This year’s Emmy nominations recognized one episode of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary, The Vietnam War for Outstanding Directing. The entire series received no nominations. As Veterans For Peace, members of Chapter 109 in Olympia believe that the academy acted with appropriate restraint. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of The Pentagon Papers will question the series’ dubious assertion that the war was begun “in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings.”
The Vietnam War presents anecdotes and drama—what Ken Burns calls the “many truths”of the Vietnam War—but never examines America’s moral failure in unleashing apocalyptic violence on a nation that represented no real threat to our country. The Vietnam War never recognizes the war’s most profound lesson: the United States was a foreign invader fighting an independence movement rooted in Vietnamese history and culture.
As in our own revolution, the Vietnamese, were able to outlast the world’s greatest military power because they were defending their homes against an unwanted foreign occupier. That lesson escaped Burns/Novick just as it escaped or was ignored by the five presidents who committed the US to war in Vietnam. America’s never ending wars—overt and covert—since 1975 clearly demonstrate that succeeding presidents have also failed to learn this fundamental lesson.
For more complete and nuanced information about America’s war in Vietnam, Veterans For Peace established vietnamfulldisclosure.org in 2012. Visitors will find there news stories and essays that provide more complete analysis of America’s ill-advised intervention in Vietnam.