Since others have covered the mind-altering prose of the David Lamb authored article on Vietnam on the front page of the Saturday LA Times, I was going to skip it until I belatedly read the superb Sunday coverage in the New York Times.
I also have to admit that I originally never got past the LA Times headline and the first few paragraphs of the Saturday story since it was so obvious that whom ever had written the article about the events of the 1960's and 1970's must have also availed himself of some - if not all - of the drugs so plentiful in those times before he wrote it.
But as bad - and dishonest - as the article is - the most bizarre point was the sub-headline of the article which read, in part:
"... the firmly communist nation has a flourishing economy, social freedom and deep ties with the U.S."
I am not making this up!
Now if you have any knowledge of what is happening economically in Vietnam, the current boom is fueled by a total rejection of communist ideology and a complete embrace of Adam Smith and free market capitalism! This is a firmly communist nation? Bullshit!
And the wonderful irony is that for eleven years Vietnam was a firmly communist country until it was on the verge of collapse - at which time it firmly rejected communism dogma for capitalism Realpolitik.
Now the writer does later state that the economy is booming due to a mix of Marxism and Adam Smith - but it is clear that this writer wouldn’t know Marxism (or Adam Smith) if he fell over it (or him). But I guess, since the current dictators of Vietnam call themselves communists - as they enrich themselves as one of the most corrupt governments in the world - ergo, then this must be a Marxist government with Marxist economic policies!
Scary - huh?
The truth is that Vietnam is run by a group of thugs who rake in millions from the free market capitalists who are enriching the government with zero, repeat – zero application of Marxist economics.
Obviously, this writer has no working knowledge of economics or Marxism and he clearly has no knowledge of how the Vietnamese economy is working, despite all his years spent there. It is also clear that this article has very little to do with the how and why of Vietnam today, but has everything to do with the writer trying to justify the communist dictatorship that has resulted in the deaths of so many millions of people.
Plus this writer also ignores that reality that this dictatorship has had to abandon all their ideas and the theories (other than of giving zero power to the people, and all power to themselves) after every aspect of communism proved to be so disastrous that they had to reinstitute the free market economy that had existed before they so brutally conquered South Vietnam.
Excuse me, I mean in proper, Orwellian (AKA - LA TIMES) Newspeak, before they ‘reunited’ the country, much as Hitler 'reunited' Germany and Austria. The communists won the battles, but they ended up losing the real war as they had to repudiate every one of their principles to be able to stay in power, which is all that they are really interested in. But this is something that neither this writer nor the LA Times can afford to admit.
The media simply refuses to concede that the current despots of Vietnam caused millions of people to die to put themselves into power and to install an economic and social system - that they have now abandoned, other than their remaining as absolute dictators.
And guess what - the writer can not find even one person in all of Vietnam who can say anything bad about this communist enslavement of South Vietnam! Not one! But guess what - that was not the story that this writer was looking for!! And, remember - only facts that serve a higher purpose can be admitted into the pages of the LA Times!
It is also clear that there is nobody at the LA Times who actually reads any of this garbage before it gets spewed into print. Or at least - no one who actually knows (or - far more damning - cares) a damn thing about economics, Adam Smith, Marxism - or much of anything else.
No one with any knowledge of any of those subjects could have allowed this article to be printed - particularly with such a totally dishonest headline.
In fact, if I were the editor of the LA Times, I would ask the reporter in question – and whoever edited this train wreck of a story - to write an essay on how Marxist economic theory is being utilized in the current economic boom in Vietnam. As someone who has actually plowed through Das Kapital, I can tell you this would be a very, very short essay.
Now compare the 'firmly communist country' and all the LA Times Marxist economics horseshit with the New York Times description:
"To the eyes of visitors here, including international journalists gathered for a reunion, the market economy and capitalism seem to be doing just fine in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon."
And as for the ‘social freedom’ crap – this is an iron fisted dictatorship that brooks no dissent, which the writer eventually, most reluctantly, admits towards the end of the story, far from the front page, where few readers will ever tread.
But since this is a communist dictatorship - then that makes it OK for the LA Times! No elections? Great! No free press? Wonderfull! No freedom of expression? Fine with the LA Times as long as there is plenty of Marxist 'social freedom' to go around!
May 2nd Update!
The not so hidden agenda of this article is encapsulated in the below quote:
"Ironically, if you took away the still-ruling Communist Party and discounted the perilous decade after the war, the Vietnam of today is not much different from the country U.S. policymakers wanted to create in the 1960s."
So, all those who were opposed to the spread of communism in the 1960's and the 1970's were wrong - because Vietnam ended up embracing capitalism! Minor details such as the millions killed by the ruling 'communist' government's invasion of South Vietnam and the countless numbers who starved to death or who were tortured during the decade after the war, not to mention the hundreds of thousands who risked - and often lost - their lives in search of freedom from the present ruling dictatorship - are just minor footnotes in history. Long live Marxist social freedoms!
(This has been a NOT paid for Ad for the Communist Part of Vietnam but the opinions expressed in it do represent the views of the LA Times' editorial board)