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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:49 pm 
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Ken Burn's new documentary 'The Vietnam War' premiers on PBS tonight. Will his series tell the the whole truth about that war, or will it cherry pick the history of the conflict to present only the liberal progressive narrative of what happened in Southeast Asia and here in the United States?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:11 pm 
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Scott Brim wrote:
Ken Burn's new documentary 'The Vietnam War' premiers on PBS tonight. Will his series tell the the whole truth about that war, or will it cherry pick the history of the conflict to present only the liberal progressive narrative of what happened in Southeast Asia and here in the United States?



"...I'll take "Cherrypicking History" for $500, Alex!"

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:48 pm 
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Being PBS has it been made with a budget of 50c and some sticky tape?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:09 pm 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
Being PBS has it been made with a budget of 50c and some sticky tape?

This latest Ken Burns documentary series has been bankrolled by several large corporate sponsors and Burns says that the series is his most ambitious effort yet, with more time and effort expended on it than any of his previous films.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:16 pm 
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The low budget look is the impression I've picked up from watching PBS UK. The documentaries shown on it generally look like they have very low production values.

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Adrian Carton de Wiart, VC wrote:
Frankly I had enjoyed the war...and why do people want peace if the war is so much fun?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:21 pm 
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His history of Prohibition was very good.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:04 pm 
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I've got the DVR set to record the series. I'll view it with a critical eye. I'm hoping it is as good as the 13-part "Vietnam: A Television History" based on Stanley Karnow's excellent book

https://www.amazon.com/VIETNAM-HISTORY- ... ley+karnow

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Bernard Woolley wrote:
The low budget look is the impression I've picked up from watching PBS UK. The documentaries shown on it generally look like they have very low production values.

The series will run for the next two weeks in eight 1-1/2 or 2 hour episodes, Monday through Thursday each week, with other Vietnam topical programming on the two Friday nights.

It was only after reading Norman Friedman's "The Fifty Year War" that I came to fully understand how completely the media and the academics had distorted the real truth of Vietnam and how they had consistently misinformed the American public as to what was happening there and why.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:01 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
His history of Prohibition was very good.


I didn't think I would be interested in it but I couldn't stop watching his Baseball one.

His brother, Ric Burns, has some great documentaries too. He did one on the history of NYC and a very haunting one on the Donner Party.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:24 am 
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A pattern is beginning to emerge in the approach Ken Burns is using for his Vietnam War series. He is using Neil Sheehan's book, "A Bright Shining Lie, John Paul Vann and the American experience in Vietnam" as a template model for the visual and spoken narrative of the series, using archive photos and film to flesh out the narrative of Sheehan's book.

To be sure, the material presented so far is important and useful in examining the conflict, especially in the way the Kennedy Administration ignored the advice of experienced experts in the art of insurgency warfare.

But the way the series is written, it mimics what Sheehan's book does in that it leaves out the debates that were occurring behind the scenes in higher military circles as to what might be done against North Vietnam directly, particularly with the use of massive air power against North Vietnam in the early stages of the war, as opposed to a strategy of pursuing a gradual military buildup on the ground.

One of the missing pieces of important narrative is a much more detailed examination of the close alliance between Kennedy's civilian advisors, especially Robert McNamara, and the cabal of Army officers who believed that a limited war strategy and the doctrine of flexible response -- both of these controlled by modern business management methods -- could win the war without resorting to direct, highly concentrated, and ruthlessly pursued attacks on North Vietnam itself.

Looking more closely at the substance of the debates that were occurring behind the scenes in the early 1960's would have given much greater insight into the root causes of America's failure to keep South Vietnam out of the hands of the communists.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:46 pm 
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July 17, 2017

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles ... z4n7wVrx3Q

Are PBS and Ken Burns about to Rewrite History Again?

By Stephen Sherman

PBS is planning to run a new documentary series this September on the Vietnam War, produced and written by Ken Burns. Burns is a left-wing "historian" and documentary film producer with a history of having his politics shape the narrative of the story he is telling, with a number of resulting inaccuracies.

Ken Burns correctly identifies the Vietnam War as being the point at which our society split into two diametrically opposed camps. He is also correct in identifying a need for us to discuss this aspect of our history in a civil and reflective manner. The problem is that the radical political and cultural divisions of that war have created alternate perceptions of reality, if not alternate universes of discourse. The myths and propaganda of each side make rational discourse based on intellectual honesty and goodwill difficult or impossible. The smoothly impressive visual story Burns will undoubtedly deliver will likely increase that difficulty. He has done many popular works in the past, some of which have been seriously criticized for inaccuracies and significant omissions, but we welcome the chance of a balanced treatment of the full history of that conflict. We can only wait and watch closely when it goes public.

The term "Vietnam War" itself, although accepted in common parlance, would more accurately be called "The American Phase of the Second Indochina War" (1965 to 1973). The U.S. strategic objectives in Vietnam must also be accurately defined. There were two inter-related goals: 1) to counter the Soviet and Red Chinese strategy of fostering and supporting "Wars of National Liberation" (i.e., violent Communist takeovers) in third-world nations, and 2) to defend the government of the Republic of (South) Vietnam from the military aggression directed by its Communist neighbor, the Democratic Republic of (North) Vietnam.

Arguments offered by the so-called "anti-war" movement in the United States were predominantly derived from Communist propaganda. Most of them have been discredited by subsequent information, but they still influence the debate. They include the nonfactual claims that:

1) the war in South Vietnam was an indigenous civil war,

2) the U.S. effort in South Vietnam was a form of neo-colonialism, and

3) the real U.S. objective in South Vietnam was the economic exploitation of the region.

The antiwar movement was not at all monolithic. Supporters covered a wide range, from total pacifist Quakers at one end to passionate supporters of Communism at the other. There were many idealists in it who thought the war was unjust and our conduct of it objectionable, as well as students who were terrified of the draft, and some who just found it the cause of the day. But some of the primary figures leading the movement were not so much opposed to the war as they were in favor of Hanoi succeeding in the war it had started.

The key question is whether the U.S. opposition to Communism during the Cold War (1947 to 1989) was justifiable. The answer is that Communism (Marxism) on a national level is a utopian ideal that can function only with the enforcement of a police state (Leninism) or a genocidal criminal regime (Stalinism). It always requires an external enemy to justify the continuous hardships and repression of its population and always claims that its international duty is to spread Communism. When Ho Chi Minh established the Vietnam Communist Party in 1930, there was no intention of limiting its expansionist ambitions to Vietnam, and he subsequently changed the name to the Indochinese Communist Party at the request of the Comintern in Moscow.

The people of Vietnam today live in one of the most corrupt and despotic regimes in the world, with one of the worst records in upholding basic human rights, as documented by several international agencies. Laos and Cambodia are vassal states of Vietnam, and Hanoi has many powerful agents in each, with enormous influence on events there. When the tanks of the North Vietnamese Army rolled into Saigon in 1975, the "anti-war" movement congratulated itself on facilitating that victory. In the U.S. cultural media and academia, that same self-congratulatory mentality is reinforced despite the fact that more people were killed in the ten years following the North Vietnamese takeover of South Vietnam than in the preceding fifteen years of war. Infant and maternal mortality doubled under Communist rule, and well over a million people went into concentration camps, some for up to 18 years. Under the Saigon government, despite corruption and favoritism, there was a free press, with many publications thriving. All that stopped dead in April '75.

Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden both expressed their belief that if the diminutive Vietnamese could defeat the Americans, they could do so as well. The antiwar faction should take responsibility for the wars we have had to fight since Vietnam because of their encouragement of our enemies.

There is a profound difference between being defeated and forfeiting a game. That is what happened after Kissinger brought back a less than ideal, but politically acceptable, peace accord in 1973. It was fundamentally flawed in several ways, such as allowing 150,000 NVA to remain in South Vietnamese territory, but its main valid points were the promise of the North to never invade the South and the promise of the USA to support the South as needed to offset Communist strengths. In 1972, the North trashed their promise and invaded with multiple divisions in fully conventional warfare, and the USA kept its promise by supplying the air power that gave the ARVN an even chance to defeat the invaders – which they did, in larger battles than any ever fought by U.S. forces. Vietnamization had worked.

But then Congress undermined the agreement by cutting the replacement material promised to our ally and codified in the agreement. That same Congress further nullified the accords by forbidding the use of any U.S. air power to punish egregious North Vietnamese violations of the agreements. Those members of Congress should have known what the result of their actions would be but never acknowledged it. Thus, the North Vietnamese leader boasted then that "the Americans will not come back now even if we offer them candy." With massive support from Moscow and two years of very detailed preparations, the fate of South Vietnam was sealed.

Historians and serious viewers of Burns's narrative should study the factual history of the Second Indochina War to detect any misleading implications and factual omissions that may be found in his visual narrative. PBS would do well to offer more than a token effort to promote Burns's wish for open discourse on this important and extremely relevant subject.

Stephen Sherman is the series editor for the VVFH publications on the Second Indochina War. He served as a civil affairs/psy-ops officer with 5th Special Forces Group (Abn) in Pleiku and Nha Trang, Vietnam, 1967-1968. He acts as an archivist and historian to document the efforts of Special Forces in Southeast Asia, 1954-1975. He has also been a frequent presenter and participant in the Vietnam Symposia at Texas Tech University.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:51 pm 
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Burning History: Ossifying the False Narrative, Pretending to honor those who served while subtly and falsely subverting the reasons and justifications for that service is a con man’s game.

By John M. Del Vecchio

The Vietnam War, a new 10-episode, 18-hour documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, will begin airing on PBS stations in less than a week. From a cinematic perspective it will be exceptional. Burns knows how to make great scenes. But through the lens of history it appears to reinforce a highly skewed narrative and to be an attempt to ossify false cultural memory. The lies and fallacies will by omission, not by overt falsehoods.

Here’s what to look for in Episode 1: Deja` Vu (1858-1961):

· If the episode indicates the ancient state of Vietnam was one nation prior to 1858, it’s not history; it’s a set up for skewing the story. Although there were periods (totaling approximately three decades) when North and South were united, what was then North and South included limited coastal and river population centers, and did not include the Mekong Delta, the highlands, or any of the territory that became border lands between Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Wars between North and South dominate Vietnamese history, but many of the wars are between the area north of the Red River (Haiphong/Hanoi) and south of the river. The ancient capital city of Hue was established at approximately the same time as the ancient city of Philadelphia.

· If the episode mentions the French colonial administration of Tonkin, Annam and Cochin China but does not include The Crown Dominion Lands, it’s not history, it’s a set up for skewing the story.

· If it mentions Ho Chi Minh’s nationalism, his quoting from the American Declaration of Independency, and the allies arming “his” Viet Minh at the end of World War II; but does not mention that the allies armed resistance movements in virtually all countries occupied by either Germany or Japan during the ‘40s, and that in all those countries (including Italy and France) the nationalistic resistance groups attacked the occupiers while the communists attacked the other resistance groups, it’s not history, it’s a set up for skewing the story.

Regarding Ho’s nationalism, this paragraph is from VN scholar William Laurie: “In 1945 Ho Chi Minh launched a veritable pogrom against any anti-French, non-communist nationalist groups. Hundreds were killed. Members of nationalist anti-French parties such as Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, Dai Viets, Dong Minh Hoi, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai were all targeted. Ho Chi Minh, a Stalinist adherent, even had VN's Trotskyites killed. Non-political, moderate, anti-French independence people such as Bui Quang Chieu and Pham Quynh were also assassinated. This political blood-lust is not the hall mark of a ‘nationalist.’”

· If the episode mentions that the First Indo-China war was fought to preserve French colonialism, but does not mention France granting Cambodia de jure independence in 1949 and full independence in 1953, or why that is relevant, it is not history, it is propaganda. The war in Vietnam was pursued by the French in a manner consistent with fear of genocide in the international communist prevailed. Recall that much of Eastern Europe fell behind the Iron Curtain in the early post-WW II years, and that China fell to the Red Chinese in 1949. In an attempt to forestall a repeat of the human rights abuses and mass execution reported from all countries which fell to communism, the French opposed the Viet Minh. In Cambodia, where that threat did not exist, France pursued a far more peaceful reversion of power to legitimate native administrations. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, the man who, in 1975, received the surrender of Saigon, and who had been a cohort of Ho Chi Minh’s from the 1940s, lamented a few years ago in an interview published in a Vietnamese language paper in France, that independence could have been achieved earlier and with much less bloodshed had Ho Chi Minh been willing to work with non-communist anti-French groups.

· If the episode mentions how France lost at the 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu, but does not mention the Chinese army and artillery being the deciding factor, it is not history, it is propaganda. In 1952 the French established the base at Dien Bien Phu along the main road from Hanoi to Vientiane, Laos because a year earlier Vietnamese and Chinese communist armies had begun a terrorist campaign in northern Laos with the intention of overthrowing the Lao government. The supply route from the Hanoi, through Dien Bien Phu and south through Laos later became communist Route 959 (see relevance below).

· If the episode mentions Ho consolidating power in the North after 1954 but does not mention the murderous Land Reform Campaign of 1954-56, it is not history but is propaganda. Historians have debated the number of land owners and merchants killed during this period, some claiming 50,000, others doing their best to reduce the number to 5,000. The prior number was confirmed by North Vietnamese scholars during the short period in the late 1980s when their archives were open, but even if one chooses to use the lowest estimate that needs to be placed in context. At the time North Vietnam’s population was approximately 12 million, 1/30th of today’s U.S. population. The atrocities would be the equivalent of 150,000 (or up to 1.5 million) farm and home owners being summarily executed in America in a two-year period.

· If Burns mentions that the Geneva Accords were not lived up to by America or South Vietnam without mentioning that neither government signed those accords (indeed no party from either sidesigned the Final Declaration), it’s not history, it’s propaganda. How often have we been told that the U.S. blocked the proposed 1956 election to reunify the country as if that had been a previous agreement? No agreement existed. That the North, by 1956, was a closed, highly controlled and completely terrorized society was of paramount concern.

· Finally, if the episode indicates the North sought unity, but does not mention the tacit Declaration of War produced during the 1959 winter-spring session of Hanoi’s Politburo, it is not history but is propaganda. It was during this session that infiltration routes 559, 759 and 959 were authorized. The numbers indicate the date of inception: 559 being May 1959, etc. Route 559 came to be called by most western sources the Ho Chi Minh Trail; 759 was the sea route to bring men and materiel along the coast from Dong Ha down around the Mekong Delta all the way over to the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville; and 959, as mentioned above, was the route west through Dien Bien Phu and south along the Mekong River through Laos into Cambodia. In 1960 insurgents (today we’d call them terrorists) began an assassination campaign which murdered approximately 18,000 South Vietnamese hamlet, village and province officials by the end of 1962. Another 50,000 individuals were “disappeared.” Government officials included hamlet chiefs, school teachers, and often their families. Again using equivalent U.S. population figures, this would equal nearly 400,000 terrorist murders in three years, or 1.5 million if those who were abducted and never heard from again are included. This was the situation that the U.S. responded to at the end of the Eisenhower and beginning of the Kennedy years. Not understanding the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis may lead one to assume all justifications for American intervention were neo-colonial. That’s a set up worthy of a great scam artist not a great filmmaker.

A few thoughts; a few questions:

Why have Mr. Burns and his backers chosen to present these events in this manner? What is their motivation? What is behind that motivation? Who is behind that motivation? Who financed the work? What do those who created or backed this series gain, or seek to gain, by slanting history via massive omissions?

Is the purpose of burning history a desire to ossify an existing, highly-skewed narrative, and to cover-up the “sins” of the “anti-war” left? Or might it be more? Without the skewed base-narrative the rationalization and justification for much of the left’s agenda at the time and since, simply falls apart.

I believe that few people who support that agenda are cognizant of the covert motivations at its very foundation; nor do they recognize the unseen machinations that driving it forward. Most people are motivated by the positive messages. Most people want to do good. They are not looking to destroy freedoms or the American dream. Indeed, they believe they are doing the opposite. They believe they are enhancing freedom for all, and that they are opposing people, organizations and/or movements that are anti-freedom. But factors driving the agendas—as we have seen in all countries taken over by fascist or communist regimes over the past century—may be something quite different than hyped or broadcast. One must ask: Why destroy history? Why destroy cultural memory? Why supplant that which is verifiable with that which is partisan? One does not honor the sacrifice of those who served by supplanting the meaning and justification behind that service with falsehoods. Why, Mr. Burns, have you chosen to go this route?

False narratives create aberrant behavior and cultural complications. For more on this and for the need for paradigm shifts in the way we view history and many other aspects of our culture, visit: http://www.peakingat70.com/lets-talk-america/

John M. Del Vecchio is the author of The 13th Valley and other works on Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq and veterans issues.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:27 am 
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I know I keep banging on about this book, "Unheralded Victory: Who Won the Vietnam War" (Mark W Woodruff), but it really is worth the pennies.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unheralded-Vic ... 0004725190

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:48 pm 
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Yup, not a bad read.

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Frankly I had enjoyed the war...and why do people want peace if the war is so much fun?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:11 am 
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Sinh Hoạt QLVNCH
Đêm đêm mẹ đốt cây hương ngát / Mẹ khấn đôi lời con có nghe / Vì nước bỏ mình là bất tử / Xưa nay chinh chiến mấy ai về.

http://vnchtoday.blogspot.com/2017/09/i ... l?spref=fb

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2017
In response to the preliminary showing of film “The Vietnam War” Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Sang - Trans VDH - Posting PH

Lt. Hoa Pham RVN Special Operations
In response to the preliminary showing of film “The Vietnam War”
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Sang

I was fortunate to receive invitation from the PBS television station and local library to join the discussion panel about the film “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novik, after ten years collecting documents for the 18 parts “Vietnam War”. The movie will be played on the 17 September, 2017 on the PBS.
Estimated around 200 people attended mostly American except me and my assistant, a young medical doctor Quyen Huynh. I felt uneasy but decided to accept the invitation. It was an opportunity to speak out for the service men of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). This is not an easy task, especially my English.
After the movie, members of the discussion panel were asked a question. In the movie, a former NVA soldier was interviewed and he said that in the Vietnam War, there was no winner. The discussion monitor asked me, what do I think about this? Before answering, I expressed my point, to find out who was the winner, who was the loser, there were three principle views:

The goal for joining the war.
The casualties
Evaluation of the war.

The goal for joining the war
1. The US joined the war because wanted to control People Republic of China (PRC). According to Pentagon papers, an official study about the US involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967 by Daniel Ellsberg and posted in the New York Times in 1971. The main reason was not protecting the independent of South Vietnam. Protecting the independent of South Vietnam lied inside the strategy of stopping the mainland China (PRC). This document longs about 4000 pages and was classified as top secret. It was declassified on the 4 of May, 2011 in the Richard Nixon library in California.
2. The goal for North Vietnam was to liberate South Vietnam by force as the first step for the expansion of communism in Southeast Asia, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the SEA communist party since 1932. This is coincident with statement from the late General Secretary Le Duan “We fought the US for Soviet Union, China”.
3. The goal for the leaders of South Vietnam (RVN) was to defend the south against the north which received strong supports from Russia, China and Eastern Europe nations, and Cuba. The weaker South Vietnam accepted and request supports from the US and the free world.

B. The casualties
1. The US lost 58,307 service men, spent 168 billion of dollars (other source, 1,020 billion), 303,604 wounded and 1,948 missing in action. At the highest, the US had 543,000 men in Vietnam.
2. North Vietnam lost 950,765 men, nearly 600,000 wounded men. The number of missing in action was not clear but around 300,000. During the war, North Vietnam was listed as one of the five poorest countries in the world. The Vietnam War also caused death to 2 million Vietnamese civilians.
3. South Vietnam lost 275,000 men and 1,170,000 wounded soldiers. There was no account for missing in action, and surrendered on the 30 of April 1975.

C. Who won? Who Lost?
1. From my analysis above, the US as achieved the goal, controlling China. To me, the US won.
2. North Vietnam lost nearly 1 million men, 600,000 wounded and 300,000 missing in actions, 2 million innocent civilians. The cost was too high, they lost.
3. South Vietnam surrendered on the 30 of April, 1975 was also the looser.
According to General Frederick C. Wayand on an interview on June 12, 2006, the lost of Vietnam War not because of the service men but from the political leadership in Washington D.C.. They (RVN) won on the battle fields but lost from the betrayal of the Allied. But to me, the US has accomplished the goal of controlling China. They pulled out of the war by the costs of any sides including their own men.
My conclusion, both North and South Vietnam were losers. One auditor raised a question about the psychological effect of the war and I simply answered “The winners always consider the losers are enemies, even the war already ended 42 years.”
The movie still show old propaganda even the film producers spent 10 years in collecting war documents. The picture of Maj. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed VC Bay Lop on the street of Saigon. The conviction of First Lt. William Calley killing 128 Vietnamese civilians, and the Napalm bombs caused casualties for Vietnamese villagers, etc… I told auditors that VC shelled mortars into elementary school Cai Lay on March 9, 1974 caused casualties for nearly 200 children, and why these film makers did not know this fact? During the Tet Offensive 1968, the communists murdered nearly 6,000 innocent people, this story had been well known to the world, but the PBS television station? The movie insisted that Dow Chemical making Napalm bomb for killing villagers. I told the auditors that was not true, the case Ms. Kim Phuc was a mistake such as US airplane mistakenly dropped a bomb on Chinese Embassy during the Kosovo War in 1999, also during the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, etc… also on friendly units. In the war, unfortunately, those mistakes happened.


After the panel discussion, Mr. Bill Laurie met me and said that the VC Bay Lop was a terrorist who killed 6 family members of RVN officers therefore executing Bay Lop did not violate Geneva Convention.
American might pulled out before 1969 if the US commanders had another military tactic differed than “Search and Destroy” that Gen. Westmoreland had deployed for some years. Many military analysts criticized the tactic using large, modern units in search for enemy’s units were not suitable. The NVA at that time tried to avoid US military power, and retreated deeper into the jungle, mountainous and neighboring countries Laos, Cambodia to preserve their strength.
If the US employed great generals like Harold K. Johnson, Frederick C. Weyand, etc…, probably American soldiers returned home earlier with lower casualty, after accomplished the goal of controlling China. Also the casualties on both sides of Vietnam would be lower.
The military assistant for South Vietnam had contributed to the US’s “hand cleaning” program. From 2.8 billion in 1973 to 1 billion for 1974 then 300 million for 1975. Finally, in December 1975, US Congress decided to cut all military assistant, 55 days later South Vietnam fell.
This movie only reflects one side story. It is not worth to watch. I hope, Burns and Novick read this article and look at the matter thoughtfully, so the public can see the real story of the Vietnam War.
Sept. 5, 2017
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Sang - Trans VDH - Posting PH


Lời phản biện tại buổi trình chiếu sơ lược Phim The Vietnam War
TS.Nguyễn Ngọc Sẵng
- Tôi may mắn được đại diện đài truyền hình PBS và Thư Viện địa phương mời vào Ban Điều Hành Thảo Luận (discussing panel) về phim The Vietnam War do hai nhà làm phim Ken Burns và Lynn Novick bỏ ra mười năm thu thập tài liệu để làm ra cuốn phim 18 tập nầy. Phim sẽ được trình chiếu vào ngày 17 tháng 9 năm 2017 trên Đài Truyền Hình PBS của Mỹ.
Trước lượng khán giả khoảng hơn 200 người, toàn là người Mỹ (trừ cô phụ tá tôi là một bác sĩ trẻ, Quyên Huỳnh). Tôi rất áy náy, nhưng quyết định nhận lời vì nghĩ rằng đây là cơ hội để nói lên quan điểm của Người Lính Việt Nam Cộng Hoà về Chiến Tranh Việt Nam. Tôi lên đường vì ý niệm đó dù biết sẽ không dễ dàng, nhất là ngôn ngữ.
Sau phần trình chiếu, họ hỏi mỗi người trong Ban Điều Hành Thảo Luận một câu. Trong phim có một cựu chiến binh Bắc Việt, tên Bảo Ninh được phỏng vấn, và ông nói rằng trong cuộc chiến tranh Việt Nam KHÔNG có người thắng (no Winners). Người điều khiển chương trình hỏi tôi nghĩ gì về ý kiến nầy?
Trước khi trả lời, tôi trình bày nhận định rằng muốn biết ai thắng, ai thua phải biết ít nhất ba (3) điều căn bản:
(1) mục tiêu tham chiến của các bên,
(2) Sự tổn thất mà họ trả giá,
(3) và đánh giá trên tổng thể do cuộc chiến gây ra.
A. Mục Tiêu Tham Chiến
Mỹ tham gia cuộc chiến vì muốn KIỀM CHẾ Trung Cộng, theo tài liệu Pantagon Papers, một nghiên cứu chính thức của Bộ Quốc Phòng Mỹ về sự tham dự của Mỹ tại Việt Nam từ 1945 đến 1967 do ông Daniel Ellsberg thực hiện và được công khai trên tờ The New York Times năm 1971, chủ yếu không nhằm bảo vệ sự độc lập của Miền Nam. Bảo vệ Miền Nam là chiến thuật trong chiến lược ngăn chận Tàu. Tài liệu nầy dài khoảng 4000 trang và được liệt kê là Tối Mật và được giải mã ngày 4 tháng 5 năm 2011 tại thư viện của Tổng Thống Richard Nixon tại California.
. Mục tiêu của Bắc Việt là Giải Phóng Miền Nam bằng vũ lực để Làm Bàn Đạp cho cuộc bành trướng của cộng sản quốc tế xuống vùng Đông Nam Á. Việc nầy do Hồ Chí Minh thực hiện với sứ mạng là người lãnh đạo cộng sản Đông Dương từ năm 1932. Và điều nầy hoàn toàn phù hợp với lời tuyên bố của Tổng Bí Thư Lê Duẩn "Ta đánh Mỹ là đánh cho Liên Sô, Trung Quốc", nếu câu nói nầy đúng sự thật. Đây là sứ mạng của những người lãnh đạo cộng sản Việt Nam
3. Mục tiêu của những nhà lãnh đạo Miền Nam là bảo vệ độc lập, chủ quyền
Miền Nam chống lại sự xâm lăng của cộng sản Miền Bắc với sự viện trợ tối đa của Nga, Tàu và khối cộng sản Đông Âu, kể cả Cuba. Nhưng vì thế yếu họ chấp nhận và yêu cầu Mỹ và khối tư bản viện trợ để họ bảo vệ lãnh thổ, và dân chúng theo họ.
B. Những Tổn Thất Của Các Bên
1. Phía Mỹ có 58.307 binh sĩ tử trận, chi tiêu 168 tỷ Mỹ kim (có tài liệu nói 1020 tỷ), 303.604 binh sĩ bị thương, 1948 binh sĩ mất tích và lúc cao điểm của chiến tranh có 543.000 binh sĩ tham chiến. Khi chiến binh Mỹ từ chiến trường Việt Nam về bị dân chúng khinh thị, không đón tiếp trọng thể như những binh sĩ tham gia trong những cuộc chiến ngoại biên khác. Và vết thương chiến tranh chưa hoàn toàn hàn gắn được
2. Phía Bắc Việt có 950.765 binh sĩ tử trận, gần 600.000 bị thương, số mất tích không có con số rõ ràng, ước tính khoảng 300 ngàn người... Trong chiến cuộc, Miền Bắc được xếp vào hạng 1 trong 5 quốc gia nghèo nhất thế giới. Và cuộc chiến do Miền Bắc gây ra làm thiệt mạng 2 triệu thường dân.
3. Phía Việt Nam Cộng Hoà có 275 ngàn chiến sĩ thiệt mạng, khoảng 1.170.000 người bị thương, không có con số mất tích được liệt kê và ngày 30 tháng 4 năm 1975 họ đầu hàng vô điều kiện.
C. Ai Thắng? Ai Thua?
1. Từ những phân tích trên, tôi trình bày quan điểm riêng rằng Mỹ đã đạt được mục tiêu Kiểm Chế Trung Cộng, vậy Mỹ là người THẮNG.
2. Cũng từ phân tách nầy, tôi trình bày cho thính giả rằng Bắc Việt hy sinh gần 1 triệu binh sĩ, gần 6 trăm ngàn người thương tật, 300 ngàn người mất tích, làm 2 triệu thường dân bị chết oan và biến đất nước thành 1 trong 5 nước nghèo nhất thế giới, vậy Bắc Việt là người THUA vì phải trả giá quá đắt mà Trung Cộng vẫn không nhuộm đỏ được vùng Đông Nam Á. Họ THUA vì không đạt được mục tiêu.
Việt Nam Cộng Hoà đầu hàng vô điều kiện ngày 30 tháng 4 năm 1975 là người THUA.
Theo bài phỏng vấn của Tướng Frederick C. Weyand ngày 12 tháng 6 năm 2006 thì cuộc chiến bị thua không phải do quân đội kém cỏi mà do những người lãnh đạo chính trị ở Washington. Họ thắng trên chiến trường, nhưng thua vì sự bội ước của đồng minh. Nhưng theo thiển nghĩ thì sau khi Hoa Kỳ đã hoàn thành mục tiêu kiềm chế Trung Cộng, họ rút lui bằng sự trả giá của nhiều bên, trong đó có cả binh sĩ của họ.
Kết luận sau cùng của tôi với cử toạ là cả hai phía người Việt đều là kẻ thua, nhất là dân tộc Việt Nam là người thua trong cuộc chiến tranh ủy nhiệm của người cộng sản do Hồ Chí Minh, người cộng sản quốc tế, thực hiện sứ mạng trên sự đau xót vô vàn của dân tộc, làm kiệt quệ đất nước và tạo vết thương lịch sử dù 42 năm rồi vẫn chưa lành và không biết có cơ hội nào để lành vết thương dân tộc nầy.
Một cử toạ hỏi tôi về hậu quả tâm lý hiện tại của cuộc chiến, tôi chỉ đơn giản trả lời "bên thắng cuộc vẫn coi bên thua cuộc là kẻ thù cho dù chiến tranh đã chấn dứt 42 năm rồi".
Cuốn phim vẫn trình bày những sự kiện mang tính cách tuyên truyền củ rích dù họ bỏ ra 10 năm sưu tập tài liệu, phỏng vấn một số người trong và ngoài nước. Vẫn trưng tấm hình Thiếu Tướng Nguyễn Ngọc Loan bắn tên Việt Cộng Bảy Lốp trên đường phố Sài Gòn, vẫn bản củ kết tội tên Trung úy William Calley sát hại 128 thường dân, vần chuyện thả bom napalm vào một số làng mạc gây thương tích cho thường dân v.v..., nhưng tôi nói thẳng với họ rằng Việt Cộng pháo kích vào trường tiểu học Cai Lậy ngày 9 tháng 3 năm 1974 làm thiệt mạng gần 200 em học sinh tiểu học sao đoàn làm phim không biết?, trong trận Tết Mậu Thân người cộng sản sát hại gần 6 ngàn đồng bào vô tội tại Huế, sự kiện chấn động cả thế giới mà đài truyền hình PBS không hay? Phim vẫn cho rằng công ty hoá chất Dow Chemical sản xuất bom Napalm để dội vào làng giết hại dân lành, tôi thẳng thắn nói với họ rằng bom Napalm không chế tạo để giết dân lành và vụ cô Kim Phúc là một trong những nhầm lẫn trong chiến trường như Mỹ đã từng nhầm lẫn ném bom trúng tòa đại sứ Trung Cộng tại Kosovo 1999, thỉnh thoảng ném bom nhầm tại Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria v.v..., Thậm chí họ còn ném bom nhầm vào những đơn vị quân đội của Hoa Kỳ, bắn nhầm binh sĩ Hoa Kỳ v.v..., trong chiến tranh không thế nào tránh nhầm lẫn được. Thế mà bọn truyền thông dòng chính vẫn cố tình vu khống một cách lố bịch, không chút liêm sỉ những sai lầm mà ai cũng có thể nhận thấy. Thảo nào Tổng Thống Hoa Kỳ Donald Trump miệt thị họ không oan chút nào.
Sau buổi hội thảo, một sử gia Mỹ tên Bill Laurie gặp tôi và ông nói Bảy Lốp là tên khủng bố đã sát hại 6 người thân của viên chức VNCH, nên bắn Lốp là không vi phạm công ước Geneve.
Có thể đáng lẽ người Mỹ đã rút quân trước 1969 nếu người tư lệnh chiến trường Việt Nam của họ có chiến thuật đúng đắn, khác với chiến thuật "Truy tầm, tiêu diệt" mà Tướng Westmoreland, người được báo chí gọi là vị Tướng bại trận tại Việt Nam (The General Who Lost Vietnam) áp dụng trong nhiều năm. Những nhà bình luận quân sự chỉ trích chiến thuật dùng lực lượng hùng hậu để truy lùng giặc của Westmoland là không đúng. Chiến thuật nầy chỉ có kết quả khi đối phương chấp nhận đương đầu, nhưng quân Bắc Việt vào thời điểm đó, họ tránh né trong những cuộc hành quân lớn, họ rút sâu vào rừng hoặc vượt qua biên giới Cao Miên, Lào để bảo toàn lực lượng.
Nếu họ sử dụng những vị Tướng tài như Tướng Harold K. Johnson, Frederick C. Weyand, v,v,. thì có lẽ người lính Mỹ đã hồi hương sớm, ít thiệt hại sau khi đã hoàn thành mục đích Kiềm Chế Trung Cộng. Và mức độ thiệt hại mà quân đội hai phía Việt Nam sẽ ít hơn, nhất là con số thiệt hại nhân mạng dân lành sẽ thấp hơn, mức độ nghèo nàn, đói rách, lạc hậu của người dân Việt Nam sẽ ít hơn, và trên hết hận thù không dai dẳng như ngày hôm nay.
Vấn đề viện trợ quân sự cho Miền Nam cũng góp phần trong chánh sách "phủi tay" của Hoa Kỳ. Từ con số 2.8 tỉ năm 1973, còn 1 tỉ năm 1974 và 300 Triệu cho năm 1975. Và cuối cùng, tháng 12 năm 1974 quốc hội Hoa Kỳ quyết định cắt hết viện trợ quân sự, chỉ 55 ngày sau là Việt Nam Cộng Hoà sụp đổ. Không có quân đội nào đánh giặc mà không có vũ khí, hoặc viện trợ vũ khí, chỉ trừ "truyền thuyết" Quân Giải Phóng với tay không bắt được máy bay Mỹ.
Không ai kéo lịch sử lùi lại được. Người gây ra cuộc chiến vì nhiệm vụ quốc tế cộng sản phải thành khẩn thú nhận trách nhiệm lịch sử Không chấp nhận hôm nay, trong tương lai lịch sử cũng sẽ ghi lại bởi chính con cháu chúng ta, họ đọc lịch sử từ hai phía, họ đọc lịch sử thế giới, họ sẽ viết lại sự thật mà thế hệ cha ông họ đã trải qua. Đó là chính sử chứ không phải tài liệu tuyên truyền, xuyên tạc, bóp méo sự thật mà người cộng sản dùng bạo lực để bóp méo và gọi là lịch sử.
Họ phải thành tâm Hoà Giải Hoà Hợp với những nạn nhân của họ, với đồng bào trong nước để xây dựng lại sức mạnh dân tộc để chống lại giặc Tàu. Làm chậm trễ sẽ mất nước và tội của họ sẽ chồng chất thêm với đất nước và dân tộc.
Đây là bộ phim phản ảnh một phía, trình bày phân nửa sự thật, không xứng đáng bỏ thời giờ xem. Điều nầy tôi đã viết trên Yahoo, nhưng 15 phút sau bị gỡ xuống. Hy vọng Burns và Novick sẽ đọc và nhìn lại vấn đề, nếu họ muốn trình bày một số khía cạnh thật về chiến tranh Việt Nam./.
5/9/2017
TS.Nguyễn Ngọc Sẵng

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:18 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
His history of Prohibition was very good.



In that case you might like this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Call-Rise-F ... 8&qid=&sr=


It goes into the political background of the prohibition forces, the failure to implement the 1920 Census(major constitutional crisis!) and the fact that with prohibition the government stepped in to fix a problem that had mostly gone away already thanks to beer.

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It was worse than he had expected. It was so incomprehensibly bad that he'd rather watch Pearl Harbor on a constant, never-ending loop than...


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:34 pm 
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After having seen the entire series now, my assessment is that it pushes the viewpoint long held by the war's opponents that from the mid-1950's on forward, nothing could have been done to keep South Vietnam from being overrun by the communists, and so the entire war was pointless from the get-go given that there was never any realistic possibility of victory -- the definition of victory being that South Vietnam is maintained as an independent non-communist nation.

The reasons the series pushes for the entire effort being doomed from the beginning include the unshakeable determination of the North Vietnamese communist leadership and the North Vietnamese people to prevail over the south; the willingness of the North Vietnamese to suffer as many military and civilian casualties as it took to eventually win; the risk of direct Chinese military intervention; the military and economic support North Vietnam was receiving from China and from the Soviet Union; massive corruption among South Vietnam's local and central government authorities; the lack of a realistic military and anti-insurgent strategy in all phases of the war's historical progression; the supposed lack of commitment to the cause of an independent South Vietnam among the south's civilian population; and a supposed lack of fighting spirit and military professionalism among South Vietnam's military forces.

Little or nothing is said in the course of the PBS series as to what specific alternatives existed after 1955 in each successive phase of the war which might have had a decent chance of keeping South Vietnam an independent nation; but which -- because of the general incompetence of America's senior political and military leadership of the time -- prevented a realistic strategy from ever being given any serious consideration. It's a sin of omission, really.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:18 am 
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Interesting Op-Ed column from the "New York Times." I won't try to summarize it. It's by a (U.S. born) Vietnamese-American journalist who watched the series and talked about it with his (ARVN veteran, refugee) father.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/opin ... ctionfront


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:31 pm 
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14 Enduring Truths about the Vietnam War





The recent handling of this war on PBS speaks for itself as “Opportunity Lost”. There is sufficient backlash that addresses all that Peter Coyote’s voice, vivid imagery and film directors’ omissions could not possibly mask. Balance and Bottom Lines were either MIA, KIA or DOA.

The following truths apply to this war that still rages on. The first truth is as painful for some as it is now strategic for us all. The final truth stands above the rest as unifying. Both these and all truths in between provide opportunity for Americans to move beyond The Vietnam War documentary’s strictures. Over four decades distance may prove to still be not distant enough for a matter ever white-hot in many hearts. And not just for Americans alone.


1. In the Valley of Decision. American’s merit rests on the ability to now weigh the Vietnam War with clarity in order for USA to progress as the credible defender of the free world. The PBS-promoted documentary failed us by its agenda of self-interest. Americans’ recognition of this is the very basis to now triumph in a matter ever dividing us. Such closure will prove hardest for those who suffered the greatest, lost the most and felt the most betrayed. But if they can do this, then maybe the rest of us can.


2. Strategic Impact. America’s massive commitment to Vietnam at costs so precious that they convulse us even now, gave sharp pause to Communist leaders in the USSR and China whose stated goal was world dominance. Consequently, the ultimate aim of US Presidents, no matter their flaws, was to stop this. Lest we ever diminish the strategic purpose of American fighters in Vietnam and their sacrifice that surely impacted this global communist agenda.


3. Blink Again. American warriors’ willingness to die for their ideals, no less than other Americans’ passion to face down government for personal beliefs, embodied the unstoppable American human spirit upon which our nation stands. Tyrants around the world tremble at this. Americans on all sides during the Vietnam War and ever since have given hope to those cherishing basic freedoms. May Americans forever be clear on this. The rest of the world most certainly is.


4. The Gap. US Government and American Big Business neither fully grasped nor inculcated the Vietnam War’s lessons on the primacy of unconventional warfare, subversion, information warfare and irregular warfare. They instead retreated to familiar conventional ways of war and business. For this, America has paid an enormous price and still doing so in the face of expanding practitioners of the dark arts of modern irregular warfare and no-rules competition. The defeat of USSR in Afghanistan through US-backed unconventional warfare proved we could “get it” if we decided to. However, indicators today are unsettling that we “still don’t”. Dangerous.


5. Modern Terrain. No amount of muscle, money or manipulation can defeat the human spirit. We got a clear taste of this in Vietnam in many respects. We have tasted it again in Southwest Asia at incredible costs still unfolding and dear. The Vietnam War was a Human Factors-intense contest which, in the end, defied Yankee fire-and-maneuver’s best shot. This reflected the reality of the “complex operational environment” that now encompasses the globe. This continues to confound conventional minds that keep America continually reactive. We ignore the limits of old thinking at considerable risk.


6. Real Targets. We have leadership today that chases terrorists with precision-guided missiles, tactical “door kicking” and attrition of terrorist capacities. This is essentially only a high-tech expansion of Vietnam’s “body count” mentality. It only “scatters the roaches” as US intel analysists affirm. We played by too many political rules in strategic and operational targeting in Vietnam. We have done so ever since against modern threats by failing to seriously go after “those pulling all the strings” and hammering where it hurts them at a personal level. Serious Targeting then and now? Get serious.


7. Loser Irony. USA’s arch Cold War rival in Vietnam ultimately failed. First, USSR’s backing of unconventional warfare failed globally. Second, its stunning defeat in conventional warfare in Afghanistan came from USA’s backing of unconventional warfare. Finally, its economic ruin and defeat ended the Cold War. Russia has since taken a dark path as a strategic spoiler. It relies on natural resource bullying, military intimidation, cyber warfare and mafia-based economics. USSR, after “losing it all”, is now Russia mastering The Dark Arts of Irregular Competition in the 21st Century. They “get it.” To make things worse, subversion and unconventional warfare themselves have endured, evolved and expanded in others’ hands at home and abroad. Russian losers? Other losers? Damn.


8. Mastery of The Game. China came out the winner in Vietnam (and elsewhere) by wielding Economics like a club and Information Warfare like a surgeon. They studied the American Way of War and Yankee Business and have become Grand Master in the Art of Asymmetric Advantage. China further valued the importance of securing enduring strategic gains – something that USA has had difficulty with since the Vietnam war. USA focused on “Stopping Communism”, while China focused on owning political leaders, key terrain and consumers. (Who owns Vietnam’s top leaders and the South China Sea? Who now controls both ends of the Panama Canal? Who owns American consumers?) Entrenched WWII and Cold Warrior mindsets still abound in America’s leadership, while China adapts and proceeds at flank speed. Chinese Winners. Beyond “Damn!”


9. The Macro. Vietnamese Communism, as well as that of China and USSR, all failed as “models of choice” for the world. To survive and succeed, they had to embrace the very democratic, free market principles for which American stands. Those Americans, Vietnamese and their allies who sacrificed their lives in Vietnam have the final word: They were 100% right. Americans who battled among themselves based on democratic ideals were also proven right. The extent of human misery since averted globally by all this is incalculable. “Yankees just being Yankees” is potent stuff and far reaching.


10. Fake-ness. Triumphant Vietnamese communist leadership in 1975 then betrayed their own victory by becoming totalitarian elites repressing and exploiting the masses. They now masquerade as legitimate government “of the people”. These Old Guard and their Chinese masters are reviled by the vast majority at all levels of Vietnamese society today. Below appearances, Vietnam is at a boil. “Communist Victory”? “Communist Legitimacy?”


11. Two-edged. Social media and other forms of information warfare today arose from beginnings in America’s first TV War. US mainstream media came of age as the self-appointed government watchdog and has rolled onward ever since. This all helped stimulate the evolution of Information as the dominant weapon for the 21st Century. The genie is now out of the bottle. Its use and abuse are game changers.


12. Checks and Balances. From Americans’ sharp experience in the Vietnam War, it became clear that “elites in power” shared the common quality of “abuse of position and power”. Nothing new, except that much got exposed on TV and through modern communications. The loss of trust and the response to both real and perceived abuses (super-informed by social media) are now compelling in USA and worldwide. This spans the spectrum of “creative backlash” both lethal and non-lethal; a kind of checks-and-balances on power elites of all kinds is at work here. Fact: Empowered actors below the level and care of power elites (government, military, business and media) are on the rise. Hopelessness, Desperation, Anger, Innovation and Daring are their great advantage today. Their ability to network and innovate amongst themselves is potent trouble now “inside our wire” and well beyond the next ridge line. USA and friends ignore this truth at considerable peril. Angry “New Mass” threatens. America’s threats will leverage this.


13. Open Door. Of a truth, the Vietnam War is not yet over. The final chapter of this longest of all American wars remains to be written. Vietnam’s Reform Movement today is strongly pro-democratic with massive support at all levels of Vietnamese society, business and government. They are consequently intimidated and murdered by “victorious” Vietnamese Communist elites in power who are beholden only to greed and China. All this is below the US mainstream media’s so-called “watch dog” radar screen. Vietnam today thus reveals itself as US Government’s best opportunity to finally “Win the Vietnam War”, as well as “Win the Peace”. Those Vietnamese who have long believed in America have never given up hope in us. They hold the line today. Question: Stay mired in PBS’s Vietnam War ambush? Or “Go for it and finally win it”?


14. Onward. During the Vietnam War presidents, patriots, protestors, press and parents reflected the diversity of Americans committed to “America”. The clash of instincts and passions was so profound and so fundamentally American that it convulses us still. We became our own most vicious critics – an Americanism that runs deep. This is incredible brilliance, though we are perhaps still too close to the Vietnam War at gut level to value it. That is too bad, because the rest of the world looks at us with wonder for the combative checks-and-balance tradition that is innately American, democratic and honest. By this, others hope that we can come together for synthesis - and not just concerning the Vietnam War. Because if we can, then perhaps they can. There is a shared responsibility here for America to rise to this calling as we are surely able. In purpose and in hope.

Tim Heinemann is a retired US Army Special Forces officer and a humanitarian non-profit founder advising pro-the democracy movement in Vietnam and in support of ethnic minorities in Burma.

_________________
I am Charlie


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