I’ve written a few entries on Ken Burns’s Public Broadcasting Service series The Vietnam War. In this podcast, Gareth Porter discussed some aspects of the United States’s military intervention which the series did not address well. In particular, the USA military had by 1961 discounted the Domino Theory which was the public basis USA presidents used to convince the public that war was necessary. In addition, USA presidents may be ill-suited to oppose the wishes of a unified pro-war cabinet, military chiefs-of-staff and directors of intelligence agencies. So have a listen.
Gareth Porter wrote a book published in 2006 entitled Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.
At minute 95:37 of Episode 10 of the PBS Vietnam War series, I captured this screenshot:
The preceding narration was:
In 1994, after the Vietnamese met the Americans’ demand, the United States lifted its trade embargo. Full normalization came the following year.
I hope the Vietnamese got something more than USA cancer sticks.
I’ve written several blog entries about the Burns & Novick PBS documentary The Vietnam War. I’ve also tweeted about it.
I’ve blogged after watching Episode 1 and Episode 4 of Ken Burns‘s PBS documentary The Vietnam War. I’ve finished watching all 10 episodes, and I thought I’d share some general thoughts on the documentary.
- It’s technically extremely well-done and will please any fan of historical documentaries.
- Even when interviewees said things with which I disagreed, I felt I could respect or at least acknowledge their perspective. The exception to this is of course war criminal John Negroponte. Like other Burns documentaries, you are moved towards reconciliation.
- And of course Burns’s skill at #1 & #2 is the deadly flaw of this documentary: After 10 episodes, the documentary doesn’t editorially tell you how to react to contemporary USA wars. Like President Obama’s speeches, it gives viewers material with which they can arrive at conclusions suited to the preconceptions with which they began the film, although mellowed towards those who draw an opposite conclusion.
After watching the first episode, I wrote about my fears that the series would whitewash USA militarism. Here are some observations after watching Episode 4, “Resolve.”
Narrator: Mogie’s combat commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Emerson, known as “the Gunfighter,” was courageous, implacable, relentless. A few months before Mogie got there, he had offered a case of whiskey to the first of his men to bring him the hacked-off head of an enemy soldier. They did. [Emphasis added. Dennis Crocker was nicknamed Mogie.] Continue reading
I’ve only watched the first 30 minutes of the first episode, so I can’t answer this question. I do say that these first 30 minutes leave me suspicious. The opening narration begins at 6:20 in the online video. Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall plays in the background.
6:20 Narrator: America’s involvement in Vietnam began in secrecy. It ended, 30 years later, in failure, witnessed by the entire world. It was begun in good faith by decent people, out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War miscalculation. And it was prolonged because it seemed easier to muddle through than admit that it had been caused by tragic decisions, made by five American presidents, belonging to both political parties.
I sent the following comment to the PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler. I encourage you to submit a comment supporting Tavis Smiley and PBS.
I only learned about the February 2, 2017 interview with Miko Peled on Tavis Smiley’s show this morning. I watched the episode. What Mr. Peled said is only shocking and extreme because many media outlets never allow critiques of Zionism. The tag “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” at FAIR Media Watch is endless, yet worth reading.
I appreciated your response to the criticism of Mr. Smiley. I guess I just wanted to let you know that at least this viewer thought the segment was excellent.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the United States Department of State definition of anti-Semitism which CAMERA uses is designed to suppress criticism of Zionism and Israel. South Carolina is now attempting to force universities to apply it to on-campus activities. The inevitable result will be suppression of speech critical of Zionism and Israel. Continue reading
United States Public Broadcasting System’s The News Hour highlights Libya’s use of cluster bombs and fails to mention the United States’s and Israel’s use of cluster bombs.
PBS’s The News Hour’s piece Fighting Continues in Misrata as 3 Countries Send Advisers to Assist Rebels, broadcast April 20, 2011, mentions the Human Rights Watch report on Libya’s use of cluster bombs in Misrata April 14, 2011.
Yet The News Hour fails to mention Human Rights Watch’s reports on the United States’s use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003 and its reports on Israel’s use of cluster bombs in Lebanon in 2006.
According to the Cluster Munition Coalition, the United States has not signed nor ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions has not participated in the Oslo Process meetings.
I condemn the Libyan government’s use of these inhumane weapons, and I’m happy that The News Hour used Human Rights Watch as a source of information. But The News Hour should bring to the attention of its viewers that their own government and its allies use these weapons in addition to today’s villain du jour.