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The Suffering of Forgotten Allies

Sometimes, in the long run, you are better off to have been America’s enemy than America’s friend. Few peoples epitomize our poor track record in this regard than do the Montagnards of Vietnam, who still suffer persecution, repression and ethnic cleansing at the hands of Hanoi’s Communist government a generation after the end of the Vietnam War.

My friend Bruce Kesler, a veteran of Vietnam, has remained active on issues related to the consequences of the war and has brought to my attention the recent human rights report on Vietnam’s ongoing brutal campaign against the Montagnard people -“Vietnam’s Blueprint For Ethnic Cleansing.” . A campaign that sails along underneath the media radar.

Kesler writes at Democracy Project:

In hopes that the blogosphere will also send the message that anyone cares, I’m sending key excerpts to you. First, a brief definitional discussion may be needed to clarify the dimensions of the case.

Genocide is a term reserved for wholesale, purposeful, government-organized, technological extermination of an identified group, and is even reserved for specific types as laid out in Geneva Conventions. There’s justifiable discouragement of excessive use of the term as cheapening the scale and suffering of those subjected to it.

Ethnic cleansing is a term for grayer areas of such horrendous efforts, when the effort is not as whole-encompassing, or there’s lack of global opinion agreement that it rises to genocide.

….I think the Montagnard Foundation is hesitant to use the term genocide, to avoid being caught up in definitional arguments, but what you’ll read below certainly seems to be more than “mere” ethnic cleansing relocation of a group. There’s many specifics, footnoted, and photos.

… Examining the evidence collectively, a blueprint of ethnic cleansing emerges as these human rights violations, including official and spontaneous transmigration policies, large scale deforestation, abuse of family planning methods, religious persecution, land confiscation, torture and extrajudicial killing, have been directed against a specific race of indigenous peoples….

Vietnam is a poor but developing country that needs outside aid and especially, trade, if it is not to devolve into a satellite of China. Pressure for better treatment of the Montagnards by the U.S., Japan and the West can easily be applied if the will exists.

3 Responses to “The Suffering of Forgotten Allies”

  1. Lexington Green Says:

    Whoever said "It is dangerous to be America’s enemy, but fatal to be America’s friend" was, sadly, correct in too many cases. 

  2. Scott Johnson Says:

    I beleive the abovementioned quote (mentioned by Lexington Green) "It is dangerous to be America’s enemy, but fatal to be America’s friend" was by the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan. I havent been able to locate exactly where he said it…but have heard from various sources that it was he…
    The real villian in the Montagnard and Hmong saga remains the communist regime but of course these forgotten Allies need to be remembered and much more action is needed by the world to pressure Vietnam. There were over 350 Montagnard prisoners identified by Human Rights Watch several years ago and still hundreds of these people still remain in prison for political and religious reasons – all non violent activity. Still …these prisoners get barely a mention in todays press or by Congress/State Dept. It appears these prisoners  just dont count and is a terrible shame….
    I video recorded some testimony of Montagnard Degar torture victims on Youtube..see

    But thanks to Zenpundit for these postings!!

  3. zen Says:

    Hi Scott,
    You are welcome but thank Bruce instead, he’s a fountainhead of important info like this to me.

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