- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 2, 2004

Helle Dale, in her March 31 column on the Op-Ed Page, “Lest we forget: Erect Memorial for victims of communism,” said: “We can all take heart when we consider that the Free World did win against the ideology of communism.”

One must assume she meant the U.S. won the battle by the breakup of the Soviet Union. But we have yet to win the war on communism.

“Lest we forget,” communism still thrives in Cuba, China, North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Even though Ho Chi Minh is dead, his policy of expansionism and hegemony over Laos and Cambodia set out when Ho established the “IndoChina Communist Party” in 1933, is alive and being carried out by the fascist Vietnamese communists in Hanoi.

Amoeba-like, communist Vietnam is slowly neo-colonizing Laos and Cambodia by the traditional Vietnamese expansionism termed Don Dien, first by occupying territory with troops, then having their families come in to settle the new territory, then putting the troops into civilian clothes to become “ready reservists” and replacing them with new troops for further expansion.

“Lest we forget,” Hanoi maintains a contingent of 3,000 troops, a mixture of special forces and intelligence agents, with tanks and helicopters, in a huge compound 2 kilometers outside Phnom Penh right next to Hun Sen’s Tuol Krassaing fortress near Takhmau. They are there to ensure Hanoi’s puppet, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, doesn’t stray far from Hanoi’s policy of neo-colonization of Cambodia.

Several million Vietnamese have settled in eastern Cambodia and have been given Cambodian citizenship by Hun Sen.

“Lest we forget,” the Vietnamese communists have also extended their hegemony over Laos and have de facto annexed Laos, in many ways now a province of North Vietnam. The Lao party leaders are anointed by Hanoi and receive their marching orders in sub rosa through a Vietnamese shadow government.

The Vietnamese communists consider the Lao “Nha que qua” — very backward — thus needing to be “guided” by Hanoi. According to recent intelligence reports, Hanoi has three divisions of infantry in the south of Laos along with the 968th Special Division in the north. Their presence ensures adherence to Hanoi’s dictates and helps the Pathet Lao eradicate the Hmong Ethnic Minorities who fought for the Americans during the Vietnam War. The Lao communists proclaimed they would hunt down the “American collaborators” and their families, “to the last root.” They will be “butchered like wild animals.” This, of course, with Hanoi’s help.

“Lest we forget,” the communist regime in Vietnam has had a long-term policy of ethnic cleansing against minorities. After the 1954 Geneva Agreements and withdrawal of French forces, more than 50,000 ethnic minorities in North Vietnam were systematically murdered.

“Least we forget,” Ho Chi Minh’s legacy and policy of murder and racist ethnic cleansing continues to this date to be carried out by Hanoi’s remnant communist hard-liners. Last Easter weekend, thousands of Christian Montagnards — allies of the U.S. during the Vietnam War — converged on the provincial capitals in the Central Highlands to hold peaceful prayer vigils for religious freedom and human rights. According to reports, when the Montagnards knelt to pray, the Vietnamese police and soldiers in plain clothes waded in, shooting and clubbing Montagnard men, women and children indiscriminately.

Large numbers of bodies reportedly were tossed on trucks and taken to mass graves for burial. People are prevented from leaving their houses to get food. The Central Highlands have now been totally sealed off with no communications, and although U.S. Embassy representatives have repeatedly tried, they have been denied access.

“Lest we forget,” is not an isolated incidence. In 2001, Montagnards tried to hold similar “peaceful” protests over the destruction of their churches and confiscation of their ancestral lands, and thousands were tortured, imprisoned and murdered. Evidence gives weight to ethnic cleansing since the Vietnamese population has tripled since the end of the Vietnam War while the Montagnard population, estimated at 1.5 million in 1975, has now been reduced to about 750,000.

“Lest we forget,” presidential hopeful John Kerry has had a long-term love affair with the Vietnamese communists, giving aid and comfort to the enemy during the Vietnam War by marching alongside communists under the Vietnamese communist flag while he was spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).

Commenting on Vietnam, Kerry stated, “I think that politically, historically … people try … to satisfy their felt needs, and you can satisfy those needs with … communism.”

After the House passed the Vietnam Human Rights Act by a vote of 410 to 1 in 2001, Mr. Kerry blocked it from going to the floor of the Senate for a democratic vote, thus ensuring that the Montagnard and the Vietnamese people will continue suffering under communist brutality. Mr. Kerry said passing the Vietnam Human Rights Act would only strengthen the hand of the Vietnamese hard-liners and harm trade.

Au contraire, Senator: Your policy of continued support for the Hanoi communists only gives the Vietnamese hard-liners a green light to continue eradicating Montagnards. And trade should never come at the cost of an entire people’s blood.

“Lest we forget” President Bush stated, “The war on terrorism must never be an excuse to persecute minorities,” (The Washington Times, Oct. 20, 2001). Mr. President, it is now time for you to act and strongly signal the Vietnamese communists that the United States will not tolerate this treatment of our allies — the Montagnards.

MIKE BENGE

Mr. Benge spent 11 years in Vietnam as a Foreign Service Officer, and worked closely with the Montagnards during that time. Of those 11 years, 5 were as a Prisoner of War.

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