: SDF, as someone older and wiser than me I suspect you would know the answer to this question. During 1968, the North Vietnamese Army is said to have killed 2,800 civilians at Hue, including teachers and women and children. I've seen this figuere in all the sourecs I've read, and so I tend to believe it. However, recently I came across an article by Mr. Gareth Porter, published in 1974, that seems well-documented and logical. Its conclusion is that these civilains were killed in war, not deliberately by the NVA.
SDF: I really don't know. The bibliography is here. What does "killed in war" mean? They stepped on land mines by accident? They found stray bullets?
: Being a pessimist, I still tend to believe the earlier figure of 2,800 civilians murdered. But you probably know more about this than me, so what's your informed opinion on the subject? Did the Hue massacre really happen? If it did, of course, while it shoudl cause us all some soul-searching, it need not turn us against Vietnamese Communsim in general.
SDF: I really can't believe in any of those people. The Vietnamese apparently did not rescue their wrecked economy or tortured ecology, and ended up inviting Nike into the country. A comparison between the Hanoi regime and the regime of Thieu and Ky is pretty scary. Part of the problem may have been that many of the people with peaceful solutions to the problems represented by Vietnamese politics were killed off. The US also had better game plans, don't you think? William Corson's THE BETRAYAL and Lederer and Burdick's THE UGLY AMERICAN would seem to indicate otherwise.
: Even though thsi and similar horrible atrocities were committed, we should hold teh men repsonsible, and not a vague political-economic philosophy, responsible for what tehy did. Communism cannpot be held areponsible for the abuses ofsome of its followers. moreover, it does not take away from teh fact that the NVA did many good things, were less brutal than right-wing dictatorships, and had teh broad support of teh Vietnamese people. If anything, it simply means that the tendencies towards revenge and cruelty exist in all human beings, and merely being a communist does not eradicate these temptations, and that sadly too many of teh NLF gave into these temptations. It does not mean that the DRV was evil as a whole, nor that we were right in opposing them by force.
SDF: I'm not clear that "actually existing socialism" in Vietnam amounted to anything more than rule by a syndicate (as in the USSR) or rule by religious fanatics (as in Maoism). If it is, I'd like to know how so. All of Tet 1968 and all of the "revenge" activity perpetrated afterward by US/ARVN forces (esp. My Lai) was a death orgy. That was most of what these debates were about. Stuart Gort, in his obsession with "stopping Communism," stupidly overlooked the fact that US policy in Vietnam deliberately set out to create a death orgy. Economic policy is an irrelevance when bodies are flying right and left.