Vietnamese Intellectuals Against U.S. Aggression (1966)

Vietnamese Intellectuals Against U.S. Aggression
A Book Review

    Published in Hanoi in 1966, Vietnamese Intellectuals Against U.S. Aggression is the product of a strategic conference of around 650 Vietnamese delegates in North Vietnam during wartime. This meeting of doctors, engineers, scientists, researchers, and statesmen, including Ho Chi Minh and Pham Van Dong, took place on January 4, 1965, a date that the author notes is exactly 20 years after Ho Chi Minh proclaimed Vietnamese independence. It took place in a Conference hall that overlooked the historic Ba Dinh square, where Ho made his declaration of independence. The task of the conference and the reason for its subsequently published book was equally historic: to publicly establish their goals for peace not war, to evaluate their standing against United States, and to decide how to continue their national struggle for independence.

     Firstly, to understand the book and the authors’ perspectives, we must consider the social, military, and political disposition of the North Vietnamese people during war time. In 1966, the United States was escalating their aggression in North Vietnam, and their occupancy in South Vietnam. At the time of the conference, the U.S. had increased the number of G.I.‘s in South Vietnam from 34,000 to 190,000 in the past year. Moreover, the war was extended to more air attacks over North Vietnam, targeting the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The intensification of warfare was combined with the takeover of socialism since the August Revolution in 1945. Despite the air bombings, North Vietnam was in a period of industrial, agricultural, educational development, and its leaders were trying to modernize the country. With these developments, the North Vietnamese built momentum in the two years leading up to the Tet Offensive. The book consists of a report by Professor Ta Quang Buu, a declaration against U.S. aggression, and various letters to audiences around the world. No single author is named, so I assume the book’s publication was a collaborative work of multiple writers.

    To place the book in the greater scale of global movements, the 20th century in hindsight had been a century of national liberation movements and de-colonialism, and Vietnam was hungry for its independence. The rhetoric of national self-determination and independence rang sweetly in the ears of the Vietnamese people, who have historically been invaded by foreign powers. After having to fight off China, France, Japan, and the United States, the Communist party was almost at the end of their long-fought battle for independence. This book was a show of Communist strength and resolve, a declaration to bring global awareness to their plight against U.S. aggression, and a plea to win the so-called “hearts and minds” of audiences around the world. Vietnam itself was ending its chapter on the war for independence, and they would soon win it in 1975.

    About half the book was a thorough, evaluative report, delivered by Professor Ta Quang Buu, who identified the hypocrisy of the United States as saboteurs of the 1954 Geneva Agreements, neo-colonial imperialists, and bellicose aggressors who jeopardize peace in North and South Vietnam, the whole of Indochina, and the world. He says that American leaders hypocritically cover up their occupation in Vietnam with a guise of being peace-makers, liberators, and restorers of the 1954 Geneva Agreements. He quotes Lyndon Johnson’s empty rhetoric about the “goodwill for peace,” “unconditional discussions,” and a “return to the Geneva Agreements.” Although he makes the North and South Vietnamese people seem victimized as if they did not break the agreements themselves, it is true that the U.S. maintained a political and military presence in Vietnam after the Geneva Agreements, with a puppet government of Vietnamese “advisers,” and a puppet army of American-trained Vietnamese soldiers. He said the U.S. dominated South Vietnam through invisible colonialism, pulling the strings to take administrative control of native puppets.

    Though it first sounds like a biased and exaggerated critique of U.S. actions, Ta Quang Buu actually makes a rational and well-substantiated case against U.S. aggression. He goes on to explain how the United States had fixed the election of Ngo Dinh Diem, had given him military and financial aid for years, and even prevented the scheduled 1956 election from happening. This is not in compliance with Pham Van Dong’s second provision in the Geneva Agreements, which held that foreign powers would have to stay out of Vietnam, militarily and politically. The report goes on to point out Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war into Laos and Cambodia, instead of bringing peace to the area. Ta Quang Buu criticizes U.S. imperialists’ policies of intervention and war, saying it would never lead to peace in Indochina. He makes the argument that the only way for the Vietnamese to have peace is to have independence; consequently, the only way to have independence is to have removal of the foreign presence.

    Ta Quang Buu critically analyzed the strong and weak points of U.S. power, and Vietnam’s advantage in the struggle against foreign aggressors. According to him, the U.S. was losing troops and airplanes, and suffered defeats from blows by the Vietnamese guerillas. At the same time, the U.S. lacked global and domestic support for their war, despite having the industrial advantage to overpower North Vietnamese forces. He identified the Vietnamese people’s advantage of having 20 years of experience in revolutionary war against the French, and over 2000 years of struggle against outside powers. Ta Quang Buu also noted that the implementation of socialism boosted North Vietnam’s productive industrial growth, and led to advances in agricultural yield and education (increased literacy and higher education rates). Unable to be free from party bias, Ta Quang Buu neglected to mention Communist losses and atrocities. He optimistically gave his support and all the delegates’ collective support for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and their Four Points for independence.

    After the professor’s report, the book dedicated several chapters to special letters, from the Vietnamese intellectuals, South Vietnamese intellectuals, Vietnamese intellectuals abroad, intellectuals in the United States, and intellectuals of the world. These letters appealed to the moral conscience of its audiences, continually thanking and giving appreciation for their support of the Vietnamese fight for independence, and making a case for the immediate cessation of U.S. aggression. In their letter to the U.S. intellectuals, the authors distinguish the U.S. belligerents from peace-makers and protesters. They distinguished their anti-colonial South Vietnamese compatriots from the ones who are misled by American propaganda. Based on their targeted audience (to whom the letters were addressed), I gather that the Vietnamese intellectuals were quite aware of their global and historical standing, and of the sentiments of other peace-making intellectuals about their situation.

    The timing of when Vietnamese Intellectuals Against U.S. Aggression was published is significant when it is placed with other relative events. Written 20 years after Ho Chi Minh’s 1945 declaration of independence, their long-awaited political sovereignty was within reach. The book was published in 1966, as the U.S. sent more troops and dropped more bombs into Indochina. It was written when the anti-war movement was still growing, before it reached its max; in fact, this book may have fueled that movement toward its peak. In 1966, North Vietnamese forces had not yet been decimated by bombs, and they were building up for the Tet Offensive two years later. The Communists and the DRV had reason to believe the momentum was shifting in their favor.

    The style of writing in this book was educated, eloquent, and argumentative. I can see the perspective of the book is one-sided, but the authors surely did not intend to present all sides of the argument, but rather to establish their side reasonably, so that others would know where they are coming from. Mentions of national self-determination and political sovereignty point to the fact the authors were aware of the trends of thought in the 20th century. The authors are not free of bias, however, so I would take some of their figures and arguments with a grain of rice. However, they make pleas for help and support, which are backed by logical arguments and evidence, and seem to have a genuine hope for independence. I found some of their arguments personally difficult to take in, because my family’s views are very anti-Communist. In writing this critique, I would not like to be seen as sympathetic to the Communists, but fair to all sides.

    Neither side is completely free of fault, but after hearing the Communist side of the war, the United States no longer seem like the peace-making liberators they portray themselves to be. This might have parallels to America’s current campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Vietnamese Intellectuals Against U.S. Aggression is a great source for understanding the North Vietnamese perspective and intentions during the American-Vietnamese War period. It is a perspective that, when compared to the American side, is not well-explored in Vietnamese war literature.


I decided to chill on the Solar

See Previous post: I Am No Longer Teaching Math Full-time

HB Library on a Tuesday...

Coming to grips with my current job dissatisfaction. Classic millennial dilemma.

Started with this thought:
Screw working for the °Solar Industry, I’m going back to teaching, dancing, and teaching dance.

Those are my dharma actions, that’s what I do.
That's what I've been doing as a private tutor, teacher, and dancer.
I do that naturally and that's enough to make a living.

Separate are my creations, that’s what I make:
Thoughts public, Moves, Connections, Lessons, Rhymes, Written compositions, Video Productions
I do that with conscious effort, and that, I hope, will make a legacy after my life.

I still think the Sun is badass. This is Pluto's pretty blue sky.

From my journal:

I think the Solar vision is in line with my philosophy, lifestyle, and world view about living on a space rock, but it’s not in line with my spiritual duty or course of work. I had fun permitting, but it was too easy, I was not being fully utilized, and when I got switched to sales, I basically sucked balls at that. I tried by best, but it was very difficult for me, and ultimately, Solar sales is not where I’m meant to be. I feel better tutoring and felt better teaching. That’s a sign I should align with that. Maybe Solar could be an auxiliary or supplemental component to my main purpose in life, but not at the forefront. I'm more fit to teach, dance, and teach dance.
Meanwhile, through my actions and creations, I aim to inspire, encourage, and ignite passion. Ignitin’ day. If you feel the urge to write, write away, you got the right of way. Ride the wave, its ups and downs. Sure as the world is robust and round, the way we write/ride is very much profound. Abolish the hate and let love surround. I love when everyone I love’s around. Shout to Michael Jackson, James Brown. In SoCal, back in town, not backing down.
 ^That happens every so often in my journal. Spontaneous word connections.

In a nutshell, I've been working in Solar since October, and I learned that although it was aligned with my philosophy, it was not aligned with my talents and skills; I thought I'd be good, but I sucked at it. And I'm excited to get back into teaching.. Whooo~

°I don't mean screw the Solar Industry itself, I like the industry, but working within it is not for me right now.

What a bad-ass.


Relevance of the Jasmine Revolution and the Arab Spring 2011

Annotated from NPR article linked at the bottom:

The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia (a French colony, btw) started when a street vendor, and primary breadwinner for his family, was told he could not sell his fruit without a permit. Unable to provide for his large family, he set himself on fire in front of the govt office. I'm not sure how that helped his family, but the video went viral! And it led to a bunch of protests, a President step-down, and regime-change in Tunisia, 2011. Egypt followed same year in revolution, led by youth/secular activists, but after President Mubarak stepped down, the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group, was voted into power.

Self-Immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi

While the youth focused on ousting the regime, political groups prepared to seize the impending power vacuum. The MB was popular, well-organized, and ready to win/dominate elections. Arab world, religiously conservative, want Islam in life affairs. Islamist groups want to enforce Sharia Law, oppressive to women. So far, revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain.

This period of revolutions was known as the "Arab Spring." It was followed by a period of wide-scale violence and political instability in the region, known as the "Arab Winter." Destabilized by rebel groups, like Houthis in Yemen, who ousted the new government while it was still fragile.

The Jasmine Revolution and Arab Spring in 2011 were uniquely Arab upheavals, other ethnic groups were not involved. Thus, these political stirrings are invariably connected to ISIS, current Middle Eastern instability, and international terror.

Source: http://www.npr.org/2011/12/17/143897126/the-arab-spring-a-year-of-revolution

Related post: "The Connection between Middle Eastern occupation and Southeast Asian occupation."

The Connection between Middle Eastern occupation and Southeast Asian occupation:

For some related context, see: "Jasmine Revolutions and the Arab Spring/Winter."

Western hegemony in the Middle East
European imperialism in Southeast Asia

I Realized This Morning:

    -Although their situations are different, and certainly their methods for obtaining what they want are different...
    -What Islamic State wants politically CAN be compared to what the Communist Vietnamese wanted, after hundreds of years of degradation and European/Chinese occupation: National Sovereignty! I never even understood that phrase in AP Euro. But it makes sense now, they want Independence, their own state, they wanted to be sovereign rulers of their own land.

    -Problem is, we don't trust them, and they're not proving themselves to be trustworthy. And their Sharia law is oppressive to women. End of the day, they're being jerks, and people would rather "bomb the shit" out of them than give them what they want, ESPECIALLY when...
    -They seem to have no forward-moving plan, aside from barbaric mass killings and beheadings, and smuggling/selling oil. There is a reason all these Syrians are FLEEING THEIR COUNTRY EN MASSE. Their actions are saying "Fuck THAT shit."

The Positive Side of Islam:

    -On that note, I want to say something about Muslims that I've personally known and interacted with. Many of them are great people, diligent students, wonderful artists/musicians/activists, welcoming shopkeepers, and so forth. We should not hate them. They are subject to bullying and hatespeech in schools. I knew this poor kid when I was teaching, sharp student, but outcasted by his peers. I wish you the best, Ahmed! Unfortunately, that type of thing goes on in adult groups too, so we shouldn't direct anger toward our Muslim brothers and sisters, we should try to understand them, most of them want peace too.
    -I've also found almsgiving(donation of food/money to those less fortunate), one of the 5 pillars of Islam, is a worthwhile and spiritually rewarding charitable practice.
    -Abstaining from pig meat and intoxicants is commendable too, I can't do it, but I try.
    -Many rappers are Muslim or have espoused Muslim-derived ideologies, my favorites including Nas, Guru, Busta Rhymes, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Akbar, Jay-Z, Jay Electronica, and Wu-Tang Clan. The number of Muslim hip hop artists is not limited to my list.

Nature of Islam: 

    -Because the religion lends itself to syncretization (merging with other people's existing beliefs), there are many types of Islam in different regions, and some are bound to be Extreme...ly obnoxious. Most are not Radical or violent. Many are peaceful, from American factions, like the Nation of Islam and the Nation of Gods and Earths, to Southeast Asian variants in Malaysian, Indonesia, and Thailand. In fact, I think there are more Asian Muslims than Arab Muslims... and I thought right, after a google check, 62% of world's Muslims live in South/Southeast Asia, and the largest Muslim country is Indonesia (ha, but knew that without Google). You don't hear from them as much because they're not as violent, and the Dalai Lama said most people just want peace and happiness, not violence and barbarism. Our intelligent species must know better than that if we are to save ourselves from ourselves.


I am no longer teaching Math full-time.

I got a new job in the Solar industry!!

I'm talkin bout the Sun, baby!
Why stop teaching math, Mr. Nguyen!? I won't stop teaching, and I'll still help ya, kid. I will still provide private tutoring and dance lessons upon request. But it's because my teaching license from Louisiana isn't accepted by the Commission for Teacher Credentialing in California.

Also because I think solar/renewable energy is the way to go at this time, and there's future in it.

Let's back-track a bit though.

I left California in 2013 to pursue a full-time teaching position without racking up more college debt, under the impression that I could transfer my teaching credential in California after 2 years of out-of-state teaching experience. (See CTC website – Route 2)

Sounds like a plan. All I needed was:

•Baccalaureate from an accredited university (UCLA) √
•Basic skills requirement (I pass the CSET Maths I and II and CBEST) √√
•Letter of verification of my 2 years from out-of-state employer √
•2 satisfactory performance evaluations from my employer √
•Comparable teaching credential √.... but wait... from Louisiana, it won't count!

So that's why that didn't work out for me. I'd have to go through a credentialing program, and I'd rather earn money than borrow more money right now, cuz I'm thinking of wedding and babies... ynahmsayin!!!

But it's not a total loss, because I got a lot out of my 2 years in Louisiana! I paid off all my credit card debts, paid down my student loans, bought a gas-efficient hybrid, met a ton of great people, trained/danced frequently, learned how to cook living on my own, and had enough saved to go on the best vacation of my life for 5 weeks, then stay funemployed for 3 weeks while I found a new job!

Riding Oxen in Thailand
So I'm not bugging, I'm super grateful to have left my Honda Civic in Louisiana, and to have come back with a Prius. I'm also grateful that I found a few jobs recently... went to 2 interviews and got offered both! I've been a Math Instructor in Cerritos for the past few weeks, but I will be leaving that position to start full-time at Vivint Solar, which I'm very excited for!

Also just started driving for Lyft, it's fun, but not equal to a job. Extra $$ though. Flexible too.
And I'm still putting together some short thematic books, to get them ready for publish and distribution! Very excited for that!! Get ready!

Til next time... peace outside, peace inside.


Struggle is a part of life. Buddha said it.

If you're enduring a struggle, please understand that that's normal. Struggle is a theme that permeates our reality, from literature to history and religion. See in your own life. See in the lives of others. Everyone struggles, but as someone wise told me, "You can either break down, or break through."

And some have learned to accept it as a part of life, a normalcy, and grow more successfully. Move beyond dichotomies of success/failure, toward a feeling of gratitude and thankfulness for what is given, for each blessing.

Anyway, wrote this for my brothers who struggle too. It's okay bro!
For my sisters too, who are so valuable to our society, yet bear burdens even heavier than the guys.

Understand life's cycles. You may be in the negative for years, but if you stay on the positive slope long enough, you'll make it out. Things aren't always a straight line, very often life zig-zags, curves, and loops. It's all part of the roller coaster, gotta know both to really appreciate either, enjoy your ride.

Recordings: Cycles/Enemies on the Inside/5 Ill Pieces

9/11 recordings.
I think they're all good, of course. The best one is 5 Ill Pieces. Hella raw.

My car booth set-up was similar to this.

Cycles 2:

Enemies on the Inside:

5 Ill Pieces: