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Special Report | Burns / Novick PBS Series 'The Vietnam War': The Critics Speak Out

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Everything wrong with the new ten-part PBS documentary on the Vietnam War is apparent in the first five minutes.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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6 New Items including:

6) America’s Amnesia
5) The Killing of History
4) Making history safe again: What Ken Burns gets wrong about Vietnam
3) Does Vietnam Even Matter Any More? Does Ken Burns?
2) There Is No Rehabilitating the Vietnam War
1) The Ken Burns Vietnam War Documentary Glosses Over Devastating Civilian Toll

Fall, 2017 |

6) America’s Amnesia, Thomas A. Bass, Vietnam Full Disclosure 
Everything wrong with the new ten-part PBS documentary on the Vietnam War is apparent in the first five minutes. A voice from nowhere intones about a war “begun in good faith” that somehow ran off the rails and killed millions of people. We see a firefight and a dead soldier in a body bag being winched into a helicopter, as the rotor goes thump, thump, thump, like a scene from Apocalypse Now. Then we cut to a funeral on Main Street and a coffin covered in Stars and Stripes, which multiply, as the camera zooms out, into dozens and then hundreds of flags, waving like a hex against warmongers who might be inclined to think that this film is insufficiently patriotic.



5) The Killing of History, John Pilger, Consortium News
PBS’ “The Vietnam War” may show some of the conflict’s horrors but still soft-pedals the horrific war crimes that America inflicted on Vietnam, fitting with a corporate-dependent documentary project.




4) Making history safe again: What Ken Burns gets wrong about Vietnam, Patrick Lawrence, Salon <>
Historian Christian Appy: Vietnam was not a “tragic misunderstanding” but a campaign of “imperial aggression”



https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/views-article/ken-burns-vietnam-no-big-picture.jpg?itok=oPqHmhF2 A U.S. B-66 Destroyer and F-105 Thunderchief dropping bombs on North Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder on June 14, 1966. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

3) Does Vietnam Even Matter Any More? Does Ken Burns? Robert Freeman, Common Dreams

"There's no scoping out," the author writes. "That is intentional."



https://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/views-article/vietnam_legacy_0.jpg?itok=gp6WLP-V The Vietnam War, writes Freeman, "must be remembered and condemned for the debacle it actually was." (Image: vietnamfulldisclosure.org)

2) There Is No Rehabilitating the Vietnam War, Robert Freeman, Common Dreams
There is enormous pressure and a lot of money working to rehabilitate Vietnam, to put the guilt and the shame of it behind us. But it was precisely the guilt of the people, their shame at what was being done in their name, and their courage to denounce it that made it impossible for their government to carry out the savagery any longer.



https://cdn01.theintercept.com/wp-uploads/sites/1/2017/09/vietnam-war-ken-burns-nick-turse-lede-1506546389-article-header.jpg1) The Ken Burns Vietnam War Documentary Glosses Over Devastating Civilian Toll, Nick Turse, The Intercept

If you really want to get a sense of “what happened” in Vietnam, just imagine that you’re actually crouched in your basement, that your home above is ablaze, that lethal helicopters are hovering overhead, and that heavily-armed teenagers — foreigners who don’t speak your language — are out there in your yard, screaming commands you don’t understand, rolling grenades into your neighbor’s cellar, and if you run out through the flames, into the chaos, one of them might just shoot you.



Related:

Special Report | Ken Burns / Lynn Novick PBS Documentary Series 'The Vietnam War' Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

The series will almost certainly avoid the fundamental moral issues that define the US as an historically imperial, dangerous, and deceitful political/economic nation state and culture.

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No Two Sides about It, Mike Pence. Confederate Statues Must Come Down, But Not For the Reason You Think.

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  • Part 1: No Two Sides about It, Confederate Statues Must Come Down.

  • The whitewashed compromise that brought the nation together after the Civil War was based on a deliberate forgetting of the truth

  • Part 2: Mike Pence’s defense of Confederate memorials is actually really scary.
  • Mike Pence says we shouldn't try to erase our history. He's right, but not for the reason that he thinks he is.

 

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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Part 1: No Two Sides about It, Confederate Statues Must Come Down.

The whitewashed compromise that brought the nation together after the Civil War was based on a deliberate forgetting of the truth and the forging of an imagined narrative in which both sides took responsibility for fighting bravely and with honor to support their sides. This revision of history echoes in the President's ill-chosen words regarding the violence in Charlottesville.

Yohuru Williams, The Progressive

August 18, 2017 | One of the enduring images of the 2000s was that of American Marines purportedly helping a group of Iraqi civilians tumble the statue of Saddam Hussein at Firdos Square in Baghdad in April 2003. British journalist Robert Fisk famously described the scene as “the most staged photo opportunity since Iwo Jima.” Questions as to why the statue became a target for advancing military forces quickly surfaced. The answer was simple. The statue was a symbol of Hussein’s bloody regime. In advance of toppling the dictator himself, the statue was a stand-in for his ill-gotten power.

That moment has crossed my mind more than a few times since recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, when anti-racist counter-protester Heather Heyer was struck and killed by white supremacist James Alex Fields. Fields plowed his vehicle through a line of people protesting a demonstration of neo-Nazis, white supremacy, and white nationalist groups challenging the removal of a statue of Confederate War General Robert E. Lee.

http://progressive.org/downloads/3875/download/Yohuru%20Williams.jpg.jpe?cb=c4a7db57c9e999ed5e304327da730ae3&w=176&h=176 Yohuru Williams  is an education activist and professor of history and dean at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He was previously a professor at Fairfield University and former chief historian of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Williams is a noted scholar of the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power movement. Diverse magazine named Williams one of its Top 10 Emerging Scholars under 40 in 2009.

Full story … 



 

Part 2: Mike Pence’s defense of Confederate memorials is actually really scary.

http://static.gulfnews.com/polopoly_fs/1.2075419!/image/3735690108.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_460346/3735690108.jpgMike Pence says we shouldn't try to erase our history. He's right, but not for the reason that he thinks he is.

Matthew Rozsa, Salon 

Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017 | Vice President Mike Pence decided to ape the rhetoric of his commander-in-chief during a Tuesday interview with “Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt. In the process, he helped illustrate precisely how wrongheaded the Confederate monument defenses really are.

“I agree with the president that seeing people destroy public property in the name of any cause is just simply unacceptable,” Pence began. While he probably would have avoided trouble had he stopped his argument there, he moved on to claim that the Confederate memorials are important so “that we remember our past and build on the progress that we’ve made.”

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and his work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

Full story … 

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Minnesota Remembers Vietnam

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  • Part 1: Reserve your seats for "The Vietnam War":  Screening and Discussion: Minnesota Remembers Vietnam
    • There are going to be three events in the Twin Cities of Ken Burns: "The Vietnam War": Screening and Discussion. 
  • Part 2:  Full Disclosure: Re: The Burns-Novick PBS Series, About the US War in Viet Nam
    • The series will almost certainly avoid the fundamental moral issues that define the US as an historically imperial, dangerous, and deceitful political/economic nation state and culture.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Reserve your seats for "The Vietnam War":  Screening and Discussion: Minnesota Remembers Vietnam

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There are going to be three events in the Twin Cities of Ken Burns: "The Vietnam War": Screening and Discussion.  The events are free, but you need to reserve seats.  Click on one (or more) of the links to reserve seats.

September 1, 2017 | Join Twin Cities PBS and our partners for an exclusive first look at clips from the Ken Burns film, followed by candid community discussions. These are FREE events, but attendees must RSVP in advance. Pick the date and location that works best for you. RSVP by clicking the links below:

To see a list of all upcoming Minnesota Remembers Vietnam events, visit mnvietnam.org/events.

The Ken Burns documentary series "The Vietnam War" will begin airing on PBS starting Sept. 17. This is very important business for us. Millions will watch this documentary and we want to make sure they get the Whole story and truth about the American war in Vietnam. This may be our last chance to really set the record straight on this part of our history.

Vets for Peace #27 has been very involved the last several years in making sure the history of the American war in Vietnam is not “white-washed” (as our government is currently trying to do fifty years later) and excused as “well, it was a sad time, mistakes were made, but we all did the best we could, time to forget and move on.”  We prefer the narrative:  “this war, and all the endless wars that we currently find ourselves in, must not be excused or tolerated for so many reasons!”

We are very interested in having as many people attend these screenings as possible to express the whole ugly truth about the Vietnam War and the full costs of this war.  Please go to the website to sign up for a screening at the venue of your choice. 

Barry Riesch is spearheading our chapter’s efforts in this campaign.  If you plan to go, please contact him to learn how you can help:  bwrvfp27@gmail.com.  There will be copies of the Full Disclosure newspaper to hand out to people as they leave.
He poses a question:  Does anyone have a space in their home or elsewhere with a television that can access PBS where we can gather as a group and view the series? 

Veterans for Peace, Chapter 27
4200 Cedar Avenue S, Suite 7
Minneapolis, MN 55407-9998
(612) 821-9141
vfpchapter27.org
e-mail: vfpchapter27@GMAIL.COM


Part 2:  Full Disclosure: Re: The Burns-Novick PBS Series, About the US War in Viet Nam

The series will almost certainly avoid the fundamental moral issues that define the US as an historically imperial, dangerous, and deceitful political/economic nation state and culture.

S Brian Willson, Facebook Posting

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/US%20Nam%20Troops%20in%20Field.jpgSeptember 7, 2017 | Burns will present lots of interesting history and dramatic photos that will captivate millions of viewers. He will attempt to be fair while posing some questions and themes provoking lots of thought and discussion.

But two substantial issues will not be posed in any serious manner that, if asked, would make much of the content of this series just distracting entertainment, because the series will almost certainly avoid the fundamental moral issues that define the US as an historically imperial, dangerous, and deceitful political/economic nation state and culture.

1. The US unilaterally and without any authentic justifications, invaded Viet Nam, and in fact a whole region, committing as it has done elsewhere, the ultimate international crime against peace (Nuremberg).

2. The US created a fictional government to represent US imperial interests in Southeast Asia, replacing the French before it, a government that possessed virtually no serious indigenous Vietnamese support, which required massive US military presence to defend the fictional government from the Vietnamese themselves. It was NOT a civil war, but one concocted by the US with malice aforethought.

S Brian Willson: Author / Speaker / Blogger / Activist

 

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Henry Giroux | A New American Revolution: Can We Break Out of Our Nation’s Culture of Cruelty?

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Video: The Denver (CO) Post 

  • Fighting back against the right’s politics of exclusion can be a path toward rebuilding American democracy.
  • It is about a culture of cruelty that is buttressed by a moral coma.
  • Related: There’s No ‘Free Market’ Solution to Health Care

Henry Giroux, Rise Up Times / Salon / Moyers & Company

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(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Public Citizen)

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Demonstration%20for%20Single-Payer%20Health%20Care_0.jpg  July 11, 2017 | The health care reform bills proposed by Republicans in the House and Senate have generated heated discussions across a vast ideological and political spectrum. On the right, senators such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have endorsed a new level of cruelty — one that has a long history among the radical right — by arguing that the current Senate bill does not cut enough social services and provisions for the poor, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups and needs to be even more friendly to corporate interests by providing massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Among right-wing pundits, the message is similar. For instance, Fox News commentator Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, in a discussion about the Senate bill, stated without apparent irony that rising public concerns over the suffering, misery and death that would result from this policy bordered on “hysteria” since “we are all going to die anyway.” Montgomery’s ignorance about the relationship between access to health care and lower mortality rates is about more than ignorance. It is about a culture of cruelty that is buttressed by a moral coma.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University.

Full story … 

Related:

There’s No ‘Free Market’ Solution to Health Care, Geoff Coventry, Other Words 

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  • A fully privatized system can never adequately provision the nation.
  • Related: Epic Plea to GOP: "You are the single greatest threat to my family."


 

Ken Burns returns to take on Vietnam – 'a war we have consciously ignored'

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In this December 1965 photo shot by Horst Faas, a US 1st division soldier guards Route 7 as Vietnamese women and schoolchildren return home to the village of Xuan Dien from Ben Cat. Photograph: Horst Faas/AP

Burns’s new 10-part, 18-hour epic film covers the conflict from all sides, and hopes to ‘shape more courageous conversations about what took place’

David Smith, The Guardian

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Saturday 1 July 2017 | James Rogers and Renan Reyes, veterans of the Vietnam war, each made a trip to Washington on Wednesday to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for the first time.

“Very impressive,” said Rogers, who is from Madison, Alabama, as a river of parents and children flowed past in bright sunshine.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/contributor/2016/2/9/1455017367880/David-Smith-L.png?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=ac96ec225b08a6070256dad7942c577c

“It looks like a black mark,” said Reyes, from near Charlotte, North Carolina, disapprovingly.

David Smith is the Guardian's Washington DC bureau chief. 

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Are Politicians Too Dumb to Understand the Lyrics to ‘Born in the USA’?

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  • Springsteen’s ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ is an indictment of the government, the military-industrial complex, and the way we treat soldiers. Not exactly an election night anthem.
  • Unexceptionalism
  • Related: The Song that Fooled America

Parker Molloy, The Daily Beast

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11.06.14 | On Tuesday night—widely considered a sweeping victory for Republican political candidates—I sat in my apartment, huddled around my TV, watching as election results rolled in. From my couch, as the local NBC affiliate called the Illinois gubernatorial race for GOP candidate Bruce Rauner, I noticed something. As the local news team cut to Rauner campaign headquarters, I heard something in the background: the familiar drum beat and synth lead of one of 1984's most popular tunes, "Born in the U.S.A."

In 1984, Bruce Springsteen released Born in the U.S.A. The album became an immediate success, and it eventually became one of the most successful recordings of all time, selling more than 10 million copies. This success of both the album and its eponymous single is frequently attributed to a belief that the song is a pro-American anthem. In reality, it's anything but.

http://img.thedailybeast.com/image/upload/c_fill,h_200,w_200,x_0,y_0/v1492186965/author/parker-malloy-author.jpg Parker Molloy is an essayist and transgender media advocate from Chicago, IL, focusing her writing on feminism and gender-related topics. She currently works as a freelance journalist, and has contributed writing to The New York Times, The Advocate, Rolling Stone, The Huffington Post, Salon, VICE, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.

Full story … 

Related:

The Song that Fooled America

Bruce Springsteen's official music video for 'Born In The U.S.A.'

Full story … 

Put Away The Flags by Howard Zinn

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We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.

 

Howard Zinn, Dandelion Salad

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July 4, 2017 | On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism — that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder — one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking — cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on — have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

Howard Zinn, a World War II bombardier, was the author of the best-selling A People’s History of the United States (Perennial Classics, 2003, latest edition). This piece was distributed by the Progressive Media Project in 2006.

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