History

From the Vaults: Evil Communists

The Sunday Times (subscription required) has a story from their own 1973 archive about Ray Schrump, a U.S. soldier, who was held captive for five years by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. I enclose an extract below:

Go Da Ha was attacked by Vietcong. Schrump set out to recover the bodies of the dead. His jeep was ambushed by the Vietcong. The Good Soldier Schrump vanished without trace and it was some years before there was any news about what had happened.

Yesterday he took up the story. “I was hit in the first few seconds. A bullet broke my right arm near the shoulder and knocked my gun out of my hand. Before I could get it with my good hand, a Vietcong was standing over me pointing his rifle at my throat. I closed my eyes and thought, ‘This is it’.”

Schrump says his captors led him towards the Cambodian border. He spent his first night alone on the lower level of a two-storey underground bunker. “Rats were crawling over me,” he says, “and gnawing at my bandage. My wound was agonising. I had no idea what was going to happen to me.”….

For the first two years he lived alone in an underground bunker. The leg irons gave way to a metal chain about 15ft long. He brought a piece of the chain back with him — it is about the weight that might be used to secure a large dog. Schrump says he spent his entire captivity chained up in this fashion.

Food, he says, ranged from barely adequate to completely inadequate even though the prisoners did no work except minor domestic tasks. They were given rice three times a day, with a weird assortment of monkey meat, tropical birds, rats and dogs.

This diet, says Schrump, combined with frequent attacks of malaria, dysentery and tropical ulcers, produced a slow decline in his physical condition. Schrump was told that this was exactly what the Vietcong soldiers were getting. If so, he said, how was it that the Vietcong were able to work digging bunkers and moving supplies while the prisoners were barely able to stand up? No answer, he says, was forthcoming from the camp commandant.

Do not be under any illusions: the British political party, the SWP, will denounce the Viet-Cong as “Stalinist” and claim that it is nothing to do with them, but it ignores the totalitarian equivalence of the organisations. In the event that the SWP ever came to power there will be an untold amount of death of destruction. The Party should be avoided as one might avoid walking on a piece of dog faeces, although that is unfair to a piece of dog faeces: inadvertently stepping on such a thing is unlikely to kill you.

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