- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 30, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Bush’s use of the Vietnam-Iraq analogy in his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last month was accurate but lacking. Most of his critics know little about the history of the Vietnamese communists, and they choose to blindly ignore what is glaringly known about the intentions of al Qaeda and the radical Muslim jihadists in the Middle East.

The president in his analogy forgot to mention that while the communists in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos didn’t announce their genocidal intentions at the onset of the war, al Qaeda and the Muslim jihadists have — as demonstrated by September 11, 2001, attacks and by numerous other acts of barbarism, such as the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl.

George Santayana said, “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.” Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were tragedies, but if the defeatists in Congress get their way, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will be both tragedy and farce.

Ho Chi Minh, cofounder of the French Communist Party, held a position of leadership in the international communist movement — the Comintern. Ho founded the Indo-China Communist Party in 1930, and was sent by the Comintern to Siam (Thailand), Malaya and Singapore to preside over creation of communist parties in these countries. Moscow also put him in charge of creating communist parties in Cambodia and Laos.

After the Geneva agreements in 1954, Ho Chi Minh saw to it that several hundred young Cambodians were taken north, indoctrinated in communism and given military training. They were later armed and sent back, where they became the basis of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia’s Eastern Zone. Knowing of Ho’s close ties to Moscow and his intent to create a Soviet-style Union of South East Asia, China began training and arming the Pol Pot faction of the Khmer Rouge as a counterbalance to Soviet influence.

North Vietnam enabled the Khmer Rouge to take over Phnom Penh in 1975 by providing logistics, ammunition, artillery and backup by Vietnamese troops, making them complicit in the genocide of at least 1.5 million Cambodians.

Viewing the U.S. as a paper tiger after its abandonment of South Vietnam, the Vietnamese Communist Party sent its mighty military force into Cambodia, not to liberate it from Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, but to colonize that country to fulfill Ho Chi Minh’s dream of hegemony over Indochina. They never dreamed the U.S. would ally with communist China to drive them out. Unfortunately, Hanoi’s Khmer Rouge remained intact and now controls Cambodia.

Vietnamese communists continue their policy of neocolonization, nibbling away at Cambodia by annexing sizable portions of its borders, coastlines and islands through illegitimate treaties with their puppet regime in Phnom Penh. Their latest method is a “Development Triangle” scheme that involves flooding three northeastern provinces of Cambodia and the three southeastern provinces of Laos with Vietnamese settlers. The Vietnamese army has already established coffee, cashew and rubber plantations in the Laotian provinces — the latter covering more than 7,000 hectares.

The similarity between the Vietnamese communists and the al Qaeda and the Muslim jihadists is that they are both fanatical true believers who see it as their divine right and destiny to establish hegemony over their respective regions, regardless of the cost in human life.

U.S. involvement in Vietnam was justified in trying to prevent the “dominos” — the Southeast Asian nations — from falling victim to communism. Likewise, the U.S. must stay involved in Iraq to keep radical Islam from spreading throughout the region, and to prevent the eventual take over of Iraq by Iran — another “domino effect.”

Another Vietnam-Iraq analogy is how the United States treats its allies. Some observers thought the Iraqis would welcome the Americans with garlands of flowers. However, the Shias viewed us as betrayers rather than liberators, because after arming and encouraging them to rebel against Saddam’s regime at the end of the First Gulf War, the coalition failed to enforce the Southern no-fly zone. This allowed Saddam’s forces to slaughter an estimated 100,000 Shia with tanks, helicopter gunships and devastating artillery fire.

Now, about 10,000 Iraqis who worked for the United States have been threatened by the terrorists who accuse them and their families of “collaborating” with the enemy — a death sentence. They have been referred by the United Nations for resettlement in the U.S., but even though many are translators who have already been vetted by the U.S. armed forces, so far only about 100 have been admitted.

One who called the U.S. Embassy in Jordan for help was told, “You knew the risk when you helped the Army.” Recently, Ellen Sauerbrey, assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” and tried to justify the snails-pace processing said the problem is the “very thorough security checks” put in place after September 11; however, only 2,000 to 3,000 Iraqis may be admitted this year.

During a trip to Hanoi last February, Mrs. Sauerbrey told persecuted Montagnard ethnic minorities that they should stay in the Central Highlands rather than fleeing to Cambodia to seek sanctuary. This came after the repressive Vietnamese communist regime told her the Montagnards were free to travel and take their grievances to the U.S. Embassy or consulate.

The reality is that the embassy and consulate are heavily guarded by communist police who won’t let the Montagnards enter. Loyal allies of America during the Vietnam War, the Montagnards lost about half of their adult male population fighting the communists. When the United States withdrew from Vietnam, about 1.5 million Montagnards remained. Now the Vietnamese regime gives their population at around 750,000 — evidence of the regime’s brutal and longstanding policy of ethnic cleansing.

After September 11, 2001, some Americans took pleasure in vilifying the French, ridiculing them as afraid to fight and prone to flee the battlefield. But if the defeatists in our own Congress succeed, America will once again have abandoned its allies — and once again, terror and slaughter will follow.

MICHAEL BENGE

Mr. Benge spent 11 years in Vietnam as a Foreign Service Officer. He is an advocate for human rights and religious freedom.

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