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Vietnam's Last Famous Communist Revolutionary Dies

HANOI, Vietnam -- HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vo Nguyen Giap, the brilliant and ruthless self-taught general who drove the French out of Vietnam to free it from colonial rule and later forced the Americans to abandon their grueling effort to save the country from communism, has died. At age 102, he was the last of Vietnam's old-guard revolutionaries.

Giap died Friday evening in a military hospital in the capital of Hanoi where he had spent close to four years growing weaker and suffering from long illnesses, a government official and a source close to Giap said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because his death had not been formally announced.

Giap was a national hero whose legacy was second only to that of his mentor, founding President Ho Chi Minh, who led the country to independence.

The so-called "red Napoleon" stood out as the leader of a ragtag army of guerrillas who wore sandals made of car tires and lugged their artillery piece by piece over mountains to encircle and crush the French army at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The unlikely victory, which is still studied at military schools, led not only to Vietnam's independence but hastened the collapse of colonialism across Indochina and beyond.

Giap went on to defeat the U.S.-backed South Vietnam government in April 1975, reuniting a country that had been split into communist and noncommunist states. He regularly accepted heavy combat losses to achieve his goals.

"No other wars for national liberation were as fierce or caused as many losses as this war," Giap told The Associated Press in 2005 in one of his last known interviews with foreign media on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the former South Vietnamese capital.

"But we still fought because for Vietnam, nothing is more precious than independence and freedom," he said, repeating a famous quote by Ho Chi Minh.

by Anonymousreply 1710/07/2013

Can anyone explain his comment to me:

I read how an American officer, after the war, told a Vietnamese counterpart, "We won every battle." The response: "That is true. It is also completely irrelevant."

You know who else lost almost every battle? American colonists.

by Anonymousreply 110/04/2013

And we still would have won in Vietnam if we had night vision goggles. And you know what? We did have night vision goggles but they didn't manufacture and use them on a large scale. It's certainly not a new technology. Typical failure of the military mind.

by Anonymousreply 210/04/2013

All those people killed and today the jeans I'm wearing are made in Vietnam. What was the fucking point other than to kill off a bunch of poor people and enrich some industrialists?

by Anonymousreply 310/04/2013

r3 You pointed out the point very pointedly.

by Anonymousreply 410/04/2013

[quote]All those people killed and today the jeans I'm wearing are made in Vietnam. What was the fucking point other than to kill off a bunch of poor people and enrich some industrialists?

The Vietnam War was complicated. It was more than a battle to reunite the country. It was also a battle for Vietnam's political independence from the Marxist hegemony of China and the Soviet Union.

Vietnam is still a nominally Communist/Socialist state; however, the government took off its Marxist blinders decades ago and introduced broad capitalist, free-market reforms. As a result, the standard of living is the highest it's ever been.

by Anonymousreply 610/04/2013

Why were the French in Vietnam?

I have never understood that war.

by Anonymousreply 710/04/2013

r7, it was about drugs. Concerning the jeans, google "Edward Lansdale" and "Levi." Lansdale was the ad exec in the late 1930s that conceived the "designer jean." Previously, jeans were just working clothes.

He also later invented the Muslim terrorist (Huk) in the Philippines and is the George Washington of "South Vietnam." His hobby was throwing Viet Cong suspects off of helicopters. There's a pic of him with the tramps in Dallas on Dec 22 1963.

by Anonymousreply 810/04/2013

Whatever happened to Hoo Dat Don Der?

by Anonymousreply 910/04/2013

There's nothing "complicated" about Vietnam, numb nuts. And it's still very poor.

by Anonymousreply 1010/04/2013

I've met a couple of Vietnamese gay guys who were hot as hell.

That's my contribution to this thread.

by Anonymousreply 1110/04/2013

Who cares? Let's all go to the beach!

by Anonymousreply 1210/04/2013

R1, It didn't matter how many battles the US won or how many Viet Cong soldiers and civilians died in the process. Life was not valued. How could Americans keep the land they supposedly conquered? Why would the corrupt South Viet Namese government be seen as superior to the North by poor peasant farmers whose focus was on feeding their families?

by Anonymousreply 1310/04/2013

As long as Van Darkholme is still with us.

by Anonymousreply 1410/04/2013

Agreed, R14.

by Anonymousreply 1510/04/2013

Omg the ignorance of most of the commenters here is disappointing. No wonder we are still in wasteful wars we will never win.

by Anonymousreply 1610/07/2013

R16 just said all that needs to be said. Let's move on now.

by Anonymousreply 1710/07/2013
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