The reality of Ho Chi Minh’s collectivization program is illustrated to a gruesome “T” by Jeffrey T. Kuhner’s excellent piece, “Obama hails Ho Chi Minh” (Commentary, Aug. 2).
Ho had a communist group to identify farmers that they thought owned too much. That group would pay a visit to the farmer’s village, gather a crowd of his village neighbors, force the farmer to kneel on a nearby road, spit on him, ridicule and condemn him for hours before digging a hole and burying him up to his head. The grand finale was to line up a buffalo-driven plow and drag it over the farmer’s head. This detail describes one among many ruthless communist re-education punishments that was reported by North Vietnamese who fled to the South after the Geneva Accords were signed in 1954.
Just as Ho sought to use President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he also tricked the French into jailing (and thus eliminating) his “enemies,” the Vietnamese nationalists, by identifying them to the French for pay. Ho used that money to advance his goal of fundamentally transforming Vietnam, with mentoring from Mao Zedong. (Nien Cheng’s autobiography, “Life and Death in Shanghai,” is an excellent resource on similar communist re-education tactics.) Ho and the other communists were skillful in deception to fool the Vietnamese people, villagers among them, with a litany of empty promises. This deception continues in Vietnam to this day — and rings familiar in our own country now.