This discussion is definitely off-topic. The topic here is the film /1969/. Rehashing old debunked propaganda is not particularly productive. Nevertheless I shall try one last time to set the record straight.
After the Vietnamese won their independence from the French in 1954 there was a Conference in Geneva to provide for the future of Viet Nam. The Geneva Accords specified that Viet Nam be partitioned for a one year cooling off period and that a national election be held no later than July 1956 to elect a government for Viet Nam. The US did not allow that election to take place because Ho Chi Mihn was extremely popular; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Elvis Presley all rolled into one. Instead the US invented the "State of Vietnam" to be ruled by the US and Bao Dai, grandson of the last Emperor of Viet Nam and former puppet of both the French and Japanese, and tried to make the partition permanent as they had done in Korea.
[In 1945 the US and USSR occupied Korea, which had been devastated by WWII. At the Moscow Conference of 1945 the US and USSR agreed to leave Korea by 1950. The USSR did leave in 1948; the US never left. The US created the RoK, led by Japanese collaborators and Syngman Rhee, who had lived in the US from 1904 to 1945, having been exiled from Korea as a criminal trouble maker. From 1945 on the US military established martial law and dealt violently with Koreans who wanted the foreigners gone and for their pre-war rights to be restored. In 1948 the Koreans in the north held parliamentary elections that eventually resulted in the selection of Kim Il-sung, who had fought the Japanese occupation for twenty years.]
So, in 1956 the Vietnamese, having won their independence once were not about to let the (rather stupid) Americans take it away from them and they took up arms again. The Vietnamese never used terror. True, some of the US sponsored war lords were brutal and cruel, but they were not terrorists. The only terrorists in the war were the Americans who spread Agent Orange, cluster bombs and napalm all over the country; the US killed more children than adults, and did so by means expressly proscribed by the Geneva Convention which the US had drafted. The only Vietnamese who acquiesced to the partition were French and Japanese collaborators who hoped to become part of the new puppet government.
The /Pentagon Papers/ were compiled by the Rand corporation, a think tank whose sole client was the US government. I do not recall making any comment about the Rummel book, but I do confess I have little interest in books by private people who happen to be outsiders. Especially today when so many people spread whoppers. And while the US government is expert at generating "disinformation" for public consumption, it tends to be as accurate as it can be when the reports are for internal use and classified. Perhaps you recall that the US tried to prevent their publication, tried to throw Dan Elsberg and Tony Russo in prison and fine the NYT?
Our getting involved in Viet Nam was just the US following its Manifest Destiny (cum American Exceptionalism). The history of the twentieth century is the story of the US attempting to conquer the whole world, attempts that are becoming stronger and even more blatant in the twenty-first.
The "brutal implementation" of communism is just propaganda. The rise of communism in the Russian Empire was less violent than the rise of Democracy in France. [And even that has been slandered. Perhaps you have heard laments about "the terror"? That was a period of ten months during which three thousand people were executed. Granted, that is a big number, even for Saudi Arabia. But compared to the ten thousand peasants Louis XIV burned in Paris every Holy Week it is not so impressive.]
In 1848 Karl Marx published /The Communist Manifesto/ and In 1867 /Das Kapital/. By the 1870s the US was at war with communists. For the forty-five years before the Bolshevik Revolution the terms communist and trade-unionist were interchangeable. The US used machine guns, tanks and bombers to keep workers "in line". You might want to read the history of The Battle of Blue Mountain, the Molly Maguires and the Bonus March. There were also times when the US Army set fire to worker camps and machine gunned those who tried to flee, but I cannot remember their names. I do expect you recall the protest song /Sixteen tons/. Charlie Chaplin was deported from the US as a communist. Why? He made /The Great Dictator/ which mocked US ally Adolf Hitler.
A (somewhat) current example is the protest at Tianamen Square. After the protesters had camped there a month the government sent in the Army to eject them. I expect you recall the kid trying to stop a tank, and the tank trying to go around him? If that had been a US tank, that kid would have been road kill. The US and its satrapies alone have mini-tanks, seen at the Rodney King riots, for population control. Can anyone imagine the US allowing anyone to tie up DC and NYC for a month? The Occupy just made an appearance and were met with deadly force.
Speaking of Stalin, he was brutal with some Ukrainians; those who had fought with the Wehrmacht. Did you know that the guards at the death camps were Ukrainians? He was also pretty hard on the Germans.
My KIA figures come from the Pentagon by way of The Wall. Did you know that (most of) the names are arranged by date of death?
Agent Orange is essentially dioxin, as in Love Canal. Many many vets are still suffering from Agent Orange exposure, as are many Vietnamese. It is also the same as Roundup and is generally a herbicide; in Viet Nam Agent Orange disabled many rice paddies and fields. As far as killing all the Vietnamese, we did that; the total of Westmoreland's body counts exceeded the population sometime in 1968. 😱 The Secretary of the Navy at the time claimed Agent Orange was safe and said he would drink a glass of it except ... But he changed his tune when his own son began suffering from dioxin exposure.
Giap did send his troops into a meat grinder; so did the US during WWII. Such is the nature of war, particularly modern war. The anti-war movement in the US had little if any effect upon the outcome of the war, in spite of what some of them claim. Tet was the beginning of the end. Sure, the US held on to all its major bases, but Giap attacked everywhere and overran the ARVN everywhere.
John Kerry won a Silver Star and Ron Kovic was almost cut in two by machine gun fire. Sure, there have been frauds, some who were never even in the military. (Sorry Don, military school is not the same thing) Most frauds claimed to have been Green Berets who won the Medal of Honor, like Hary Janos.
What the Communists did? In 1954 the CIA spread rumors in Hanoi that the Viet Mihn were killing Catholics and collaborators. About one million panicked and fled, giving the CIA a great photo op that they then sold at home. The fact is, there was no truth to that rumor. CIA disinformation campaigns are worthy of study; many were somewhat successful: Guatemala, Honduras & Iran to name a few. The main point was that the US took over countries without firing a shot.
Vietnam had no chance of a better life under the feudalism of all our various proxies; most Vietnamese were essentially sharecroppers. Even now things are not so great with dangerous sweatshops from Nike et al. One other thing to keep in mind: every country retains its character regardless of economic or political system.
Regarding My Lai, there were many such incidents. I would not be as harsh as you; sure rape is rape and murder is murder. Keep in mind that the individual who was punished the most for My Lai was Ron Ridenhour who was not there but did break the story in the Freep. And Major Colin Powell investigated the matter and found no wrongdoing, just another great American victory. This should give you some insight into the minds of the brass. Likewise, Bradley Manning released a video of a gunship crew shooting down a Reuters News team and laughing about it; the gunners were not punished, but Manning will spend his life in prison. This too should illustrate the thinking of our leaders.
Fellow vets have told me that they found happy and gracious people who chose their own leaders, both locally and nationally.
Things are not so great for Native Americans; the US is still stealing their land.
I am sure you would like to hear about my experience, but you would be disappointed. It is a cliche that the life of a soldier is mostly boredom punctuated with moments of terror. Had I worked at Division or MACV, it is possible that I might have had an interesting view on events as they unfolded. But at the battalion level the work is basically just clerical. The two most interesting observations I can make that even though the military is self-administered, somehow it manages to work. Nothing much has changed since Joe Heller wrote /Catch 22/ and GIs coined SNAFU and FUBAR. The other is that, while all the stereotypes were there, Central Casting was really confused. There were times I thought we could be overrun by a pack of Cub Scouts. Just one peek: a Gunnery Sergeant who looked like he stepped off a recruiting poster who was completely inept and made Rock Hudson look straight.
Yes, the movie was about people's perception of and reaction to the war. But the war itself was not part of the movie. Likewise, the existence of ghosts is not important in /Hamlet/. I found the film accurately represented life in 1969 as much as a commercial Hollywood film can.
JFK was not about the war. My experience was to be told that I and my fellow vets were disgusting for being the first Americans to lose a war. I thought all those movies captured a piece of the picture. There Are a few others, but I cannot recall them now.
Precisely. This topic is the film /1969/. Adieu.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THE MOVIE "1969"
J-Edward, while you are NOT reading this, know this: The movie "1969" is certainly a Vietnam movie. Watch it again. View the trailer and see how it's promoted. Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam. Your denial stems from the fact that it is a particularly horrible Vietnam movie. Somewhere inside anyone's head--regardless of their stance on Vietnam--must be an affront to the intellect as to how a movie about a subject can be so devoid of any serious discussion of that subject. The best message is its inadvertent acknowledgement that the endorsement of communism will always wallow in its natural state of no substance.
In the 20th century, the top 2 murderers were the communist leaders of the Soviet Union and Red China. The tiny country of Vietnam has its communists ranking 11th on that list. The people who opposed the war here, as depicted in the movie, reeked with self-absorbed vapidity. This is consistent with the fact that communists and their sympathizers are so murderous, directly and indirectly, when faced with alternate possibilities. Revealed is that there are no mediating thought processes, only the base instinct of kill the enemy--immediately or long distance.
After WWII, the West was facing a third world war with the worldwide threat of communist domination, particularly from the Soviet Union--invaluable patrons of the North Vietnamese. What truth there is to your list of complaints about this country's self-defense is nothing compared to what we were up against. What we did about the communist threat--including proxy wars--is what killed communism and saved everyone from another hot world war. And I am well aware of the violent spasms within The Enlightenment.
The communists in Vietnam now admit to 1,100,000 VC and NVA KIAs. These people were sent into a meat grinder only to postpone what the survivors are now embracing but could have had 50 years ago. The KIAs of the Allies in WWII saved the world from Nazi slavery. In your comparison you committed the irrationality of false equivalence. (As is your Tiannaman Square and Rodney King comparison.}
Manifest Destiny? Have you ever noticed all the independent nations in this hemisphere?
It's true that the so-called anti-war people here (actually they were pro war on the Vietnamese people) didn't end the war, but they prolonged it, as I explained earlier. The North was once again thoroughly defeated when they signed-on to a fake treaty. We did not lose militarily. When the North broke its promise to not invade the South, your like-minded people in our government broke our promise to help it (short of ground troops).
During Tet, the VC were 99% destroyed, never to be a factor again. The NVA took another brutal beating from the meat grinder, but not before the NVA murdered 2500 civilians in Hue City -with another 2000 plus never accounted for--and many more murders nation-wide. This is your idea of victory? And did you ever notice that the communists never complained, or at least not much, about our small number of crimes? (For which I give no quarter.) That's because the last thing they wanted to do was to draw attention to their mass murder of civilians as policy.
My criticism of some Nam vets was for adopting the lunacy of the protesters for social gain.
We ripped-off native Americans royally. But if you care about them more than I do, then give them back the land your house sits on.
Most or all of your other comments that I didn't directly address suffer from self-condemnation as written.
With no substantial middle class, the Vietnamese population lacks the educational tools to effectively oppose its oppressive government--eventually demands for equality, justice, and liberty will be made--with our help. Too bad the malignant ideology of communism caused so much death and suffering in its effort to deny the hard wrought rights that came from the Enlightenment.
And I know you were flummoxed by my correction (with profound indisputable proof) of your false statements that JFK was going to pull out of Nam and that he never supported the domino theory. Again, what's important about how wrong you were is that the whining about "don't know why we are (were) in Vietnam" is important to the depravity of the movie and the entire protest against the war itself.
THE MOVIE "1969" IS ABOUT VIETNAM; BUT NOT IN THE WAY IT WAS INTENDED
This topic is off thread, so this will be my final reply.
How can this be a Viet Nam movie? All it tells us is that the US is involved in a foreign war in a place called Viet Nam and that different people have different feelings about the war. Was /Summer of 1942/ a WWII movie? I think not.
This movie is called /1969/. In 1969 the war was the elephant in every room in America. This is a story of one family living through that time. Friend Downey really wants to avoid the draft, son Kiefer is apprehensive, son Alden choses to do his part, father Dern wants his boys to make him proud and mother Hartley wants the men in her life to be healthy and in harmony. This film is about this family dynamic. Period.
If you think that it is about the Vietnam war merely because the war makes up part of the background, then you have serious cognitive impairment. Was /Hair/ about the war?
I suspect that this cognitive impairment is also responsible for your phobia about Communists. Josef Stalin did kill almost one million German and allied soldiers at Stalingrad. Does this horrify you? It elates me. I am grateful to Josef Stalin for defeating the Wehrmacht and Third Reich. At Stalingrad he not only killed almost one million "supermen", but destroyed seven German armies. (The US faced only one in western Europe.) Stalingrad was the turning point in the war. After Stalingrad the Wehrmacht began running for their lives. I applaud Stalin for this, and condemn the US for giving safe harbor to Nazi war criminals (Operation Paperclip) like Werner von Braun, Klaus Barbie, Josef Mengele and thousands more. These men deserved slow, painful deaths.
Your cognitive impairment also leads me to believe that you are a member of some wacko religious cult like /The Way/. If so, you are impervious to facts and reason. So here I end.
DISCUSSION OF MOVIE "1969"
J-Edward, how can "1969" be about Vietnam? Well, you described it as such in a post on this site. Go back and have a look at your March post. Then add the fact that two primary characters in the movie actively gave aid and comfort to our enemy.
And comparing "1969" with the Summer of '42? Another example of false equivalence that shows the weakness of your position. Again, go back and read your March post.
The dynamics of the characters in the movie weren't exclusive to a family. Those dynamics were representative of three types of American males relevant to the history of the Vietnam War:
Wynne: mature masculinity i.e. he mans-up.
Downey: stunted masculinity i.e. self-absorbed childishness, no courage.
Sutherland: apparent ambivalent sexuality i.e. he has to be practically raped by a character who is a dead-ringer for the incredibly beautiful Winona Ryder before he shows any heterosexual interest in her.
Downey and Sutherland represent the males here and in Vietnam who opposed the war.
Ask the people who survived the murderous reign of Soviet communism about their phobia. In particular ask them about Stalin. Soviet communism murdered 62,000,0000 civilians---43,000,000 of which were caused by Stalin. Note that I said "murdered" not "killed." The people you mentioned who were killed by Russia during WWII are legitimate war deaths. An "intelligence analyst" like yourself should know the difference.
Speaking of intelligence analyzing (or not being good at it): After reading all my lengthy comments here, you come to the conclusion that I'm a religious nut?! I'm an atheist. It's clear that "intelligence analyst" translates into office boy. A REMF who deals with not having been a combatant by way of psychologically compensatory, self-serving disparagement of our war effort for the purpose of trashing those who actually fought it. A Downey or a Sutherland, or a combination of the two, who happened to end-up in-country.
For additional analysis, note how the more your position dissembles, the ruder you get
Too bad you only committed yourself to reading this post while banning yourself from replying to it.
THUS CONTINUES MY ANALYSIS OF THE MOVIE "1969."
An interesting thread. I was 10 in '68 and remember the "scorecards" on the Huntley/ Brinkley report of the dead and wounded for each faction and the footage of the embedded reporters. I remember a couple of my older brother's friends going over there and one not coming back. I remember my cousin going over there and not being the same when he came back. I remember being grateful that I just missed and never had to worry about the draft and that I never had to register. I remember the white paper reports and the CBS Charlie Company doc. An interesting time for a kid who paid attention. Anyway....
It would be interesting to do the research into this discussion to find out which of these diametrically opposed views is correct.
But what I wanted to say was, Riverside, you were the rude one. From your first post you were name calling and making disparaging insinuations. I don't recall you saying, though, in which branch of the military did you serve and what actions did you participate?
baran_eric, if you expect me to write a lengthy post justifying locations and unit for someone who claims to be undecided when he isn't, don't count on it. My infantry experience in Vietnam caused me to be awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star w/V device, and two Purple Hearts. I don't have to justify that to you. Of course, I'm not allowed to say such things about myself because "we never talk about it." You can read about the "we never talk about it" phenomenon on the link below about the movie Platoon. (Important fact: only 5 out of everyone 100 men who have the status of Vietnam veteran were in close-combat.)
You have revealed yourself as someone in the camp that sided with the enemy during the war. I doubt if you'll actually do a scholarly study of the subject without confirmation bias and selective perception. You'll probably only watch movies. So, watch We Were Soldiers.... for a realistic view of what Vietnam was overwhelming like. Better still, read the book.
As for your comments about my posts, be specific about each comment you don't like, and I'll respond to each one.
Like I said, you bitter old man, I was 10 in 1968, I hardly "sided with the enemy". You sure are quick to brand people as commies, aren't you? Why is that? You still looking for the enemy? All I asked is what your qualifications were and you had to come back with the typical over the top message board prevarications.
And I've already seen WWS, that's an example of FUBAR or SNAFU? Or would cluster ef be more descriptive? And that was typical, huh?
baran....., do you really need to be told that you sided with the enemy later, not while you were ten?
You're kind of nasty for someone who complains about nastiness and who professed a false interest in scholarship about the war. (And what's with the ageism? Problems with all the old people you know?) All you've proven is that you're permanently polarized. Think about about what the pro-communist people in this country accomplished in the 60s and 70s. Decades later they can make no claim to a positive change in the lives of Americans. All that persists is the fantasy that they love peace while making no contribution toward peace. The effect of that fantasy is only seen as weakness by our enemies, then and now.
And your characterization of We Were Soldiers.... reveals your simplistic mentality toward the subject. What's important about that book and movie is that none of the people fit the pro-communist, negative stereotype of Vietnam veterans.
baran_erik, better still, re-read, or actually read the comments between another poster and me on this thread. A good start for your scholarship on the matter.