Author Topic: PBS Series: The Vietnam War  (Read 23 times)

Offline MH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1051
PBS Series: The Vietnam War
« on: September 28, 2017, 05:15:16 am »
Watching this with Mrs. Hardner.  She doesn't really dig history, or war, but the Burns team is doing what they do as skilfully as ever and it's pretty gripping even for her.  I'm 2 episodes in.

Now:

I seem to have an older gentleman in my news feed who is pretty far left, and he posted this review from another blog:

http://mailchi.mp/johnpilger/the-killing-of-history

Quote
It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war “was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings”.

...

There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me – as it must be for many Americans -- it is difficult to watch the film’s jumble of “red peril” maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences.

Now, the 'good faith' is pretty clearly resistance to Communism.  I can see parallels to the discussion we had on here with regards to the 'take a knee' protests.  Can you admire, or even declare 'good intentions' to a group that will do anything it can to resist a system that it regards as an existential threat, even when they're wrong ?  Can we 'admire' racists who honestly are fighting for values they see as important ?

Given the cultural context of the series - it IS American - I think they can, especially when the supertext of the entire exercise is how misguided the war was.  But it does come off as an apology, not for the war but for the people who started it.

Social Buttons


Offline bcsapper

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 246
Re: PBS Series: The Vietnam War
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 08:16:07 pm »
I think one of the things the series makes fairly clear is that it really had no start.  Like most wars, people saw it coming but didn't have the will to stop it.  As an American in the fifties, after the Korean war, with the French leaving Indochina and the communist north simply burying alive anyone who disagreed with them, it's not difficult to see why it looked like a "good idea at the time". 

The most surprising thing I took from the series, which I enjoyed immensely (last episode tonight - missed parts of two or three of them due to work) is the complete acceptance of American guilt.  No effort to spare those who kept the US in the war once it was seen to be unwinnable.  Also the view that America was as much killed at Kent State as did the killing at My Lai.

Time for bed said Zebedee...

Offline kimmy

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 655
Re: PBS Series: The Vietnam War
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2017, 09:21:39 pm »
Can you admire, or even declare 'good intentions' to a group that will do anything it can to resist a system that it regards as an existential threat, even when they're wrong ?

Well, "wrong" is sometimes subjective, and other times only becomes clear with the benefit of hindsight.

As for "good intentions", I would certainly do anything to resist some things being imposed in Canada. If the question is whether there are causes worth fighting and killing for, then my answer is yes.  Myself and a US Army General and Abu bin Scumbadeen might all have different views on which causes are worth fighting and killing for, but I think we all agree on that one point.  Given the benefit of hindsight, we can see that communism wasn't actually an existential threat to western civilization.   But for those were looking at this at the time, and saw the "falling dominoes", if they believed that stopping another western-friendly government from falling under the sway of Soviet/China backed revolutionaries was necessary, why wouldn't I call it "good intentions"?

 -k

Offline MH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1051
Re: PBS Series: The Vietnam War
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2017, 06:10:33 am »
I think one of the things the series makes fairly clear is that it really had no start.  Like most wars, people saw it coming but didn't have the will to stop it.  As an American in the fifties, after the Korean war, with the French leaving Indochina and the communist north simply burying alive anyone who disagreed with them, it's not difficult to see why it looked like a "good idea at the time". 

Well, it came out of a response to colonialism which was generally supposed to die after WW2.  The French tried to reassert their hold over their colony, which had already started successfully fomenting nationalism in their opposition to Japanese opposition.

Quote
The most surprising thing I took from the series, which I enjoyed immensely (last episode tonight - missed parts of two or three of them due to work) is the complete acceptance of American guilt.  No effort to spare those who kept the US in the war once it was seen to be unwinnable.  Also the view that America was as much killed at Kent State as did the killing at My Lai.

The leftist feeds I have in Facebook have a major issue with the opening statement.... "it was started with the best of intentions".  I don't know that America is labelled as 'guilty'.  It's more like there were many strategic and tactical errors.  To say they were 'guilty' would be to say that fighting Communism in a foreign country that wanted it was wrong.

I am only part way through episode 3.

Offline MH

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1051
Re: PBS Series: The Vietnam War
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2017, 06:11:49 am »
... why wouldn't I call it "good intentions"?
 

Maybe treating sovereign countries as pawns on a global chess game with China/USSR ?