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StieliAlpha

Ken Burns Vietnam

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5 hours ago, StieliAlpha said:

Does anybody know the Ken Burns Vietnam series? I watched a few parts yesterday and found them pretty good. Same style, but not as touching as his Civil War series.

I just finished the third installment. It seems pretty good. A good companion piece if you can find it is The Ten Thousand Day War in twenty-six parts that originally ran in 1980-81.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0174323/episodes?season=1&ref_=tt_eps_sn_1

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Emrys said:

I just finished the third installment. It seems pretty good. A good companion piece if you can find it is The Ten Thousand Day War in twenty-six parts that originally ran in 1980-81.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0174323/episodes?season=1&ref_=tt_eps_sn_1

Michael

Thank's for the tip. Seems, it is indeed not too easy to find. No luck at Amazon and EBay, but I'll keep trying.

One thing, which I forgot to mention:

The Ken Burns series reminded me quite much the excellent "Dear America - Letters home from Vietnam".

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I got caught up to Episode 7 yesterday and hope to watch a couple more episodes today. For anyone watching it from PBS' website as I am, I recommend you choose the explicit language and graphics version as it gives a grittier, more realistic rendering of events.

Generally, I have to say that I like this series better than the earlier one about the Civil War. The CW series dragged too much for me. Maybe that was intended to convey the sense of a slower pace of life in general a century and a half ago, but for me it overshot the mark. I didn't need to hear readings of letters from every soldier who fought in that war. I already know pretty well what that experience was like, and my interest was more in the strategies being acted out and the reasons for them, which tended to get only briefly touched on.

Michael

Edited by Michael Emrys

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55 minutes ago, sburke said:

We have learned so little.

At the very beginning someone in uniform said, "The wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time against the wrong people for the wrong reason." But as you say...

Michael

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The thing about this doc is the way it is coherently edited, seamless at times. It's as if they looked at some historical combat file recordings , said who is that guy in the footage, and either found an existing interview of him based on that combat segment, or interviewed him. One part, during Tet has a marine stating in the interview he was knocked to the ground after a B40 rocket attack, then they show the actual combat news reel of a guy getting tended to after the rocket hit, and if you look close, yeah its actually the same guy in the interview. There are many photographs of events also displayed relating to the interview, some subjects are deceased so the interview is from the family or friend perspective. Stuff like that. Its well done.

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The helicopter crew intervention at My Lai was incredible. The crews treament afterwards was disgsuting. Thank fully they were eventually honoured too late for one though.

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John Musgrave’s story I think is the one that hit me the most (at least for the American side).  Listening to what he went through, how it impacted him and the process of dealing with it all was pretty tough. I knew a lot of folks in the anti war movement and while I agree with the opposition I never liked how that got directed at Vets. There was so little compassion for what we were doing to our young men and women and the pain they endured on so many levels. 

The conversation continues on the PBS site

http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/vietnam-stories/#stories

sadly while there is better appreciation for our vets now, at least initially, I think we still don’t comprehend the long term impact of sending them in harms way especially in these low intensity conflicts that have no real plan on what we hope to achieve and when are we getting out  Add to that the burden for these conflicts is overwhelmingly shared by a very small community   The split between the folks who carry that burden and the general society is not healthy   By split I don’t mean a difference political or social but simply those who bear the cost of our decisions and the overwhelming portion of the population who do not  

 

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Quote

My hatred for them was pure.

Pure.

I hated them so much...
...and I was so scared of them.

Boy I was terrified of them...
...and the scareder I got, the more I hated them.

- John Musgrave

 

I think this documentary is the best one Ken Burns has made.
I was reduced to tears on many occasions.

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I have found this documentary to be incredibly educational and heartbreaking. My dad was in the Americal Division in 1969 a year after another unit in the division performed the massacre at Mai Lai.  I never made this connection in the past.

Almost a year to the day afterward he was in his bunker at LZ Buff (later LZ Stinson) when it was hit with an RPG killing everyone but dad.  He was airlifted out and thankfully made it another 21 years.

In watching the documentary I find myself getting more and more pissed as president after president admits that the war is meaningless and can't be won, yet refuse to admit it to the public for fear of looking weak or losing an election!  My father and many others were put into harms way for no reason what so ever.  The comments in the documentary about being the last generation to trust the government really hit home.

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8 hours ago, MSBoxer said:

In watching the documentary I find myself getting more and more pissed as president after president admits that the war is meaningless and can't be won, yet refuse to admit it to the public for fear of looking weak or losing an election!  My father and many others were put into harms way for no reason what so ever.

That is what hurts so bad. That all up and down the line, from presidents on down, responsible men put their careers ahead of the lives that had been put in their care. Who had taken as their idol? Stalin? In that case, the Soviets had won the Cold War and at very little cost to themselves.

Since the close of WW II our enemies have been successful at getting us to hurt ourselves. That is the sad lesson of 9/11, as anyone who tries to fly anywhere can attest.

Michael

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Well said.....TBH though that is just our western perspective, if you looked at it through Iraqi or Afghan eyes I suspect it would be sadder still, Vietnamese too I'd imagine.  Don't get me wrong here, one could say exactly the same in relationship to the Soviet Union/Russia & Afghanistan or Chechnya or indeed Britain & The Falklands/Argentina.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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On 10/7/2017 at 5:36 PM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Well said.....TBH though that is just our western perspective, if you looked at it through Iraqi or Afghan eyes I suspect it would be sadder still, Vietnamese too I'd imagine.  Don't get me wrong here, one could say exactly the same in relationship to the Soviet Union/Russia & Afghanistan or Chechnya or indeed Britain & The Falklands/Argentina.

That is one of the cool things about this special is it is also provoking a discussion in Vietnam about whether the decisions by their leadership were correct and who actually made them. Was this in fact the best strategy to unite their country and how much responsibility do they own for it escalating the way it did. I have seen some of the criticisms and complaints that have been made about shortcomings in how Ken Burns focused the story, but if he has both Americans and Vietnamese debating the origins of such an enormously costly war, he scored pretty big.  

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1 hour ago, sburke said:

I have seen some of the criticisms and complaints that have been made about shortcomings in how Ken Burns focused the story, but if he has both Americans and Vietnamese debating the origins of such an enormously costly war, he scored pretty big.  

Honestly I think that was the best part about the whole thing, the fact he got a conversation going from both sides.

It was interesting to see the North Vietnamese reactions, one of them said, "Of course, we had to reunite our country and liberate half of it from the puppet government!"
Which is obvious in it's propagandist leanings.

Meanwhile, another one simply asked, "Was it worth it to go to war with ourselves? By far the vast majority of dead on both sides were Vietnamese."
It was very interesting to see the different perspectives.

Here is a link to 'The Pentagon Papers' the report on America's involvement in Vietnam ordered up by Robert McNamara, it's available for free in the National Archives:
https://www.archives.gov/research/pentagon-papers

I think I might spend some time after New Years reading a bit.

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On 20.9.2017 at 4:35 PM, Michael Emrys said:

I just finished the third installment. It seems pretty good. A good companion piece if you can find it is The Ten Thousand Day War in twenty-six parts that originally ran in 1980-81.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0174323/episodes?season=1&ref_=tt_eps_sn_1

Michael

Hi Michael,

I finally did it and ordered „The Ten Thousand Day War“ from Amazon. Unfortunately it will take a while to ship it to Switzerland, but it looks like it will keep me occupied on many dark winter nights.

Thanks for the hint again. I will keep you posted.

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6 hours ago, Bud Backer said:

It’s available for free on YouTube. It’s the 13 1-hour episodes rather than the 26 1/2 hour ones. 

 

 

Argh, too late. Only this afternoon, I received the despatch confirmation. But I guess the 30 Euro won’t kill me.

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