The Village That Refuses to Die

by Richard Poe
Sunday, July 5, 2020

2:30 pm Eastern Time


A Four-Part Series

TRANSCRIPT: Bernie Yoh on Communist Propaganda, July 5, 2020

TRANSCRIPT: Bernie Yoh on Revolution, July 5, 2020

The Village That Refuses to Die, July 5, 2020

Saigon fell on April 30, 1975. More than 58,000 Americans died to prevent this. What went wrong?

THE GREAT MYTH of the Vietnam War is that the U.S. military was overcome by a superior enemy, the Viet Cong guerrilla, whom we are told outmatched us in tenacity, tactical skill, and the will to win.

This 1962 documentary punctures the myth of Viet Cong invincibility. It tells the story of Father Nguyen Lac Hoa, the “Fighting Priest” who established a fortified village in the war-torn Mekong Delta, out-fought the Viet Cong on their own turf, and carved out a free zone that ultimately encompassed 22 villages.

Directed by U.S. journalist Stan Atkinson, “The Village That Refuses to Die” makes clear that the Viet Cong were far from invincible.

Watching this film today, one is forced to ask whether the Communist insurgency in Vietnam could have been quelled without any need for massive U.S. intervention.

Had South Vietnam followed Fr. Hoa’s successful model of civilian self-defense, Vietnam might have been spared decades of war and communist tyranny. Maybe. Why Fr. Hoa’s winning strategy was ultimately rejected is another story for another time.

I present this film as part of my multi-part tribute to the late Bernie Yoh, who played a major role, behind the scenes, in making Fr. Hoa’s “Sea Swallow” paramilitary force one of the great success stories of the Vietnam War.

“Fighting Priest” Fr. Nguyen Lac Hoa (left) leads a patrol against the Viet Cong, in defense of his village of Binh Hung; U.S. psywar expert Bernie Yoh (right) sets up radio communications for the village.

The Village That Refuses to Die, Part 1

Part 1 of “The Village That Refuses to Die” introduces the village of Binh Hung and its remarkable leader, “Fighting Priest” Father Nguyen Lac Hoa, who founded and led a fortified village, out-fought the Viet Cong, and established a free zone in the midst of communist-held territory.

The Village That Refuses to Die, Part 2

Part 2 of “The Village that Refuses to Die” follows Fr. Nguyen Lac Hoa as he plans and directs an offensive operation against the Viet Cong.

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