Dear Dr. Fitrakis,

My name is Teng Vang.  I live in the beautiful state of North Carolina.  I happened to read your column dated January 18, 2011 about our leader General Vang Pao.

I am dismay in reading your article.  Your article does not reflect your professional degrees at all because apparently you haven’t done any homework and simply wrote what you have heard from others, especially Mr. Tony Poe.  Is this the way you as a JD and columnist, editor, etc.. doing???

Please allow me to share some of my “facts”:

1.      Your information from Mr. Tony Poe about General Vang Pa was nothing but a lie:  

A.    Mr. Tony Poe served as a military advisor to Colonel Moua Sue in the Heui Xay military district in Sayabori Province.  Mr. Poe was constantly drunk and had run into many issues with Colonel Moua Sue including military tactical battles.   Colonel Moua Sue brought him to Long Tieng to talk to General Vang Pao many times but the General said since he was an American and also a “Hmong son-in-law” of Mr. and Mrs Chai Zong Ly (Tony’s wife is Sheng Ly), the Hmong shall excuse him and let him do what he wanted.

B.     Because of his “king” attitude and drunker, he had constantly have problems with other Hmong military personnel.  He was respectfully (because he is an American) asked to come to live in Thailand to help with the Hmong military trainees in Phixanoulok.  When he was in Thailand, his drinking habit only getting worst, I guess more available of alcohol and women, he stayed drunk all the time – many Hmong officers almost got killed because they’re riding with him while in Phixanoulok, Thailand.  

2.      The General title was not “a self-titled general” as you have written.  Please see this video – link of decoration “promoted and personally decorated Vang Pao to General” by his Majesty King Sisavang Vathana of Laos.  

3.      The General never involved in drug trafficking nor opium processing as you have said.  He did not sell opium/drugs to GI as you have mentioned.  Instead,  he saved many thousand GI lives by commanding the Hmong army to fight along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to cut off military supplies to South Vietnam; to protect the American navigational radars installed on the top of high hill in the North West of  Laos so American bombers can easily fly in and out and find Viet Cong targets; and to rescue American down-pilots.  Without the General, I can assure you that many additional thousands American GI lives would be lost in the Viet Nam War.  For your information, General Vang Pao was the one to stop Hmong people from growing opium – my parents (in 1966) were examples of such - asked by the General Task Force to stop growing opium or face arrest.

Apparently, you must have some sort of resentment against the Hmong who have once saved many American lives.  I challenge you to come to General Vang Pao’s funeral which will be attended by 30-40 thousand people and from other countries.  You will see that General Vang Pao was not the man who you think he was.  As a lawyer, you should know the facts before speculate and wrongfully allege someone’s reputation.