The Vietnam War: A conversation with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

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Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 17, 2017 - 07:40am PT
Credit: Contractor
Much anticipated and overdue.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 17, 2017 - 07:46am PT
Very much looking forward to it....all 18 hours!
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Sep 17, 2017 - 07:48am PT
Fortunately my draft numbers were always too high, and I wasn't called.

The Vietnam war was the first of many mistakes the US government has made in the last sixty years.*

*foreign policy decisions
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 17, 2017 - 07:53am PT
Watched it all live fifty years ago, then watched Burns' preview on PBS last month.

Will probably catch most if not all this week with my buddy Decker, who'll be picking it apart for accuracy. (He was there bigtime.)
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2017 - 08:09am PT
Credit: Contractor
Horrific sh#t went down there. After 3 tours in UDT/SEAL's my stepdad never spoke of it but whatever happened there came home with him for us all to deal with.

With the new paradyne of respect and appreciation for Vietnam vets and what they sacrificed, I hope all vets can watch it with some semblance of inner peace and closure.



PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Sep 17, 2017 - 08:10am PT
Agree with Jim. Much anticipated. Was there a bigger impact on our generation?
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:45am PT
Looking forward to this myself. Ken Burns has yet to disappoint me, although the Civil War left me pretty depressed each night I watched it.

I befriended a couple of Vietnam vets along the way and these guys impress me as survivors. The stories they told me on rare occasions really made me wonder why we were there; what was our real goal. And I know they weren't the worst of their stories.

When I was a kid say 7 to 10 or so, There was a young man who me and my folks considered kind of an older brother to me. Pete Murphy was a Green Beret who had done 2 tours in Vietnam and when home would help me with my shooting skills (bow, pistol, and rifle). I started shooting at a pretty young age due to my mom and dad. When I was 11 he had started his third tour but he was sent back home with a brain tumor. He came over to visit, he was so weak he wouldn't even draw the bow and shoot with me. After his death, his folks said he had been dusted with agent orange quite a few times and the doctors figured that is what gave him the tumor. As a kid, I didn't get to see him that often but it was full value when we did get together and I learned a lot from Pete. RIP Pete Murphy
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Sep 17, 2017 - 10:24am PT
My dad died from one of the Agent Orange cancers. There are specific listed cancers and other diseases directly linked to exposure. My mom still gets a benefit payment from the gov as a result of his death.

Agent Orange has an extremely sordid history and of course the Vietnamese are still bearing the bulk of the burden.
Bruce Morris

Trad climber
Soulsbyville, California
Sep 17, 2017 - 12:25pm PT
I'll have to see what Sgt Mike Brown thinks about it. He used to manage the Tuolumne Meadows gas station back in the 80s and was heavily involved in combat in Vietnam. Has become an advocate for veterans.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 17, 2017 - 12:28pm PT
Iraq....those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 17, 2017 - 12:42pm PT
About three quarters into this right now:
An in depth analysis, by David Halberstam, of how our government handled our entry into Vietnam.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Best_and_the_Brightest

........................

I was born in 1960, so didn't miss it by that much. The draft was still active when I came of age, and my old man told me just to toss the registration paperwork. He served in the Korean War.

As late as 1982 or 1983, they tracked me down!
Luckily there was a box to check that just said: I don't know why I'm not registered. Fix it please.

........................

For a person my age, I am supremely limited by musculoskeletal issues, and when looking for an underlying systemic issue, I worked with an internist for about a year who cut his teeth on identifying the systemic footprint of and treating systemic issues in the Vietnamese, relating to Agent Orange exposure.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Sep 17, 2017 - 01:10pm PT
If anyone's interested...

The Impossible War: A Conversation with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/the-impossible-war
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 17, 2017 - 04:13pm PT
Begins tonight on PBS.

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

Tarbuster, my choice for a novel (rather than a historical take such as Halberstam's--which is a great study) is "Saigon" by Anthony Grey -- beaucoups de background. Just a suggestion for your future enjoyment.
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Sep 17, 2017 - 04:52pm PT
Iraq....those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it.

See Afghanistan, too.

Americans are loathe to learn from their mistakes.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 17, 2017 - 05:52pm PT
Homo sapiens, whatever their faults, are resilient. Look at the recovery in Germany and Japan after WW11.
zBrown

Ice climber
Sep 17, 2017 - 07:40pm PT
Master (MBA) of War.

"We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why."
— Robert Strange McNamara

Anybody ever hear the explanation?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:43pm PT
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S McNamara full movie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8ZhIi57x-4

...........

Thanks Mouse!

Also on my desk:

A Bright Shining Lie, Jon Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, Neil Sheehan.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:48pm PT
Don't hold your breath, Z.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 17, 2017 - 11:03pm PT
I doubt that Cheney or Rumsfeld will ever admit they were wrong about Iraq the way McNamara admits his errors in the Fog of War about Vietnam.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 18, 2017 - 12:13am PT
Soundtrack to "Deja Vu" was good.
But I knew it would be.
http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/watch/episode-1/
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Sep 18, 2017 - 07:24am PT
This subject always hits a bit close to home for me, as I know it does for several others here. I am eternally grateful that I have a body and spirit mostly unharmed by it.

A sincere thank you to all on this forum who stand and deliver when it's needed most.
Nuglet

Trad climber
Orange Murica!
Sep 18, 2017 - 07:49am PT
Vietnam is fake news
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Sep 18, 2017 - 07:59am PT
Have it taping on the DVR, and very much looking forward to watching.

Tarbuster...
Bright Shining Lie is very, very good. One of the better non-fiction books I've ever read.
zBrown

Ice climber
Sep 18, 2017 - 08:25am PT


plund

Social climber
OD, MN
Sep 18, 2017 - 08:41am PT
"Bright Shining Lie" is brilliant, all the BS & bunkum revealed, along with a modern-day 'Jekyll & Hyde' character....moving and disturbing.

Herr's "Dispatches" for all the atmospheric freakiness of Nam on the ground and up close.

Tim Page's "Another Vietnam" for its fantastic exposition of the 'other side', as well as tremendous photos.

"My Secret War", Richard S. Drury author, A-1 Skyraider close air support pilot's memoir, gripping.

I hope Burns continues to cut through the crap...it was refreshing (and disturbing) hearing of French hubris, and the unbelievable logistical achievement of the North's army at Dien Bien Phu. The footage of the trails & the hauling of field artillery up jungle mountains was eye-opening. Serious dedication and discipline...
zBrown

Ice climber
Sep 18, 2017 - 09:18am PT
I thought I heard it said in Episode 1 that there were 1,000,000 Chinese war dead in Korea.

I wonder where they got that number? China which has motivation to mislead says the number is lower.

A total of 180,000 Chinese soldiers were killed while they fought with North Korea against US aggression in the early 1950s, a Chinese major general said ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, which fell last Friday.


http://www.china.org.cn/china/2010-06/28/content_20365659.htm


The biggest eye-opener for me was the scope of the French immorality.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 18, 2017 - 09:46am PT
The parallel experiences of France and the US was a pretty good way to look at the conflict. Deja vu was a good title for the episode.

It was right to put so much emphasis on Uncle Ho. He was a pivotal character all the way until his death and after, even.

The rise of Ngo Dinh Diem, definitely not a francophile, was presented well. I am looking forward to seeing what the writers say about the Dragon Lady,
Mme. Nhu, and her husband, Ngo Dinh Nhu, who ran the place for Diem and treated the ARVN like his private army.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 18, 2017 - 09:53am PT
Madam Nhu
... notoriously referred to the public self-immolations of Buddhist monks—who burned themselves alive protesting the Diem regime's corruption and repression of Buddhists—as "barbecues" and crowed, "Let them burn and we shall clap our hands."



http://time.com/3880653/madame-nhu-polarizing-face-of-vietnam/


Naitch

climber
Blue Ridge Mts, Shenandoah River
Sep 18, 2017 - 10:14am PT
Good posdcast interview with Ken Burns and Kim Novick re the documentary.

https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/the-impossible-war
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Sep 18, 2017 - 10:27am PT
I would of liked to have this photo in Burn's documentary, but after much effort trying to contact him, I gave up. I used 2 rolls of 35mm film trying to capture the "perfect" image of this 175 Howitzer firing, in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, circa 1969. I've never posted this photo on the internet, and John Catto, of National Geographic fame assisted me in putting the copyright logo on the image.
Credit: steveA
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 18, 2017 - 12:37pm PT
Amazing image Steve!
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Sep 18, 2017 - 12:56pm PT
Holy Be-Jeezus... you can see the rifle twist in the smoke! Never seen that before... incredible shot.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Sep 18, 2017 - 01:45pm PT
Artillery, the "queen of the battlefield". I image, Steve, that your hearing is not what it once was.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Sep 18, 2017 - 01:48pm PT
Incredible shot Steve! Thanks for posting it up here.
BigB

Trad climber
Red Rock
Sep 18, 2017 - 01:58pm PT
holy crap the look on the monks face while he's burning to death...
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 18, 2017 - 02:06pm PT
Good historical perspective in the first segment. America was never a colonial power in the usual sense of the term but we suffer from the same problem that led the European powers to embark on colonialism. Greed rationalized by a complete lack of knowledge of the culture of the countries colonized and complete faith in white superiority in military power, economic strength and (here is the key) moral superiority.

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 18, 2017 - 03:45pm PT
Not gonna watch it - I get too pissed off. Besides, WTF am I gonna learn?
Now I could stand to up my knowledge of the Punic Wars.

SteveA, nice shot! Hope it scored.
zBrown

Ice climber
Sep 18, 2017 - 05:13pm PT
Colonialism? After they were no longer Europeans thirteen of them took over most of the continent of North America.





http://www.emersonkent.com/images/indian_tribes.jpg

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 18, 2017 - 05:27pm PT
Nice photo Steve. You were there and have two Purple Hearts to attest to it.
frostback

Social climber
great white north
Sep 18, 2017 - 09:56pm PT
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_in_the_Lake

Just watched the first installment on Itunes; superb.
The reference above, is a good read imho based on an interest stemming from about a dozen trips to Vietnam. I was initially over there as a capitalist tool; the byproduct of the Du Moui programs when western companies rushed in to place production in a country of hardworking proud people.
Books like this one filled in the gaps that had been piqued as a kid reading letters from my aunt written during her time there in the early 60's. Alas the bulk of her correspondence was seized by an alpha-numeric arm of the British Foreign Office upon her death from lung cancer in 75.
Over the years, I've really grown to appreciate a country that has come through so much just for the right to have a place they can call their own.
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Sep 18, 2017 - 10:17pm PT
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Sep 18, 2017 - 10:23pm PT
Thanks for sharing steveA!
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 19, 2017 - 06:07am PT
Credit: Contractor
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 19, 2017 - 06:26am PT
3 April 1963
Lt. Col. John Paul Vann departed Vietnam for an assignment in the United States. Vann met with and briefed many officers at the Pentagon about the military situation in Vietnam.

He was invited to brief the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on July 8. However, his briefing was cancelled at the last minute, apparently by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell Taylor.

Vann's proposed briefing to the JCS was at odds with what General Harkins was telling Washington. He planned to say that the body counts ARVN reported of Viet Cong killed were inflated and included many non-combatants and that the indiscriminate use of artillery and air strikes was alienating the Vietnamese population.[16]
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Sep 19, 2017 - 11:56am PT
Hey Mouse,

Interesting bit of historical trivia, you just cited. Doesn't surprise me in the least. I'm becoming more cynical as I get older, and certainly don't trust the military establishment, which thrives on ongoing wars, somewhere in the world, backed by many politicians in DC.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Sep 19, 2017 - 12:34pm PT
I'm becoming more cynical as I get older, and certainly don't trust the military establishment,

I had a flag in my yard after 9/11.... Bought the MSM story hook line and sinker.

But I also watched Teevee then....

War is the most foolish of human activities and involves conning the largest number of people through fear and lies to support such horrors.

Studly

Trad climber
WA
Sep 19, 2017 - 12:45pm PT
and that old demon Kissinger still walks the earth. Interesting how he also chaired the 9-11 commission, and meets in private with current presidents, Obama, Trump, etc. Makes you wonder who is really calling the shots. Maybe old Beelzebub himself..
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
Sep 19, 2017 - 01:01pm PT
I sure wish my Dad would watch this with me. He won't though.

I knew from a young age that he was a Corpsman in the Navy and did a partial tour in Vietnam. That was the sum total of what I knew until just a few years ago. There was absolutely no discussion of those years in our house. His pride and wounds kept the details locked up tight. Bitterly tight.

A couple years ago he had a severe medical issue that put him in the ICU for a week. Facing huge medical bills from multiple surgeries I asked my Mom why he didn't have any VA coverage, and she said he missed a deadline for filing some paperwork years ago. Not surprising, as everything sent to the house from the military was promptly thrown away. He kept a shoe box under his bed that I peeked into while getting his slippers in preparation for moving out of ICU. There was an assortment of military decorations, including two purple hearts. And a hat, USS Denver (LPD-9).

The purple hearts were for physical injuries received in combat, but his mental injuries are far deeper than I can ever understand. I'm sure the Ken Burns documentary will help fill in the general blanks of my understanding of why we were there. I hope we can minimize the damage we do to these "kids" in the future, because the aftermath isn't pretty.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 19, 2017 - 01:06pm PT
Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man you've all come to hate
Lies fell from his lips like bombs on Hanoi.

Kissinger = Beelzebub
zBrown

Ice climber
Sep 19, 2017 - 01:09pm PT

Funny how hindsight is so revealing.


I wonder what will be said about this in the future:


The Russians may have given North Korea technical help in building nuclear weapons.


http://www.nationalreview.com/article/451476/th-korea-vladimir-putin-behind-missile-threat
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 19, 2017 - 01:29pm PT
This was perhaps Nixon's most heinous lie, the so called "Chennault Affair...
Said Nixon: “My, I would never do anything to encourage….Saigon not to come to the table….Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”
during the 1968 presidential election.

In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.

But in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.

According to Parry, LBJ wanted to go public with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, talked Johnson out of it. LBJ’s close confidant warned that the revelation would shake the foundations of the nation.

This is just one of many reasons Kissinger is so despised and considered a war criminal by many.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/08/12/george-will-confirms-nixons-vietnam-treason
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Sep 19, 2017 - 01:36pm PT
Wait a second--this was a little before my time, but didn't Kennedy start the war, LBJ escalate it, and then Nixon finally end it (with maybe a few "tricks" but that's why they called him Tricky Dick)?
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Sep 19, 2017 - 01:47pm PT
Wait a second--this was a little before my time, but didn't Kennedy start the war
No
LBJ escalate it
yes
and then Nixon finally end it (with maybe a few "tricks" but that's why they called him Tricky Dick)?
yeah, the war ended during the Nixon administration.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 19, 2017 - 01:51pm PT
Nixon was an all-out sonofabitch and that's that.
Kissinger, stick your peace prize.

I've named an obscurity in Castle Cliffs above Yosemite Village for Tricky Dick. It's a rotten, sandy, hard-to-find POS single-pitch chimney. but he doesn't even deserve that, IMO, so I've never sent it to the guidebook editors.
zBrown

Ice climber
Sep 19, 2017 - 01:57pm PT
The French started the war. Their efforts were followed on by Truman, Eisenhower, et al.

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 19, 2017 - 02:16pm PT


Introduction

On March 18, 1969, the United States began a four year long carpet-bombing campaign in the skies of Cambodia, devastating the countryside and causing socio-political upheaval that eventually led to the installation of the Pol Pot regime.


History
During the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese Liberation Front and the PAVN used a network of supply routes that partially ran through Laos and Cambodia. As the War progressed, the U.S. ostensibly invaded both Cambodia and Laos in order to disrupt these routes.

The Bombing
The initial operation was authorized by then President Richard Nixon, but without the knowledge or approval of U.S. Congress. The bombings became public knowledge in 1973, after which they were stopped.

The United States dropped upwards of 2.7 million tons of bombs on Cambodia, exceeding the amount it had dropped on Japan during WWII (including Hiroshima and Nagasaki) by almost a million tons. During this time, about 30 per cent of the country's population was internally displaced.


Result

Estimates vary widely on the number of civilian casualites inflicted by the campaign; however,as many as 500,000 people died as a direct result of the bombings while perhaps hundreds of thousands more died from the effects of displacement, disease or starvation during this period.

The Khmer Rouge, previously a marginalized guerrilla group, propagandized the bombing campaign to great effect; by the CIA's own intelligence estimates, the US bombing campaign was a key factor in the increase in popular support for the Khmer Rouge rebels. After their victory in 1975, the Khmer Rouge oversaw a period in which another one-to-two million Cambodians died from execution, hunger and forced labour.

After it became public, the bombing campaign was a subject of contention within the U.S. as opposition to the U.S. military project in Indochina intensified.

References

http://www.khmercity.net/forum/topics/map-of-us-bombed-cambodia

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/cambodia/tl02.html

http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/2582[/quote]

http://rabble.ca/toolkit/on-this-day/us-secret-bombing-cambodia

WBraun

climber
Sep 19, 2017 - 02:28pm PT
The Vietnam War

They're still doing this sh!t to this very day.

You st000pid Americans haven't learned one f__kin thing yet!
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Sep 19, 2017 - 02:38pm PT
http://www.soldiers-of-misfortune.com/history/apocalypse-now.htm
G_Gnome

Trad climber
Cali
Sep 19, 2017 - 02:39pm PT
I'm with Reilly on this one, I don't really want to rehash that history.

And 'No' Werner, we haven't learned anything! Dammit!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 19, 2017 - 04:18pm PT
YO, Yogi! That should be "WE st)))pid Americans..."

St)))pid German rocket scientists...
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Sep 19, 2017 - 07:06pm PT
Mean Old World...



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAV6HJXKYtw
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 20, 2017 - 09:29am PT
Quote from Episode 3...

LBJ to head of CBS after Morley Safer covers Zippo raid on Cam Ne hamlet on the evening news..."Are you trying to f*ck me?"

guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 20, 2017 - 10:12am PT
I watch this alone....

makes me cry



Fantastic shot up thread, SteveA thanks for posting.

useless, stupid and sickening.

I salute everyone for doing what they had to do to survive that time.
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 20, 2017 - 10:36am PT
False Patriots shilling for Arms Merchants.

If you have an MIC Hammer, all the world is a nail, for profit.

There were two sorts of wars in the 20th century world:

1. The "East v West" war where morons cannot see the struggle through anything other than a shallow Capitalism v Communism lens. No matter what, the possibility of ceding "strategic" ground to the other side must be stopped, at the cost of millions of lives dying in the most savage way possible.

The "East v West" paranoia is exploited by the MIC for profit, and also by the leaders inside the proxy states to get money from Washington..."You must help us defeat communism, ignore the drug dealing, extortion rackets and arms trafficking I do with the weapons you give us...that's just my side hustle..."

Throw in a little (or a lot) racism, mix and stirred by opportunists.

2. The "North v South" wars which are really wars of National Liberation from Colonial Powers. These are wars of legitimacy and agency for a people to resist their slavers.

Vietnam was such a war of National Liberation, but internal factions exploited the E v W duality for their own ends, with predictable tragic results. Uncle Ho for military aid, Diem for the same. Both cost millions of lives.

Only Ghandhi had the right means to do it. Peaceful resistance and time. No colonial power can resist tens of millions of people in a foreign land forever.

Now we fight in Iraq for Oil. Yes, ISIS is fighting for Oil, despite their own propaganda and ours.

Now we fight in Afghanistan for Minerals (est $2-3 Trillion in Strategic Metals in the ground there). While the Afghans fight a war of National Liberation.

Guess who will win?

Hint: A couple of hundred thousands troops cannot defeat 35 Million Afghans regardless of firepower. All they have to do is keep having babies and wait.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Sep 20, 2017 - 10:43am PT
Shot I took in '72 of our six inch mount firing from a 1/4 mile offshore of Quảng Trị. Spent that year doing 6 hours-on / 6 hours-off shifts, 24x7 in the five inch mount just above it in the lower left of the picture.

Not particularly proud of my service, just the opposite in fact...

Midway into a 100-round rapid fire salvo
Midway into a 100-round rapid fire salvo
Credit: healyje
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Sep 20, 2017 - 10:52am PT
...The "East v West" paranoia is exploited by the MIC for profit, and also by the leaders inside the proxy states to get money from Washington..."You must help us defeat communism, ignore the drug dealing and arms trafficking I do with the weapons you give us....".....


Drug supply and dealing is encouraged and facilitated directly by our MIC and their employees, errrr.. politicians. Right now there are US Marines stationed guarding poppy fields in Afghanistan. I've worked with two of them.

You've gone partway down the rabbithole Tut... keep going. It gets much darker.
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 20, 2017 - 11:01am PT
^^^^ O ya, brother, I know...I know.

The only way to "win" in Afghanistan is a Genocide killing 95% of the indigenous inhabitants, putting the rest on the most worthless land (ie reservations) and moving Americans there forever... but in a hundred years the Colonists will kick us out in their own struggle for National Liberation (read: personal profit).

Just like we did in North America.

But I don't know any Americans that want to live in Afghanistan...weird.

Which means, we have already lost but thousands and thousands more will die to feed the MIC for profit.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 20, 2017 - 11:52am PT
This man's wisdom...


VS

this man's arrogance
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 20, 2017 - 11:58am PT
One man treated his people like loved ones, even grew his beard so they would trust him.

The other saw numbers instead of people and did not understand how water parts to allow the stone to sink.
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Sep 20, 2017 - 12:57pm PT
False Patriots shilling for Arms Merchants.

If you have an MIC Hammer, all the world is a nail, for profit.
which Ike warned us about.

There were two sorts of wars in the 20th century world:

1. The "East v West" war where morons cannot see the struggle through anything other than a shallow Capitalism v Communism lens. No matter what, the possibility of ceding "strategic" ground to the other side must be stopped, at the cost of millions of lives dying in the most savage way possible.

The "East v West" paranoia is exploited by the MIC for profit, and also by the leaders inside the proxy states to get money from Washington..."You must help us defeat communism, ignore the drug dealing, extortion rackets and arms trafficking I do with the weapons you give us...that's just my side hustle..."

Throw in a little (or a lot) racism, mix and stirred by opportunists.

2. The "North v South" wars which are really wars of National Liberation from Colonial Powers. These are wars of legitimacy and agency for a people to resist their slavers.

Vietnam was such a war of National Liberation, but internal factions exploited the E v W duality for their own ends, with predictable tragic results. Uncle Ho for military aid, Diem for the same. Both cost millions of lives.

Only Ghandhi had the right means to do it. Peaceful resistance and time. No colonial power can resist tens of millions of people in a foreign land forever.

Now we fight in Iraq for Oil. Yes, ISIS is fighting for Oil, despite their own propaganda and ours.

Now we fight in Afghanistan for Minerals (est $2-3 Trillion in Strategic Metals in the ground there). While the Afghans fight a war of National Liberation.

Guess who will win?

Hint: A couple of hundred thousands troops cannot defeat 35 Million Afghans regardless of firepower. All they have to do is keep having babies and wait.
It didn't work for the Soviets, and it won't work for the US.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 20, 2017 - 01:30pm PT
Does not cast LBJ and JFK in the best light. Self interest Trumped their duty to the American people.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
Sep 20, 2017 - 01:49pm PT
^^^^NSAM #263 vs NSAM #273. I would say that casts those two presidents in the proper light and, one of them was not assassinated in a VERY public forum.
WBraun

climber
Sep 20, 2017 - 01:49pm PT
A couple of hundred thousand troops cannot defeat 35 Million Afghans regardless of firepower.


There's no intention to defeat Afghanistan.

The US is only there to protect the western interests of precious metals mining and the heroin business which pays for all the criminal CIA off the books black ops.

American are responsible for all this bullsh!t.

This all happening to fuel your needs for this wasteful so-called high standard of living that you people all so much brag about.

YOU are directly responsible and no one else ......
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
Sep 20, 2017 - 02:00pm PT
Yogi, we are ALL fait accompli by virtue of being born here. Not our fault for being born, but we have all contributed to the evil.
Yury

Mountain climber
T.O.
Sep 20, 2017 - 06:16pm PT
tuolumne_tradster:
The Khmer Rouge, previously a marginalized guerrilla group, propagandized the bombing campaign to great effect; by the CIA's own intelligence estimates, the US bombing campaign was a key factor in the increase in popular support for the Khmer Rouge rebels. After their victory in 1975, the Khmer Rouge oversaw a period in which another one-to-two million Cambodians died from execution, hunger and forced labour.

Thank you tuolumne_tradster, I did not know about this link between US bombing of Cambodia and Khmer Rouge taking power.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 20, 2017 - 06:30pm PT
^^^ It's rather more nuanced than that,
not the least being helped considerably by N Viet Nam.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 20, 2017 - 06:40pm PT
Speaking of the Khmer Rouge (aka Angkar), what goes around comes around.

You just cannot "Nguyen" in SE Asia, it seems.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29106034
zBrown

Ice climber
Sep 20, 2017 - 07:21pm PT
It's depressing all right.

My high school class had about 480 which probably was pretty constant for the war years.

Though no one from my class died in Vietnam three from my school did.

Folks still don't talk about it much.

What I've heard:

One guy was assured face to face by Master Strange of the validity of the domino theory

He still believes it

The bonds that had to develop between those soldiers on the ground are the only good thing to come out of their time 'in country' and something most of us will never 'get'









tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 20, 2017 - 10:16pm PT
Brett Morris' article on US role in the rise of Khmer Rouge.
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/04/khmer-rouge-cambodian-genocide-united-states/

Bombing of Cambodia
Kissinger relayed these orders to his military assistant, Gen. Alexander Haig: “He wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn’t want to hear anything. It’s an order, it’s to be done. Anything that flies on anything that moves.”

Khmer insurgent (KI) [Khmer Rouge] cadre have begun an intensified proselyting campaign among ethnic Cambodian residents . . . in an effort to recruit young men and women for KI military organizations. They are using damage caused by B-52 strikes as the main theme of their propaganda.

Note that both Nixon and Carter administrations supported the Khmer Rouge...
In November 1975 — seven months after KR forces seized control of Phnom Penh — Henry Kissinger said to Thailand’s foreign minister that he “should tell [the KR] that we bear no hostility towards them. We would like them to be independent as a counterweight to North Vietnam.” Kissinger added that he “should also tell the Cambodians that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in our way. We are prepared to improve relations with them.”

As the New York Times reported, “the Carter administration helped arrange continued Chinese aid” to the KR guerillas. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, explained that he “encourage[d] the Chinese to support Pol Pot.”

Finally in January 1979 the Vietnamese army, largely backed by the former Soviet Union, expelled Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh. Despite this, the Khmer Rouge retained their seat in the UN until 1982.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 20, 2017 - 11:59pm PT

Credit: mouse from merced
In 1965, Ali failed the military’s mental aptitude screening test and was disqualified for the draft.
But as the war dragged on, the Army lowered testing standards and Ali was reclassified as qualified.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Sep 21, 2017 - 02:23am PT
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Sep 21, 2017 - 05:58am PT
That movie brought back a few recollections of that time. I spent 23 months over there, ( 68-70), and on occasion someone will say to me, "thank you for your service". I always reply that you need not thank me, since I don't think the war was justified.

Ken Burns movie will set the record straight.

I must admit getting wounded over there twice has been an unexpected benefit over the years, since between Medicare and military health insurance, most of my increasingly costly medical issues have been covered.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:08am PT
SteveA: . . . on occasion someone will say to me, "thank you for your service". I always reply that you need not thank me, since I don't think the war was justified.

Ditto. I always get that same feeling. It seems like some kind of political correctness to me.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:18am PT
"Lucky you made it back, and we're glad you're here" is probably more apt...

Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:23am PT
I still thank you all for your service. There are no just wars.

I have not been able to watch the series, even though its quite watchable and I tried. Not a big Ken Burns fan but that's not it. I really can't put it to words. I can't stand seeing what my country did to Vietnam. It disgusts me.

Why any American deifies JFK is utterly beyond me. What a grade a sonofabitch. May he rot in a hell of your own choosing.

DMT
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:55am PT
I doubt JFK had much more pull than any of the current puppets... And his Dallas dispatch became a lesson for those that would follow. Perhaps he didn't follow the script closely enough.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:58am PT
Perhaps. I guess I can't stand the deification of any American, for any reason. I hate nationalistic religion with a passion.

All I have to do is disparage the word Patriot and those who claim that title, to invoke the spiritual rage.

DMT
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 21, 2017 - 08:16am PT
I agree that JFK was no Saint...

But I think he was a product of his times (ie Cuban Missile Crisis) and the "Domino" theory which, if ridiculously over-simplified the history of SE Asia, had to be weighing on his mind.

I intimated up thread the central dilemma...Even in a war of National Liberation the opportunists on both sides of the civil wars inside many countries "played" the super powers for military aid (and sometimes out of their own corruption even on the left) in their quest for power.

Need arms to fight a corrupt fascist regime friendly to the USA? Then curry favor with China/USSR and the Ak-47s start arriving by the boat load. The Cold War was an opportunity for every kind of as#@&%e.

Remember, the USSR did build their naval base threatening oil supply lines to all of the Pacific (esp Japan and Korea) at Cam Ranh Bay after Saigon fell etc...so it was real that there was a strategic issue at play.

Uncle Ho famously tried to get the USA to not see too much into communism and to help his country be free...but was making his pleas at the time of McCarthy at the height of the Cold War...so not much wiggle room for USA leadership....

Vietnam was a horrible mistake made with the best of intentions egged on by a Racist MIC that saw "Reds" behind every peace-nik.

Millions died in the Proxy-Wars of the Cold War...and now Vietnam is our "friend" helping to contain China.

Fundamentally the problem is the MIC and it's "hammer" that promotes every world problem as a "nail". Instead of war, we could have saved millions of lives buying off the commies with a better aid plan. But then the MIC would howl and whip the evangelists et al into a froth that we were "accommodating" and "appeasing" the Devil.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 21, 2017 - 09:02am PT
I still thank you all for your service. There are no just wars.

I have not been able to watch the series, even though its quite watchable and I tried. Not a big Ken Burns fan but that's not it. I really can't put it to words. I can't stand seeing what my country did to Vietnam. It disgusts me.

Why any American deifies JFK is utterly beyond me. What a grade a sonofabitch. May he rot in a hell of your own choosing.

DMT


Dingus.... agree 100%. The documentary is really quite good, it has been a long time coming. Nothing really new that we already didn't know, but the interviews with the survivors, esp from the North are eye opening and interesting. You should watch it when your in the mood.

Bring tissue.


Bottom Line for me..... you play politics with peoples lives... like JFK, LBJ, Nixon etc....you deserve to rot in hell.



Jorroh

climber
Sep 21, 2017 - 09:34am PT
"Vietnam was a horrible mistake made with the best of intentions"

I don't think that the "best of intentions" part stands up to historical scrutiny. At that point the USA had a pretty atrocious track record when it came to taking account of the interests of the people of the nations that they were interfering with.
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 21, 2017 - 09:48am PT
"Best of Intentions" was keeping nuclear missiles out of Cuba and Russian naval bases threatening the Oil supply lines to Japan and South Korea from the ME etc...

We can certainly argue about the monstrous mistakes made with those goals in mind...But the Cold War was real and Stalin WAS a monster as well as his successors...Mao was a monster.... Holding them in check were "good intentions", imo.

Remember, it took Nixon to open up to China, because he established himself as a commie hater over decades....you see its complicated on just how to do it with political "cover".

What should have happened is a "buying off" of North Vietnam with aid and development at a fraction of the $$$ and human cost to make friends. We were far richer than China or the USSR and could have offered them more.

That may be possible today (like we are doing with China and Vietnam now)...but that was probably impossible in the political climate that had nuclear missiles in Cuba a few short years before.

And all of this being played by an MIC that needs to use up bombs...so they can make more.

chappy

Social climber
ventura
Sep 21, 2017 - 03:53pm PT
I feel the concluding interview from the prologue of episode 4 is especially relevant today in light of our current president and administration:

"We tend to fight the next war in the same way we fought the last one. We are prisoners of our own experience. And many of the things that we learned worked in WWII were not applicable to the war in Vietnam. We simply thought we would go in with a sledge hammer and knock things down, clean them up and it would be all over. It was a kind of an over simplification of the problem. Combined with our over confidence it caused us--I think--to be arrogant. And its very very difficult to dispel ignorance if you retain arrogance."

The interviewee was named Sam Wilson. Of course being a prisoner of one's own experience isn't limited to simply war.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 21, 2017 - 04:45pm PT
MIC-KEY.

guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Sep 21, 2017 - 06:37pm PT
Hard to imagine our celebrated military leaders not reading or not learning from the works of Bernard Fall. "Street Without Joy" and "Hell In A Very Small Place" are classics of the French involvement in French Indochina.

I am truly bothered by the Bank of America's "advertising" bull sh#t statements and images portrayed on the introduction.

Will take a break tonight and watch Wonder Women!
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Sep 21, 2017 - 06:49pm PT
And its very very difficult to dispel ignorance if you retain arrogance.

Something to think about.
Jorroh

climber
Sep 21, 2017 - 06:58pm PT
Viewing "best of intentions" through the lens of... commies bad, usa good...is the problem.

Anyone trying to be objective would judge American (and everybody else's) actions through the lens of what by then were well established principles of international law....human rights and popular sovereignty.

If the will of the Iranian people was to have Mossadegh as their leader, then so be it. I would describe American actions in Iran as the complete opposite of "best of intentions".
Similarly in Vietnam, the USA was clearly operating in opposition to the wishes of the majority of the Vietnamese people. The USA was doing this to pursue their own goals...which didn't include paying any real attention to the interests and sovereignty of the Vietnamese people. I have a hard time rationalizing that as"best of intentions".
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:01pm PT
Will take a break tonight and watch Wonder Women!

I'll be watching "Call The Midwife". At least it's honest and devoid of self-righteousness.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:12pm PT
Charlie
Charlie Rose that is, just had a special daytime interview with Burns & Novick on PBS/socal.
Very enlightening to watch as too was the Series.

Dingus watch the interview;)
lostinshanghai

Social climber
someplace
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:23pm PT
First part one photo:

April 1968 AP photo  Art Greenspon
April 1968 AP photo Art Greenspon
Credit: lostinshanghai

My best friend lays dead either to the right, left, rear or in the front of this photo. I got the news next day when I was at Ft. Ord recovering from a gunshot myself in a similar hunting accident exactly a month before in March. A week goes by still lying in bed I receive his last letter he wrote to me after he knew I got shot.

Another photo or action was from a documentary that I was in. I was not shown but most likely more from it will be shown for sure when Burns discusses TET. Westmoreland thought they would come from the North, one of our low-ranking commanders said Saigon. We were across the border in Cambodia smelling fuel and looking at oil from the trucks two days prior. They pulled us out and headed for the city. When we landed, at the other end of the airport planes and buildings were in flames. Six members of our team went to the US Embassy they will be shown the rest us went to secure Shell’s oil facility as well as the ships from not being blown up.

Third episode and fourth shows photos and discussion of Col Charles Beckwith. This was pre-Jan 68 before becoming our Company Commander.

Credit: lostinshanghai

The day after I got shot on March 20th ‘68 one of my team members pointed point blank a CAR 15 to his stomach within a couple of feet. This was at the time when fragging was becoming an issue. Top command told the lower ranking officers Captains, Lieutenants you better have your sh#t together. Why they would ask? Your own men will shoot you first then you will have to worry about the reason you are here for the NVA.

Beckwith was the same shithead that tried to get the hostages out of Iran. Created first Delta Force but someone would have come up with the idea anyway. Was not welcomed at 101st reunions. Basically, got kick out of the army, created his own security consulting service mercs for hire, died at the age of 65 a lonely man even though he had family.

I am sure race and drugs will be discussed good series will have to see more but right on so far. Sunday and Monday should be interesting.



Viet Nam, Reagan’s School of the Americas, Iran with Carter and Reagan, Nicaragua.

Credit: lostinshanghai

Credit: lostinshanghai

the biggest was obvious Iraq, but the real f*#kup was

Credit: lostinshanghai

I too agree that “Thanks’ for your service” is getting old. I try to tell people say, “welcome and happy you made it back” As for when talking to the VA when they say it I always say “wish I can say the same about you but can’t.”

A couple of days ago 50 years to this date was getting the traditional birthday cake: pound cake, fruit cocktail with a caramel glaze with a blasting cap [stick] in the center with the wires sticking out.

Sending a Mouse note on the flames


kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 21, 2017 - 08:03pm PT
^^^ I am sorry our Nation put you through that experience and seems to be repeating the same mistakes.

I'm glad you made it out alive and shared your experience with us.

I have a hard time rationalizing that as"best of intentions".

There is not the slightest question that the War in Vietnam was profoundly racist and one of the great crimes of the 20th Century...

Mao's Great Leap Forward has had the number that starved to death during that period upped recently to perhaps as many as 60 million.

Khmer Rouge sent 2 million to their deaths in the Killing Fields inspired by Maoist ideology...

I personally believe that what the USA did was profoundly wrong, but these "best of intentions" were intended to prevent the worst of Maoist ideas from coming to pass in Vietnam which I think to most people is not a bad intention, per se, given the facts of history and the monster that was Mao. But the USA leadership was blind to historic animosity between Vietnam and China and could only see their struggle in terms of East v West with tragic results and any "Maoism" taking hold in Vietnam was not remotely a foregone conclusion.

Vietnam of course eventually defeated the Khmer Rouge and fought against a border incursion by Chinese invaders later in the 70's, making more clear the mistakes, racism and arrogance of the USA that could not be seen at the time. Fundamentally Vietnam wanted national independence, not to be a puppet state of China.

Its complicated. Hindsight is 20/20...Johnson's own failures were evident to himself, though he wanted to do the right thing for his nation etc...but even he recognized he failed. Not running for re-election is a profound acknowledgement of that.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2017 - 08:23pm PT
It seems that an unprovoked punch in the nose creates a resolve for a reconning that is deeply fortified.

To be an over confident agressor who gets an unexpected punch in the nose wilts the resolve.

Our national mood and resolve related to World War 2, Vietnam and the second Iraq war revealed who we were in the lead up these conflicts.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Sep 22, 2017 - 07:48am PT
Kingtut: . . . these "best of intentions" were intended to prevent the worst of . . . .

It’s always like this, everywhere, all the time.

Socrates said that no one does wrong willingly (or at least that no one desires evil).

All wisdom begins with wondering. One must begin that by admitting one's ignorance. It is the wisdom about oneself that matters—not the what went wrong or right in the world of others.

And the wisdom of oneself appears to be quite a puzzle.

Be well.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 22, 2017 - 08:31am PT
Lost...

I am happy to be able to read what you posted.

Good comments all.

kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 22, 2017 - 01:37pm PT
It’s always like this, everywhere, all the time.

Absolutely right, Mike.

Even Mao thought he was moving his Nation forward despite his crimes of incompetence.

Give a politician ultimate power, and that power will corrupt him as other opportunist/politicians snipe at him as being "soft" on whatever evil resonates with his supporters etc.

Unfortunately, in the very real backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis that nearly led us to nuclear war and the "Red Baiters" that got political traction (like Goldwater) claiming Kennedy and Johnson were "soft" on communism we end up with a tragedy that claimed millions of lives in the most horrific ways imaginable...Should Johnson have ceded to Goldwater by publicly admitting the mistake of our involvement in Vietnam? I would think Goldwater would have made things even worse?

Remember, there were people on the right calling for nuking Hanoi..for taking off the "handcuffs" of limited war risking more Chinese intervention like in Korea when we neared their borders (sound strategic reasoning by the Chinese to not permit invaders on their borders....). Johnson was that Jackass in a Texas hail storm...can't run, can't hide and can't make it stop.

And today in Afghanistan its more of the same, a war over "strategic" resources...done with the "best of intentions"...:(

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 22, 2017 - 02:01pm PT
with respect and not wishing to get off the track
evil = misguided
evil = misguided
Credit: mouse from merced


Jay, love ya, brother!
Jay, love ya, brother!
Credit: mouse from merced
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 22, 2017 - 02:58pm PT
I feel ya' Mouse re: Evil = Misguided...

But there are degrees (of course)...

Murderous Sadists (ie Hitler/Mengele) are more than "misguided" taking pleasure in the pain and suffering of others. They were simply monsters.

I don't think Johnson was a sadist, just a man put into a position of being responsible to do the most good for the most people...that led to misguided policy (albeit de facto evil as far as the Vietnamese were concerned). But I don't think we can call Johnson a monster? I think its obvious he had profound regrets about his actions.

I would like to think the Vietnamese understand us better now too, if they know more Soviet and Chinese history than they may have at the time...and realize their sponsors had many "misguided" periods in the recent past.

We can never know how history would have turned out if we had sought an early negotiated settlement to the war (neglecting the obvious arrogance our involvement represented)...Would other opportunists in some other country been emboldened? Would another Khmer Rouge rise somewhere else (of course, acknowledging our role in their creation too...)?

We can never know.

Just work harder to prevent the same mistakes in the future....
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 22, 2017 - 03:22pm PT
LBJ was not evil, but a man following his chosen calling as a paid representative of his constituents.

He was, I've always felt, thrust into the presidency, an office for which he may not have been well-suited. During my junior year in HS I was involved (girlfriend conned me) in his election campaign against Goldwater. He was my CinC when I enlisted in the Navy. I never once felt his heart was in what he was doing and that he was quite a bit out of his depth.

As it turns out, everyone was feeding him what they thought he wanted to hear, not what we needed him to hear.

"I'm wondering," then, if that's not misguided, what is?
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 22, 2017 - 03:38pm PT
Absolutely, Mouse, Johnson was misguided.

No question the MIC fed him many lies too to keep bomb making profits high.

McNamara as well was utterly misguided, and as the Film makes clear, had no conception of how critical the feelings of the people were vs. body counts.

I was struck by the estimate in 1966 that the VC controlled 2/3-3/4's of the countryside....if that is not a stunning example of the feelings of the people I don't know what is...

As well, I am disappointed in two areas the film did not cover as deeply as it might.

1. The Buddhist Monk burning himself alive was seen in Vietnam as making the SVN President illegitimate as the "Mandate from Heaven" was revoked by that action...This Mandate from Heaven is an essential part of legitimacy for any ruling elite in Asia....at that moment the war was lost. It is reported that the Vietnamese people at that moment thought the gods had spoken, as it were.

2. That Diem was Catholic and he appointed only Catholics to positions of power in his government regardless of competence was mentioned only in passing. This was utterly alienating to the population as a whole (vast majority Buddhist). Another example of illegitimacy that was lost on Kennedy and Johnson. Propping up such obvious puppets to Western Colonialism was bound to fail.

Both are part of the racist arrogance that American leadership held towards Vietnam. They didn't realize that 35 million people can never be defeated by a "Colonial Ideology" that doesn't respect 2500 years of Vietnamese history. A monk burning himself alive is just not some random crazy dude...It was if the Buddha himself had spoke.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 22, 2017 - 05:00pm PT
My parents were Catholic, my dad was Irish. Kennedy died a saint in their eyes.

I was, therefore, in for some rude truth in the future;
but we youths had our own truths, and no history lesson's gonna blunt the hormonal urges of growing boys who've seen the light,
hit some goood sh!t in the Big City, and are therefore hip, heavy, and happenin'.

"Hip pies." I loved that one!

Ready, Tet, Go!
Ready, Tet, Go!
Credit: GI
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 22, 2017 - 05:38pm PT
One of the best photos from the war IMO.
Former U.S. Prisoners of War cheer after take-off from North Vietnam i...
Former U.S. Prisoners of War cheer after take-off from North Vietnam in a U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-141A Starlifter, February 1973.
Credit: Wikipedia
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 22, 2017 - 06:21pm PT
We all become exceedingly astute, brilliant even, when we can look BACK at historical events. I'm pretty sure the ST pundits wouldn't fare so well dealing with current issues and going forward.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Sep 22, 2017 - 09:47pm PT
hey there, say... man oh man...

i never understood what any of this was about...

all i knew, was, i was just married, and had my first son,
and my new husband was in danger of being drafted, and
my daddy tried to help us...

he had heard from a friend (or reading? as he read up on things a lot)
that-- if my husband joined the national guard, they would be the last to be called up (not sure how that went? in reality, but--he never got called up, and he did it before he got a draft number)

this was in 1972...
my brothers, were never drafted (edit, they were too young), and-- wasn't the draft
finally DISCONTINUED???

(help me out, there) ...

well, after that... when the war was declared over, of course,
we just 'went on being a family'...

i remember the protest of the times...
and i remember the draft-dodgers...

and so many awful things going on...
yet-- i never understood, ... :(
i was just too busy being a mom...

so-- years, many YEARS later, i begin to run into
folks, some from friends, some neighbors, and some
acquaintances, that all had their awful war stories...

:(

the worse, that hit, in closeness, was a neighbor man, with a
fairly young wife, and child...

he was declared not only physically sick, but 'mentally'
harmed, from-- agent orange...

most the time, was okay, as we got to know him, and heard a few of
his experiences...

we came to know that his wife and child had a hard time,
dealing with him... and--
in our small town of south texas (at this time, of us knowing him, it was about 1979? or 1980)-- the place he got help was from 'catholic charities'
down there...

and-- they tried to help his wife deal with him...

he liked my attitude, and talked to me over the fence, sometimes,
and my husband talked a bit with him, and i tried to help
his wife, feel better too...

however--

one day, EDIT 'SAW HER CRYING, and found out' from her, (after many cars left her, from the catholic charities), that-- he was dead...


he had been upset about something, not sure if had been violent, or was drinking... as, sometimes he'd get in 'tailspins' ...
edit: YES he did and could scare people, :O with his behavior, :(

sadly, it turned out, he was in jail, and just could not STAND being
cooped up, and panicked...

he hung himself with his belt... they got to him, but too late, and could not revive him... (don't know why, way back then, he even was allowed to have the belt???) or, they suspected he'd panic???

edit-- one must know that our area of south texas was like
20 year! behind the west coast, etc...
it was and had recently still been, one of the poorest area of the nation,
and thus, no programs, etc, :O


it was really awful, :(
i will NEVER forget him...
and, as we know there are thousands of these stories...
i just touched the 'fringe' of it all, and, later, a few others--
though never as terrible as his life, had been, while he tried to have
a family, and, a wife tried to help her husband and be mom...
edit: and a young child lost her daddy... one that was hard perhaps, for
a child to fathom, but, her dad, non the less...

edit-- not to minimize the others, that came back, but, their stories
were different that some that were in major killing-- one guy, yes, he had
an awful time, but i did NOT know him, or his awful story...
so thus, our neighbor's was the worst we had known, as a friend...

if my husband, had HAD to go to war, like so many others,
i know, that i may not, to this day, have had any more children, or
the home that i loved and cherished, or the town that i moved to,
or-- my beloved friends, and community, down there, in south texas...

:(

i have what many young gals in those years, in those times, NEVER EVER
GOT TO HAVE... i will NEVER forget that...

and every new war, and the friends that i know who are married to the men, that went-- i keep them in my heart, as, that is ALL i can do for them...


to all that have lost loved ones, i am giving my deep condolences, whether
over there, or at home, after... each loss was terrible to--someone...


thank you all for sharing all this...
it was very strange and scary time, that is all i remember...
i just NEVER knew what it was all about...

now, you have helped me have information, though it is still far over my
head to really comprehend it all...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 23, 2017 - 01:56am PT
It's beyond the pay grade of pundit to task oneself about the future, Jim. (I just wish more of them would learn that!)

I'm pretty sure it helps to have your Dreamers' Club Card, or to have had some training with Future Fears of America (FFA) if one tries.

Where else are ya gonna find someone with experience of the future to tell ya what needs to be done?

Come you pundits of war...

Come you pundits of trad...

Come you pundits of overhanging ice...

Come you pundits of Off Topic subjects...

Pundit is taken from a Sanskrit word, "pandita," meaning "learned man."

See your local sophist for more on that.

neebee--Great share, kiddo.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Sep 23, 2017 - 02:09am PT
hey there say, mouse...

our neighbor's name was ron... :(

i will never forget them and i am so very glad,
they were part of my life...
i often wonder where his wife and child are, now...




thank you...
been up all night, finishing the last parts of SECRET PROJECT...
ec

climber
ca
Sep 23, 2017 - 12:57pm PT
John Pilger, The Killing of History
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 23, 2017 - 01:44pm PT
ec Thanks for posting that article. A lot of truth in what Pilger has to say
Yury

Mountain climber
T.O.
Sep 23, 2017 - 01:53pm PT
Thank you ec.

John Pilger, The Killing of History:

"I watched the first episode in New York. 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".
The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising."





High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Sep 23, 2017 - 02:05pm PT
Donini, couldn't have said it better myself.
Some here, who apparently are watching, seem to have missed one
of the main theses running through the series.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 23, 2017 - 05:13pm PT
http://www.npr.org/2017/09/21/552575164/in-vietnam-war-ken-burns-wrestles-with-the-conflict-s-contradictions

zBrown

Ice climber
Sep 23, 2017 - 07:00pm PT
Hindsight, my ass.


Let me finally return to Dwight Macdonald and the responsibility of intellectuals. Macdonald quotes an interview with a death-camp paymaster who burst into tears when told that the Russians would hang him. "Why should they? What have I done?" he asked. Macdonald concludes: "Only those who are willing to resist authority themselves when it conflicts too intolerably with their personal moral code, only they have the right to condemn the death-camp paymaster." The question, "What have I done?" is one that we may well ask ourselves, as we read each day of fresh atrocities in Vietnam—as we create, or mouth, or tolerate the deceptions that will be used to justify the next defense of freedom.

— Noam Chomsky, 1967
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 23, 2017 - 10:40pm PT
Ken Hughes' article on Nixon colluding with a foreign government (South Vietnam) to influence the outcome of the 1968 presidential election...

“This is treason”: Nixon, Vietnam and the “sordid story” of the Chennault Affair.

http://www.salon.com/2017/09/23/this-is-treason-nixon-vietnam-and-the-sordid-story-of-the-chennault-affair/
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Sep 24, 2017 - 08:42am PT
I rather liked Pilger’s essay. His complaints brings one to possibly consider the same thing that Pogo (the comic strip) uttered many years ago: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

It’s not too difficult to blame people individually for not standing up to what seems like evil intentions of politicians and governments (liberal and conservative alike, according to Pilger). But that seems to fall short of explaining how it is that such “evil-doing” continues to occur again and again since the beginning of recorded time. It’s the “us” that is difficult to challenge and change.

The humanities would have us consider that evil is part and parcel of the human condition. “Evil” is endemic, intrinsic to our nature—especially in all those forms that socialize and institutionalize us into nationalized states, cultures, communities, and even families. Ditto for “good”; it, too, seems to be a part of “us.”

It strikes me as highly doubtful that anything anywhere will really change externally in the world. Why should it? It doesn’t seem possible.

What does seem possible is simply learning to see what one is. Each of us could write about ourselves as individuals rather than about others. “Us” vs. “them” never seems to lead anywhere but into a spiraling, escalating circle.

Larry Nelson

Social climber
Sep 24, 2017 - 10:47am PT
Some stats I found interesting at this link:
http://www.usna63.org/tradition/history/SoberingVietnamVets.pdf

Edited for quotation
88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian; 10.6% (275,000) were black; 1% belonged to other races.

86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics); 12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2% belonged to other races.

Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.
85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian

82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost because of lack of political will.

Nearly 75% of the public agrees it was a failure of political will, not of arms.

97% of Vietnam-era veterans were honorably discharged.
91% of actual Vietnam War veterans and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country.

Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all.
The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy.
Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations.

From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499.
The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 24, 2017 - 01:32pm PT
Let's not forget the Phoenix program that was designed, coordinated, and executed by the CIA to neutralize the NLF. It included kidnap, interrogation, torture, and targeted assassinations.

The [Phoenix] program was in operation between 1965 and 1972, and similar efforts existed both before and after that period. By 1972, Phoenix operatives had neutralized 81,740 suspected NLF operatives, informants and supporters, of whom between 26,000 and 41,000 were killed

The normal procedure would be to go into a village and just grab someone and say, 'Where's Nguyen so-and-so?' Half the time the people were so afraid they would not say anything. Then a Phoenix team would take the informant, put a sandbag over his head, poke out two holes so he could see, put commo wire around his neck like a long leash, and walk him through the village and say, 'When we go by Nguyen's house scratch your head.' Then that night Phoenix would come back, knock on the door, and say, 'April Fool, motherf*#ker.' Whoever answered the door would get wasted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Program

Extraordinary Rendition that originated under Clinton and continued through the George W Bush & Obama administrations would be a modern analog of the Phoenix Program.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 24, 2017 - 04:32pm PT
On a lighter note, do you not find tat offensive?
Tat.
Tat.
Credit: mouse from merced
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 24, 2017 - 06:08pm PT
82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost because of lack of political will.

Nearly 75% of the public agrees it was a failure of political will, not of arms.

Does it every occur to you that they believe precisely what they have been told to believe?

What kind of understanding do Vets and the general public have of the larger issue, that was preventing full scale Chinese involvement rather than narrow concerns on the ground?

Do you think China would have tolerated an American occupation of North Vietnam?

The series makes perfectly clear that the American leadership feared another "Korea" when the Chinese came over the border and kicked our asses on the ground as soon as we approached their borders and with potentially the start of WW3...Precisely how we would react if foreign invaders had a beachhead on our borders. I suppose you are familiar with the Monroe Doctrine?

And this idea that somehow "the commies were just as bad" justifies the murder of over 1 Million North Vietnamese civilians as "collateral damage" to bombing campaigns that accomplished nothing is deflection of one of the worst mass murders of the 20th Century.

Yea dude, I have heard the Vets argue we just should have nuked North Vietnam too...gives you an idea of the mentality.

Vietnam is a nation of 35 Million human beings. Nothing short of genocide would ever "pacify" really, conquer the country with a few hundred thousand US troops. And the more you bomb, the more you unify the survivors against us and the more likely China becomes involved with ground troops that we could never defeat. China would just play the long game and win by attrition. You can't beat one billion Chinese on the ground either bro.

Here's a pro tip: Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 24, 2017 - 06:12pm PT
TT, please read an unbiased history of Op Phoenix. That's all I'm gonna say.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 24, 2017 - 07:15pm PT
I have read quite a few first hand accounts from Phoenix operators. Mosty gung ho shooters proud of their actions describeing routine kidnap and murder as well as torture based on sketchy intel. A few of the accounts that I have read the operators realize that local politics and personal vendetas played a big part in the intel they recieved. They all knew the ARVN officers and political leaders were corrupt and incompetent but many were so gung ho they did not make the connection that what they were doing was wrong. It must be hard for young highly trained and motovated operators to make the connection between what they do in a strange far away land and home here in the USA... Would you kick in someones door in your home town and light them up based on this level of intell???......
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
Sep 24, 2017 - 07:43pm PT
^^^^^^ Yeah, like Ed Lansdale and his buddies taking a couple of perceived VC sympathetic villagers up in Huey's and questioning both. The intimidation tactic was that when one answered in the un-affirmative he was tossed out of the helicopter from 400 or 500 feet so that the "other guy" got the message..

War at 14,000 miles away from the "Homeland": such fun and games; fun and games. GODF*#KINGBLESSAMERICA!
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 24, 2017 - 07:53pm PT
Reilly: even one of CIA's own assessments of Phung Hoang was that it was a failure.

Wayne L Cooper's report "Operation Phoenix: A Vietnam fiasco seen from within" in the Washington Post in 1972. Interesting that Cooper (a Foreign Service Officer and Phoenix advisor in the Mekong Delta) blames the failure of this CIA operation mainly on the Vietnamese...the South for being incompetent and corrupt and the Vietcong for spreading disinformation about the assassination program. According to Cooper, an estimated $80M was spent (no one really knows how much was spent) on OP from Jan 1970 to Mar 1971...for what? To "neutralize" about 27,000 Viet Cong but even these numbers cannot be verified. What Cooper refers to as the "Bureaucratic Body Count" Westmoreland's primary performance metric.

Cooper ends the report with this question...
Given the Third World as it is, with its venal but unavoidable realities, can any advisory counterinsurgency succeed at all?

Wow that question could easily be applied to Afghanistan.

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP80R01720R001100090012-4.pdf

EDIT: here's what the CIA website says about Operation Phoenix...

The Phoenix program is arguably the most misunderstood and controversial program undertaken by the governments of the United States and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was, quite simply, a set of programs that sought to attack and destroy the political infrastructure of the Lao Dong Party (hereafter referred to as the Viet Cong infrastructure or VCI) in South Vietnam.

Unfortunately, there have been few objective analyses of Phoenix, and it still is looked upon with a great deal of suspicion and misunderstanding by many who study the Vietnam War.

RE the Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs)...
These forces went to the villages and hamlets and attempted to identify the named individuals [Viet Cong] and "neutralize" them. Those on a list were arrested or captured for interrogation, or if they resisted, they were killed.

https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol51no2/a-retrospective-on-counterinsurgency-operations.html
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 24, 2017 - 09:42pm PT
Here's a report written by Tom Buckley "Phoenix: To Get Their Man Dead or Alive" NYTimes 1978

Operating in small groups of six to 12 men, they quietly penetrate into contested or Vietcong-contrtolled territory to carry out their missions. And despite whatever denials are being made now in Washington or Saigon, their mission is to get their man, dead or alive.

and the PRUs...
who were quicker to take their money [from the CIA], get drunk and go off on their own robbery and extortion operations...

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP72-00337R000300060020-8.pdf

Larry Nelson

Social climber
Sep 25, 2017 - 12:16am PT
Hey King Tut
I should have put all of my text in quotations, it came right from the website I linked to and not from me. The website was on the first Google page for my search.

However, I do believe the war was lost because of a lack of political will. That's why we pulled out and the funds to South Viet Nam were cut off a couple years later.

I also believe that war should be the last option.

I spent most of 1969 into 1970 in the III and IV corps zones, North, West and South of Saigon as a spec5 radar technician.
I was in the Army, on a radar contact team for ground surveillance radar.
(Target positions would be radio'd to batteries of either 105 howitzer, 155 self propelled howitzer, mortar, or snipers, depending on the site).

Spent a third to half my time on the Cambodian border, from the 7 Sisters area South, to the Plain of Reeds, the Parrots Beak area and up North to Muy Bai Den (sp) mountain.
Spent another third to half my time in various fire support bases of the 1st infantry, 1st cav, 25th infantry and several ARVN compounds...Traveling extensively by Huey. Took a couple boat rides up some river near the border...mighty spooky river ride (It was just me, my 16 and a Papa San in his skiff).

Hollywood owns that war now, and they can have it. My experiences are only relevant to me and I'm lookin for peace.
Here's a couple photos my sister found that I thought I lost.

Somewhere on the Cambodian border. Navy PBR base.
Somewhere on the Cambodian border. Navy PBR base.
Credit: Larry Nelson
I took this photo leaving the Navy PBR base near the border. The M-60 door gun is visible left and the radar dome sits on the wooden tower.
IIRC, PBRs were 30' plywood boats with twin 50 calibers. Those rivers and canals were smaller so the PBR was as big a boat as you'd want. This was the base I took boat rides to a couple of times.
EDIT:Other than a UDT team in the Plain of Reeds, those were the only Navy guys I interacted with.



1st cav fire support base
1st cav fire support base
Credit: Larry Nelson
Climbed the radar tower to take this shot of a 1st cav fire support base. 105's visible, with mortar and M-60 placements around the compound, some APC's also visible.

Got a couple more photos, but, alas, my mug is in them ;-)


Last month I read the obituary of Werner Lange, a man I never had the privilege to know.
Some of my San Diego friends knew Werner and I learned in the obituary that he was also a radar technician in Viet Nam, near the same time in country as myself.
I feel like we lived parallel lives and just want to shout out for Werner, a fellow climber and veteran I wish I had known.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Sep 25, 2017 - 07:50am PT
Watched last night and good god what a horror show 1968 was. As I look back at that period I'm struck by the misinterpretation of the collapse of colonialism for a perceived communist menace that would never manifest itself and was impossible economically. A tragic political error that led to incredible waste.
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Sep 25, 2017 - 08:00am PT
I was in my last year of college(1976), and took a class in Geopolitics. The professor displayed a map showing the dominoe theory.
If one were to believe the propaganda, we would all be reading the Communist Manifesto, now.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Sep 25, 2017 - 08:14am PT
The first hand photos you guys have been posting on this thread are amazing.
WBraun

climber
Sep 25, 2017 - 08:29am PT
Same st00pid large-scale mistakes are still being made to this day as back then.

Because Americans are still too comfortable sitting in their cars driving around in circles
listening to their corrupt propaganda brainwashing from their corrupt controlled st00pid media outlets ....
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 25, 2017 - 09:25am PT
The first hand photos you guys have been posting on this thread are amazing.

Yes, and the stories.

Neebee.... thanks for the one you told.

Watching the documentary makes me very sad. A lot of old buried emotions come welling to the surface.

The whole war was such a waste.

but then again, I guess that is the true definition of war.
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 25, 2017 - 09:28am PT
@Larry Nelson

I am sorry that our Nation's leaders put you and so many others (not connected politically or wealthy) through the war in Vietnam. I am glad that you made it home.

Fundamentally, killing more of them, than they of us will never win the war of National Liberation that the Viet Cong were fighting. This I have some experience myself with as an aid worker in Central America in the 1980's.

Our own Revolutionary War was a closer parallel to what the NLF were fighting, as compared to our believing we were contesting "the red menace". As far as the NLF was likely concerned they were assassinating "Tories" or "Loyalists" to King George.

The fundamental illegitimacy of the SVN Gov is not in dispute.

Eventually even reasonable men seek peace, only achievable by driving the foreigners out. No amount of ordnance can win that fight over time unless you follow the "Americas" model: Genocide for 95% of the original inhabitants, then the colonists live there forever more, until they seek independence themselves.

That is the tide of human history. There is no "winning" of the war that would make any sense to an American and the current situation in Vietnam is utterly proof of that: The country knows relative peace and we are friends with the commies...just think how different history would be if we had gone this route in 1962...and the millions of lives saved instead of wasted for nothing.

But the MIC won't let peace happen. They will always tell us the answer was more bombs...
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 25, 2017 - 10:46am PT
What would we have won....certainly not an increase in world stability.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Sep 25, 2017 - 11:51am PT

A bit of history:

America made the first atomic bomb
America dropped the first atomic bombs on civilians
America threatened to drop atomic bombs during the Korean war

And now: stupid is repeated by a Korean hothead...

And still:

Long live the American and the Korean people. It's not facts that are dangerous, it's atomic bombs...

guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 26, 2017 - 09:23am PT
Marlow ..... so what?

We did put those first A-bombs to good use.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 26, 2017 - 10:44am PT
According to Antony Beevor it was the A-bomb that stopped Stalin from continuing on from Berlin into western Europe.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Sep 26, 2017 - 11:43am PT
Marlow ..... so what?

We did put those first A-bombs to good use.

Seems to me the first one was put to good use (in a manner of speaking), the second one maybe seemed a little more dubious.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 26, 2017 - 03:05pm PT
Without those A bombs I would not be here. Pops was in the ETO and did not have enough points to go home after VE day. Eventually he would have gone to the pacific and likly been slaughtered.. they had real war back then with real casultys well beyond the scale that any modern conflict could even fanthom... Over 60 million people were killed in WW2 about 3% of the world population.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Sep 26, 2017 - 03:28pm PT
Truman, who apparently was not aware of the Manhattan Project when FDR died and he became the POTUS, on making the decision to drop the bomb...
When an interviewer asked Truman whether the decision was morally difficult to make, he responded, “Hell no, I made it like that,” snapping his fingers. In fact, Truman never publicly acknowledged doubts or misgivings. When Edward R. Murrow asked him in a 1958 interview if he had any regrets about using the bomb or about any of his other presidential decisions, Truman responded, “Not the slightest--not the slightest in the world.”

Here's what Truman said to Oppenheimer...
Nor did he welcome others expressing doubts. Upon meeting Oppenheimer for the first time on October 25, 1945, Truman, with his typical insecurity-masking bluster, asked Oppenheimer to guess when the Soviets would develop a bomb. When Oppenheimer admitted that he did not know, Truman declared that he did: “Never.” Unnerved, Oppenheimer said at one point, “Mr. President, I feel I have blood on my hands.” Truman responded angrily. “I told him the blood was on my hands—to let me worry about that,” he recounted to David Lilienthal. Truman liked this story enough to repeat it on several occasions, his responses varying slightly, but his contempt for Oppenheimer always evident. He told Acheson, “I don’t want to see that son-of-a-bitch in this office ever again,” and another time called him a “cry-baby scientist.”


We in America are living among madmen. Madmen govern our affairs in the name of order and security. The chief madmen claim the titles of general, admiral, senator, scientist, administrator, Secretary of State, even President. And the fatal symptom of their madness is this: they have been carrying through a series of acts which will lead eventually to the destruction of mankind, under the solemn conviction that they are normal responsible people, living sane lives, and working for reasonable ends.

Soberly, day after day, the madmen continue to go through the undeviating motions of madness: motions so stereotyped, so commonplace, that they seem the normal motions of normal men, not the mass compulsions of people bent on total death. Without a public mandate of any kind, the madmen have taken it upon themselves to lead us by gradual stages to that final act of madness which will corrupt the face of the earth and blot out the nations of men, possibly put an end to all life on the planet itself.

Lewis Mumford, March 1946...seems even more appropriate today.

http://apjjf.org/-Peter-J.-Kuznick/2479/article.html
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 26, 2017 - 03:34pm PT
The first bomb should have been dropped on an unpopulated mountainous area or, second best, a military target. The Japanese should have been given a chance to see the bomb's destructive capabilities and throw down the towel before we slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians. Anyone who says that racism wasn't a factor has their head firmly up their ass.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 26, 2017 - 04:39pm PT
Welcome to The Vietnam War: A conversation with bearbreeder and bearbreeder.

Not that you've said anything to offend.

But I'm not certain of your convictions.

--Raven Ranter
:0)
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 26, 2017 - 05:07pm PT
Jim, there was pleanty of racisim involved in the war but don't you think they would have just as redily used it on the germans if the germans had fought as hard as the japanese? we certailny did not pull any punches firebombing German citys. just saying that if germany was still going strong in late 45 hitting London with Buzz bombs and inflicting large casuultys on Alied troops my bet is they would have dropped the bomb. Churchill wanted to use gas on germany and was only talked out of it by FDR and Ike because they did not want to escalate into chem warfare. not so much on moral grounds but mostly for practicality. .
Larry Nelson

Social climber
Sep 26, 2017 - 06:25pm PT
Yeah, Americans were largely racist during the war in the Pacific.
Hell, Japanese American citizens were penned.
The Japanese also had their own bigotry, as does all of mankind. Human beings are tribal.
(How many Americans in that war ever met an Asian person before going into the service? How many Japanese in that war ever met Caucasians?)
Blacks, whites, hispanics, calling Vietnamese people "gooks" back in that SE Asia war.
Those tribal differences always surface in tough times.
Economic boom times do wonders for harmony.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 28, 2017 - 08:38pm PT
VE DAY was in may 1945, BIGGAH BOOOMBA wuz aug 1945

Ole man of steel had plenty of time to invade western europe if he wanted to ....

So you're saying they didn't start any work on the A bomb until after VE Day?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Sep 28, 2017 - 09:01pm PT
The first bomb should have been dropped on an unpopulated mountainous area or, second best, a military target. The Japanese should have been given a chance to see the bomb's destructive capabilities and throw down the towel before we slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians. Anyone who says that racism wasn't a factor has their head firmly up their ass.

My father was a test pilot during the war working on a secret project (Cadillac II) to develop a capability to warn aircraft carriers of kamikaze attacks. After the war those systems eventually became what we know of today as AWACS. He always claimed we could have dropped the bomb in the middle of Tokyo Harbor and it would have ended the war just as surely, but that folks running the program in the pentagon wanted to know what the effects on a city would be.
plund

Social climber
OD, MN
Sep 29, 2017 - 08:12am PT
Last night's episode had me bawling on my couch. The protesting vets (fenced out of a building in DC) hurling their medals back & enumerating the reasons why was stunning, as was the segment about the Vietnam memorial wall, its conception & execution. Incredibly moving.

I had my doubts about the Burns treatment, kind of 'how long can we kick this dead horse', but I've found each episode to date to be enlightening and insightful, if not downright shocking in its exposition of historical facts of which I was unaware.

Heroes tossing back their medals...as trenchant a commentary on the war as could be made.
zBrown

Ice climber
Oct 2, 2017 - 01:55pm PT
So how many U.S. citizens "served" in Vietnam (not how many were drafted)


The military draft brought the war to the American home front. During the Vietnam War era, between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. military drafted 2.2 million American men out of an eligible pool of 27 million. Although only 25 percent of the military force in the combat zones were draftees, the system of conscription caused many young American men to volunteer for the armed forces in order to have more of a choice of which division in the military they would serve
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Oct 2, 2017 - 05:54pm PT
"The first bomb should have been dropped on an unpopulated mountainous area or, second best, a military target. The Japanese should have been given a chance to see the bomb's destructive "

Well since they didn't surrender after the first bomb on Hiroshima, it took the second bomb to even begin to convince the fanatical Japanese.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Oct 2, 2017 - 06:08pm PT
Not all historians agree that the Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombs were the primary motivation for Japanese surrender at the end of WWII

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/hiroshima-bombing-did-not-lead-japanese-surrender-anniversary/6672616

Many historians say the bombings did not lead to the Japanese surrender, and the Soviet declaration of war on Japan two days later was a bigger shock.

It put an end to any hope the Soviets would negotiate a favourable surrender for Japan.

The severely-weakened Japanese Imperial army had no capacity to fight the Soviets on a second front in China and Northern Japan.

Japanese historian Yuki Tanaka said the country had no choice because the Soviets would have killed Emperor Hirohito, seen as the heart and soul of imperial Japan.

"The Soviet Union would demolish the emperor system and they would execute the emperor as well as all members of the royal family," he said.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Oct 2, 2017 - 06:16pm PT
different time, different place. can't monday morning QB that one. Over 60 million casultys in WW11. In perspective those kinds of numbers make the current wars look pretty quiet. My dad did however point out that even a small gunfight that did not make the news seems pretty darn big when you are in it. It is a good thing we won that one. My last name (Goldsmith) would have been a death sentance had we lost. Gen Cleamay, Army air force pointed out that if we don't win they will hang us for war crimes. He was refering to the fire bombing of Tokyo which I believe killed more people than the A bombs a few months later... I suspect the fire bombing of Dresden would have sent some folks to the gallows as well had we not won the war.
zBrown

Ice climber
Oct 2, 2017 - 06:59pm PT
Date-o-Rama

August 6
August 8
August 9
September 2

Data-o-rama

9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (Aug 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975).

8,744,000 GIs were on active duty during the war (Aug 5, 1964 – March 28, 1973).

2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam , this number represents 9.7% of their generation.

Quiz answers

Hiroshima
Russia declares war on Japan
Nagasaki
Japan surrenders

Many historians say the bombings did not lead to the Japanese surrender, and the Soviet declaration of war on Japan two days later was a bigger shock.


donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 2, 2017 - 07:12pm PT
Saw it all, wonderfully well done!

A blast from the past for me was the part with Major Charlie Beckwith. I was on a mission training problem with him in the Fort Bragg area in 1964. He was quite a character, he wore a red scarf around his neck and fashioned himself as the second coming of George Custer. No....he didn’t have a Vietnam version of the Little Bighorn, he died in bed.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 6, 2017 - 07:45am PT
Just finished it.

This tragedy is destined to be repeated as long as corporate interest use the same playbook- Insert hand choosen, third world leaders to be judge, jury and executioner to expedite the exploitation of workers and recourses. Of course, call it a Democracy to legitimize the defense of "the will of the people".

The Vietnamese people turned to a flawed ideology because they were utterly failed by greed and corruption that originated in the board rooms and war rooms of America. As flawed as communism is, we often manage to make it a better choice than what we offer.

The Shaw
Pinichet
Marcos
Samosa
Batista
Medici
Saddam Hussein
Hosni Mubarak
King George III

Corporate greed, oppressive leaders, freedom fighters and dead American soldiers just seems to be baked into the cake.
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
Oct 6, 2017 - 08:01am PT
^^^communism, in theory, was a viable economic system. Communism failed because it has always been usurped by totalitarian governments.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 6, 2017 - 09:17am PT
As flawed as communism is, we often manage to make it a better choice than what we offer.

Right, that's exactly why people risk their lives to escape communist states.
They just can't take all the goodness!

Maybe you missed the news last week that Uncle Raul is banning renting rooms and starting restaurants cause it wasn't carried on The Daily Worker.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 6, 2017 - 10:18am PT
What I learned:

There's plenty of big money to be made by supplying the army with the tools of the trade, and peace doesn't stand a chance against corporate payrolls.
clifff

Mountain climber
golden, rollin hills of California
Oct 6, 2017 - 11:26am PT
Noam Chomsky - The Crimes of U.S. Presidents

Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 6, 2017 - 03:22pm PT
Right, that's exactly why people risk their lives to escape communist states.
They just can't take all the goodness!

Did you clue into the premis regarding the proliferation of Communism in third world countries due to oppressive and brutal dictators supported by the US?

I didn't see that anyone suggested Communism is a better choice than a true Western Democracy. Imperialistic countries have a habit of forcing their puppet governments to deny due process to the citizenry. People's rights, too often run contrary to the mass exploitation of a country. The carrot is usually turning a blind eye while the complicit ruling class funnel financial aid directly into their bank accounts, further exasperating the situation.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Oct 16, 2017 - 10:16am PT
A few excerpts from an interview with historian Christian Appy on the "The Vietnam War" film...

One of my disappointments is that we don’t have a wider range of responses. We don’t hear, for example, from an American who would take the view that this was without question a war of American imperial aggression in the pursuit of counterrevolution, as opposed to the dominant narrative told by Burns and Novick, which is that this was a great tragedy on all sides. That, I would submit, is the dominant American view. And maybe increasingly in Vietnam as well, as they look back on 3 million lost lives and ask, “Was it really worth it?” But it certainly doesn’t explain the mix of wartime feelings, when people would get into open battle over these different interpretations of the war.

To understand the basic reality of this war, you have to understand that military force does not guarantee political legitimacy. The government you’re backing in South Vietnam never had sufficient political support from its own people, otherwise the outcome might have been different. So all of this battle-after-battle that the documentary reveals ultimately is meaningless except insofar as it did eventually wear down the political will of Americans and South Vietnamese — both soldiers and civilians — to keep fighting against their more resolute enemy.

I spent a lot of time watching again and again the way the films end. A lot of them end in a kind of montage of photographs with a classic song over it. The one I really studied was this one at the end of Episode 5, where it’s the Rolling Stones playing “Paint It Black” — which is a very bleak song: “I look inside myself and see my heart is black” — but you’re seeing these very beautiful black-and-white pictures, they’re treated as works of art, really, mostly of American soldiers. It freezes them in the moment when this song came out and where this happened. It’s like a butterfly collection.

https://www.salon.com/2017/10/15/making-history-safe-again-what-ken-burns-gets-wrong-about-vietnam/
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Oct 16, 2017 - 10:22am PT


August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Oct 16, 2017 - 01:19pm PT
Many historians say the bombings did not lead to the Japanese surrender, and the Soviet declaration of war on Japan two days later was a bigger shock.

It put an end to any hope the Soviets would negotiate a favourable surrender for Japan.

And just why did the Soviet declare war on Japan two days later?

Stalin had agreed to declare war on Japan after Germany surrendered, but he didn't do so. Not until it was reasonably clear that Japan was going to surrender soon did he do it.

Given the horrors that had already taken place in WWII, I'm not too judgmental on the decision to drop the bombs on cities. I know there has been some debate about the exact numbers, but the firebombing of Dresden was on a similar scale of civilian causalities.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Oct 16, 2017 - 01:58pm PT
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Manchuria

As agreed with the Allies at the Tehran Conference in November 1943 and the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Soviet Union entered World War II's Pacific Theater within three months of the end of the war in Europe. The invasion began on 9 August 1945, exactly three months after the German surrender on May 8 (9 May, 0:43 Moscow time).

Although the commencement of the invasion fell between the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima, on 6 August, and only hours before the Nagasaki attack on 9 August, the timing of the invasion had been planned well in advance and was determined by the timing of the agreements at Tehran and Yalta, the long term buildup of Soviet forces in the Far East since Tehran, and the date of the German surrender some three months earlier; on August 3, Marshal Vasilevsky reported to Premier Joseph Stalin that, if necessary, he could attack on the morning of 5 August.



Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Oct 17, 2017 - 10:04pm PT
I just watched episode 4, which works up through the year I graduated from high school.

I want to try to type this, while it is still fresh in my mind about PFC Corker, who wrote a series of letters to his family & was killed in Vietnam.

When I first started getting in fights in combat, I was very religious & prayed a lot.

Then I was an athesist.

Now I only pray, when I am in a fight.


I'm sad now for what we did & in return suffered, in that needless war.
Tobia

Social climber
Denial
Oct 18, 2017 - 06:28am PT
I streamed all 10 episodes in a 4-5 day period, which kept it at the forefront of my mind. The interviews with the Veterans from the North were the most compelling parts for me.

I am a child of 1956, raised in the city that is the so-called home of Ft. Benning, where many of these soldiers trained and departed for Vietnam. It began as Camp Benning, a training ground for WWI soldiers.

I remember wading through the military surplus stores that thrived here, buying flight suits, badges, BDU's and the treasured K-bar. I was too young to understand what these items represented in terms that I later came to understand.

Needless to say, the general consensus of the local population is pro-military as the local economy would shrivel up and die without the base. In recent years when the military was closing bases, GA fought hard to keep the base open and did so by having the armory school of Ft. Knox moved here, due to the clout of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn ( U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations).

The My Lai trials for Lt. William Calley were held here. On the stand Calley pleaded the 5th amendment when asked about his role. I read the news articles at the time both national and local. My assumption, based on nothing more than what I wanted to believe, was that he was a scapegoat. My perception seemed accurate with the reduction of his sentence to house arrest and release 3 years later. (Sam Nunn supposedly had a large part in having his sentence reduced.)

The Burns documentary portrayed him in a different light, as if he enjoyed the brutal slaying and torture of those people. My assumption that he "was following orders" and not so willingly cooperating as the interviewed soldiers who were there stated otherwise and my assumption was altered.

I recalled the brave helicopter pilot who put and end to the slaughter, but that only was evidence of the incident and did not affect my assumption of Lt. Calley's role.

After he was released from house arrest he married a local girl and worked in a Jewelery Store a short distance from my parent's house. I was going to college in N.O. then, but on several occasions when I was home I would go to the store and pretend to be shopping for a present for my mother or some other excuse for a kid my age (18). I am sure Mr. Calley was aware of my true intent, to gawk. It was hard for me to believe he was ever a soldier back then. He is not very tall and looked and spoke like anything other than a soldier, especially one that could have committed such atrocities.

I write about Mr. Calley is not to defend him but rather to share my idea of the way war transforms people. I doubt this man had ever dreamed of committing an act of genocide without the training and placement in a war such as this one, or any war fought in a place thousands of miles from home, without clear justification or in defense of one's homeland. At least I hope not.

Several books have been suggested on this thread, I offer two, Huę 1968 by Mark Bowden and Novel Without A Name by Duong Thu Huong.
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