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> R.J. Del Vechio said : ... Certainly the fall of Khe Sanh > would have been a great triumph for the NVA on the one hand, > and certainly Khe Sanh's position was a hindrance to the free > passage of forces into the South. How those two factors and > others figured in Giap's thinking could only be determined, > as some have inferred, by examination of Giap's writings, or > a very direct interview. (Given his present advanced age, > even what he might recall in such an interview would be > subject to some question.) > > One bottom line is that the ability of the US forces to hold > Khe Sanh and the tremendous losses inflicted on the NVA in > that battle certainly were positive things from the viewpoint > of the US and RVN. > > R J Del Vecchio > > firstname.lastname@example.org There are IMO a number of very serious issues that could be cleared up by Giap . One issue is the question of the period in 1946 where Giap was left in charge of matters in Vietnam . There was some question if Giap was going to relinquish power to Ho upon his return . Then in 1964/1965 when Giap was both branded as being far too close to the Soviets and at the same time dragging his feet on liberation of the South and in favor of a protracted war when Le Duan and particularly Le Duc Tho wanted a more active stance on liberation and unification . Giap himself was put under house arrest and some of his key aides were arrested as revisionists. That period of time could certainly stand clearing up . The specific role that Giap had in the November/December war with the French could also stand a lot of explanation as to intentions. In Mid November 1946 , Viet Minh militiamen slaughter 23 French soldiers who were unarmed and they were shot down while doing nothing more threatening than buying fruit in a Hai Phong market. Two days later six more French soldiers were killed North of Hanoi. Then on 23 November the French Military Commanders thought a show of force would teach the "Viets" a lesson. Through a series of misjudgments made in panic , what started out to be a show of force ended up being a grotesque disproportionate response with over 6000 ,mostly Vietnamese civilians dead before the day was done. The French proposed that the "trigger-happy" Viet Minh militia be disarmed. Ho Chi Minh laughed at this proposal but then on 19 December Ho sent a very friendly letter to Sainteny proposing that they attempt to find friendly ways to reduce tension. Giap followed up on this by suggesting to the French military commanders that they stand down their alerts and permit French troops to have passes and enjoy themselves a bit to reduce tension . French troops got passes for the first time in several days. At 8PM that very evening the Viet Minh blew up the Hanoi power station and in the darkness the Viet Minh militia under Giap executed well planned attacks on all French installations. Within hours fighting spread from one end of Vietnam to the other. IMO the Ho and Giap needed to fight the French at that time in order to not only consolidate communist control of the masses but also to attenuate the merits and competition of other groups such as the VNQDD. This is a period of time that Giap could shed a lot of light on . Another area that Giap is bound to know about is the question marks surrounding the death of Nguyen Chi Thanh . There are many who say that Giap had a hand in that death while I don't think any proof exists one way or the other it would certainly be interesting to see what Giap had to say about that death as they were in a competive power struggle. Then again in 1986 just before and after the Sixth Party Congress there were several Generals that died under questionable circumstances. The widow of General Hoang Van Thai who died of poison is reported to have said to his wife "They killed me" and she understood the "They" to be the Party. General Le Trong Tan died at the same time of poison. Several months after the sixth party congress Lt Generals Dinh Duc Thien and Tran Binh died. One story was put out that they died in an automobile accident and another story that they died in a hunting accident. There are many people who think these deaths were connected with an internal party power struggle . Also just about this same time General Tran Binh was shot in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh Ville) and then a few days later his son was shot as well . I for one would love to hear what Giap , even in his advanced age would have to say on any or all of these matters. Walter James McIntosh Bluff, New Zealand Mac McIntosh <email@example.com> ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----