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Tựa Đề: Lễ Tưởng Niệm Chiến Tranh Việt Nam

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    Phạm Văn Bản's Avatar
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    Default Lễ Tưởng Niệm Chiến Tranh Việt Nam

    Bài thuyết trình của Vincent Phạm Văn Bản tại đại hội tưởng niệm về Chiến Tranh Việt Nam trong Ngày Lễ Cựu Chiến Binh Hoa Kỳ tại Boeing Defense, St Louis, MO ngày 6 tháng 11 năm 2019. Ngày trước lễ chào cờ vào mỗi sáng Thứ Hai của Sư Đoàn 4 Không Quân, các hoa tiêu thường mặc áo bay đen và nón đen để tưởng nhớ và ghi ơn chiến hữu đã tử trận hay mất tích, thì ngày nay, nhân đại lễ tưởng niệm Chiến Tranh Việt Nam do Bộ Quốc Phòng Hoa Kỳ đề xứng, và hoa tiêu khu trục phản lực A-37 của Phi Đoàn Thần Báo 520 đã mặc lại bộ quân phục phi công này nhằm ghi ơn các chiến sĩ cùng đồng bào đã bảo vệ và hy sinh cho lý tưởng Việt Nam Tự Do:

    As of July of 2019, according to the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, nearly 1,600 U.S. military personnel remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia from the Vietnam War era. Among them, more than 1,200 cases are from Vietnam, while the rest are reported in Laos, Cambodia and China.

    Although the United States' involvement during the Vietnam War is often viewed as a failure because of the Republic of Vietnam's (South Vietnam) eventual fall to the Communists, in fact three positive outcomes related to strategic national policy emerged from this effort:
    1) A rift developed between the Soviet Union and Communist China.
    2) The battlefield of Vietnam spurred the development of new weapon systems and techniques designed to combat unconventional forces.
    3) U.S. forces prevented communism from spreading throughout Southeast Asia.

    I worked as a Staff Sergeant Interpreter for the U.S. 18th Military Police Brigade in Long Binh for two years. This unit served the Vietnamese people by providing medical care, building schools, roads and bridges, and distributing food, medicine, and clothing to the needy. I came to admire American soldiers for their conscientious assistance and zealous service.

    Many people say that the U.S. sent half a million troops to South Vietnam from 1965-1968 for unjust reasons, and in the process infringed upon the sovereignty of the country, but this view was shortsighted. While the U.S. sacrificed nearly sixty thousand dead soldiers during the conflict, their presence likely prevented the deaths of many more hundreds of thousands of civilian and Republic of Vietnam military personnel.

    The Viet Cong had the support of the powerful Communist Block, consisting of the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites, as well as the People's Republic of China. Since the early 20th century, the United States has steadfastly defended democracy around the world, first as a key contributor to the allied effort to win two world wars, and then as a bulwark against the spread of communism during the Cold War. Eventually, these efforts led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Communist Block, which freed many millions of people from decades of enslavement to communism.

    The Geneva Accords of 1954 divided the country of Vietnam into two zones, a northern one governed by the Viet Minh, and a southern one governed by the State of Vietnam. Leaders on both sides lacked a sophisticated understanding of international politics and relied on ideas derived from agricultural backgrounds to build their governments. The cultural background made the sides susceptible to the chess game of international politics. The agreement was a disaster for the free world because it gave communist China and North Vietnam an opportunity to spread communist influence throughout Southeast Asia. In response, the U.S. refused to sign, and instead developed a policy designed to save the southern part of the country from communism.

    The U.S. supported the creation of the Republic of Vietnam with Ngo Dinh Diem as president, helping the country gain its independence from France and establishing a national unity government. In 1956 the National Constitutional Assembly was elected, a new constitution was drafted, and Emperor Bao Dai was deposed legally. The Republic of Vietnam became a strongly anti-communist free country. President Diem's government was supported by the U.S. and other western governments, and successfully unified disparate interests in the country, including Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and others.

    President Diem wanted a completely independent Vietnam. He felt France had failed in its fight against the communists and the nationalists. The promise of independence for Vietnam was broken. In order to be truly independent, he felt the government had to stand against colonialism, especially from France, but he also opposed U.S. military intervention in Vietnam, saying, “If you bring troops to Vietnam, I must explain this to my people. Horrific images of the French Expeditionary Army are deeply imbedded in the minds of the Vietnamese. The invitation of more foreign troops to Vietnam will be a disadvantage for us.”

    President Diem's government supported the Strategic Hamlet Program, and preliminary results were very good. In my local area, Kien Giang Province, for example, the provincial government incorporated 250 villages into the program during a single year, leaving only 35 isolated. Effectively, the plan threatened the survival of communism in South Vietnam. President Diem was a true patriot and capable leader, but lacked the vision at times to understand the United States and the Information Age. U.S. Ambassador Elbridge Durbrow eventually turned against President Diem and called for his replacement.

    After President Diem was killed during a coup in 1963, the Republic of Vietnam lacked a charismatic leader capable of earning the respect of the international community. The political situation in the country fell into disorder. Generals squabbled with each other, vying for power in both the military and civilian spheres leading to deterioration in the fighting spirit of the soldiers. At the same time, the enemy was strengthening its own military situation which prompted the United States and its allies to send troops into South Vietnam to stem the communist influx.

    From the turmoil that followed in the wake of the coup, Nguyen Van Thieu eventually emerged to lead the government of South Vietnam as its new President. Against extremely difficult challenges, the government and its people heroically fought against the rising tide of communist forces. As American support for the war effort waned, though, the United States eventually withdrew its armed forces, leaving the Republic of Vietnam to continue the fight alone, which it managed to do until April 30, 1975.

    It's important to note the significance of the Tet Offensive of 1968. On what is traditionally a holiday of joy and reunion with family, the communist forces shamelessly took advantage of the distraction to launch a fierce battle throughout the south. Initially, the Viet Cong made significant gains, but the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) eventually stood firm and then launched a counterattack that managed to erase all the gains made by the communist forces, earning the admiration of the world. ARVN soldiers behaved well and demonstrated their respect for human rights. In contrast, Viet Cong soldiers behaved brutally and tried to spread attitudes of hatred and class struggle. After being abandoned by their allies, the ARVN fought to defend the ideals of freedom and democracy for the Vietnamese people right up to the final moments.

    As the era of European colonial occupation waned after World War II, Ho Chi Minh felt that nationalists like Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh failed to achieve the dream of an independent Vietnam because they didn't turn to China and Soviet Union for help. Nobody should completely deny Ho Chi Minh's achievements in the war against France, but while he did launch an ideological war that eventually led to Vietnam's unification and independence decades later, his decision to bring communism to Vietnam was a tragic one. Many thousands of people suffered unjustly in the years that followed, and nearly four million people died unfairly in the 21 years of fratricide. After the communist takeover in 1975, nearly three million people fled the country as refugees, and thousands drowned in the East Sea as a result.

    Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Cong exploited the people's desire for an independent country. They manipulated their patriotism and fighting spirit, and used it to spread communism under the guise of a struggle to prevent foreign influence from regaining control over national sovereignty. The Viet Cong willingly used trickery and terrorist violence to achieve their goals, living by the motto, "the end justifies the means.” Communist powers around the world provided the Viet Cong with many resources for their subversive struggle, including political, psychological, economic, and military assistance in the form of weapons and personnel.

    The Viet Cong took advantage of the difficult terrain in Vietnam, using it to stage terrorist activities. Discontent was sowed in the institutions of South Vietnam to undermine trust in the ideals of democracy, prosperity and a free society. Time was also on their side, as they recognized eventually the United States and their allies would grow tired of the casualties and the financial toll the war was taking. Upon taking control of South Vietnam, the communist regime used the police and the military to violently oppress any opposition to their government, which followed the example set by Moscow and Beijing according to the notions of the global proletarian revolution of the Third International.

    The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 were established to end the war and restore peace in Vietnam, but this agreement placed the Republic of Vietnam in danger. No clear boundaries were established and its provisions were frequently broken. The cease fire broke down almost immediately. Viet Cong marked their presence in villages throughout the Republic of Vietnam. The International Commission of Control and Supervision, which was tasked with monitoring the armistice, was powerless to stop the deception of the Viet Cong soldiers. In general, the U.S. Army, the ARVN, and their allies operated according to the standards of conventional warfare, using the combined arms of infantry, armor, aircraft, and artillery support. The Viet Cong however, used guerrilla tactics to nullify the advantage their opponents had in terms of modern weapons and equipment.

    The war in Vietnam was a civil war between people of the same state, and as such was particularly brutal and the Vietnamese people suffered terribly. Villages and sometimes families fought and killed each other as they aligned with one side or the other.

    When I was a child, my grandfather taught me that each era has its own need for ideas and institutions that can meet the challenges of the time. At one time, Vietnam was a slow, backwards, and agricultural country. Few people at the time understood the Industrial Revolution as western countries did. France took advantage of this situation by invading the country, and France ended up exploiting its resources for hundreds of years. The Vietnamese people struggled against colonialism and hoped they could someday regain their independence and sovereignty, but those efforts failed due to their lack of scientific and technical knowledge.

    England led our transition from an agriculturally-based society to an industrially-based one. The United States has subsequently been at the forefront of the rapid transition from traditional industrial economy to one that is based on information technology. Today we have a new vision, new knowledge and a new civilization in the Information Age and the Tien-Rong Theory (Mind, Body, Spirit and Spiritual connection).

    Thanks to the United States of America!
    Vincent Pham

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Phạm Văn Bản For This Useful Post:

    chimtroi (12-11-2019), hoang yen (12-11-2019), khongquan2 (12-11-2019), Tinh Hoai Huong (12-11-2019)

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    Good on yah bạn hiền

  6. Xin cám ơn jovinh_aussie

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