A war of unintended consequences
Our world is full of unintended consequences. It’s said that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction and nowhere is that old saying more true than in the world of politics.
Imagine if you will a scenario where you save the life of ally who later becomes your most bitter enemy.
Such a case happened a number of years ago and many Americans died as a result.
In the 1920s this particular man worked as a busboy at the Parker House Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.
Later he was encountered in 1945 when an American intelligence team code-named Deer parachuted into the jungles of Asia to assist a band of guerillas fighting the Japanese.
They found the leader of these guerillas, Nguyen Ai Quoc, seriously ill from malaria and dysentery.
The team medic declared, "This man doesn’t have long for this world."
However, despite the seriousness of his illness, the medic managed to nurse him back to health.
A grateful Nguyen Ai Quoc agreed to provide intelligence to America and to rescue downed American pilots in exchange for ammunition and weapons.
The team suggested the United States continue to support Quoc after the war, but the recommendation was considered too controversial and it was ignored.
The following year the leader, Quoc, pleaded with then President Harry Truman to support his movement for independence from the French.
The United States decided it didn’t much care for his politics thus all the pleadings fell on deaf ears, after all he was a dedicated Communist and received training and education in the Soviet Union.
So, the 1920s busboy in a Boston hotel had by 1954 become the president of an independent nation after a long war that ultimately saw the defeat of the French military.
By the 1960s, the one-time U.S. ally had become America’s public enemy number one.
Many members of the U.S. military fought against his army and many lost their lives or became seriously disabled as a result of their service.
Those who lost their lives now have their names inscribed on a famous memorial wall in Washington, D.C.
When they came home from that war they were spit upon and called "baby killers," a far cry from the reception our soldiers receive when they return home today.
This war created a generation of individuals who have become enemies of their own country, urban terrorists who rioted in Chicago or ultimately secreted themselves in the very institutions they detested so the damage they’ve done is today is almost irreparable.
Some have even gone on from their terrorism to establish themselves in positions of respectability in areas of education or the law. Unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayres and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, are just two examples of this phenomenon.
Of course I’m referring to the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Nguyen Ai Quoc was also known by another name: "He who enlightens." In Vietnamese, Ho Chi Minh.
Sixty thousand Americans died in the Vietnam War along with millions of Vietnamese, battling a former ally whose life the United States once fought to save.