Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ken Burns's "The Vietnam War"

I haven't seen it.  I'm not likely to.  The commentary from conservative websites is that it is hopelessly slanted, especially in that it did not give much opportunity for those who had full-throated support to speak.

Martha Bayles, writing at the Claremont Review of Books would give qualified agreement. Yet she would point out that neither did the radical opponents get a sympathetic portrayal of their side. She sees the documentary as essentially neutral, giving primary blame for a great American mistake to two Democratic presidents, and their civilian and military advisors. She opens with a quote from US Army Lieutenant General H R McMaster's 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty.
The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times, or on the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C., even before Americans assumed sole responsibility for the fighting in 1965 and before they realized the country was at war; indeed, even before the first American units were deployed.
 I found her argument plausible, though I am in no position to have a qualified opinion.


james said...

Life is short. 18 hours of watching videos is maybe a little more than I want to spend. I can read a lot faster than that.

Tom Grey said...

Nixon won the war, with the Paris Peace Accords of 1973.
The US Dem dominated Congress lost the war in 1975 when, after USSR supported N. Viet commies attacked again, the US decided not to help the South.

Whose corrupt, half-incompetent, half-cowardly, half-boot-licking army was ordered by the S. Viet leader (Nguyen Van Thieu) to fall back to a more defensive position rather than fighting near the border. So the population saw the Army running away, and thought all was lost.

Had the Dems been willing to enforce the Peace Accords, the N. Viet invaders could have been stopped -- but more Americans would die, and POWs wouldn't be released, and the Dem media was strongly against fighting.

Blick said...

FDR and Truman were the last fighting Democrats. Walter Cronkite declared the war was unwinnable after Hue which was an American victory. Democrat congress would not resupply the SVN and the country was lost. Frehenbach in his book on the Korean war stated that Democracies are not good at fighting wars of policy, best at fighting wars of passion. The US action in WWII may have been different with out the passionate rallying cry, Remember Pearl Harbor.

Texan99 said...

I didn't find it even-handed. I struggled to find a portrayal of anyone involved in the war who believed it was anything but a giant con and a catastrophe. There were a view points of view involving people who started out gung-ho and then became horribly disillusioned. When they were in the gung-ho phase they were treated as exotic specimens with incomprehensible motives.