Skip to comments.Will Ken Burns' twisted version of Vietnam War endure?
Posted on 10/19/2017 5:35:09 AM PDT by rktman
No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Richard Nixons 1994 post-war observation remains as prescient as ever. With the release of the Ken Burns/Lynne Novick epic 10-part PBS documentary on the war last month, it is safe to say that the misreporting and misremembering have only been compounded and exacerbated.
For those among us who expected favorable treatment for the American effort to halt the spread of communism and a serious look at our South Vietnamese allies beyond the recycled shibboleths of their leaders as corrupt American stooges and their troops unwilling to do their share of the heavy lifting, there was evidence well before release that this would never be the case. Burns 2016 commencement address at Stanford and public comments made shortly after the election of Donald Trump that he needed some time in the fetal position were preview enough into what we would be indoctrinated with by Americas greatest documentarian.
If nothing else, the release of the Burns/Novick work has ignited a firestorm of passionate response from those men who honorably served. And it was their stories, including those of our South Vietnamese allies, that went largely untold in 18 long, tortuous hours.
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...
This Leftist’s version of history will be the only one taught in the Leftist education mills that are programming America’s youth. Sad.
A taxpayer supported leftist makes a film about the Vietnam war. Only a fool would expect objectivity and rational historical analysis. Its a modern day “Mission to Moscow”.
If it was really to “stop Communism”, we could have done it 90 miles south of FL.
No. Vietnam War was “Johnson’s War” because of the ineptitude shown by JFK and “The Best and The Brightest” in that Administration for allowing the Bay of Pigs to fail and embarrassment of the Missile Crisis.
Plain and simple.
A HORRIBLE MISTAKE that to this day has cast a national PTSD into our national psyche.
Why did we invade that peaceful countryside anyway? Weren’t they just minding their own business? /s
If I was looking for an honest and truthful documentary about Vietnam, Burns is the LAST person I would go to.
One thing that is very much lost is the context.
To someone under 40, the very idea of the”Cold War” seems ludicrous. An existential threat from a hostile empire capable of taking on the US militarily? That would belong to the era of tri-cornered hats and muskets. And without the context of the cold war, anything we did in Vietnam or Korea seems like simple imperialistic adventuring, a war in pursuit of empire.
Of course we face threats now- China resurgent and infinitely more patient than any occidental can even conceive of being in pursuit of what it rightfully regards as empire, Russia lead by a brilliant and ruthless, patriotic oligarch and of course Islam, but none of those post the type of ‘wipe you off the earth in 60 minutes’ threat the USSR did, and without that kind of threat, the first question any reasonable person would ask is ‘why the hell were we even there? what business of ours was it’?
LOL! Yeah, if you ponder it for a few minutes it really was an odd period. Based on that and general observations of late, yeah, the under 40s have no clue. Just like anything else that someone has NOT experienced, you can’t ‘splain it to them to the depth and breadth of that experience.
Like I said, I only made it barely past the first half of episode one so I can only go by what others said after enduring the whole series.
Short history: The democrats support the communists and millions died as a result.
"History is lies agreed upon." Napoleon Bonaparte
War to stop communism is a fine idea. A war to crush it beyond recovery is even better. Our elites sent Americans to be killed and maimed in a war with no intention of winning it. Nixon was no better than t han LBJ. He not only did not let our troops fight to win the war, he also went to Red China and shook hands with the killers who were aiding North Vietnam in killing Americans.
I did not even bother watching.
On one hand, I have admired Ken Burns for his polished presentation method, because anyone who is talented enough to get a special effect in an image editor named after him has something going for him (at least in the video editing and production aspect).
But I detest his slimy, smarmy, liberal slant he inserts into everything, all under the guise of claims of evenhanded treatment from him and his supporters, which happen to be the same people who review, judge, and hand out awards.
When I talked to people who eagerly wanted to know if I had seen the Vietnam production and what my thoughts on it were, I told them I didn’t watch it, and had no intention of watching it. They were disappointed, since I am often vocal on these types of things, and I think they wanted validation since they apparently enjoyed watching it.
Reading the linked article was disturbing, because it was stunningly (in my opinion) prescient.
The author drew the bleak picture of a future where the people who knew anything about the conflict are going to be either silent or gone, and the only historical context to those tumultuous times for the vast majority of people will be the PBS series that they will show over and over again (infuriatingly, on our taxpayer dime) and which will be standard fare recommended by the NEA for classroom material on that subject.
An evenhanded approach would say that yes, it is true that America made mistakes, and yes, atrocities were committed by individuals, as happens in all war. But the atrocities on the American side were, as a rule, committed by individuals and not part of government policy. Those mistakes were also made by the communists, and the atrocities they committed were sanctioned officially by the government. What happened to thousands of people in Hue was government policy, standard fare murder of intellectuals by communists when engaged in a power struggle.
And yes, the RVN and its military were flawed with spotty performance. But a large number of them fought reliably and valiantly with and beside our troops and often died there. There are plenty of Americans who served who had South Vietnamese they respected serving with them.
And yes, American military performance was occasionally spotty, as is the record of all combatants in all wars. But the vast majority of those who served (including draftees) did so to the best of their ability and faithfully to what we regard as “American Values”. And many of them came home, not as unstable, mentally damaged, drug addled, victimized losers, but as men who went on to have wonderful families, and successful jobs. They may not have “enjoyed” their time there (and wished the entire time they weren’t there) but I think there were few who were not touched and changed deeply to their core for the rest of their lives by their service there, and to this day regard it as one of the most formative and important (if not the most formative and important) times in their lives. And most of them are profoundly (and justifiably) proud of their service.
But most of all, any “evenhanded” approach would point out that we, as a nation, obtained a peace in 1973 at the Paris Accord that could have, and should have guaranteed safety to the Republic of Vietnam against the aggression of the Communist North Vietnam, but that through our own cowardice, irresolution, and outright hostility and backstabbing, reneged on the terms of that treaty to our former ally, and threw them to the communist wolves from the north, who did indeed ravage the population. And we LET that happen.
And an evenhanded approach would point out that it was the American Left that was responsible for this black betrayal, as black as our betrayal at Yalta to Eastern Europe and the Chinese Nationalist government, and that we condemned millions to imprisonment and death, and a huge number of others to oppression with their only option being to flee through pirate and shark infested waters.
An evenhanded approach would tell all this and more, but Ken Burns’ Vietnam, by all accounts wasn’t, and...it didn’t.
THEY MURDERED KENNEDY TO GIVE US THE WAR COURTESY OF THE GULF OF TONKIN FRAUD.... AND THEN WE DID NOT CROSS INTO N VIETNAM... PICTURE WW2 AND WE DID NOT ENTER GERMANY.... INSANITY AND DEPRAVITY OF THOSE WHO MADE BILLIONS OFF THE WAR.... MAY THEY BURN IN HELL.... AND THE GUTLESS POLITICIANS WHO STOOD BY WHILE AMERICANS DIED DURING A WAR THE GENERALS NEVER INTENDED TO WIN...
LOL, that sounds like the way Ann Coulter would state it, and I mean that as a high compliment!
I love the way she started one of her books. IIRC, it was with this sentence:
“Liberals say they love their country too. No they don’t.”
I agree with you. We won the war.
I disagree to an extent.
There is no doubt that making advances to a blood stained tyrant like Mao was a grave mistake, but Nixon did use appropriate force when needed, if later than he should have.
I will always remember (and I know all the POW’s felt the same sentiment far more strongly and emotionally than I ever could have) how relieved I was when we began Linebacker II and began strategic bombing of the North and mining of Haiphong harbor. (The POW’s, though fearful of losing their own lives in the bombing of Hanoi, took great joy and comfort in seeing the open and abject fear of their captors under the blanket of strategic bombing by B-52s.)
It should have been done that way far earlier, but at least Nixon did that.
Our government knew conclusively in 1965 after the battle of Ia Drang Valley that we were not only fighting Viet Cong, but North Vietnamese regulars. There was nothing covert at that point, we had proof of overt military support by the North. At that point, we should have invaded the north. The war would have been over in short order if we had.
Operation Linebacker II crippled North Vietnam and brought them back to the negotiation table to negotiate the Paris Peace accords in 1973. That was a bombing campaign of less than a month in December 1972. Just think if we would have actually wanted to win the war what could have happened.
I blame this cold war strategy on ill learned lessons from the Korean War. General Ridgeway’s strategy of bloody stalemate inflicted on North Korea was applied to the Vietnam situation. It didn’t work for German General Falkenheim at Verdun and it didn’t work when we tried it twice (Korea and Vietnam). We’re still dealing with Korea today 67 years later.
Yes, we had a less than credible partner in the South Vietnamese government, but back in 1964 as outlined in McMaster’s book, Johnson should have taken the advice of many on the JCS at that time. Go all out to win or negotiate and get out. Troops don’t necessarily want thanks for their service, they are honored to do it for the country they love. What they want is the tools and go ahead to win when the country they love send them into harm’s way.
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