President Barack Obama essentially slapped Vietnam veterans (and their surviving loved ones) in the face when he said that Ho Chi Minh was inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s words and the American Declaration of Independence. The United States president actually uttered such a statement while standing next to Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and chatting with reporters.
The inference that the entire Vietnam War was merely a misunderstanding disrespects the 60,000 American soldiers who died during the conflict. Vietnam was before my time and I don’t know that I agree with the decision to put American soldiers in harm’s way in the first place, but those men did their duty and fought for freedom as their commanders ordered and they deserve nothing but the upmost respect. Minimizing the communist mindset Ho Chi Minh exuded is disgraceful.
During President Obama’s Vietnam speech, he received a copy of a letter Minh had once allegedly sent to President Harry Truman. In the letter, the communist dictator supposedly wrote about his hopeful feelings of a cooperative nature developing with the United States.
While speaking in a tone some journalists have described as “wistful,” President Obama said it might have taken almost 70 years, but the two countries are now engaged in the relationship Ho Chi Minh has envisioned. He added that the Vietnamese communist leader had, after all, been inspired by the words of Thomas Jefferson.
America is no longer enemies with Germany, Japan, or Russia. But, the tone and misguided liberal thoughts voiced by President Barack Obama diminish the sacrifices made by American soldiers and appear to paint Ho Chi Minh as nothing more than a misunderstood man who made a simple mistake in judgment.
President Barack Obama had this to say about Ho Chi Minh:
“The fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and words of Thomas Jefferson. Obviously, we all recognize the extraordinarily complex history between the United States and Vietnam. Step by step, what we have been able to establish is a degree of mutual respect and trust that has allowed us now to announce a comprehensive partnership between our two countries that will allow even greater cooperation on a whole range of issues from trade and commerce to military-to-military cooperation, to multilateral work on issues like disaster relief, to scientific and educational exchanges.”
Thomas Jefferson was a patriot. Nothing he ever said or did could be construed as laying the groundwork for a communist leader’s bloody actions. Ho Chi Minh not only allowed, but encouraged, the torture of brave American soldiers, viciously slaughtered anyone who opposed him, and butchered poor farmers who dared to stand up to unfair and high taxes. Minh could not be construed as behaving in a Jeffersonian manner by any logical human being.
After the communist Vietnamese leader drove the French out of the region, he killed approximately half a million people. Ho Chi Minh’s slaughter of store owners and landlords considered to be a part of the “bourgeois class” are among the most heinous acts of the past century. After American soldiers were sent home from Vietnam, Minh killed thousands of so-called United States collaborators. Thomas Jefferson the man was not.
Ho Chi Minh’s Lenin-style tactics included releasing terror on those who had wronged him and using re-education tactics to garner increased power. The communist leader was never buried, but preserved inside a glass tomb (which resembles Lenin’s) in a Vietnamese city named in his honor. He is still referred to as “Uncle Ho” by his countrymen.
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang is the leader of a country which still reportedly puts its priests and journalists who voice political dissent into forced labor camps or prisons. President Obama also told the media covering the first bilateral meeting between the two leaders that the pair discussed the “challenges that all of us face” in reference to human rights issues. While I sometimes have to squint to still recognize America, free speech and religious freedom still exist in the United States. Attacks have occurred on those fronts by liberal government leaders for years, but progressives do not yet have the power to put religious leaders and Constitution-loving writers on chain gangs.
President Obama also had this to say after meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang:
“We emphasized how the United States continues to believe that all of us have to respect issues like freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly. And we had a very candid conversation about both the progress that Vietnam is making and the challenges that remain.”
President Barack Obama’s constitutional reference and Jefferson comparison proves once more how little the current Oval Office holder actually knows about American ideals. If President Obama did not want to offend the Vietnamese president, he should have heeded the warning that good mothers always tell their children—“If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” President Obama could have opted to remain silent about Ho Chi Minh. He was under absolutely no pressure to praise the former communist dictator. He could have paused for just a moment to ponder how Vietnam veterans would feel about his sentiments.
An excerpt form a 1968 Reader’s Digest report on Ho Chi Minh’s rule describes the man far more accurately than President Obama’s Thomas Jefferson reference:
“The terror had its real beginning when Red dictator Ho Chi Minh consolidated his power in the North. More than a year before his 1954 victory over the French, he launched a savage campaign against his own people. In virtually every North Vietnamese village, strong-arm squads assembled the populace to witness the ‘confessions’ of landowners. As time went on, businessmen, intellectuals, school teachers, civic leaders — all who represented a potential source of future opposition — were also rounded up and forced to confess to ‘errors of thought.’ There followed public ‘trials,’ conviction and, in many cases, execution. People were shot, beheaded, beaten to death; some were tied up, thrown into open graves and covered with stones until they were crushed to death.”
Just like in an old western, there were good guys and bad guys in the fight. The American soldiers who fought in Vietnam were not fighting a Founding Fathers philosophical follower. They were fighting an evil man who did bad things to innocent people. Whether or not the problems going on in Vietnam were any of our business, when the United States soldiers put boots on the ground, they had arrived to fight for freedom and were most assuredly the good guys.