There is still some leftover admiration among lefties for the "agrarian reformer" Ho Chi Minh, who created the Vietnamese Communist party and was dictator of North Vietnam from 1951 to 1969. This becomes apparent when you have President Obama laying this bomb on the press:
It may come as some unwelcome news to the families of the nearly 60,000 Americans who died in the Vietnam War that the whole thing was just a misunderstanding.
That was the impression President Obama gave on Thursday when he spoke to the press after his meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang. Sang brought Obama a copy of a letter sent to President Harry Truman from Ho Chi Minh in which the communist dictator spoke hopefully of cooperation with the United States.
Obama, striking a wistful tone, observed that it may have taken 67 years, but the United States and Vietnam were finally enjoying the relationship that Ho once wrote of. After all, Obama said, Ho had been "inspired by the words of Thomas Jefferson."
The message here was that if only we might have bridged our differences then - if only Ho and Truman could have done what Obama and Sang did this week, so much unpleasantness might have been avoided.
While Jefferson did get pretty fired up about "the blood of tyrants," it's hard to see how the Sage of Monticello inspired the murderous career of the Vietnamese dictator. Ho famously slaughtered his opponents, including the infamous butchery of peasant farmers who resisted his brutal taxation in the early days of Ho's regime. Not particularly Jeffersonian.
Estimates run as high as half-a-million killed in Ho's effort to consolidate power after his communist forces drove the French out of Indochina. The killing of landlords and bourgeois-class merchants was famous even in its day and since then has been documented in even more horrifying detail.
And those who carried his banner forward following his death in 1969 - he remains "Uncle Ho" even to this day - built upon his brutal regime. Following the final U.S. retreat from Vietnam untold thousands of Vietnamese, deemed collaborators by the regime, were put to death. He and his Leninist regime used V.I. Lenin's tactics: murder, terror and "reeducation" to obtain, maintain and expand power.
I like Allah's take on this:
While Sterling Beard notes that this may be "factually true," it is, at the very least, morally and politically problematic to throw Thomas Jefferson out as an "inspiration" to a man whose very name is shorthand for the slaughter of millions. You don't even have to know anything about history to know that the likes of Stalin and Ho Chi Minh are not on the list of people you should be tacitly praising. Sure, there are communist chic figures like Che Guevera who made it out of history with their crimes covered and their murderous legacies masked by cool t-shirts, but Ho Chi Minh doesn't even make it into that category. The ranks of the communist chic are a lot bigger in a tony, super-liberal, yuppy radical neighborhood like Hyde Park, but surely Obama learned to put such things out of his vocabulary better than this. Nope. My guess is this is where this comes from. He's speaking off the cuff, he's trying to be agreeable, and he reverts to a comfort zone of calmly stated professorial radicalism that was a-okay in the parlors of Hyde Park. He doesn't think about being utterly careless with the legacy of those who fought and died in Vietnam, those who perished at the hands of leaders like Ho Chi Minh, and those who escaped them but still suffer trauma.
Many vets have made their own peace with Vietnam. Kerry and McCain have both visited the country, and there are popular tours that many vets take where they can revisit some of the battlefields and finally put the war behind them.
But Allah is correct. This kind of tone deafness by Obama, quoting Ho as if the monster actually admired much of anything about the US and wasn't just sucking up to Truman in his letter, shows the president to be the radical that anyone with an ounce of brains has known since he announced for president. To speak admiringly of such a man as Ho Chi Minh reveals a blindness about history that we've come to expect from Obama.