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Commentary ::
Oliver North, John Kerry and Gen.Vo Nguyen Giap: Birth of an Urban Legend
30 Mar 2004
The claim that Gen.Vo Nguyen Giap said that if it weren't for organizations like Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S., is a lie.
On February 10, 2004 NewsMax.Com ran a story entitled, "Gen. Giap: Kerry's Group Helped Hanoi Defeat U.S."

The story claimed that "In his 1985 memoir about the war, Gen.Vo Nguyen Giap wrote that if it weren't for organizations like Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S. - according to Fox News Channel war historian Oliver North."

The Giap quote is a lie. According to columnist Greg Lewis , who researched the alleged quotation, "no such volume exists."

Lewis wrote, " A few weeks ago in a column about Kerry, I referred to what has turned out to be an "urban legend." Specifically, based on a "news" item that appeared on, I repeated a reference to a volume of memoirs supposedly published by North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap in 1985 as the source of an assertion by Colonel Oliver North. After a reader requested a reference to Giap's 1985 "Memoirs," I did research that convinced me no such volume exists. For that matter, I haven't been able to verify through Fox News that Colonel North actually made the comments he is said to have made and which I repeated."

The bogus Giap quote has been repeated as gospel in numerous articles, blogs, commentaries and pseudo-news reports criticizing John Kerry. In the past General Giap is also alleged to have made similar statements about Jane Fonda and Walter Cronkite, though there is no evidence that he did.

The fact is, there is no credible evidence that General Giap ever considered surrender an option during the Vietnam war.

The author is the director of the Thomas Paine Project and a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War
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This work is in the public domain
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