Friday, October 04, 2013

DEATH OF A HERO


News comes that General Vo Nguyen Giap, one of the founders of Vietnam and one of the greatest military heroes of the twentieth century, has died at the age of 102.

As reported in the Washington Post, Giap started his guerrilla army in 1944 with thirty-four men and a handful of weapons. It took him ten years to drive the French colonialists out of Vietnam, then another twenty-one to defeat the American imperialists.

He said: “The United States imperialists want to fight quickly. To fight a protracted war is a big defeat for them. Their morale is lower than grass. . . . National liberation wars must allow some time — a long time. . . . The Americans didn’t understand that we had soldiers everywhere and that it was very hard to surprise us.”
To at least one U.S. military commander, this strategy was apparent even in the early years of American involvement in the hostilities. Marine Corps Gen. Victor Krulak, in a 1966 memorandum to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, wrote that Gen. Giap “was sure that if the cost in casualties and francs was high enough, the French would defeat themselves in Paris. He was right. It is likely that he feels the same about the USA.”
Ever since the war reactionary elements in the United States have argued that just a greater commitment to victory, or a more ruthless approach to the enemy, could have assured us of victory. General Giap's determined history, starting with thirty-four men and growing to command millions, shows that that was far from the truth.

You should read the rest of the story in the Post, or any of the other stories about his death. One thing is clear, though: Americans value liberty, freedom from oppression, and resistance to conquest. Therefore, he should be recognized as a hero here as he is in Vietnam.

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