Friday, July 25, 2008

Brats and Crybabies

I'm reading a new book: 13 Cent Killers: The 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam by John J. Culbertson. And I'm enjoying it. So here's an excerpt from pgs. 56-58. The quote is from Ho Chi Minh himself (ever heard of the Ho Chi Minh Trail? Well, that guy). Minh was discussing the Vietnamese war (that's 1967, folks) with General Giap, a ruthless and brilliant strategist that had successfully routed the French from Vietnam in 1954, and was doing a good job of keeping Americans off-balance. Giap had brought up "the American body politic and its timidity and the lack of faith and patriotism expressed by American college students."

This is Ho Chi Minh's response:

"'The Americans are only interested in the 'commerciality' of their venture. They lie to their soldiers about our intentions and say that all Southeast Asia will fall to Communism.... The American industrialists grow fat like the greedy blood-bloated louses they are. We will let them feed, and when they have had their fill, they will go away and gloat over their profits. The American public is slow to learn, but not stupid. The cowards in their universities and the news media will infect the people with hopelessness and panic. You must give the Americans many casualties to unsettle their determination. Our people will suffer greatly, but we will hide the losses and the enemy must never discover how close to victory he is even now. Our soldiers are being beaten in every battle, but they understand the hardships and will do their duty. Yet the Americans, for all their reckless bravery, forget their duty. Hold the course and we shall prevail. I am certain of it!'

...Giap recognized that the American soldiers and Marines had shown implacable bravery time and again against the best troops he could muster. Giap scratched his chin and wondered how a country that produced such deadly Marines and Rangers who seemed to fight his soldiers for the mere sport of warfare could also produce the spoiled brats and crybabies that filled the halls of America's colleges and universities. Giap finally decided that there was little moral conscience or patriotic leadership at hand. .... For a people with no faith and little courage, personal greed and the love of money would always dominate the requirement for self-sacrifice and loyalty."

I could draw parallels to the US in 2008 till my head spun, but I couldn't say it any better. Ho Chi Minh understood this country better in 1967 that most of our own citizens do today.

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