I have been watching ‘The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns’ (when one starts including the director’s name as part of the title, you can bet there’s a lot of ego there).
Ken Burns is, of course, a Jewish man (and just about the only people seemingly authorized to make any media statements on the war).
Like much of the clatter trap before it, ‘The Vietnam War’ makes pretty much the same statements all the other ‘documentaries’ have made before.
The perpetually intermingled music by our pop star messiahs signaling the ‘pain’ of a generation...
...the American people upset about being deported overseas to an uncertain fate...
...the hopelessly CORRUPT South Vietnamese Government...
...the (somehow) sacrosanct presidential advisors giving the President the best possible advice granted them by their ‘long’ experience...
Above all ‘The Vietnam War’ mini-series works at the level so much history of the Vietnam War seems to work these days - atmosphere.
And Ken Burns is good at it.
Nobody works personal stories like Ken Burns, and it is quite an experience to get down and personal with the people who actually went through this.
But alas, it is the SAME OLD STORY...AGAIN.
An Over-confident America who decides to quell the Vietnam problem by simply showing up.
The tenacious Vietnamese Communists.
The hopelessly corrupt South Vietnamese Regime.
The music, the drugs, the sex, etc.
And let’s not forget the head-wagging ‘isn’t there any other way?’ peace-nik mantra espoused by the leftist peace mongers.
It also had some points which appealed to me.
The Americans are not the useless dope and sex-addled recalcitrants.
Some real heroism on part of the American soldier is shown...
...along with some real atrocities by th North Vietnamese Army (though Viet Cong atrocities have been again traditionally ignored)....
Yet the same bovine narrative persists.
The same tired narrative I am forced to hear over and over again like a broken record when it comes to the Vietnam War.
Commencing with the head-wagging.
Fuck the head wagging.
The ‘film’ starts out traditionally enough without MENTIONING that the American Forces were told to fight a war with its hands tied behind its back.
The documentary never mentions that China had the Johnson administration so fearful of Chinese intervention that the State Department decided to make Vietnam not so much a war...but a series of supposedly clever socio-political chess moves.
It never mentions ‘The Rules of Engagement.
US Armed forces COULD NOT bomb North Vietnamese Harbors (on which ships from Russia and China docked regularly to bring supplies)...
...COULD NOT bomb North Vietnamese Airfields...
...COULD NOT bomb the North Vietnamese rail system...
...COULD NOT march into North Vietnam...
...COULD Not cross over into Laos (while the North Vietnamese did daily)
...COULD Not cross over into neighboring Cambodia (which the North Vietnamese regularly did)...
...COULD NOT bomb across the border into China (whose trains were brining daily supplies to North Vietnam)...
...WERE NOT ALLOWED to cut off the Ho Chi Min Trail...
Yes, the North Vietnamese had a lot of help alright...from the Johnson Administration.
No mention of this whatsoever from director Ken Burns.
Repeated over and over again during the documentary is the phrase ‘we could not win.’
Well, not with THOSE rules (of engagement) yet Burns stresses the point that the we could not win because the North Vietnamese would never stop and never give up and they were just so damned dedicated.
According to this philosophy, I suppose we made a huge in continuing to fight a Japan that would never give up during WW-II.
Look what THAT brought us.
So the documentary makes its contribution in making ‘giving up’ seem reasonable...which is a great piece of Communist propaganda.
In all its complexity, the Ken Burns documentary makes one more contribution to the Vietnam mythos - that most of the Americans involved in creating, misguiding, protesting and ending the war...were communists.
Yes indeed, songwriters, movie stars, members of Presidential cabinets, telecasters, union leaders, experts etc,etc.
Soviet defectors ADMITTED THIS in the 1980‘s.
No mention of any of this post-Vietnam reality by Burnsie.
No mention also about how deeply the CIA was involved in totally mucking up the war.
Of course not.
Also, the documentary goes out of its way to make the war seem very complex.
Now when I ask an expert for an explanation and the first thing he says is “well...its complex” I know that I'm in for a load of bullshit.
Actually the Vietnam War was quite simple:
We helped out South Vietnam for a period of time...and then we abandoned them.
The funniest part of the documentary is how it goes into the details of how hopelessly corrupt the South Vietnamese Army was..and then is forced to admit how it stopped the Communist Easter Offensive COLD in 1972...just like it had done three or four times before with previous Communist offensives.
The documentary then suddenly veers off to remind you that the US Air Force what actually did it...single-handedly.
Like it single handedly eliminated the Viet Cong?
Just like it single-handedly wiped out the North Vietnamese Army?
The truth is a well-supplied South Vietnamese Army stopped the Communists in their tracks (and from all the footage they seemed to have loved doing it).
If only they had remained as well supplied just three years later.
But that is a whole other story of betrayal involving the removal of Nixon (courtesy of the CIA) and of the installation of a drugged President Ford (who could not even manage to keep from falling on his face in public...repeatedly) and who ordered America to “pull out of Vietnam” right in the teeth of an upcoming communist offensive....but that should be coming up soon in the concluding episodes.
And I am very anxious to know how Ken Burns is going to spin THAT.
After all, betraying an ally and leaving him hanging in the face of enemy attack while leaving him with out a single cartridge...
...is a very hard thing to spin indeed.