A Very Late Eulogy for General Vo Nguyen Giap

VNGI’ve written about the death of Vo Nguyen Giap before. Only the last time, it was by mistake and he was very much alive (just horribly ill in the hospital… oops). Well, this time I made sure of it that he was actually dead before writing his eulogy (it’s just common courtesy. I am a gentleman, you guys).

Since I’ve said what I generally wanted to say about General Giap in that accidental eulogy that I wrote a few years ago, and let’s be honest here, there are much more pressing matters at hand right now in current affairs that I must cover, I’ll keep this one brief.

Vo Nguyen Giap was a fighter who fought against the French to help liberate Vietnam from the European country’s colonialist endeavors (or what I like to call, France’s vestige of empire). He then fought against America in what was believed to be another case of imperialist imposition on a small but resilient nation. He definitely deserves commendation against the French, but in the case of America, I’ll just leave it as controversial.

As a postwar leader, I’m disappointed to say, Vo Nguyen Giap was too politically inept to save Vietnam from social deterioration at the hands of the party. Marginalized by Le Duan in the 1970′s, General Giap’s mythical stature protected him from political execution. From then on, all the way to November of this year in 2013, the general continued to be respected, but was powerless, holding zero actual sway within the Communist Party.

I do give him a modest amount of respect because of his courage and military service on behalf of Vietnam. He was also the man who openly opposed the policies of the idiots in Vietnamese government today. However, the general’s greatest weakness is that he was, first and foremost, a soldier. He knew how to fight, he knew how to follow orders and carry them out diligently, but as a statesman and a politician, he had no chance.

VNGfuneralIn my eyes, Vo Nguyen Giap was a patriot. He fought for Vietnam, and in the end, he died for Vietnam. However, in the grander scheme of things, he chose the wrong side in the struggle, and in the end, was unable to stop the country from deteriorating into the international joke that it is today. He had courage, and he had a good heart. But he was also weak politically, was molded and marginalized, used and abused by the more vicious political minds within that communist system. Therefore, my take on the late general is of a bittersweet nature.

When all is said and done, despite his shortcomings, General Vo Nguyen Giap was a man that gave himself for his country. Therefore, I bid him a clean and respectful farewell.

To the late general, a salute.

…. To the rest of the Communist Party, a single finger salute. Hiyooo!

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3 Responses to “A Very Late Eulogy for General Vo Nguyen Giap”

  1. These four guys ” Sang, Trong, Hung, Dung” carrying the coffin of General Giap showed how faked they are. They marginalized and ignored him when he was still alive and organized a state funeral for him after his death. The reasons behind this action were these guys are scared of the people. Do these guys really respect General Giap? How they treated the chinese Prime Minister of China , who visited Vietnam during the country were mourning General Giap’s death, was the answer.

  2. ill bet he died a sad man, all that death and sacrifice in the hopes he would see a Vietnam where ALL are truly free and not a puppet of chinese communist agenda.

    RIP dai tuong Giap

  3. TURNER: Late general won Vietnam war by losing

    The Oct. 4 death of former North Vietnamese general and Defense Minister Vo Nguyen Giap has led many commentators to describe him as “the general who beat the United States in the Vietnam War.” It is a popular perception, but it is false — at least in a military sense.

    It is true that there was initially a steep learning curve in the early days of the war. Although our military had engaged in unconventional warfare in the American Revolution, and to a lesser extent in World War II, during the Cold War our focus was primarily upon the conventional threat posed by the Soviet Union. We had military leaders, such as the legendary Gen. William P. Yarborough (the father of the modern Green Beret), but neither Gen. William Westmoreland nor most other senior commanders had much use for “counterinsurgency.”

    However, we learned, and the 1968 Tet Offensive — a massive series of attacks on more than 100 cities and towns across South Vietnam at the end of January 1968 — was in part driven by the setback Giap’s forces had experienced in the South. When it was over, communist losses outweighed those of South Vietnam and the United States by more than 10 to one. Much of the Viet Cong forces in the South had been decimated, along with the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI) that had been instrumental in earlier communist successes. Thereafter, Hanoi was forced to fight the war using the North Vietnamese Army.

    Giap was shocked by the setback and admitted the Tet Offensive had been a major defeat for his forces, which never recovered. The 1970 Cambodian incursion crippled Viet Cong forces in the Mekong Delta (I witnessed it firsthand), and when Hanoi sent everything it had against the South Vietnamese army in the spring of 1972, it was repulsed by South Vietnamese military with only the assistance of American air power. At the end of that year, the Linebacker II bombing of North Vietnam largely broke Hanoi’s will and led to the January 1973 Paris Peace Accords.

    In fairness, Giap deserved some credit for the political warfare campaign that misled countless American college students and others to march in protests to end the war. Oblivious to the realities of the war and the nature of our adversaries, the protesters persuaded Congress to enact legislation providing: “[A]fter August 15, 1973, no funds herein or heretofore appropriated may be obligated or expended to finance directly or indirectly combat activities by United States military forces in or over or from off the shores of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.” Put simply, Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Few Americans paid close attention to what happened thereafter. North Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong quipped, “The Americans won’t come back now even if we offered them candy.” In 1975, Hanoi sent virtually its entire army (retaining the 325th Division to protect Hanoi) behind columns of Soviet-made tanks to conquer its neighbors in conventional aggression. Those tanks would have been sitting ducks for American air power, but Congress had made that illegal.

    In so doing, Congress betrayed the solemn commitment the nation had made under the 1955 SEATO treaty to defend South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from communist aggression. It had already repealed the authorization for the use of military force, which had been enacted with the votes of 99.6 percent of Congress in August 1964.

    After the war ended, Hanoi acknowledged that it had made a decision on May 19, 1959 — more than five years before Congress authorized the use of force and U.S. combat units were deployed to Vietnam — to open the Ho Chi Minh Trail and start sending troops, weapons and supplies into South Vietnam for the purpose of overthrowing its government. In a much-criticized February 1965 report titled “Aggression from the North,” the State Department had been right all along.

    As we pause to reflect upon the death of Giap, we should also recall the consequences of Congress‘ decision to abandon our historic commitments and give the communists a green light to conquer South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Within three years of “liberation,” more people had been killed throughout Indochina than had died in the previous 14 years of combat.

    According to the Yale University Cambodian Genocide Program, in tiny Cambodia alone more than 20 percent of the population (1.7 million human beings) lost their lives under the regime of Pol Pot after Congress made it unlawful for U.S. forces to protect them. The January 2003 issue of National Geographic Today included a story on the Cambodian “killing fields” that noted — in order to save bullets — axes, knives and bamboo sticks were often used for executions. “As for children, their murderers simply battered them against trees.” It didn’t have to happen.

    Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap is dead at age 102. He defeated the French in 1954, and deserves some credit for the ultimate conquest of the Republic of South Vietnam. However, throughout the entire conflict, Giap’s forces did not win a single major battle against U.S. military forces. What did us in was a misinformed U.S. Congress.

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