May 05, 2011
Mme. Nhu, who died five days before THE wedding, was a hell of a woman. When she was captured by the commies in Hue in 1946, she stood up to them until the French rescued her four months later. She was anti-French and anti-commie, yet the Western press named her the Dragon Lady, a nickname she didn’t deserve but one that stuck. She was a nationalist par excellence, but in the Vietnam War’s gathering storm, the press needed a villain (the commies were the good guys), and she played her role to the hilt. When the shocking images of Buddhist monks’ self-immolations reached the West, she did not flinch or cry crocodile tears. She undiplomatically referred to them as “barbecues.” American hacks insisted she looked and acted like the diabolical femme fatale in the popular comic strip of the day, Terry and the Pirates.
But Madame Nhu gave back as good as she got. She threatened to claw out a rebellious general’s throat during a cocktail party when he announced that he would overthrow the president and make her his mistress. The general was exiled soon after. For any of you youngsters not versed with Indochina’s history way back in the Paleolithic age, Mme. Nhu was married to the brother of the weak president of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, with both men having been assassinated in 1963 under orders from President John F. Kennedy, who was himself assassinated later that year.
Kennedy got rid of the Diems, escalated the war, and never lived to see the bloody catastrophe he caused. Kennedy apologists have sugarcoated his role in the disaster, but facts are facts and the Kennedys and their acolytes can go to hell as far as I’m concerned. I like to imagine that if somehow The Jewish Chronicle had interviewed Eva Braun during World War II, Eva would have had an easier ride than the beautiful but petite Mme. Nhu ever did. She carried great influence with her brother-in-law, who was said to be corrupt, but she was brave and loved her country. She lived in quiet exile from 1963 until this year. My information is that money was tight.
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