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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time to admit wrong in Vietnam

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Once again there is a communist show trial going on in Vietnam. The distinguished lawyer, Le Quoc Quan, who has American ties, was arrested in December after he wrote a column for the BBC's website in which he argued for a new constitution without a guarantee of a Communist Party monopoly.

In 2006 and 2007, Mr. Le held a U.S. congressionally funded fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy, where he analyzed the legal foundations of civil society in new democracies. Twelve members of Congress signed a letter to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently calling for Mr. Le's release. The letter warned Hanoi that democratic relations with the United States would be hurt by the continuing communist agenda of restricting citizens' liberty.

President Obama should speak up in support of Mr. Le. Vietnamese Communists have been supported for a long time by the Western and American political left, and the Obama administration should break with the long-outdated liberal opposition to French colonialism and alleged American imperialism.

The American left, which found itself during the war in the same camp with the Vietnamese Communist Party, still refuses to admit that it caused great terror and damage to the people of Vietnam. In the past, it may have made sense for leftist liberals to assume that the communists were doing the right thing.

The charisma of Ho Chi Minh, created by the socialist news media, helped to convince people that the Communists were led by an altruistic patriot and that President Nguyen Van Thieu, who ruled in Saigon from 1965 to 1975, was corrupt and rotten. The time has come to admit that many millions died in Indo-China because of the failed leftist ideology and try to take corrective action.

LT. COL. DOMINIK GEORGE NARGELE

U.S. Marine Corps, retired

Arlington

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