Re Ken Burns' Viet Nam War. Your Feelings, Thoughts? Then and/or Now.

In 1952 I came back from the Korean War. In 1954 France lost its colony in SE Asia and I was soon hearing of American advisors there. I didn't know why they were there but I had other concerns. I was in college making a future for myself.

In 1965 I heard of President Johnson's sending half a million men to war there and was 'spitting angry'. "What are we doing there?" I asked.' I had doubted the Falling Dominoes story but had nothing to replace it.

In 1978 a newspaper article told of an American oil company negotiating with Communist China for drilling rights in the Tonkin Gulf. Suddenly I knew why America had been in that war.

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Several years ago I heard a news story about Viet Nam. Remembering 1978, I searched the web on 'oil Tonkin Gulf'. Yep. And China is now making islands nearby.

I had that program on for a while last night on PBS. I switched the channel when they got to a new idea on the murders on RFK and MLK. The new thought was that these killings were done to silence the voices against the war. That's a lot different than my original take on it.

Michael, given how little we the people know of the intentions of our leaders or the intentions of the metaphorical 1%, I doubt the truth of most original takes on political events.

"In 1952 I came back from the Korean War." What Korean War was this? As you say later, the U S was not yet involved.
Truman has long been one of my favorite presidents, but he disappoints me on two fronts: the Domino Theory, and his establishment of what became the CIA.
Ken Burns' effort seems to gloss over wrongs and wave too many flags.

What Korean War was this? The 1950-1953 KoWar.

In the next sentence where you see "in SE Asia", I should have typed "in Indochina" or "in what is now Viet Nam".

Truman is my favorite too. I liked the frankness of his "The buck stops here" sign on his desk.

I don't know who concocted the Domino Theory alibi. I first heard it during Ike's presidency as an excuse for going to war in VN. Did you hear it earlier?

I understand that Truman made World War 2's OSS the CIA.

Re Iran. One history says England's Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was treating Iranian employees like slaves and Iran wanted to nationalize the company. When Kermit Roosevelt and other Americans wanted to overthrow Iran's elected gov't, they asked Truman and he denied them. A year later Ike told them to go ahead.

For information about trivia. "The Buck stops here." doesn't describe it fully.

The 'buck' is a knife made with an antler handle.  

Tom, when my husband, an Army dentist, was ordered to Vietnam, his task was to tend to head and neck wounds in the mobile medical unit. Don was part of that 1965 order of President Johnson. 

While Don was gone, I read everything I could find about the history of Vietnam, and I became actively opposed to the war and the reason we were there, protecting oil interests. The domino effect was just fear mongering. The public believed the propaganda put out by LBJ and the drumbeat put out by the media. Learning of the terrible wounds that Don treated and the death and suffering of the wounded, I could not reconcile the war to protect oil with the costs to young men and women who faithfully served. 

I am not a big fan of obedience to authority nor faithfulness to a military/industrial complex. I wasn't a good army wife. 

The VN War made me less patriotic.

As I watched the funders' names at the end, I knew that if Burns had mentioned oil in the Tonkin Gulf, he would have lost some/many of his funders.

I have for decades wanted to know what PBS' funders want PBS to omit.

I watched a couple of episodes of Ken Burn's documentary and wasn't that impressed. I thought the earlier series, "Vietnam: A Television History" was better.

Gwaithmir, do you recall the earlier series well enough to describe briefly what you thought was better?

I've seen several of Burns' productions and they all have emotional appeal, with notes from letters or comtemporary documents, interviews and such.

The earlier series went into the politics in more detail and dealt with the facts more dispassionately. Also, Will Lyman is a better narrator. From what I saw, Burns is pretty much using all of the same news footage as the older documentary.




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