|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Vietnam War Hero Disappoints War Hawks
HANOI, May 1 - Vietnam war hero General Vo Nguyen Giap, who sent first the French then the Americans out of his country with their sorry asses in a sling, refused to be drawn on possible parallels with the current war in Iraq. 'Any country that wants to impose its will on another nation will certainly fail and all nations fighting for their own independence will be victorious,' he said enigmatically. 'Everyone in the world should acknowledge that each country has the right to independence and sovereignty. Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom.' The obscurity of his views deepened as he blew a smoke-ring from a vintage Marlboro and added: 'I haven't had a chance to go to Iraq and to study the specific tactics there.'
The veteran revolutionary's comments drew immediate fire from left-wing and liberal war-hawks. 'It's disappointing that Comrade Giap should express himself in this cryptic manner,' coughed Cristoforo Hitching. 'We had hoped for a clearer differentiation between the noble struggle of the Vietcong and the dead-end Islamofascist jihad in Iraq. Still, if he won't make the distinction, there are plenty of veteran freedom fighters who will, right here on the front lines in Washington.'
In London, too, Giap's remarks went down like a dud cluster-bomb. 'There are no conceivable parallels between Vietnam and Iraq,' said experienced liberal war promoter John Harry (17), who remembers the time vividly from a previous life. 'It's not like the Vietcong were some kind of violent authoritarian movement, or anything. They never harmed any Vietnamese civilians, or targeted any other Vietnamese socialists or nationalists. It was, like, peace and love, man. Anyway, opinion polls showed a consistent majority of Vietnamese opposed to the US presence. If they hadn't, it would have been perfectly proper to wait until several years of intensive bombing had swung their opinions before taking a stand.'
His older colleague, Dafydd Harrumfovitch (51), was sharper in his condemnation. 'You only have to compare the people opposed to this war with those who opposed the war in Vietnam. Today you see Socialist Worker readers joining hands with pacifists, religious nutters and unreconstructed Stalinists, and people like Noam Chomsky and John Pilger writing hysterical screeds about US imperialism. The contrast with the movement against the war in Vietnam couldn't be more stark.'
A spokesman for the influential website MIAW (Marxism Inflicted by American Warplanes) added crossly: 'Countries want independence, nations want liberation and peoples want revolution, do they? Well, tough shit. The next wave of world revolution will eliminate these small counter-revolutionary peoples down to their very names. Except Albania, Kosova and Bosnia-Hercegovina, heroic vanguards of liberated humanity.'