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Obama should accept prize on behalf of Hmong hero of Vietnam War

Vang Pao spent most of his 79 years putting his life on the line against communists even after Democrats in Congress betrayed Laos in 1975

I understand why the Nobel Committee award their most prestigious award to President Barack Obama. He has brought peace to many, especially including communists, fascists and terrorist sheltering dictators from Venezuela to Libya to Iran. The fear that an American cowboy might upset their tent poles is no more.

When the wanted dead or alive fear still lived, the Peace Prize went to those that criticized President George W. Bush, especially those Americans that lambasted their nation’s leader on non-American soil. For example, Al “[Bush] betrayed our country. He played on our fears” Gore famously fought for the kind of peace that comes from solitude at home when one can’t afford gasoline to go anywhere, but I digress.

But what if the Nobel Prize actually was awarded to people that risk their very lives for peace? Peace being defined as the kind that is enjoyed when evil is defeated, rather than the kind the Nobel Committee seems to prefer that exists under tyranny or in the grave.

The Nobels have gotten it right at times. Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. come to mind. My nominee, like them has also spent time in prison and was recently released:

A federal grand jury in California investigating an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Laos has dropped charges against a leading figure in the nation’s Hmong community, the U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento said Friday.

The grand jury’s decision absolves 79-year-old Vang Pao, a former major general in the Lao army who is revered by the Hmong refugees he helped resettle in the U.S. and labeled a hero by Vietnam War veterans.

Charges remain against 10 others, including a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, and were added against two new defendants.

While Pao expressed relief that charges against him were dropped, his attorney said he’s frustrated that his former co-defendants remain under indictment on charges the defense has insisted were exaggerated.

“We’re glad the government has finally paid attention and recognized that Gen. Vang Pao is innocent,” said his attorney, John Keker. “We’re disappointed that the case, a very unfair sting operation, is continuing against some good people.”

U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown declined to comment other than in a written statement.

“Today’s charging decisions are the culmination of a comprehensive investigation of the charged plot and review of all evidence that has been gathered,” he said.

Hundreds of supporters have rallied outside the federal courthouse in Sacramento during each of Pao’s court appearances since charges were brought in 2007. The defendants have argued that they were entrapped and believed they were being recruited by the U.S. government to fight communists, as they had been during the Vietnam War.

“Oh, thank God the charges were dropped,” said the Rev. Sharon Stanley of Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, who works with Hmong. “I feel strongly that given the long history of the United States and our CIA’s recruitment of General Pao and the Hmong communities, that his decision is an appropriate one.”

Former CIA Chief William Colby once called Pao “the biggest hero of the Vietnam War,” for the 15 years he spent leading a CIA-sponsored guerilla army fighting against a communist takeover over the Southeast Asian peninsula.

I have long held the Hmong in a special place in my heart due to my former executive assistant. This is a portion of a 2006 column entitled “Only conservatives still true to JFK’s ideals” that relates to today’s award of the Peace Prize:

“I don’t care about the people of Iraq.”

I was shocked when that statement was made to me last year by a Democrat friend.

I shouldn’t have been!

That quote pretty much sums up the moral bankruptcy of modern-day liberalism and my former party today.

The sentiment expressed in that quote is consistent with the giggles I heard from fellow liberal Democrats in 1983 in reaction to President Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech.

I was also shocked then. I shouldn’t have been!

The best reason for why I should not be shocked occupies the receptionist chair in my SouthPark office.

She is a descendant of the Hmong people of Laos who were allies of the United States until the government of South Vietnam fell in 1975. Massive slaughter of millions followed at the hands of the North Vietnamese communists and Cambodia’s Pol Pot. More than 300,000 Laotians, mostly Hmong, fled. But thousands of Hmong continued to fight against the evil of communism; hundreds of their guerrilla fighters surrendered only last month.

In 1975 I was an idealistic teen animated by the “Bear any burden for the cause of liberty” rhetoric by President John F. Kennedy, complimented by the “Love they neighbor” rhetoric of Jesus Christ, but quite ignorant of the details of the Vietnam War. I was a self-identified liberal anxiously awaiting my 18th birthday so that I could actively participate in my grandfather’s party.

Eyes averted from slaughter

Sadly, almost from the beginning of my political activism, I had to reconcile the irreconcilable, i.e. the rhetoric of JFK with the reality of the words and actions of the flower children of the 1960s and the McGovernites who took over the party. Democrats cut off funds from our South Vietnamese allies, averted their eyes from the slaughter and celebrate their role in “ending the war” as one of their greatest accomplishments even to this day. I shamefully averted my ears from the liberal Democratic giggles at Reagan’s notion of good and evil until the summer of 2001.

The “conservative epiphany” came as a result of confronting what I knew in my heart was true as I read Reagan’s letters and speeches and books about his long war against communism. Reagan cared so much for the oppressed that he even deemed the policy of containment to have immorally sentenced half the globe to slavery. He told the so-called “realists” in 1981 that henceforth, American policy toward the Soviet Union would be “We win, they lose.”

This was the liberal I had been looking for.

Did liberals stop caring about the oppressed when their hero was assassinated in 1963 or when they faced the draft board in 1968?

I recently wrote of liberal blindness to Mao’s slaughter on the 60th anniversary of the birth of the Chinese Communist Party.

Real peace is brought by freedom fighters and there are none more deserving than Pao and those like him, especially those in the armed forces of the United States that upset the “peace” of Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Iran’s mullahs, and UBL’s safe haven with the Taliban.

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer, Examiner.com and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all verification links may be accessed.

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