been far worse then in Southern Vietnam.


Goesch:

"starvation in north korea, abject poverty in cuba, stagnation and heresy in north viet nam - where are the marxists when ya' most need a diatribe against elected government and capitalism and competition?"

Mine was not a diatribe against elected government, capitalism or the like, as oddly any criticism is taken to be, here in this den of "free thought" and "democracy". I was only pointing out that many of the deficincies Duong Thu Huong Neo raised about her own country could be said about any country. A little sensitive to criticism there fella? Listen to yourself, you sound like the heard heads in Hanoi too, not an American.

Perhaps if North Korea didn't feel it had to arm it's self to the teeth (of course we've done nothing to make them paranoid), even with a nuclear arsenal, then maybe they could divert some of their resources else where. Drought and geography are also factors. Other communist countries, under more favourable conditions, do produce enough food.

Cuba is poor, but again will point out child mortality rates, a key indicator of general social welfare,
is equivalent to that of the United States, and infinately better off then many of it's Caribbean (capitalist) neighbours, as is there education and health system. No doubt if they didn't feel they had to arm themselves to the teeth resources could be diverted to more constructive endevours as well.

While we're on Cuba, anything to say about the general well being of Cuban's under the U.S. backed Batista dictatorship, or Vietnam under the French, the French-Japanese, the French-English-American's and Diem?
My how their living standard rose. Or any of the other US backed capitalist out-posts, like the garden of Haiti, a US colony since our first invasion in 1828? Is this proof capitalism doesn't work to you? Not to me. What works IS PEACE, that is not starting wars.

And after everything the US did to Vietnam it takes a lot of balls for an American to say anything about Vietnam's government, especially corruption, as ours is perhaps the most corrupt, responsible for the most enourmous financial scandals, in history. Right here in the good 'ol USA.

Corrupt people are everyhwre. It doesn't make it right. But it shouldn't be used as a justification for war, past, present or future, as I had the feeling Neo was doing.

To Anonymous:
(I said)
No doubt things would have gone much better for them if, through the last century, the Vietnamese would have just rolled over and played dead to western interests,

You said:
"Yes, that's exactly what I would maintain."

Unfortunately "rolling over and playing dead" is not in the human nature. ..Maybe you should go live on another planet?

Or stay here and help the other idiot's start more wars.

To Minh Duc:

"Comparing Vietnam and the West is assanine stupid."

Again, my point was that many of the issues Neo (Duong Thu Hoang) brought up could be said about any place, communist or not.

"In the West, people criticize the government on the daily basic and free do do so."

Don't kid yourself my friend, everyone's free to say what they want, UNTIL PEOPLE START LISTENING THAT IS. Then things can change quickly, as the history of
American political assisnation might indicate. If you think for a moment the US would ever allow it's lop-sided political-financial system, or it's agressive military to be defanged by "democracy", to a popular vote, it is you who are assanine stupid. Anyway, enough safe-guards are built in to our "democratic" system that no one will have to worry about democracy getting too democratic.

"No one is a bigger slave then a man who falsley believes he is free". I'm afraid that man is you Minh Duc.

"In Vietnam, people go to jail for any form of criticism, even something as non-political as raising the issue of corruption. How stupid can a person get?"

During W.W.I the US passed legislation (The War Act?) that made any criticism of (finally) entering that war illegal, thus eliminating the socialist and communist party's from the American landscape. They were all jailed, for voicing their conscience, before the bolschevik revolution even happened.

The McCarthy era as well was a water-shed in US commitments to free speech and thought.

And I imagine if I stood on a corner today and started raving about all the things the US has done to the Middle East (and other countries like yours) the last 50 years, to radicalise Arabs, or that perhaps we deserved to get bombed, I bet I would get picked up too.

My point is, when the going gets tough, when nations get paranoid, democracy gets tossed off.

And the going got tough in Vietnam.
Thanks to the likes of "us" that is.

(Another?) Anonymous said...

Minh--

"Ho" is just upset that he can't send you to a re-education camp."

Re-education? How 'bout just educated.

 
At 7:50 AM, July 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho--

You did know that the real Ho spent the 1920s writing propaganda in the Soviet Union, right? It was absolutely indistinguishable from what you wrote, actually. Is there any North Korea propaganda point you haven't rehashed?

What WOULD the South have done if they'd won the war?

Since they weren't interested in conquering the north, it probably would have been Thailand or South Korea or Taiwan. Please compare these countries to, let us say, Laos. You may have been to a tourist trap or two in SE Asia--I rather doubt it--but you don't know a goddamn thing about any of these places. It would have been infinitely better to "roll over for Western interests" (usual Red-fascist allegation against those who don't want to live in a prison state) than be Vietnam in the 80s.

Funny you should bring up Indonesia. You do know that the cause-celebre of the Left in the 70s and 80s was East Timor (or, probably, you don't). Bin Laden cited East Timor's independence as a Western imperialist plot--after the Bali bombers repeated the point during their "trial," John Pilger wailed "it just can't be". Ah, but it was, wasn't it? All this is down the memory hole for the Lefties now, along with their support for an independent Kurdistan.

And I imagine if I stood on a corner today and started raving about all the things the US has done to the Middle East (and other countries like yours) the last 50 years, to radicalise Arabs, or that perhaps we deserved to get bombed, I bet I would get picked up too.

You mean like Michael Moore, Ward Churchill, Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Bill Moyers, Tariq Ali, Nicholas de Genova, Michael Scheuer, Juan Cole...isn't more likely you'd get tenure, a book contract, or a seat next to Jimmy Carter at the next Democratic convention? But really, this is a matter for your shrink, whom I advise you see immediately.

People who think command economies work really ought not talk about being educated.

 
At 8:02 AM, July 13, 2005, Anonymous Stephen said...

Ho,it wasn't until I married a Filipino woman that I understood the racist condescension inherent in the leftist twaddle you preach.

You pride yourself in being a sort of "universalist" who is above such things as unalloyed patriotism.

But, you think that those other "lower" folks should be absolutely true to their own kind.

You really don't get it, do you?

Learn to be a patriot. Cut the crap. It's offensive. And, no, you are not an enlightened intellect. You line is the usual line of BS. Heard is a zillion times.

 
At 8:49 AM, July 13, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Stephan:

"You pride yourself in being a sort of "universalist" who is above such things as unalloyed patriotism."

For sure. Blind patriotism is just stupid, ..and dangerous.

"But, you think that those other "lower" folks should be absolutely true to their own kind."

I said no such thing, only that they reacted, and would be expected to act JUST LIKE US IN A SIMILAR SITUATION. We wouldn't roll over and play dead, why the hell should they be expected to? Who thinks who is "lower"? Not me.

"Learn to be a patriot. Cut the crap. It's offensive."

Offensive? Sorry I spoiled your day.

And how does one learn to be a partiot? But keeping closing your eyes, covering your ears, and switching off your brain? And not giving a shit for the people we've fucked over all over the world the last half century?

 
At 8:51 AM, July 13, 2005, Blogger Minh-Duc said...

Stephen,

Ho's ilks are not only racists they are religious bigots as well. Our first exchange, he made the assumption that I am a Catholic because of the position I took on the Communist. We Buddhists suffered horribly under Communism. Our monks are detained (in fact my Patriarch is still in jail), many of our temples confiscated, and our right to relgious freedom denied. But a bigot like Ho would never understand that.

 
At 8:57 AM, July 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Minh--

I assure you "Ho" doesn't know and doesn't care. White middle-class leftists dream that Cuba is a paradise (look at those (unaudited) mortality figures! look at the free (nonexistent) health care!) and that they're "courageous" for saying something that you can read in any Barnes and Noble in the country, or hear on taxpayer-supported NPR or a state-run university any day of the week. Pathetic, isn't it?

 
At 9:54 AM, July 13, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Anonymous said...

Ho--

"You did know that the real Ho spent the 1920s writing propaganda in the Soviet Union, right? It was absolutely indistinguishable from what you wrote, actually. Is there any North Korea propaganda point you haven't rehashed?"

Let's be more specific shall we? Or is everything the Communists wrote or said automatically a lie or propoganda in your red-white-and blue book? What propoganda did Ho write in the 1920's that wasn't true, slavery and the amount of wealth being sucked out of Indochina? Lynchings in America?


"What WOULD the South have done if they'd won the war?

Since they weren't interested in conquering the north, it probably would have been Thailand or South Korea or Taiwan."

You're right, the South had enough trouble keeping their own back yard in line let alone taking the north.
Yet you still haven't answered my question, what would we do to those American's that collaborated with an invading, occuyping enemy? The context of the discussion was Duong Thu Hoang citing abuse against "the defeated" as some exclusively communist trait. I only say we would have treated them worse.


"It would have been infinitely better to "roll over for Western interests" (usual Red-fascist allegation against those who don't want to live in a prison state) than be Vietnam in the 80s."

In this world nobody rolls over and plays dead for anybody, not in our country or anyone elses either. It would be certainly easier otherwise, but evidently millions of Vietnamese disagreed with you, ..and kicked our ass out of there.

" Funny you should bring up Indonesia. You do know that the cause-celebre of the Left in the 70s and 80s was East Timor (or, probably, you don't)."

"Cause-celebre" I find inappropriate. There was certainly nothing to celebrate. Perhaps "the left" was only trying to point out that a US backed
military was slaughtering tens, if not hunderds of thousands of innocent Timorean's for their territory and oil rich coast line. What's your problem with that? Doesn't fit in with the bull-shit we're brought up to believe? America would never do that?

"Bin Laden cited East Timor's independence as a Western imperialist plot--after the Bali bombers repeated the point during their "trial,"

I would disagree. Clearly the East Timor mess couldn't go on, especially once it got into THE PUBLIC EYE. Then we had P.R. problem, damage control, the works.
I mean we're good people, as long as American's and other westerners weren't exposed to it, and it was never on the news, our government was right on board the Indonesian death train. Yet we even agreed the Indonesian military could judge it's own, rather then an international tribunal, and nobody cared about that either. At any rate, I'd say the Bali bomber got his wires crossed.

"People who think command economies work really ought not talk about being educated."

To maintain prices, supply and demand, US and European governments dictate almost every aspect of our agricultural production. And that seems to work just fine.

And amazing how good a communist country can do, like China, WHEN YOU DON'T BOMB IT OR TRY TO STRANGLE IT.

And their are a number of legitimite comparisons (which I've already bored some with here), for instance Cuba to Haiti, and Vietnam to the Philippines that would suggest that the communist model does function better then the capitalist, DESPITE EVERY EFFORT ON OUR PART TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T.

I'd remind you of the kibbutz system as well, a purely Maoist construct that established Israel out of nothing, with nothing. Some of us have also been known to send our kids there because ITS GOOD FOR THEIR CHARACTER. I suppose you bomb and kill them.

You're right though, nothing works better then social welfare for the rich, or killing people for their resources or markets. I mean, just take a look at us, how the hell did we get so rich?

And by the way, when are we going to let an African sell a chocolate bar in the US? They only produce 80% of the chocolate in the world! When are we going to open our markets to the third world, stop subsidising our farmers and industry?

I wouldn't say you are uneducated, I'd only say you are decieved.

 
At 10:36 AM, July 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho--

I was getting concerned that you had been picked up by a death squad for exercising your freedom of speech.

I realize that your Chomskyite understanding of economics holds you back, as your praise of the Great Leap Forward (I didn't realize that the US was "bombing" China in the 50s) so amply demonstrates. By the way, the current Leftist line is that China isn't communist any more (and they're right for once...I guess it would be too much to ask what experience you've had working with the Chinese). Do try to keep up.

The Viet Cong were the ALLIES of the North. Please explain why they needed liquidation. You can also describe the current success of the Israeli kibbutz, and why it barely exists anymore despite decades of welfare support; the only bombing that's been done to it has been by the Arabs. Is that what you meant by bombing?

I am pleased to agree with you that the agricultural price support systems of the west are shameful. If you think they "work pretty well" (by which I mean "are self-supporting"), it's clear your medicine hasn't quite taken. Increase your dosage.

Of course you don't believe that the Bali bombing had anything to do with East Timor--it's only the people who carried it out who said that it was. But they're brown and didn't parrot your propaganda points, so like Minh they don't count. Hey, you haven't even called Minh a "gusano" yet!

I only say we would have treated them worse.

Any actual evidence? I didn't think so. What we do have is the evidence of Laos, Cambodia, North Korea and Vietnam--much worse than Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea. Which way did the refugees go again?

 
At 4:47 PM, July 13, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Anonymous said...

Ho--

"I was getting concerned that you had been picked up by a death squad for exercising your freedom of speech."

No, I'm in Europe.

"I didn't realize that the US was "bombing" China in the 50s)".

When did I say it was? Not that we didn't try to make their lives as miserable as possible.

"By the way, the current Leftist line is that China isn't communist any more (and they're right for once...I guess it would be too much to ask what experience you've had working with the Chinese). Do try to keep up."

What makes you think communists were never capitalists? Ever read Marx, "das kapital". They only realised the limits of the system, as America is going to do when our 3 trillion dollar (and mounting) debt becomes due. And that economics was the basis for most wars, as America, the champion of capitalism, is proving with such stellar clarity.

And by the way, when did America ever care about their (or anyone elses) well being?

"The Viet Cong were the ALLIES of the North. Please explain why they needed liquidation."

Probably after such a long struggle, and getting dicked around in '45, '46, '48 and '54, they wanted to finally cement their grip on power.
Like an animal in a tug of war with another over a piece of food. Perhaps you can give me some sources on how many VC were "liquidated" and how many were incarcerated.

"You can also describe the current success of the Israeli kibbutz, and why it barely exists anymore despite decades of welfare support;"

Because the US is pretty much bank rolling the economy, and the west tends to dump it's surplus' on others markets, putting their local farmers out of work. Never-the-less, for a small, poor country starting out, like Israel, it worked, and wouild work again. You know, most of the world is small poor countries starting out.

"the only bombing that's been done to it has been by the Arabs".

Either because they're on Arab land,
or for any mirade of reasons for an Arab to bomb an Israeli.

"I am pleased to agree with you that the agricultural price support systems of the west are shameful. If you think they "work pretty well" (by which I mean "are self-supporting"), it's clear your medicine hasn't quite taken.
Increase your dosage."

No, I mean they work pretty well ..BECAUSE OUR STORES ARE STOCKED TO THE BRIM WITH FOOD (you fool). I suppose you want to de-regulate it, like California did it's power plants. Eatting in the dark is one thing, starving in the dark even worse.

"Of course you don't believe that the Bali bombing had anything to do with East Timor--it's only the people who carried it out who said that it was"

I'll say again, he got his wires crossed, ..like you.

"But they're brown and didn't parrot your propaganda points, so like Minh they don't count."

"Propoganda points"? What is this, a tournament? Are you tying to score points? I'm not.

"Hey, you haven't even called Minh a "gusano" yet!"

What's a Gusano?

I only say we would have treated them worse (American handling of "traitors").

"Any actual evidence? I didn't think so."

Just an educated guess. Oh, and treason is punishable by death in our country.

"What we do have is the evidence of Laos, Cambodia, North Korea and Vietnam--much worse than Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea"

Thailand was never a colony and never bombed.

Taiwan was founded by the Nationalist Chinese (catholics), who made off with China's treasury (and national treasures), US aid money it siphoned off, and was brought into the western military-economic fold. And Taiwan was not bombed either. Democracy it wasn't, ..until maybe recently.

South Korea is an economic miracle, again brought into the western military-economic fold. A democracy it wasn't either, ..until recently.
By the way, what do you think about the estimated 3,000 pro democracy student Rhee killed back in '83?

"Which way did the refugees go again?"

I presume you're speaking of Vietnamese refugee's, the losers (or traitors as we would call them)? Away from Vietnam for sure. And certainly not to any country the US was likely to destroy or strangle, aplace they felt safe (from us?).

 
At 4:57 PM, July 13, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Minh-Duc said...

Stephen,

"Ho's ilks are not only racists they are religious bigots as well. Our first exchange, he made the assumption that I am a Catholic because of the position I took on the Communist."

I did not presume, I only asked if you were, as the majority of exiled Vietnamese are catholic.

"We Buddhists suffered horribly under Communism. Our monks are detained (in fact my Patriarch is still in jail), many of our temples confiscated, and our right to relgious freedom denied."

Everybody suffered in Vietnam. If I recall the monks were burning themselves alive in the South.

I was in Vietnam some years ago and saw Buddihsts and temples everywhere. I spent an afternoon plucking oysters with a local Vietnamese catholic group and saw lots of very old, well kept churches.

No doubt, after everything that happened, the government is nervous, especially with ex-pats like you around.

"But a bigot like Ho would never understand that."

I'm not a bigot, and you're an idiot for suggesting it.

 
At 5:40 PM, July 13, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

Actually Ho you are a bigot, one ideologically motivated rather than racially or otherwise, but an ideological bigot nonetheless. Some of your one dimensional retorts, noted below, are in part a reflection of that ideologically induced bigotry.

"People did not become Communsit because of Lenin, they bacame communist because of Romanov abuse and brutality, cullminating with Zar Nicholas II." Ho Chi Minh, aka Hitler, Pol Pot, et al.

Wrong, it was for both reasons, and additional reasons as well. Such framings represent an ideologue's reductio ad absurdum dismissiveness.

"People did not become Black Panther's becuase of Huey Newton, they became Black Panther's because of the Oakland Police Department."

See above, same type of reductionist, ahistorical avoidance.

"Arabs do not become terrorists because of Islam, they become terrorists because ..."

Yet again, a studied avoidance resulting from an ideologically induced myopia. One recent example that effectively counters this myopia is Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch Muslim who murdered and in the process nearly decapitated Theo van Gogh. Bouyeri indicates such things as "I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion ..." and also, speaking directly to van Gogh's mother in the courtroom, says "I cannot feel for you ... because I believe you are an infidel, I acted out of conviction -- not because I hated your son." My emphases. Another example is OBL's invocation of Andalusia and similar themes as motives to help forward his current ideological and geographic interests.

It is precisely this type of reductionist rationale, the strawman arguments and avoidance more generally that will always and ever require the Hitlers, the Ho Chi Minhs and the Pol Pots of the world to forward their arguments with an attendant baseball-bat to the head, a cudgel, and with hate-born despising contempt for those who fail to toe the line of ideological conformity and myopia.

No one is seriously forwarding the notion the U.S. acted perfectly during the Cold War, but rather that 1) they were on the right side of history, 2) often had to make difficult choices in a realpolitik world, not a world goverened by perfect choices, 3) the Soviets and Maoists were very much on the wrong side of history, 4) when various and sundry apologists or propagandists for the Stalinists and Maoists, the Ho Chi Minhs and Pol Pots, et al. attempt to portray these murderous, totalitarian regimes in vastly more benevolent terms it only serves to reflect upon the moral bankruptcy and intellectual lack of integrity of these apologists and propagandists. The list could go on at some length.

More generally still, this normblog entry focusing upon the entire set of blame-the-West knee-jerk reactionaries, via a Sydney Morning Herald commentary, particularly targeting those "affluent, literate liberals who think the world is a moral theme park with lots of easy choices".

A more specific example is the Left's notion there was no link between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and exported terrorism in general or al Queda more specifically. Several refutations to that as well, most recently this column entitled Saddam and al Queda: There's abundant evidence of connections.

Simplistic reductions appeal to the incurious, regardless as to whether the motivation is ideological or otherwise.

 
At 6:42 PM, July 13, 2005, Blogger Minh-Duc said...

Ho (the commenters)'s nonsenses that need to be debunked.

(1) Most Vietnamese exiles are not Catholics. Most are Buddhists. There are far more Vietnamese Buddhist temples in the US than there are Catholics Church.
(2) Catholic domination in Vietnam lasted only a few years. It was a Buddhist generals who deposed President Diem. Just because Buddhists oppose Diem, it does not mean we like the Communist. We
(3) 1965 is not the year the Soviet military aid arrived to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh was a Communist agent.
(4) South Vietnam invited the US in because we were fearful of the Communists. What happened after 1975 confirmed our fear.
(5) South Vietnam was flaw but was far more democratic than the North. We had multi-parties parliarment and a viable political opposition. In the North, The Communists even killed their own for disagreeing with the Party. It is called a purge.

And a few days as a tourists in Vietnam does not give one more experience than someone who lived there for many years.

 
At 6:09 AM, July 14, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Micahel B:
I said:

"People did not become Communsit because of Lenin, they bacame communist because of Romanov abuse and brutality, cullminating with Zar Nicholas II."

You said:

"Ho Chi Minh, aka Hitler, Pol Pot, et al."

I say take your rabies medicine and calm down.

I said:
"Arabs do not become terrorists because of Islam, they become terrorists because (insert half a century of US foreign policy abuses in the Middle East..."

You said:
"Yet again, a studied avoidance resulting from an ideologically induced myopia."

Studied avoidance? Where do you come up with these bull shit formulations?

One way to prove the validity of my point above is to imagine, just for a moment if you could, what America would do, how American's would respond if the tables were turned, that is if ISLAM PLAYED OUT IT'S GEO-POLITICAL CHESS GAMES IN OUR BACK YARDS, PLAYING ONE
OF US AGAINST THE OTHER, INVASIONS, FUNNELING WEAPONS, KILIING OUR CHILDREN AND RELATIVES, DESTROYING CITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE, CREATING A GENERAL MESS OF THINGS, AND THEN HAMMERING US SOME MORE BECAUSE SOME OF US STRUCK BACK! ..No we wouldn't do a thing. ..You're an idiot.

It is you who is practicing "studied avoidance", avoiding the simple fact we wouldn't tolerate for a moment 1/10th of what we've dished out to the Middle East, so why the hell should they? I say Arabs are just like us, and are reacting in the same way many other peoples have in their situation, Israeli's, South African's, etc etc. Terrorism.

Then you site the case of Mohammed Bouyeri to prove that no, it's not half a century of the US fucking over the Middle East, it's wild, crazy hate filed Islamic zealots who are the cause of terrorism. Who's being myopic, who's "framings represent an ideologue's reductio ad absurdum dismissiveness."? Yours not mine.

As for the above case, I would not entirely dismiss the possibility that his actions were carried on the wave of general resentment (of what I've been talking about) that is sweeping over the Arab world at the moment, and in fact for some time. It's obviously boiling over. So what's the remedy? TURN UP THE HEAT? Great fucking idea!

American's do have that certain
magic to completely fuck up and alienate people.

And it should be mentioned if Islam had invaded and generally enveloped the US as we have the Middle East the last half century I'm not sure a Christian fundamentalist or two wouldn't blow some Arab away either, citing scripture in an Arab court.

Yet if you really want to know why terrorists are doing this why not go right to the horses mouth, Bin Laden. He articulates fairly well why they're doing it, and speaks in terms of what US foreign policy has brought to the region, the Palestinian issue and others, not "our freedoms" or "way of life", rather WHAT WE'VE DONE AND CONTINUE TO DO TO THEM.

"It is precisely this type of reductionist rationale"

Why is it reductionist, when we would respond in the same manner (or worse) as they if we were in their position? It's just fucking normal bone-head. Or are you suggesting American's wouild role over and play dead to such an infringement on our national sovereignty and identity?

"the strawman arguments and avoidance"

It's not a strawman's argument, it's a valid argument, if only because we would do the same, and that others have done the same. We just need to get the fuck out of there, and better start thinking of ways to salvage something. Face it, we blew it.

And again, it is you who are avoiding, avoiding responsibility for the hatred WE'VE CAUSED (with the help of some pretty unsavoury Arabs of course).

"more generally that will always and ever require the Hitlers, the Ho Chi Minhs and the Pol Pots"

I fear you're understanding of how these conflicts arose is about the same as the current Arab one. Face it Michael, your lies make sense, but they are just that, lies.

"No one is seriously forwarding the notion the U.S. acted perfectly during the Cold War"

Yet some (like you) appear unwilling to accept responsibility for it, or understand why people hate us. You want to keep doing the same thing, control them. We need to get out fo there.

And while you like throwing around generalities to prove your points I will say the Cold War, that is the containment of the Soviet Union and communism, is an idealogical construct that never existed. Anti-communism, the containment of the Soviet Union was well under way before 1946, the end of W.W.II. It started from the very inception of the bolschevik revolution, before they had even done anything wrong, other then over throw their King that is (and later kill him), and change the balance of power, what matters most in this world.

I would advice people like you Michael to be very careful when you throw around names like Hitler to prove your shallow reasoning. You must be aware many westerners were for Hitler, from every sector of "civilised" society, financial, industrial, religious and politics, some very powerful. The one thing that bound them all together was, not surprisingly, anti-communism (where have I heard this story before).

Or are you suggesting that anti-communism played no part in German affairs before W.W.II, nothing what so ever to do with German history and the dynamics of their political development? I say it had everything to do do with it, from the Red Barricades after W.W.I until communist gains during the
Great Depression and their '32 election.

Neither was Germany, one of the great cultural, industrial and financial powers in the world in a vacuum. Your "Cold War" concept only conveniently provides people like you to draw the line against communism after Hitler, permitting us to distance ourselves (some of us anyway) from his crimes, which many in the west wanted him to commit, the first of which was invading Russia and destryoing bolschevism, destroying communism at the source, practically all Hitler ever talked about by the way.

Why it is a suprise to anyone that the west would back goons like Saddam and the Taliban (and others) and not Hitler needs some explaining. The construct of the Cold War helps insure no one will ever have to. Our war against communism started after Hitler?
I say rubbish. Many powerful elements of western society were right with him, and got off "Scott Free".

This is yet another example of how ugly "real-politik" can get, and the need to get away from it, to establish something new. One could discuss Hitler for some time, and I hope we do, other then throwing his name around without understanding a thing you're talking about.

The same for Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot. Two other wars that didn't have to happen, but did, and because of "us", the western economic guggernaut.

And again, I do not hate myself or my country. Try and think of something else to say, will you?

 
At 2:07 PM, July 14, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

Wrong. In response to your statement: "People did not become Communsit because of Lenin, they bacame communist because of Romanov abuse and brutality, cullminating with Zar Nicholas II.", I said: "Wrong, it was for both reasons, and additional reasons as well. Such framings represent an ideologue's reductio ad absurdum dismissiveness."

Hence your misrepresentations - your studied avoidance - reveals your ideologically induced bigotry yet again. I didn't read past that point since it was so obviously a willful misrepresentation of how I responded and what I said.

Finally, in conflating Hitler, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot, that is due to several notable items on their resumes which they all have in common. Examples include elimination of potential adversaries; enthralling themselves within formal cults of personality; establishment of gulags/concentration camps; the establishment of highly doctrinaire educational systems; totalitarian regimes more generally; de jure classifications of people for purposes of social and professional discrimination, including kangaroo courts, show trials and ad hoc, summary executions on a broad scale; societally inculcated forms of bigotry more generally. Those are a few examples only, all of which could be amply substantiated, the list could be extended at some length.

Not that the three are identical, I'm not saying that either, for example Hitler visited Paris only once, and briefly. Whereas Pol Pot and Ho Chi Minh spent a more extensive time on the Left Bank. However, it can be said the French were, in all three cases, accomodating.

 
At 9:25 PM, July 14, 2005, Blogger Minh-Duc said...

This come from Ho Chi Minh (the ignorant commenter) in a conversation at VietPundit. Tell me if he did not assume that I am a Catholic.

"You're right again, "your" game was handicapped, ..because "you", the Catholics, were a minority that had abused the majorirty far too long. You had your chance and blew it. The people had enough. And when they've had enough again they'll change it again, like every other place. And don't worry, if any people are capable it's the Vietnamese."

 
At 9:22 AM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Minh Duc (the parroting ignorant American):

You'll notice that the YOU was in quotation marks ("you"), speaking figuratively.

But you are right, I was curious to know if you were Catholic, not only because you sounded like many of them, but because 40% of the Vietnamese in America are Catholic, only 4 times more then the average in Vietnam.

As far as Vietnam's ability to change itself if they don't like what's going on, I'll stand by what I said. They are as capable, or more, then anyone. Maybe it's not as bad as many make it sound?

As for your previous remarks:

"(1) Most Vietnamese exiles are not Catholics. Most are Buddhists. There are far more Vietnamese Buddhist temples in the US than there are Catholics Church."

You're right, according to the US National Census 47% are Buddhist, 40% Catholic (again 4x's the avergae in Vietnam). Nevertheless I doubt seriously there are more Buddhist temples in America then Catholic Churches, but I think I know what you're getting at.

"(2) Catholic domination in Vietnam lasted only a few years."

I disagree, Catholic domination was Colonialism, so add at least 80 years onto that wonderful period of prosperity too.

"It was a Buddhist generals who deposed President Diem. Just because Buddhists oppose Diem, it does not mean we like the Communist."

I never said so, although some obviously did. At any rate, who would like Diem? We can thank America for flying in another great champion of democracy, this time Diem, direct from New Jersey and the Catholic Maryknoll Seminary.

"(3) 1965 is not the year the Soviet military aid arrived to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh was a Communist agent."

Receiving military hardware and being an "agent" are two entirely different matters. I believe you are ignorant of Soviet-Vietnamese relations, no suprise considering where you are.

The Rand Corporation or the CIA never detected any military hardware coming in from the Soviet Union before 1965, that is after we began direct bombing. That's because the Russians never wanted the war.
When the North got out of line, too provacative, the Soviets cut off aid
a number of times. They consistantly tried to get Ho to be happy with what he had, the north, "half a loaf". He wouldn't accept the division of his country.

So who was an agent of who? Ho's loyalty to the Soviets, through out his life, which you imply, is rubbish.

"(4) South Vietnam invited the US in because we were fearful of the Communists."

South Vietnam had no right to invite anybody in. Any infringment of the Geneva Agreement, an internationally brokered and recognised cessastion of hostilities agreemnt, is a "threat to peace", a war crime under international law.

Besides arms, military alliances were also prohibited.

So "the French war" started up again.

" What happened after 1975 confirmed our fear."

A self-fullfilled prophecy. Radicalising the communists like radicalising Islam today.

(5) South Vietnam was flaw but was far more democratic than the North. We had multi-parties parliarment and a viable political opposition."

Viable opposition? Maybe after 9 years of Diem, in a last ditch effort to save things. Yet you're splitting hairs here. Both cease-fire zones were still "war zones" (unfortunately), and thus quite authoritative and repressive.
Determining validity of exact numbers and atrocities, the context they were in, provoked or unprovoked, is a game without purpose. Both sides were playing for keeps, atrocities happened on both sides. It was war. I just say it didn't have to be.

Vietnam could have been "American" in '45, if we stood up for our principles instead of playing the international "chess game", staying out of Europe's way so they could (try to) take back their colonies.
Vietnam or Europe was our choice. Naturally we picked Europe. And the Vietnamese kicked our ass later for it. I say good for them. I say fuck Europe, fuck colonialism.

Or if the French weren't pushed out by the American's in '54, Vietnam could have been a memeber of the French Union. Vietnam (Ho Chi MInh) always wanted to be allied with the west, "somehow" we just wouldn't let them.

Again, the war didn't have to happen. And if you think for a minute the Soviets ever cared about Vietnam or wanted that war you're dead wrong (no pun intended).

"In the North, The Communists even killed their own for disagreeing with the Party. It is called a purge."

After all they'd been through, all the times they'd been cheated, I'd say they were playing for keeps and wanted to finally cement their grip on power. Again the south "purged" who knows how many too.

"And a few days as a tourists in Vietnam does not give one more experience than someone who lived there for many years."

It wasn't a few days, it was two months. But you're right, nothing compared to someone who lived there, yet irrelevent to understanding the past, and thus the present.

And by the way, that stuff about Ho Chi Minh and Phan Boi Chau on your web site was debunked fifty years ago. I'll tackle that next time, gotta go.

 
At 1:53 PM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Minh-Duc said...

(1) In Washington Metropolitan Area, there are seven Vietnamese Buddhist temples and two Catholics churchs.

(2) We are talking about post-colonial era. Catholic domination ended with Diem. When Diem ran for office, my entire family voted for him. A few years later, my father (and uncles) were on the street protesting, which lead to the downfall of Diem. The opposition played a key role in the overthrow of Diem, providing political supports to the generals and continued to play an important role until all of them were detained or executed by the Communists in 1975. No such opposition ever existed in the North.

(3) The early film footage of Quan-Doi-Nhan-Dan (The People Army) in Hanoi show SKS rifles and various other Soviet made equipments (T-34 tanks and Mig-15). That was soon after Dien Bien Phu, long before 1965. By 1964, annual military assistance reached $800 million. Until the early 1960, all of the equipments went through China by train. After the 1960 they went to Hai Phong Harbor. The US entered Vietnam because the North innitiated agression against the South.

(4) Ho Chi Minh was Comintern agent. He went to Russia and received indoctrination there, spent many years in China as Soviet operative. I do not get idiots who claim Ho was not a Communist. Ho never denied he was a Communist. He advertise that fact with pride. When he returned on Vietnam, the first thing he did was sold out Phan Boi Chau to French Securite. Phan Boi Chau (along with Phan Chu Trinh) were the father of modern Vietnamese nationalist movement. Ho went after many other nationalist parties killing their leaders. Ta Thu Thau (leader of the Trotskyists) was assasinated. Hanoi, the birthplace of many political parties, by 1954 were empty of them. Viet-Nam-Quoc-Dan-Dang was found by Nguyen Thai Hoc (who was executed by the French) in Hanoi. By 1954, the Party existed only in the South. In 1975, party leaders who were remained in Vietnam were executed.

 
At 8:16 PM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Minh-Duc:

From the Library of Congress:

Since the earliest days of the VCP, when the party's primary mentor was the Comintern, the Soviet Union has played a complex role in VCP affairs. Many of Vietnam's leaders had trained in the Soviet Union and had formed personal ties with their Soviet contemporaries. Historically, however, the relationship between the two nations has been characterized by strain, particularly on the Vietnamese side, and the record suggests several instances of Soviet neglect or betrayal of Vietnamese interests. These included Moscow's indifference to the founding of the VCP in 1930; failure to support materially or otherwise the Vietnamese resistance war against the French in the 1930s and early 1940s; failure to recognize North Vietnam until five years after its founding; failure to support Vietnam's application for membership in the UN in 1948 and 1951; support for the partitioning of Vietnam at the Geneva Conference in 1954; and sponsorship of a proposal to admit both North and South Vietnam to the UN in 1956. These examples of Soviet policy reminded the Vietnamese of the peril inherent in placing too much trust in a foreign ally.

The Sino-Soviet split in the late 1950s favorably altered the Soviet attitude toward Vietnam. Beginning in 1965, the Soviets initiated a program of military assistance to Hanoi that proved invaluable in carrying on the Second Indochina War. Hanoi, however, continued to suspect Soviet motives and perceived that Soviet aid, when offered, was insufficient and given only grudgingly after repeated appeals.

Following the conquest of South Vietnam in 1975, Hanoi sought to retain the equilibrium of its wartime relations with both China and the Soviet Union, but mounting tensions with Beijing, culminating in the loss of Chinese aid in 1978, compelled Hanoi to look increasingly to Moscow for economic and military assistance."

They somehow left out Stalin handing over Vietnam to the English and Chiang Kai-chek (only an observer) at the Potsdam agreemnt. Or recognising Vietnams independence when it was declared on Sept. 22, 1945, still Vietnams independence day.

" (1) In Washington Metropolitan Area, there are seven Vietnamese Buddhist temples and two Catholics churchs."

I didn't know that. Yet certainly there are more Churches then Buddhist temples in America (to be honest I wouldn't mind if there weren't)

"(2) We are talking about post-colonial era. Catholic domination ended with Diem."

No, you're talking about the post colonial era. I'm talking about the whole ball of wax, what the Catholics did to Vietnam, French and Vietnamese, from 1865-. You can't
exclude that if you want to understand why and how things happened, or are happening.

And I'm sorry about your family, and that we thrust this war upon your people.

"(3) The early film footage of Quan-Doi-Nhan-Dan (The People Army) in Hanoi show SKS rifles and various other Soviet made equipments (T-34 tanks and Mig-15). That was soon after Dien Bien Phu"

Soon after Dien Bien Phu? That would be material from the French Indochina War. What came in after the Geneva agreemnt, between 1954-65 is another story. Not that anything wasn't smuggled in, but the all out arming of the North everyone likes to talk about only began after '65, after we started bombing the North.


"By 1964, annual military assistance reached $800 million."

Where did you read that? Aid was considerable, infrastructure projects and the like, but military certainly not (unless you have something our governemnt doesn't).

"The US entered Vietnam because the North innitiated agression against the South."

The US was already there in the early days of the French War, arming and advising long before Diem arrived. The US government concluded that, although somewhat hazy, the Viet Cong initially acted on it's own, in response to Diem's policies back firing. Connecting the dots, VC to Hanoi, Hanoi to Moscow and or Peking, the agression was concluded to be coming from every where except where it was coming from: The South, and the people Diem fucked over.

At any rate the South broke the Geneva Agreement, and deserved what it got. It should have held an election and that would have been the end of it.

"(4) Ho Chi Minh was Comintern agent. He went to Russia and received indoctrination there, spent many years in China as Soviet operative. I do not get idiots who claim Ho was not a Communist."

Ho Chi Minh was in New York and London too. Unfortunately no one was interested in his problems. He got his first revolutionary ideas from the Irish (who had just beaten the Eglish), hanging out in pubs in London.

I'm not saying Ho wasn't a communist, only he didn't have to be
IF WE HAD EVER GIVEN A SHIT ABOUT HIM OR HIS COUNTRY. And that isn't to imply the Russians were particularly crazy about him or Vietnam either, it's just the way things worked out. Ho said he "would find help where he could", and he wasn't kidding.

"Ho never denied he was a Communist."

Yet continually articulated why: Independence.

"He advertise that fact with pride."

Considering the rocky relationship with Moscow maybe he had to to stay friendly and get what he wanted from them. And don't forget he wasn't the only guy in the North's government.

"When he returned on Vietnam, the first thing he did was sold out Phan Boi Chau to French Securite."

This is ludicrous, a wives tale that was debunked long ago. When I have time I'll spell it out for you.

As for Phan Chu Trinh, a friend of Ho's father (also a revolutionary), he helped Ho out in Paris, and got him into the Versaille conference to petition President Wilson for Vietnam's Independence. No luck there, his journey led him else where.

We know the ending.

 
At 8:23 PM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Minh Duc again:

Sorry, got my dates mixed up, the Tonkin Gulf incident was '64, not '65 (must be getting old).

Something else from the web about Vietnamese-Soviet relations:

Soviet Involvement in the Vietnam War

Forwarded from VIET-NET

*******************************************************

Soviet-Vietnam

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Soviet Union sent 3,000 troops to Vietnam during the U.S.
involvement there, according to the first account in the Soviet press about the
secret military action.
In 1965, Soviet soldiers shot down the first U.S. planes lost in Vietnam, the
magazine Eko Planety (Echo of the Planet) reported.
The Soviet Defense Ministry previously has acknowledged that Soviet advisers
served in Vietnam, and that 13 were killed. But no details of their activities
have been published before in the Soviet Union, the Tass news agency reported
Saturday.
Tass said the magazine's account was based on interviews with those who
carried out Soviet policy in Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s,
including Ilya Shcherbakov, the Soviet ambassador to Vietnam from 1964-1974.
It was written by a former Tass correspondent who reported from Vietnam
during the war, Alexander Minayev.
Shcherbakov said the Soviet government was very restrained in the conflict
between Communist North Vietnam and the U.S.-backed South.
"But the Tonkin incident confronted Nikita Khrushchev with a dilemma," the
article said, referring to U.S. retaliation in 1964 for an alleged attack by
North Vietnam on American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. The incident prompted the
United States to escalate greatly its troop presence and involvement in the war.
"On the one hand, North Vietnam, a socialist country, had suffered from air
strikes and shelling from the sea. On the other, the shock of the Caribbean
crisis was still quite fresh in his memory," it said, a reference to the 1962
Cuban Missile Crisis.
"Khrushchev decided to send a new ambassador to Hanoi to clarify the
situation," and Shcherbakov got the job, the article said.
The magazine said then-Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin warned Shcherbakov to
"keep both eyes open" to avert Soviet involvement in the war when he visited the
country in 1965.
By that time, however, Khrushchev was out of power and had been replaced by
Leonid Brezhnev, who according to Shcherbakov favored more direct involvement to
aid North Vietnam.
Soviet aid began flowing to North Vietnam in early 1965, the magazine said.
In August 1965, Soviet forces shot down the first U.S. planes. But after 1966,
it said no Soviet troops directly participated in combat because the Vietnamese
forces had been trained to handle the Soviet equipment.
North Vietnam independently planned and carried out operations in South
Vietnam, according to Shcherbakov and Col.-Gen. Vladimir Abramov, who led a
group of Soviet military advisers in the region. The two said they were not even
told of the Vietnamese commander's plans.

 
At 8:38 PM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Minh Duc (yet again):

The last thing on those "brotherly" Soviet-Vietnamese relations, warmed considerably after we started bombing the North. You can Google it yourself if you're interested in the truth (but you know that):

10. Intelligence Memorandum (1)

OCI No. 0341/65

Washington, February 1, 1965.
Soviet Premier Aleksei N. Kosygin and President Johnson during their meeting at Glassboro, New Jersey, in 1967. National Park Service, Special Collection.

THE KOSYGIN DELEGATION TO NORTH VIETNAM

1. Moscow's decision to send an unusually strong delegation headed by Premier Kosygin to Hanoi underscores both the USSR's desire to regain influence with the North Vietnamese and its concern over the possibility of escalation in the Indochina conflict. One of the main purposes of this mission probably will be to strengthen the credibility of repeated public statements since late November that the USSR "cannot remain indifferent to the fate of a fraternal socialist country" and that it is ready to give Hanoi the "necessary assistance."

2. The presence of high-ranking military and economic officials on the delegation almost certainly foreshadows a substantial increase in Soviet economic and military assistance. This aid may well include such defensive weapons as surface-to-air missiles, antiaircraft weapons, and naval torpedo and patrol craft. It is also possible, however, that Kosygin will offer advanced jet fighters.

3. A Soviet economic aid mission headed by M.N. Sulovey, a vice chairman of the State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations, is already in Hanoi to "study implementation" of existing economic aid agreement. Most of the USSR's economic aid under earlier programs is believed to have been utilized. The Soviet Union has extended North Vietnam about $370 million worth of economic aid since 1955, mainly in the form of factories and machine shops, power plants, and coal mine equipment. The last major Soviet economic credit--$200 million--was extended in 1960 to cover North Vietnam's first five-year plan (1961-1965). New economic aid probably will be designed primarily to provide equipment for projects covered by the second five-year plan.

4. The pattern of Soviet and North Vietnamese pronouncements in recent weeks suggests that both parties wish to work toward improving relations which have been rather distant and cool since Hanoi felt obliged to support Peiping in the period since the nuclear test ban treaty of August 1963. It is possible that the Kosygin mission, at the invitation of the North Vietnamese Government, is the culmination of an exchange of views since Khrushchev's downfall, particularly during Premier Pham Van Dong's visit to Moscow last November. Dong's junket apparently was intended as a fishing expedition
to see what could be expected of the new Kremlin bosses in support of North Vietnamese objectives. It has been evident since his return that the North Vietnamese were intent on softening at least the public manifestations of their opposition to Soviet policy. A hard-hitting anti-Soviet piece, for example, was hastily scratched from the party journal Hop Tac last November, a few days after Dong's return. Subsequent developments, including the appearance of Soviet antiaircraft guns in North Vietnam, the harder Soviet propaganda line on the Indochina situation, and the dispatch of a major
Moscow economic delegation to Hanoi, make it appear that Pham Van Dong probably received assurances of increased Soviet military, economic, and political assistance from the new leaders in Moscow.

5. It was not mere coincidence that almost simultaneously with Moscow's announcement of the Kosygin delegation, the leading North Vietnamese party paper published an editorial welcoming this visit in unusually warm terms. It expressed gratitude for past Soviet assistance and voiced "warm and profound sentiments toward the Soviet Communists" and for their "spirit of proletarian internationalism."

6. In addition to more favorable prospects for improving relations with Hanoi, the decision to send the Kosygin mission probably was motivated by growing Soviet concern that both sides in the Indochina conflict may be contemplating actions which could lead to a rapid escalation of the war. Over the past two months, the Soviets appear to have been searching for means of inhibiting the actions of both antagonists. An upsurge in Soviet diplomatic and propaganda attention to the Indochina conflict coincided with Ambassador Taylor's consultations in Washington in late November and early
December and with the movement of substantial numbers of North Vietnamese troops into Laos in December. Soviet uncertainty and concern regarding US intentions probably was heightened not only by US air strikes against the infiltration routes in Laos but by a more general feeling that the US may be impelled to adopt more far-reaching military measures in an attempt to check the erosion in South Vietnam. One of Foreign Minister Gromyko's main purposes in his talks with US leaders in December apparently was to probe for signs of US plans which might lead to escalation and
also for indications of Washington's attitude toward negotiations.

7. The Soviet leaders almost certainly hope that a substantial increase in economic and military assistance to North Vietnam will enable them to press for a greater voice in the formulation of Communist policy in South Vietnam and Laos. Kosygin probably will argue that the Viet Cong campaign is progressing satisfactorily and that North Vietnam should avoid actions which might provoke US reprisals. He may also discuss political initiatives designed to inhibit US freedom of action, such as greater pressure toward reconvening the 14-nation conference on Laos.

8. The presence of party secretary Andropov on the delegation suggests that the Soviets will exchange views on the general situation in the world Communist movement and set forth their plans for the proposed meeting of the Communist "editorial commission" in Moscow on 1 March. The North Vietnamese have maintained silence on the March meeting. The Soviets, however, may not have abandoned hope completely that Hanoi will decide to participate. In any event, the Soviets undoubtedly would feel they had nothing to lose by renewing assurances that they had no intention of "excommunicating" the Chinese and that the only purpose of the meeting is to discuss means of restoring Communist unity.

9. From Hanoi's standpoint, the growing strain in Hanoi-Moscow relations during Khrushchev's era was primarily a product of Soviet softness in political and propaganda opposition to US action in South Vietnam and Laos. It has always been clear that if Moscow were to firm up its support of North Vietnamese policy objectives in Indochina, Hanoi would tend to moderate the degree of its open support for Peiping in the Sino-Soviet dispute, and once again attempt to play up its assumed role of "honest broker" seeking to bring at least an operative unity between Peiping and Moscow.

10. It is unlikely that an increase in the Soviet presence in North Vietnam will bring about a change of Hanoi's tactics in prosecuting the Viet Cong war. Although factional differences appear to exist in the North Vietnamese party over certain areas of policy, it has always appeared that the party was basically united on the tactics to be used in the Viet Cong insurgency. The so-called "extremists" in the North Vietnamese party seemed most to resent the lack of political and propaganda support from Moscow over South Vietnam. More vigorous Soviet backing of Hanoi may tend to reduce the
differences between the factions.

11. Moscow's desire to reassure the US that the Kosygin mission to Hanoi does not signal an abrupt shift in Soviet policy was apparent in an authoritative Pravda "observer" article of 31 January on President Johnson's State of the Union message. In sharp contrast to the negative tone of Moscow's initial reaction, Pravda for the first time warmly welcomed the President's remarks about expanding US-Soviet contacts.

Footnotes:

(1) Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel File, McGeorge Bundy--Saigon, Vol. III. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. Prepared by the Office of Current Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency. The Bureau of Intelligence and Research produced a similar analysis of the Kosygin delegation on February 1. (Memorandum from Denney to Rusk; ibid.) Also on February 1, Robert Komer wrote a memorandum to McGeorge Bundy stating: "my hunch is that Soviets have decided we're probably licked in VN, and are climbing on bandwagon. Kosygin's visit, and inevitable aid promises when there, strike me as Soviet effort to prevent ChiComs from getting full credit for the victory." (Ibid.,
Country File, Vietnam, Vol. XXVII) In Special Memorandum No. 7-65, dated February 5, CIA's Office of National Estimates made a point similar to Komer's while emphasizing that Kosygin's trip reflected "a basic Soviet decision to contest the spread of Chinese Communist influence in the Far East." (Department of State, INR Files: Lot 81 D 343)

 
At 8:49 PM, July 15, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Minh Duc:

OK, one more (if you're still awake). Here too they speak of Soviet military aid starting in '65:

Cold War International History Project
Virtual Archive

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua and Vietnamese Ambassador Ngo Minh Loan; Beijing, 13 May 1967

29. CHINESE DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER QIAO GUANHUA AND VIETNAMESE AMBASSADOR NGO MINH LOAN
Beijing, 13 May 1967

Qiao Guanhua: I have a problem to discuss with Comrade Ambassador. It is a specific problem relating to the Soviet aid to Vietnam.
On 6 May 1967, we were informed both in Hanoi and in Beijing by Comrade Deputy Minister Nghiem Ba Duc1 and Comrade Pham Thanh Ha2 respectively that in May and June 1967, the Soviets would provide Vietnam 24 Mig-17 and Mig-21 planes (12 planes of each type) and we were also asked to help transport them via China.
On 9 May 1967, Comrade Pham Thanh Ha officially informed our External Economic Relations Committee that these 24 airplanes would be transported by railway. There would be two shipments, each of which could handle 12 airplanes.
On the same matter, however, the Soviet Union informed us differently: on May 8, they requested that their AN-12 aircraft carry these 24 airplanes over China's air space in a 10-day period from May 16 to May 24 1967.
On 9 May 1967, Comrade Nghiem Ba Duc in Hanoi proposed the [same] plan for air transportation.
Our leadership puts this issue high on the agenda. We have studied the requests by both Vietnam and the Soviet Union very carefully. On behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to inform you, Comrade ambassador, that we agree with the plan proposed by Comrade Pham Thanh Ha for railway transportation of these 24 airplanes, but not with the plan for air transportation.
The air transportation of these 24 airplanes is a question of great importance. As Comrade Ambassador has known, our opinions have long been different from those of the Soviets. Since early 1965, when Soviet aid started coming to Vietnam, the Soviets more than once proposed that their shipment go to Vietnam by air, over China's air space. In general, we do not agree with the idea. Before, Vietnam also did not agree with air transportation because you understood our position [in this matter]. This time, I would like to make it clearer to Vietnamese comrades the reasons why the Soviet Union wanted this method of transportation for its aid to Vietnam.
For the last few years, using its mass media, the Soviet Union has been trying to publicize its large-scale aid to Vietnam. We hold that the Soviets intentionally do so in order to let the US know of the Soviet large-scale aid to Vietnam and by so doing, the Soviets reveal some secrets to the US.
For the last few years, we have helped Vietnam transport the aid by train, which is very timely and safe. The Vietnamese side has been very satisfied.
So why do the Soviets this time ask for air transportation? If the Soviets resort to air transportation in a grandiose manner, US spy planes—which are always flying over Chinese air space—would detect it at once after the Soviet airplanes take off from Irkutsk. Our position on this matter has been clear to Vietnam: the Soviets, by doing so, want to be boastful to the US [about its aid to Vietnam], publicly revealing military secrets to the enemy. They also make use of its aid to Vietnam in order to control the situation and cooperate with the US to force Vietnam to accept peace negotiations. The Western press has even mentioned that the Soviets increased their aid to Vietnam in order to create a situation of direct Soviet-American confrontation which will clear the way to compromises. I refer to this judgment of ours on this matter with a view to making you clearly understand our position. We, however, have no intention to impose it on you. In short, we hold that:
(1) the Soviet proposal for air transportation has bad intentions and is a conspiracy,
(2) transportation of these planes is a major military act, but the Soviets did not consult with us and [want to] force us to accept. This is nothing else than a chauvinist attitude.

Notes:
1. Nghiem Ba Duc, DRV Vice Minister of Foreign Trade from 1954; member of the economic delegations to the USSR and Eastern Europe between 1965 and 1975. Thereafter economic adviser in Laos.
2. Pham Thanh Ha was a military logistics officer in the PAVN who headed the military assistance mission in Vietnam's embassy in Beijing from 1965 to 1973.

 
At 9:18 PM, July 16, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Michael B.,

You can say what you want about Lenin or the Soviet Union, the motivation for the bolshevik revolution, the swamp it was spawned in, was Romanov abuse, colonialism.
Lenin was but one who was attempting to capitalise on the "disenchantment" this caused. Yet it was all a result of the Zar's policies. If he had be a magnanimous, fair leader, there would have been no anger for anybody to try and harness, i.e. no bolshevik revolution.

This is not rocket science, but somehow beyond the comprehension of the American conservative idiot.

As for the "items" which connect Hitler, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot, you could have added almost every major country on the planet, inlcuding our own. Or what, the US didn't elimanate "potential adversaries" (Indians, Mexican's, communists?),
"enthralling themselves within formal cults of personality"; establishment of gulags/concentration camps (slavery, Indian reservations, Japanese camps), "the establishment of highly doctrinaire educational systems" (my high school, and yours too), "totalitarian regimes more generally" (we fund, and us too if we have too); "de jure classifications of people for purposes of social and professional discrimination" (we used to) "including kangaroo courts, show trials and ad hoc" (the McCarthy era), "summary executions on a broad scale" (slavery, the American Indian, Vietnam, Indonesia, Chile etc); "societally inculcated forms of bigotry more generally" (Injuns, niggers, kikes, spicks, waps, chinks, polaks, then commies and Islamo-fascists).

"Not that the three are identical, I'm not saying that either, for example Hitler visited Paris only once, and briefly. Whereas Pol Pot and Ho Chi Minh spent a more extensive time on the Left Bank. However, it can be said the French were, in all three cases, accomodating."

Ah, I see, the depth of one's evilness is determined by how many times they visited France! Silly me.

I see your point now. ..Why don't you comb some hair over it.

 
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At 3:06 PM, March 29, 2006, Blogger wfc said...

I am going to spend about 5 weeks in and around Vietnam this summer and would like very much to interview Duong Thu Huong. Do you have any idea how I can get in touch with her? I do not speak Vietnamese and would need a translator, but I surmise I could find one in Hanoi.

Thank you.

 
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