The Vietnamese communists were not fighting America for Vietnamese independence. America was never interested in controlling the Vietnamese people, and there is a perfect parallel to prove this: the Korean War. Did America fight the Korean communists in order to control Korea? Or did 37,000 Americans die in Korea so that Koreans could be free? Who was (and remains) a freer human being -- a Korean living under Korean communist rule in North Korea or a Korean living in that part of Korea where America defeated the Korean communists?
And who was a freer human being in Vietnam -- those who lived in non-communist South Vietnam (with all its flaws) or those who lived under Ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh's communists in North Vietnam?
America fights to liberate countries, not to rule over them. It was the Vietnamese Communist Party, not America, that was interested in controlling the Vietnamese people. But the lie was spread so widely and so effectively that most of the world -- except American supporters of the war and the Vietnamese boat people and other Vietnamese who yearned for liberty -- believed that America was fighting for tin, tungsten and the wholly fictitious "American empire" while the Vietnamese communists were fighting for Vietnamese freedom.
I went to the "Vietnam War Remnants Museum" -- the Communist Party's three-floor exhibit of anti-American photos. Nothing surprised me -- not the absence of a single word critical of the communist North Vietnamese or of the Viet Cong; not a word about the widespread threats on the lives of anyone who did not fight for the communists; not a word about those who risked their lives to escape by boat, preferring to risk dying by drowning, being eaten by sharks or being tortured or gang-raped by pirates, rather than to live under the communists who "liberated" South Vietnam.
Equally unsurprising is that there is little difference between the history of the Vietnam War as told by the Communist Party of Vietnam and what just about any college student will be told in just about any college by just about any professor in America, Europe, Asia or Latin America.
I will end with the subject with which I began -- the Vietnamese. It is impossible to visit Vietnam and not be impressed by the people. I hope I live to see the day when the people of Vietnam, freed from the communist lies that still permeate their daily lives, understand that every Vietnamese death in the war against America was a wasted life, one more of the 140 million human sacrifices on the altar of the most bloodthirsty false god in history: communism.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”