Here are excerpts: 1) “In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its “exceptionalism”, Burns’ ‘entirely new’ Vietnam war is presented as ‘epic, historic work.’ Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam.
Burns says he is grateful to “the entire Bank of America family” which ‘has long supported our country’s veterans.’ Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed, and around the same number are estimated to have taken their own lives.
I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war ‘was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings.’
The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of ‘false flags” that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin “incident’ in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers, which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971.
There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me – as it must be for many Americans — it is difficult to watch the film’s jumble of ‘red peril’ maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences.”
2) “Any treatment of the U.S. War against the Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians that does not establish the historic foundation of the US criminal invasion, occupation, and destruction of an innocent country, murdering and maiming millions – profound moral issues – flunks authentic history. And, equally, if the presentation ignores the US creation of a fictional puppet government in the South that was so unpopular that the US was forced to deploy 3 million troops and massive airpower to protect it from the Vietnamese people themselves, it will fail miserably to do justice to genuine history.
Despite this history, Viet Nam is still commonly called a ‘Civil War’ of relative ‘equivalencies,’ a preposterous representation suggesting an “enemy” of basically poor people 8-10,000 miles distant on their own ground who for some unknown reason might threaten the wealthy US with bombs or naval and ground invasions, or….. ? And to represent that the war was ‘begun in good faith by decent people,’ ignores the revelations of the Pentagon Papers.
Thus, Burns’s and Novick’s 18-hour ‘The Vietnam War’ series severely obfuscates the most significant great truths of the U.S. war – that ‘The Vietnam War’ was and remains a Great Lie. Provoking national discussion about the war is important, but for it to be acceptable to a national PBS audience, the producers had to assure that in the framing the US remains basically the good guy against evil.”
In addition, the following commentary is also pertinent to the documentary: “Noam Chomsky has it exactly right when he declares that Vietnam was not a mistake or tragic error. It was an example that said to the world – THIS is what you get when you defy the wishes of the U.S. ruling elite. You get bombs, you get rivers of blood, and you get your country’s economic potential set back half a century. Seen this way, Vietnam was not some tragedy the U.S. blundered into by mistake. It was an example. And a crime.” – Bruce Dixon