Ho Chi Minh: the target of the 10,000 day war

Before I get into Vietnam, I just wanted to let my readers know (all six of you) that Chapter One was just a very brief synopsis of some of the ideas and events that have led up to the modern imperialist system and what has become Capitalist Totalitarianism. I glossed over some important topics that are indeed related to the theme. Specifically: post reconstruction, sharecropping, the great migration, Jim Crow laws, and many events associated with slavery and oppression. I would also be remiss to leave out the exploitation of other minority groups like the Chinese who constructed the railroads and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Also, I left out the expansion and take-over of Mexico and the Caribbean for furthering Imperialist interests prior to the Great Depression.

I will hopefully, in time, be able to write more thoroughly on every single issue I’ve brushed upon thus far and perhaps link a page(s) to each major theme that I glossed over — in essence, an online book of real American History, or at least a history from a perspective not commonly available to the masses. Of course, that, in and of itself will be very incomplete, yet will cover specific events and topics in far greater detail. Expect completion of my on-line History book within the next ten years — that’s the best I can promise. Now, on to Vietnam.

Historical Realities:

First things first. Any general discussions of the Vietnam War pertaining to mainstream historical analysis typically give the sanitized diatribe that US involvement in Vietnam was to stop the spread of Communism into Asia. This analysis usually includes a brief explanation of the so-called Domino Effect wherein if one state is taken over by the commies, then all surrounding states will eventually be taken over by the commies, and so on and so forth. That theory has been proven time and again to be preposterous, yet is still given as a possible rationale for US involvement.

The war in Vietnam was solely to propagate and expand imperialist interests in Southeast Asia (Indochina if you will). Not only did the US remove what was left of French Colonialism, it also confirmed that profiting from war by setting up a complex industrial base to produce the tangible units of war (IE: Military Industrial Complex) would extend the reach of Imperialism by selling the products of this industry to any small-time despot who would pay, leading to perpetual war and perpetual profits for this industry. That in turn leads to perpetual instability of the peripheral, or third world, leading to Imperialist interests being able to more easily come in and exploit natural resources and the slave labor provided by these despots for our continued military support.

When one of these despots decides they want to find new friends to play with, the US either sends the CIA to train armies to overthrow these uncooperative despots, setting up puppet military juntas; just assassinates the despot themselves; or wages a full blown war when the resources of the region are of too great a value to leave to chance — Iraq, anyone? I will give thorough explanations and examples of all of these tactics used to spread Imperialism throughout the world as the abstract develops. Vietnam was where the greater reach and tactics of Imperialism would be perfected. The Imperialist system learned — or knew all along — that winning or losing a war was inconsequential as long as the region was destabilized and dependent on a constant flow of arms to perpetuate this instability and enabling the plunder of natural and human resources in perpetuity.

Diem rises to power through Democracy

As stated before, Eisenhower originally got the ball rolling in Vietnam.  Ngo Dinh Diem was named prime-minister of Vietnam in 1954 by Emperor Bảo Đại, the last of the Nguyen Dynasty. Eisenhower gave approval to Diem as he was part of the Vietnamese ruling class, staunchly anti-communist and a very useful tool of American Imperialist interests. Though it should be noted that the French, whose control over Vietnam had collapsed, were not happy with Diem’s appointment as they considered him a nut case.

Diem, as Eisenhower knew full well, would do everything in his power to secure Imperialist interests at any cost, including executing anyone believed to be a communist or oppose Diem in any way, shape or form. Diem had secured supporters for his appointment to prime minister a few years earlier as he lived in the US studying at Catholic seminaries and caught the attention of Secretary of State Dean Acheson and Joe McCarthy, the major ring-leader of anti-communist hysteria of the time — he even has an ism named after him.

After his appointment to Prime Minister, Diem ruled Vietnam in a manner consistent with what anyone would expect from a puppet despot. Not only the executions of communists and detractors, but thwarting any semblance of Democracy and self-determination for Vietnam — he was a Catholic though, so I’m sure it was OK with God and the Pope. After French and Monarchistic control of Vietnam was gone, the country was partitioned, but was expected to be unified by a democratic election in 1956. Diem knew Ho Chi Minh, who was in control of the northern partition, would win a truly democratic election in a landslide, as the population despised Diem and his connection to French Colonialism and now, American Imperialism.

Of course, Diem suspended the elections by citing that the commies would do what commies do, rig the election. Diem’s power in the South was weak and Eisenhower was getting a little weary of being criticized for propping up a despotic dictator, so elections finally were set up in 1959. This democratic election turned out quite well for Diem as newspapers were not allowed to cover any of the opposition candidates; opponents to Diem were not allowed to give their views on any issue or debate Diem and were often disqualified on a whim and jailed or executed — after the election — when Diem deemed them to be Communist sympathizers. As one might imagine, Diem won handily, with about 93% of the vote, though the intimidation of voters with a large military presence on election day didn’t hurt Diem’s chances either.

Diem and Ike w/ Dulles - as in the airport

Eisenhower got what he wanted: a democratically elected totalitarian puppet despot beholden to American Imperialist interests. Isn’t democracy great?

Backed by the US, Diem continued his autocratic reign of terror against the Vietnamese people. Diem and American corporate interests monopolized the rice trade in Asia through force and terror; not to mention a thriving Opium pipeline through Vietnam which spread heroin throughout the world, including the black ghettos here at home.  But in the North, the godless, freedom-hating commies were working hard to accumulate enough power to make a legitimate attempt to  overthrow the democratically elected Diem regime. As Eisenhower left office and Kennedy came to power, civil war in Vietnam would escalate, leading eventually to US military involvement, first as an attempt to assassinate Ho Chi Minh and other communist leaders, then a full on invasion when small covert operation continued to fail.

Kennedy and Vietnam is an extremely complex issue, and unfortunately, I do not have the time or energy to accurately explore this three year period, so I will leave it there for now. Tune in soon for more Imperialistic good times.