I was pretty young and naïve when the Vietnam War was going on. I thought the US had to be the good guys and would never do ill-considered things - until I read about the villages being burned and people moved to keep them out of the clutches of the Viet Cong. Young and naïve as I was, I instinctively knew that the policy of uprooting people was bound to make implacable enemies. Nothing matters to farmers as much as their land. The series has made clear that this was one of many bad policies tried there.
The series also made clear that the politics of religion in the country (minority Catholic leadership suppressing Buddhist religion of majority) was a huge factor in setting people against the RVN government and the US which supported it. I am beginning to understand just how convoluted the whole thing was - and how the some of the lessons could apply to current issues in geopolitics.
As my other post in the General Discussion Forum said, I really dislike coverage of the Vietnam War that's steeped irretrievably in the politics of the time. Ya ya Von Klauswitz, I know that war is a continuation of politics by other means, but I'm not interested in the diluted form of documentary that splits time between the protests here and the combat there on a 50:50 ratio. I'm also not interested in rehashing the politics of yore in a general sense. If the documentary can stick with the war per se, then I'm interested. Otherwise, like Vietnam: The 10,000 Day War (a Canadian series from 1984-1985) it delves into too much distraction.
I'd much rather read about the annihilation of the VC post-1968 Tet. What? You say the 'popular narrative' about that is that it was a harbinger of war's end and, like Cronkite, the war cannot be won? Not hardly. We had learned a lot about how to effectively counter the Viet Cong by 1968. Tet's failure hastened their demise. It was only a 'political victory' on the battlefield-whatever that means. See Unheralded Victory for a more balanced viewpoint of American combat successes in Vietnam.
So I'm staying away from any overly politically-laden 'documentary' of the war effort. Unless it's >75:25 "in country: home front" discussions, I'm not interested in rehashing the same slanted viewpoints brought up by other documentaries. We had military successes as we had military failures in Vietnam. A comprehensive evaluation of those would be refreshing.
The fact that it's Ken Burns gives me at least a sliver of hope that it's balanced. His Civil War documentaries were superb. The War (about the Second World War) was also good.
Respectfully have to disagree. Although I appreciate a good military only documentary, that would not fit for a big public study such as this. You got to swallow the whole dose of medicine with this one. Presenting the war is fairly easy and straight forward but it was the politics-the world over, that mattered and really is the most difficult for the average viewer to understand.
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