Monday, June 05, 2006

# Posted 10:26 PM by Patrick Porter  

ROMANCING THE VIETCONG: Vietnam is being talked about lots right now, with the chatter about quagmires, counterinsurgencies, exit strategies, and alleged atrocities.

As a sympathiser with the historic Vietcong and an opponent of the Iraqi insurgency, Christopher Hitchens stridently distinguishes those two forces. He argues that the Vietcong was
a peoples' army with a high morale and exalted standards. I, for one, will not have them insulted by any comparison to the forces of Zarqawi, the Fedayeen Saddam, and the criminal underworld now arrayed against us.
Um, thats balls. With respect to the Hitch. In a great post back in 2004, Marc Mulholland quoted from Anthony James Jones, The War for South Viet Nam, 1954-1975 (2001):

Communist guerrillas (whom the Saigon government named the “Viet Cong”) killed corrupt or oppressive officials to win popularity; they killed hardworking and upright ones to frighten the population by showing that the Saigon government could not protect anybody. Soon they were killing off the very cream of South Viet Nam’s middle class: officials, medical personnel, social workers, schoolteachers. Teachers were a special target of Viet Cong assassination; many of them were nationalists, and all of them knew enough about politics to become opinion leaders in the villages.

This “campaign of terror in the countryside” took the lives of 20 percent of the village chiefs in South Viet Nam by the end of 1958. In 1960 alone, terrorists killed 1,400 local officials and civilians. By 1965, the total number of civilians killed (excluding battle deaths) or abducted had reached 25,000.
Vietnam's communist guerrillas liquidated all other elements of the nationalist movement. Not to mention the massacre of priests, students and others at Hue, and of course the torture.

Not so exalted, then.

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Sane comments about the comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam.


Why would you put some light into the dark recesses of Mr. Hitchins cloistered Marxist past. The Viet Cong could do no wrong. Everything they and The North did was in response to the terrible repressions forced upon them by the terrible white colonialists.
Hitchens has a kind of cognitive dissonance when it comes to Vietnam vs. Iraq. The facism he descries in the "insurgency" is not far from the facism informing the national socialism of the Vietcong and North Vietnamese.
Your mistake is comparing the actual viet cong with the actual Iraq insurgents. You should be comparing the insurgents to the romanticized version of the viet cong. Like people do with Mao or Che. It works the opposite way also, like the way the far left still views Reagan.
Viet Cong-Good
Bush (GW)-AntiChrist
Interesting why one person perceives something 180 degrees from what someone one else does with the same set of facts.
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