Ken Burns' "Vietnam"

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September 12th, 2017 at 11:05:15 AM permalink
odiousgambit
Member since: Oct 28, 2012
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Comes out on Sunday 17th.

I have to wonder if I will really watch it, but I will have to at least check out how Burns gets around a problem that plagued one documentary I watched at the time [I think I am thinking about the 1974 doc "Hearts and Minds"]

Naturally, that doc was very controversial; one criticism I thought was valid and you have to wonder how to get around it. The documentary actually tried to be even-handed but came across less so, I think, and I do think the problem came from the footage that was available. The US-generated footage came from everywhere, including news organizations. These made no attempt to sugar-coat but instead wanted to show the reality of war. The war department itself released a huge amount of footage showing very graphic stuff including exploding bombs , napalm, phosphorous, etc., and showed it tearing up villages and the like. A lot of footage of suffering US soldiers and Vietnamese civilians too . Naturally, the documentary makers wanted to use all that.

When it came to footage produced by North Vietnam, though, all of that was carefully prepared propoganda. Valiant civilians and soldiers, and touching scenes of grandfatherly Ho Chi Minh. If they wanted to show it, that's all they had. Intentionally or not, this juxtaposition of images dominated the message of the documentary, actual [perhaps balanced] commentary notwithstanding.

I predict Ken Burns will have this same problem and will not be able to keep it from dominating his documentary as well. We will see.
The light at the end of the tunnel is often a freight train coming the other way! per Fleastiff
September 12th, 2017 at 11:29:15 AM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 119
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If it's any indication you read reviews of his earlier war documentary on the Civil War. Has 9.2 rating on IMDB

https://www.amazon.com/Civil-War-Film-Ken-Burns/product-reviews/B000BITUE8
No one has ever proven I am not God.
September 12th, 2017 at 11:36:10 AM permalink
JimRockford
Member since: Sep 18, 2015
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I predict it will use "Paint it Black" as background music at least once.
September 12th, 2017 at 12:00:07 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Quote: JimRockford
I predict it will use "Paint it Black" as background music at least once.


Wouldn't "Sympathy for the Devil" be more appropriate?
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
September 12th, 2017 at 12:20:15 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 108
Posts: 11386
I like Ken Burns, but his war docu's bore me
to tears. Civil War, WWII, can't watch them.
All the other ones are fine, the one on
National Parks I've seen twice. Vietnam? I
lived thru that era, have zero interest in doing
it again.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
September 12th, 2017 at 3:37:17 PM permalink
Wizard
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I'll definitely watch it. From what I've heard first hand, one thing the movies and television don't portray about the Vietnam war was that 99% of the time our side was sitting around doing nothing. It isn't easy to have a war with an enemy hiding in the jungle. One vet I knew said he must have played thousands of games of Risk during the war.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
September 12th, 2017 at 5:21:30 PM permalink
terapined
Member since: Aug 6, 2014
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Quote: Wizard
I'll definitely watch it. From what I've heard first hand, one thing the movies and television don't portray about the Vietnam war was that 99% of the time our side was sitting around doing nothing. It isn't easy to have a war with an enemy hiding in the jungle. One vet I knew said he must have played thousands of games of Risk during the war.

I'll watch

too sum up the war

During negotiations in Hanoi a week before the fall of Saigon, US generals bragged to Viet Nam generals "You know, you never beat us on the battlefield"
the reply
"That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."
Sometimes we live no particular way but our own - Grateful Dead "Eyes of the World"
September 12th, 2017 at 5:30:30 PM permalink
Wizard
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Quote: terapined
"That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."


They were absolutely right.

It makes it a touchy subject how to summarize the outcome. I don't think it is open to reasonable dispute that as a country we lost the war. However, I wouldn't say it was a military loss. It was not the fault of the armed forces that we lost.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
September 12th, 2017 at 5:50:00 PM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 102
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Quote: Wizard

It makes it a touchy subject how to summarize the outcome. I don't think it is open to reasonable dispute that as a country we lost the war. However, I wouldn't say it was a military loss. It was not the fault of the armed forces that we lost.


It was unwinnable. To win a war you need to drive a stake thru the heart of your enemy, we never did this. It was all about propping up the South. But the enemy was allowed to thrive just across the border. To win, the North would need to be invaded, crushed, occupied, and replaced with a friendly government. There was no will to do this.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
September 12th, 2017 at 7:29:40 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 119
Posts: 5137
The Domino theory didn't necessarily specify winning, but it was concerned with the spread of communism though successive countries falling. To my knowledge, no one ever planned an exit strategy.

There may have been the belief that eventually N. Vietnam would at least come to a stalemate and a truce even if it didn't surrender. Patience ran out on the American side for seemingly endless war.

But that's always possible in a democracy that the public will change its mind about the course it started on.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
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