Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."



Mr. President, are you and the people who write your talking points ignorant of the history of Vietnam and those that inspired Ho Chi Minh, or were you just attempting to humor the President of Vietnam last week when you took a break from your perpetual campaign to meet with Truong Tan Sang in the Oval Office? Either way it’s troubling.  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)


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17 Responses

  1. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    I believe Obama has no knowledge of the history of the United States or of our involvement in Vietnam. If not, he is just too uninformed to be running the U.S.

    By Michael Talley

    • EWRoss says:

      Lew, thanks, I hadn’t. I met him back when I had the POW/MIA account.

      I read about Sam Johnson this week. Still serving in Congress in his 80s. Both a Korean War veteran and a Vietnam War POW.


  2. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    If this was Bush there would be much more outrage !

    By Joey Isaac

  3. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    It’s well known fact, among those who are not ignorant of the history of Vietnam, that yes, Ho Chi Minh was, in fact, “inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution”. I’m shocked at the very people who know nothing about HCM’s history are trying to call the President out on this.

    By David Allison

  4. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    Troubling? That’s being extremely kind. Troubling was hearing in 2008 that Obamacare was the country’s new highest priority. Economy? What economy? Who needs an economy when there’s havoc to be wreaked?

    And the fiddling continues.

    By Ken Leon

  5. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    Ross, as usual, you are completely clueless on this subject. Ho Chi Minh was not merely interested in the Declaration of Independence as a tool for ultimate Marxist exploitation – quite the contrary. In fact, the US didn’t live up to its own ideals in that engagement, which fellas like you love to whitewash with your right wing claptrap and historical revisionism.

    Now stop posting this garbage to the discussions section and put it in the promotions section where it belongs. You’re no more interested in an actual debate here than you ever spend any time actually researching your pieces before cobbling them together.

    If it weren’t for folks who buy into your worn out clichés, and don’t pay any attention to the content of your missives, then you’d not make it past a high school historian, let alone anyone who has studied political science.

    By Kenneth Bobu

  6. Lew Stern says:

    I don’t think that President Obama was as far off as you suggest regarding the use to which Ho put the American Declaration of Independence in 1945. For example, see “Interview with Archimedes L. A. Patti, 1981.” , 04/01/1981, WGBH Media Library & Archives, (accessed 28 Jul 2013)

    An excerpt from that interview:

    The first time I met with Ho in Hanoi was on the 26th of August, 1945, and it was also the first time that Ho had arrived, had been in Hanoi himself. He had just arrived and after the ceremony with Giap, and his delegation, we went directly to his home and there we had lunch and after lunch we spent several hours discussing uh various issues, the same ones over and over again.

    This went on for several days until about the, until actually, the day of Declaration of Independence. In the interim, of course, I had been circulating around the city trying to find out what was going on among the French, what was going on among the Chinese, and, of course, the Japanese, as well. Then we had also the problem of looking after the POW’s that were now in two camps. One was in the Citadel, the other at Bach Mai.

    And, in addition to which, there was a tremendous amount of anti-American propaganda going on. The French were really trying to subvert American intent and American purpose in being there. And, it was my job at the time under the, a Political Warfare Program to try to stem this particular operation.

    Finally, on the first of, well, first before that…probably be around the 28th I think or the 29th, two days after I met him, two days or three days after I met Ho, he asked me to come in and stop in and see him at which time he wanted to show me something, and what he wanted to show me was a draft of the Declaration of Independence that he was going to declare several days later. Uhh. Of course, it was in Vietnamese and I couldn’t read it and when it was interpreted to me, I was quite taken aback to hear the words of the American Declaration of Independence.

    Words about liberty, life and the pursuit of happiness, etc. I just couldn’t believe my own ears. And, at first, I felt somewhat silly, even wanting to stop him, but, of course, I didn’t. I mean it was not my place, and we went through that. We revamped it slightly. I couldn’t remember the exact words, and, of course, I didn’t. But, I could see that he had the order in which life and liberty and happiness were in the wrong order and finally, we set them straight. And, that was on the one day, and that very same day he invited me to attend a ceremony that he was going to hold on the 2nd of September at Place Ponier which was a square near, not too far away from governor general’s palace.


    You could argue that this quote itself supports your argument. It might, but it also goes to the point that The President was attempting to make. And in any event the entire episode makes most sense when one looks at Roosevelt’s forceful position against the restoration of colonial rule in countries including Vietnam, a position that would have resonated with Ho.

    It is worth pointing out that there is a growing body of Vietnamese scholarship on the American Revolution, and on the Constitution – research interests that have emerged at a time when Vietnamese history and political science scholarship is less and less fettered by Marxist-Leninist boilerplate, and more consciously responsible about exploiting archival source material and historical documents in a responsible, effective manner. One recent example is by Professor Nguyễn Cảnh Bình, Hiến Pháp Mỹ: Được Làm Như Thế Nào? (Nhà Xuất Bản Thế Giới, 2002).


    Lew Stern
    Staunton, VA

    • EWRoss says:


      Thanks much for your post. Your scholarship on Vietnam is second to none.

      I don’t disagree that Ho was looking for a model to declare independence from France. What better model than the U.S. declaration of independence. What I dispute and object to is that he appreciated what the founding fathers were all about. Ho was not a desciple of democracy. He was a brutal Marxist.

      Saying that he read the Declaration of Independence the Constitution and the writings of Thomas Jefferson and was influenced by them suggest that he aspired to the principles and ideals contained therein.

      The quote above sounds to me like Ho wanted the declaration of independence to sound like something familar to U.S. leaders. Having negotiated with the Chinese and the Vietnamese I know that they tell you what they think you want to hear when it suits their purposes.

      Much has been written about Ho and missed opportunities in the 1940s and early 1950s. But like the then contemporary reporting (Edgar Snow, the New York Times, et al) and scholarship (mostly by the Harvard left) about China, much of it was wishful thinking–what might have been.

      My objection to the President’s remarks is that even if there is a some truth in what he said, he should have known that is what the media would focus on. He had an opportunity to address any one of many more important issues.

      Had I written his talking points I wouldn’t have included this.

      Vietnam remains a sensitive issue with Vietnam Vets like me. Perhaps we are too sensitive; but too much revisionist history makes Mao, Ho, Che Guevara, Fidel, Stalin and others out to be people they werent,


  7. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    What do you expect from this clown, this is all we will get from this office until they are replaced. After working through four Presidents in DC as a QCM contractor this has been the most eye opening experience I have ever had, what was the Dems thinking when they put them in office. At 67 this is the worst eight years I have experience.

    By John Dean

    • Reposted from LinkedIn says:

      John, Really? The worst 8 years? Worse than the 60’s riots or the Viet Nam years, or the energy crises or the 70s’, 9/11, the crash of 2007, among others? Really the worst 8 years? Oh, by the way, Obama has been Pres for only 5 years…so I presume you’re including the last 3 years of the Bush presidency.
      But no matter, neither you nor Mr. Ross will ever say a good word about Obama. I simply don’t understand that kind of baseless hatred of another person.
      By Danny Lesa

  8. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    Hope and change

    By Daniel Peters

  9. Reposted from LinkedIn says:


    I usually agree with your analysis, but I am going to have to respectfully disagree in this instance. I am grateful for your service and respect your experience. However, as I have written elsewhere at length, in my opinion, had the U.S. went with our country’s anti-colonial DNA, we would have had a golden chance to pull Vietnam to the right and perhaps we could have averted the Vietnam War and spared the 58,000+ brave American souls. I believe that Ho Chi Minh was a pragmatic nationalist first and foremost, and he engaged in realpolitik when it came to whatever great power would support and help finance his revolution. Ho Chi Minh didn’t like the French, but he didn’t like the Chinese, either. The U.S. said ‘no’, and the Soviet Union said ‘yes’, and the rest is history.

    That is not to say that I don’t support the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, because once the lines in the sand were drawn with the Geneva Convention, the U.S. did the right thing in defending South Vietnam (although the ridiculous self-imposed limitations on engaging the enemy are another discussion).

    By J. Ross Stewart

  10. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    Dan I made a slit mistake about time, you are write it has been 6years of poor management in the Gov. Screwing with the VA, DOD, Vets, then allow the Gov to let generations welfare go on and on. How can this help the American people who have worked all there lives to support these slugs?

    Ross Some people are under cruel Gov as a power in the world we can not turn our back on them. War is not good but freedom is not free. We are at a stage in our history that it could happen to us if we don’t take notice and help anyway we can. Keep an eye on North Korea, this is the same as Vietnam.

    By John Dean

  11. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    ‘Hope’ I got some ‘change’ left in my pocket…

    By David Allison

  12. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    “At first, patriotism, not yet communism, led me to have confidence in Lenin, in the Third International. Step by step, along the struggle, by studying Marxism-Leninism parallel with participation in practical activities, I gradually came upon the fact that only socialism and communism can liberate the oppressed nations and the working people throughout the world from slavery.” This deceptively short sentence actually describes a progression that took Ho Chi Minh from the 1910’s all the way to the 1920’s and his involvement in the French Communist Party. However, to him, communism was only a means to achieve his stated goal, independence for Vietnam. One could wonder how things would have turned out had he not been ridiculed at Versailles.

    By Antonio Contreras

  13. allan barnes says:

    gotta love your cultish mumbling about Vietnam, Inc.
    America’s sickest cult is oddly silent about why their heroes (Bush, Cheney, Rush, Nugent) had tummyaches and could not be bothered to go. #chickenhawks #hypocrites #faux news

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