Monday, September 18, 2017

LOOKING BACK - Vietnam War, 11/1/1955 to 04/30/1975

Personal note.  I am a Vietnam Vet, USN 22yrs (retired).

"The first American Vietnam War POW on why we need to understand the war" by Anne Azzi and Alison Thoet, PBS NewsHour 9/14/2017

"Why America is still raw over the Vietnam War" PBS NewsHour 9/14/2017

Because it's a prime example of overreach of government power, and the ending of trusting government.  (Vietnam War Wikipedia)


SUMMARY:  Filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick sorted through 5,000 hours of historical footage and photos for a documentary that took 10 years to create.  The new PBS documentary series, “The Vietnam War” takes us to a moment in history that is still not fully understood, and comes at a moment when we're thinking about America's role in the world.  Judy Woodruff discusses its resonance with Burns and Novick.

"Voices from all sides trace deep roots and wounds in 'Vietnam War'" PBS NewsHour 9/15/2017


SUMMARY:  Filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick spent a decade talking to hundreds of veterans from both sides of the Vietnam War, to capture the complexity of perspectives that persists years later.  In the second part of their conversation, Judy Woodruff speaks with Burns and Novick about their new PBS documentary series, “The Vietnam War.”

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  But, Lynn, do you come away, do you think, understanding how the United States got pulled into this, despite the French being kicked out, essentially, Dien Bien Phu?

Senator John F. Kennedy saying the Americans don’t belong in a land war in Asia.  Decisions made by Eisenhower not to get involved.  And yet the United States was pulled in.


JUDY WOODRUFF:  Did you understand why, at the end, do you think?

LYNN NOVICK:  Well, it is sometimes stunning to think, with all those road maps and signposts saying don’t do it, we still did.

It seems clear that there’s definitely a Cold War context that’s very important, and certain kind of received wisdom, conventional wisdom about that, and that we have to stop communism and containment and that whole idea.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Even so, the film shows that, in May of 1964, President Johnson himself expressed misgivings about why the U.S. was at war and Vietnam’s value in a phone call with national security adviser McGeorge Bundy.

FORMER PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON:  I just laid awake last night thinking about this thing.  The more I think of it, I don’t know what in the hell — it looks like to me we are getting into another Korea.

It just worries the hell out of me.  I don’t see what we can ever hope to get out of there with, once we’re committed.  I don’t think it’s worth fighting for, and I don’t think we can get out, and it’s just the biggest damn mess.

MCGEORGE BUNDY, Former National Security Advisor:  It is an awful mess.

FORMER PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON:  And I just thought about ordering those kids in there.  And what the hell am I ordering them out there for?  What in the hell is Vietnam worth to me?  What is it worth to this country?


FORMER PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON:  Now, of course, if you start running into communists, they may just chase you right in your own kitchen.

MCGEORGE BUNDY:  Yes, that’s the trouble.  And that’s what the rest of the — that half of the world is going to think if this thing comes apart on us.

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