September 18, 2017
The Vietnam War, a 10-episode, 18-hour documentary which premiered last night allegedly seeks to correct the record that generations of American have grown up with—a mistaken war that the United States lost. Its press claims that it is also reportedly the deepest exploration of the origins and the fighting of the war. This sets a high bar given the Vietnam War has been one of the most widely reported conflicts in history as it was the first war that was piped nightly into the homes on main street USA. It was here that the war was eventually lost. I’ll be watching with interest to see if this point comes home.
In 1961 when I stood on the Plain at West Point to be sworn in as a new cadet the idea that in five years time some of us standing there would be dying in Vietnam was unimaginable. Our class began to be aware of the growing conflict in Vietnam in 1962-63. By the time we graduated in 1965 we had studied the division of French Indochina and many other insurgencies and what had worked for other militaries.
We had attended Ranger School and some of us were parachute qualified. Did this help us in Vietnam? We will comment on that at the end of the miniseries. When the war was over my West Point Class had lost over 30 combat fatalities and we are still counting the losses from Agent Orange and other causes. Will future episodes respect the loss of these great Americans?
The first episode of the new PBS Vietnam War series felt like reliving history through a focus that serves the interests of left wing historians. If the Déjà Vu episode is indicative of the lens of the entire series, it will further antagonize many veterans who are convinced that such historical revisionism disguises the war that was won by their blood sweat and tears and lost due to the efforts of leftist journalists and their anti-war student leftists.
It is this dichotomy of views that the PBS miniseries fails, at this point, to address. To be exact the insertions of body bags into the historical mistakes of the French compounds this image.
[…] of commentary about “The Vietnam War” PBS series airing now. See also my blogs about Part I: DejaVu and Part II: Riding the […]
I’m watching this series closely, and reading various responses to it on WordPress. It’s good to get opinions from different perspectives, including people like yourself, who, if not actually there, were close to the conflict and knew people who experienced it, and possibly died.
But I take exception to your loaded words “left wing historians,” “historical revisionism,” “leftist journalists,” and “anti-war student leftists.” This is one of the problems with discussing history. People arrive at it with a hardened, predetermined set of beliefs and values, and expect that history to adhere to their worldview. By using the terms above, you’ve essentially stated “I have my view of the causes and conduct of the Vietnam War, and this documentary better damn well adhere to my view.” The Vietnam War was the most divisive war in American history, and there are lots of diverse viewpoints, but casting aspersions at the outset of a discussion of it doesn’t advance that discussion one bit.
The comments about the historians etc. may be loaded due to their characteristics, but it is the truth, In this case I am applying the same technique used in the documentary. One loaded statement or phrase which conveys the bias of the authors of the series.
Follow the other critiques and you will see this exact critique.
Be careful when you say “it is the truth.” As for the rest of your explanation above, sorry, but you lost me.