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Thread: General Giap is dead

  1. #61
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    Another thing:

    I was reading up the names offered by zraver and noted that these two generals were executed for actions that were similarly committed by American soldiers in Vietnam. Yet General Westmoreland and others were not tried and executed like those two men, hence proving my point that it was victor's justice.

  2. #62
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    A rebuttal to the western criticism about Gen. Giap and his disregard for human casualties.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/op....html?ref=asia
    Reads more like an attempt to use Giap's death to write an article about alleged US atrocities. Can't attest to its quality on that score, but it is a 'rebuttal' of nothing in relation to discussions of Giap. Whether or not he was profligate with the lives of his men has stuff all to do with whether of not US troops committed atrocities.

    BTW, he was most certainly profligate with lives in his 1951 offensives, where he thrice suffered bloody defeats at the hands of De Lattre attempting to break through the De Lattre line. Giap's inability to mount simultaneous attacks on the De Lattre line meant that the French were able to defeat his forces piecemeal. If the failure of the first one or two attacks was excusable, the third & bloodiest attack - months after the first - was inexcusable. Giap got ahead of himself & tens of thousands of his men died. There are also good grounds to criticize similar handling of troops at DBP - a battle fought effectively after the result of the war had been decided. In their typically lazy Amerocentric way few US commentators know much about this or write about it if they do (Khe Sanh looms large), but they were justified in raising the general issue nonetheless.

    I also note that the author of the article you posted follows what appears to be universal silence on potential war crimes committed by the PAVN. In particular the fate of the almost 11,000 POWs taken at DBP. Only 3200 were returned alive. That is close to 8000 who either died, were killed or remained in prison (several thousand were Vietnamese). None of this is secret information. It is well known. Giap was the commanding officer & must have been well aware of the fate of these men. Yet no one thought to mention it in so many of those obits. Had 8000 POWs been killed or disappeared from US custody in a single incident there would be books on the issue.

    I'm afraid Giap's passing has been the occasion of a great deal of poor journalism.
    Last edited by Bigfella; 21 Oct 13, at 13:05.


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  3. #63
    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Is this piece some sort of obituary?

    The way I see it, the columnist took the news about generals' death as an event to rant about US war crimes in Nam.
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  4. #64
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    Is this piece some sort of obituary?

    The way I see it, the columnist took the news about generals' death as an event to rant about US war crimes in Nam.
    Pretty much. He styled it as a 'reply' to critics of Giap's tactics, but it was nothing of the sort. Perhaps he felt it was the only way to give discussion of this stuff such a high profile these days. Hard to know.


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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Nitpicking.

    It's General Vo, not Giap. Giap is his first name. His military genius was restricted to reading the enemy right. He played very little part in dragging canons up the mountains. The engineers did that feat, not him.
    Qu

    "Quốc tế nói về vị tướng lỗi lạc

    Hăng thông tấn AP (Mỹ) b́nh luận: “Đại tướng Vơ Nguyên Giáp là người đă khiến Pháp phải ra khỏi Việt Nam, giải phóng đất nước khỏi ách thực dân”.

    >> Vơ Nguyên Giáp: Nhà chính trị đi trước nhà quân sự
    >> Đại tướng Vơ Nguyên Giáp và những thời khắc lịch sử
    >> 'Mối t́nh đầu' của Đại tướng Vơ Nguyên Giáp
    Tướng Giáp là một vị anh hùng quốc gia, vị tướng huyền thoại là một “Napoleon của Việt Nam”. Ông đă lănh đạo đội quân du kích đi dép cao su, kéo pháo lên núi để bao vây và đè bẹp quân đội Pháp tại cứ điểm Điện Biên Phủ năm 1954 - hăng tin AP viết.i."

    In Vietnamese, "Tướng Giáp." Roughly restructuring Vietnamese custom to English, "Vơ Nguyên Giáp" = "Giáp Vơ Nguyên." You are simi-correct about name placement. Where I believe that you misunderstand Vietnamese language and custom is that the title goes to the individual's name, not the family's. GEN William T Sherman in Vietnamese would be GEN William, not GEN Sherman.

    I have 21 semester hours of Vietnamese and served as an Advisor to the Vietnamese Navy. While not qualified to be a blemish on a real interrupter's rear, due to the unavailability of anyone else remotely qualified; I also served as the Nha Be Harbor Master,s Interpreter.
    Last edited by Linh_My; 22 Oct 13, at 16:04.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linh_My View Post
    Qu
    Roughly restructuring Vietnamese custom to English, "Vơ Nguyên Giáp" = "Giáp Vơ Nguyên." You are simi-correct about name placement. Where I believe that you misunderstand Vietnamese language and custom is that the title goes to the individual's name, not the family's. GEN William T Sherman in Vietnamese would be GEN William, not GEN Sherman.
    After discussing the issue with my wife, I am refining my response and refining my translation into English of GEN Giap's name to "Vơ Nguyên Giáp" = "Giáp Nguyên Vơ." Middle names in Vietnamese can be tricky.

    "van" and "thi" are not names, they are gender indicators. "van" = male. "thi" =female. Examples would be "Nguyen van Hoa" is a guy named Hoa. "Nguyen thi Hoa" is a girl named Hoa. Many Vietnamese, like Gen Giap, instead, use the Spanish custom of using, both the mother and father's family names; "Ortega y Gasset" is an example, in Spanish, and an author that I have found interesting. Sometimes aspirational words and phrases are also used.

    Note, I just got back to my home in Viet Nam this morning from my home in Texas. My brain is only simi-functional and likely won't recover for a few days. So lots of editing of my posts.
    Last edited by Linh_My; 22 Oct 13, at 17:14.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    In your counterfactual, the Vietnamese nationalists enlist Chinese (i.e. KMT) aid to set up a government. The Chinese civil war spills over into Vietnam, and past humiliations revisit Vietnam. Remember that Ho Chi Minh was far more afraid of the Chinese than he ever was of the French or the Americans.
    Why did the British rearm the Japanese in Vietnam

    A friend of mine was a member of the OSS who happened to be in French IndoChina at the end of WWII. Bill pointed out that after accepting the surrender of the Japanese Army Viet Nam, the English promptly rearmed them and used them to fight against the Vietnamese resistance.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linh_My View Post
    Why did the British rearm the Japanese in Vietnam

    A friend of mine was a member of the OSS who happened to be in French IndoChina at the end of WWII. Bill pointed out that after accepting the surrender of the Japanese Army Viet Nam, the English promptly rearmed them and used them to fight against the Vietnamese resistance.
    Fair enough, but I don't see what this has to do with my post?

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertswo View Post
    There was a French officer who had served with the Foreign Legion in my War College class. Our seminar sort of picked apart the American involvement in the war, and it's a very different story than the one I grew up watching on the evening news in the 60s and early-70s. I had never realized what a crushing defeat had been laid upon both the North Vietnamese regulars and the Viet Cong during the Tet Offensive, but instead of hearing about that, we were "treated" to the famous photo of the Saigon Chief of Police summarily executing a Viet Cong prisoner, without ever learning the "Why" of it. it seems he had it coming, but we never knew that. If there was a way to spin things in a bad light, the American media did it.

    Anyway, something I had never been aware of that I learned from this officer was that those Legionaries at Dien Bin Phu had more than a few former Wehrmacht and Waffen SS troops among their numbers. Then after having their asses handed to them there, they went to Algeria and got their asses kicked again. I would think going 0 for 3 in wars would be enough for one lifetime.
    Read a book named, I remember, "The Devil's Brigade" that was an autobiography. It is possibly this book, Amazon.com: Devil's Guard eBook: George R. Elford: Kindle Store

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    Fair enough, but I don't see what this has to do with my post?
    Your post was also about the very convoluted politics during the early part of the war. It was meant as an expansion building on your information.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linh_My View Post
    Your post was also about the very convoluted politics during the early part of the war. It was meant as an expansion building on your information.
    Nice. I read this book sometime back: http://www.amazon.ca/Forgotten-Wars-...+forgotten+war, which gave a good description of the mess that was south-east Asia in 1945. So many stakeholders and so many what-ifs!

    Btw the British troops in Vietnam were more often Indians serving in the BIA at the time.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    Nice. I read this book sometime back: Forgotten Wars: Christopher Bayly, Tim Harper: 9780141017389: Books - Amazon.ca, which gave a good description of the mess that was south-east Asia in 1945. So many stakeholders and so many what-ifs!

    Btw the British troops in Vietnam were more often Indians serving in the BIA at the time.
    I added it to my "Wish list" and expect to order it next year when I'm back in America for cataract surgery.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linh_My View Post
    Read a book named, I remember, "The Devil's Brigade" that was an autobiography. It is possibly this book, Amazon.com: Devil's Guard eBook: George R. Elford: Kindle Store
    While there were undoubtedly former members of the SS in Indochina, the factuality of the 'Devil's Guard' is heavily contested. it seems likely there was a bit of exaggeration as to numbers & perhaps a few other things.

    Devil's Guard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    While there were undoubtedly former members of the SS in Indochina, the factuality of the 'Devil's Guard' is heavily contested. it seems likely there was a bit of exaggeration as to numbers & perhaps a few other things.

    Devil's Guard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    BF, Say it isn't so. A Soldier doing a bit of embellishment. I can't believe it. Just for that, I won't tell you about the day that armed with nothing but my rusty P-38 can opener, I destroyed 20 NVA Divisions all by my self.

    To come back to reality, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not; exaggeration creeps in. Sometimes Political Correctness rewrites history. Sometimes you get both. SS troops in the French Army fighting in Viet Nam is not politicly correct. Anyway, I did read and enjoy the book.

  15. #75
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linh_My View Post
    BF, Say it isn't so. A Soldier doing a bit of embellishment. I can't believe it. Just for that, I won't tell you about the day that armed with nothing but my rusty P-38 can opener, I destroyed 20 NVA Divisions all by my self.

    To come back to reality, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not; exaggeration creeps in. Sometimes Political Correctness rewrites history. Sometimes you get both. SS troops in the French Army fighting in Viet Nam is not politicly correct. Anyway, I did read and enjoy the book.
    I have no issue with soldiers occasionally embellishing accounts of their experiences for reasons of readability, drama or dodgy memory. I look forward to reading your account of what appears to be a one man Xuan Loc . I would, however, be less impressed if people believed your account without some scholarly research or solid documentation to back the story up.


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