That claim was reinforced by the PBS documentary series on Vietnam. That program was countered by a relatively little-known documentary Televisions’ Vietnam: The Real Story. It can be watched here on You Tube. The participants include Stephen Morris, a historian of Vietnam, who states:

If he was primarily a communist, as I’ve argued, this means that he did constitute a security threat to the United States and the free world, because of his commitment to the internationalist communist community, led by the Soviet Union. The second reason is, if we recognize the fact that he was primarily a communist, we understand why his victory constituted a great setback for the cause of human rights in his own part of the world, because, as a communist, he felt it necessary to use aggressive violence against non-communists who might potentially threaten his power.

That documentary, shown on a few PBS stations in 1985, made the salient points that were all but ignored by the editorial writers and pundits, who preferred to continue with the usual narrative about Vietnam — that of the left who saw Ho Chi Minh as a righteous leader of democratic forces fighting for his people’s freedom.

Today, as Vietnam’s still-Communist government moves along with a state-controlled capitalist economy guided by a rigid one-party state, its leaders have, as even The New York Times put it:

[The authorities]… cracked down at home, imprisoning bloggers, religious leaders and dissidents; curtailing labor laws; and again taking control of what one Vietnam expert called the “commanding heights” of the economy.

Ho Chi Minh is long gone; his legacy lives on in the Communist-controlled Vietnam he created. Improving relations, trade, and mutually beneficial arrangements between our country and Vietnam should not include continuing to spread the myth about Vietnam’s founder seeking a country modeled on our Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Can’t President Obama move beyond the myths of the anti-war movement that his mother and other mentors evidently taught to him?

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