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Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh Trail 8: Epilogue - wrong fantasies of stupid Western journalists

described by Khi and Gii

presented by Michael Palomino (2013)



from: The H Ch Minh Trail; Hong Khi and Th Gii Publishers 2008; English translation; first edition 2001; second edition 2008; printed in Vit Nam; VN - TG - 6.149-1
8  Epilogue - wrong fantasies of stupid Western journalists

[Trung Son Range = the base for Vietnam's defense]

The Trung Son Range and the Ho Chi Minh Trail contain a great deal of mystery. There are immense forests; abundant natural resources and over two million people of various ethnic groups. The customs and habits of the people are closely related to their psychology, age-old religions, and constitute an interesting subject for research. To try to understand the mystery of Trung Son is not only to satisfy our curiosity but also to comprehend the historical significance and the strategic importance of the Trung Son Range and the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which have for generations been used by our people for national defense. (p.101)

[First research before Ho Chi Minh Trail: Dr. Yersin]

<When the Ho Chi Minh Trail was not yet in existence, many people came to remote areas of harsh climate to uncover the mystery of the region. This was the case of Dr. Yersin, a French man, who first explored [the mountain range of] Trung Son in 1889 and discovered the region of D Lat.> (p.101)

<During the long wars against the French and US invaders, the Trung Son Range was a subject (p.101) studied by our adversaries. From 1954-1964 during the war, there was a short section of road close to the Ho Chi Minh Trail which the French expeditionary corps called "the route without joy" in memory of the French defeat in a battle with the Vit Minh regiment N 95. This route was only 30 km long, running along the coast of Tha Thin - [in the central province of] Quang Tri. But along it, a great number of French troops had been stopped in spite of the support of tank, artillery, naval, and air forces.> (p.102)

[French book about defeats "La route sans joie" [Street without joy] - "US" advisors reading the French book]

<The battle left such frightful impressions on the French troops that a book title "La route sans joie" was written later to describe it. An anti-war officer of the Saigon army, Lt. Colonel Pham Van Dnh, related that his former adviser, a US major, always had the book with him whenever he led an operation in a base area of the Liberation Forces, for comparison with reality. (p.102)

Undoubtedly, he was not the only man who read the book to learn the experience of the French. Many other US advisers, with their acumen and their practical minds did the same. It was the US advisers who had discovered that, besides the Ho Chi Minh Trail, North Vit Nam also had another route on the Eastern Sea for the transport of food, arms, and ammunitions to the South. So they spent a great deal of effort to find out the mystery of the mountain range and the trail on land and at sea.> (p.102)

[But "U.S." advisors don't believe the bad French experiences]

<Americans have put on loin cloths, shouldered dossers, gone barefoot, and forded streams with the natives of Trung Son. They had not believed what the French had written about Trung Son. A US officer stationed in Ty Nguyn wrote in his diary (p.102):

"Be vigilant when reading French documents about this basalt land. It may be that the French only verbally communicate to one another and don't write about the natural and mineral resources of this region. The past 20 years, I have not seen any plateau in California as rich as that in Ty Nguyn".> (p.103)

(in: H Vit: Be Vigilant with the CIA; PAVN Publishing House, 1978, p.72)

[France and "U.S.A." don't check the mountain range of Trung Son]

<The French colonialists and US imperialists both tried to study the Trung Son Range and the Ho Chi Minh Trail with different motives. But they have failed in their attempt to understand the latter. Only the local people and our soldiers who are closely attached to the range can grasp it thoroughly.> (p.103)

[Writers writing about Vietnamese Trung Son without having been there]

<Some people in the western press are prolific in writing about the Ho Chi Minh Trail even though they have never set foot on this amazing system of roads. They write about "the Indochinese myths", ""the thousand-fin dragon" which can replace a cutoff fin with a new one, and "the ever-changing road mysteriously supported by the 'Buddha'." In the eyes of Western journalists, the trail is now described as a road in ancient myths, now drawn in detail as it really exists. A French journalist wrote:

"It is a macadamized road, not an asphalted one, three to four meters wide. It is not like the trails that cross Road N 9 but is composed of many branches forming a system of supply lines. From a helicopter, looking down on the roads covered by thick foliage trees, they are only visible wherever napalm bombs have burnt out all the leaves. In these places, apparently nothing can survive; the (p.103) tree trunks are strangely white, standing lonely without branches or leaves." (p.104)

[Book after "U.S." defeat of 1972 - the mystery]

<After the Vietnamese were victorious on the Road 9 - Southern Laos Campaign, a French journalist published in Paris a 300-page book titles "The Ho Chi Minh Trail". The book sold fairly well. However, its descriptions do not fully portray the true features of the trail. The author of the book himself even admitted that he was completely powerless in the face of understanding the mysteries of this road system.> (p.104)

[Western journalists only have fantasies]

<As a matter of fact, many Western journalists and US Strategists and tacticians could not visualize what the Ho Chi Minh Trail should actually be like. They were therefore all the more intrigued by it whenever they spoke about it. What was difficult to understand and what was mysterious regarding the Ho Chi Minh Trail could not be exhaustively explained. It still remains, though these are simple mysteries.> (p.108)

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