Friday, November 23, 2007

Tet Offensive - 1968

Here's another interesting piece,taken from "A Common Quest For Vietnam's Future" by Hoang Duy Hung:

"One of the chilling pictures during the Tet Offensive that shocked the world was the picture of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, Commander of the Police Force, executing a communist spy wearing civilian uniform on the street in broad day light on February 1, 1968. That spy was very well-known to South Vietnam's Police Force. This spy was a captain. He killed a couple of South Vietnamese soldiers just a few hours before his execution. South Vietnam's Police Force surrounded his hiding place, demanded him to surrender, as he stubbornly refused. The policemen had to pull him out. Frustrated, General Loan pulled him out on the street, with his hands bound and shot him in the head. Eddie Adam, an American reporter, happened to be in the area, took a picture of this rare incident. Left-wing anti-war critics accused General Loan as an inhumane person and depicted South Vietnam government as a military dictatorial machine. Subsequently, General Loan was fired from his post, ending his career. On July 16, 1998, General Loan died of cancer in Virginia at age 67. Eddie Adam immediately apologized to General Loan's family because the picture not only had ended Loan's career, it also deformed the righteous cause of South Vietnam government's in defending against the communists' invasion. Eddie Adam said General Loan was 'right' in executing this stubborn and dangerous spy and if Adam were in Loan's position, he would have done the same thing. The Americans probably have sympathy toward General Loan more than ever after the September 11th, 2001 attack by Al Qaeda. In war, commanders have the right to execute spies if these spies are in imminent danger to others."