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Letter: The late Vo Nguyen Giap no military genius

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Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2013 12:00 am

As to the passing of the "brilliant" General Vo Nguyen Giap, defeating the French at Dien Bien Phu by leisurely lobbing mortars from surrounding hills onto an enemy unable to resupply itself was hardly the mark of a military genius.

This tactic was tried against the U.S. at Khe Sanh until the hills surrounding the base became more hazardous than the base itself. Giap merely detoured the Ho Chi Minh Trail into Laos and Cambodia, a route guaranteed to be safe by our politicians. Again, hardly a stroke of genius.

In his memoirs, Giap confessed that he nearly offered his resignation to Ho Chi Minh since the U.S. could not be defeated. He was convinced American peace protests were a ruse of the CIA designed to provide false hope and prolong a genocidal war to deprive North Vietnam of its rapidly vanishing male population. It was not, he said, until he noticed the involvement of America's religious in the peace movement that he realized that it was genuine since clergy could not be purchased like college kids and hippies.

He then realized he did not have to defeat the U.S., just outlast it.

So thank you, Sister Mary Parika. Thank you, Rev. Lovejoy. Now you know why the Vatican takes a dim view of clergy in politics.

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