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The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick. Premieres Sunday Sept. 17 on PBS.

Net_Wrecker

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Jul 16, 2009
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The episode 5-8 stretch is really heavy. Just dark, senseless savagery all over the place. The US government doing a full heel turn around the end of LBJ's term into Nixon's run (and just stating the obvious, but what a piece of garbage Nixon was for his role in that), combined with the civil rights movement, combined with the blind extreme patriotism (some of these poll numbers, jesus christ) is basically the building blocks for the country as we know it in 2017. Incredibly bleak and powerful build up to that final frame in Ep. 8 as well.

I'll wrap this up tomorrow. Really great stuff.
 

Spike Spiegel

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Jun 7, 2004
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Tonight's episode:



Episode 08. "The History of the World" (April 1969-May 1970)
With morale plummeting in Vietnam, President Nixon begins withdrawing American troops. As news breaks of an unthinkable massacre committed by American soldiers, the public debates the rectitude of the war, while an incursion into Cambodia reignites antiwar protests with tragic consequences.
Watch the episode online @ PBS.org

This installment is supposed to get into My Lai and Kent State toward the end. If anyone is interested, PBS has previously aired some excellent programs on both these incidents: American Experience: My Lai and The Day the '60s Died.
 

sqwarlock

Member
Jan 25, 2013
3,274
0
505
Arizona
The episode 5-8 stretch is really heavy. Just dark, senseless savagery all over the place. The US government doing a full heel turn around the end of LBJ's term into Nixon's run (and just stating the obvious, but what a piece of garbage Nixon was for his role in that), combined with the civil rights movement, combined with the blind extreme patriotism (some of these poll numbers, jesus christ) is basically the building blocks for the country as we know it in 2017. Incredibly bleak and powerful build up to that final frame in Ep. 8 as well.

I'll wrap this up tomorrow. Really great stuff.

Yeah, 5-8 is oppressive. Good, but heavy.
 

gdt

Member
Oct 20, 2007
40,446
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So I finally started this, on the pbs website.


The first episode man, phenomenal. The music and the editing are just superb.
 

sqwarlock

Member
Jan 25, 2013
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505
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Episode 9:

Holy shit, I had no idea there was video of the napalm attack that led to the infamous Phan Thị Kim Phúc picture, and also the events after the picture was taken. Photojournalists that covered the war were so important, and so were the people that agreed to run these stories.
 

Sunster

Member
Aug 28, 2015
4,219
5
0
oh my God that massacre in episode 8. I didn't think I could still be shocked by US actions in the war at this point in the doc. My God.. I want to vomit. Everyone involved should have been executed. They are no different than the Nazis who gassed the Jewish people in concentration camps. I sincerely hope this is the worst thing I ever hear about our armed forces. Disgusting.
 

Enduin

No bald cap? Lies!
Nov 29, 2006
13,304
1
1,305
oh my God that massacre in episode 8. I didn't think I could still be shocked by US actions in the war at this point in the doc. My God.. I want to vomit. Everyone involved should have been executed. They are no different than the Nazis who gassed the Jewish people in concentration camps. I sincerely hope this is the worst thing I ever hear about our armed forces. Disgusting.

PBS's American Experience did a full episode, 90 minutes, on My Lai in 2010. Very good and absolutely depressing and infuriating.
 

LQX

Member
Dec 18, 2008
19,080
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Wow, tonight episode was something else, even paralleling what's going on now with the confederate flag/monuments and protests.

Had to Google William Calley and was surprised if not shocked he is still alive and was not executed or given life in prison for what he and others did. Terrible.
 

Jacob

Member
Nov 29, 2011
4,002
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I sincerely hope this is the worst thing I ever hear about our armed forces. Disgusting.

More depressing stuff:
Look up the No Gun Ri massacre and similar US actions during the Korean War if you even more reason to be disillusioned with the US military. Or the Moro Crater (Bud Dajo) massacre in the Philippines. Or any number of incidents in the Indian Wars.
 

Sunster

Member
Aug 28, 2015
4,219
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More depressing stuff:
Look up the No Gun Ri massacre and similar US actions during the Korean War if you even more reason to be disillusioned with the US military. Or the Moro Crater massacre in the Philippines. Or any number of incidents in the Indian Wars.

maybe another time. I think this documentary is all I can handle for a year at least.
 

Jacob

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Nov 29, 2011
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maybe another time. I think this documentary is all I can handle for a year at least.

I get what you mean. There's a limit to how much one can process at once. I think it's important to remember and learn from the nasty side of our country's history though, especially in order to understand how other countries perceive us and why.
 

dallow_bg

nods at old men
May 8, 2007
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www.dolefulorange.com

MrMephistoX

Member
May 18, 2007
6,157
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1,410
God after watching this I can see why my dad never wants to talk about it. Both parties share equal blame Kennedy was incompetent, LBJ too Political to be effective and Nixon was just a scorched earth asshole. The entitled hippies (later hypocritical yuppies) spit on the working class troops and they vowed never to vote for liberals again...enter Reagan and later Trump. My conclusion...fuck baby boomers.
 

Sub_Level

wants to fuck an Asian grill.
Apr 9, 2009
31,414
11,001
1,460
All throughout the episodes I have really felt resentment towards LBJ. Maybe he did some good stuff domestically but with vietnam he really fucked up.

But now with these later episodes on Nixon...jesus...just pure scum.
 

PillarEN

Member
Feb 23, 2015
10,871
1
0
As rough as some episodes were like episode 8, I gotta say the concluding episode 10 was the one that actually had me holding back tears. Just got really heavy with how everything ended and knowing all that had happened up till then and how much the world had changed from when the war began till when it ended and then moving to the modern day. Whew. Kind of all came rushing to me all at once. Hell of a documentary.
 

Vanillalite

Ask me about the GAF Notebook
Apr 14, 2008
39,999
1
0
GA, USA
God after watching this I can see why my dad never wants to talk about it. Both parties share equal blame Kennedy was incompetent, LBJ too Political to be effective and Nixon was just a scorched earth asshole. The entitled hippies (later hypocritical yuppies) spit on the working class troops and they vowed never to vote for liberals again...enter Reagan and later Trump. My conclusion...fuck baby boomers.

It's telling just how much the events of the 60s and early 70s set the table for modern day politics.
 

SolarPowered

Member
Feb 17, 2009
25,576
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The episode 5-8 stretch is really heavy. Just dark, senseless savagery all over the place. The US government doing a full heel turn around the end of LBJ's term into Nixon's run (and just stating the obvious, but what a piece of garbage Nixon was for his role in that), combined with the civil rights movement, combined with the blind extreme patriotism (some of these poll numbers, jesus christ) is basically the building blocks for the country as we know it in 2017. Incredibly bleak and powerful build up to that final frame in Ep. 8 as well.

I'll wrap this up tomorrow. Really great stuff.
I never even knew about the Pentagon protest. Fifty thousand people is insane. Pentagon employees watching fearfully from rooftops is nuts. Unbelievable that LBJ gave up the great society for that quagmire. I also knew about the war crimes, but I didn't know about Tigerforce in particular. They sound like something straight out of Metal Gear Solid. Hardened soldiers given all the freedom in the world to decimate anything that moves? What a crazy idea.
 

Net_Wrecker

Member
Jul 16, 2009
32,836
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0
Finished 9 and 10 last night. Great doc. Too much to process at this moment, particularly with Nixon's avalanche of scumbaggery in Episode 9, and how the US treats S. Vietnam after all that. What a waste. And at such a critical juncture for the US. Makes me sit back and wonder what LBJ and MLK could've done going into the 70s without Vietnam fueling an already divided nation. It's like we fumbled our shot to truly examine the country and fix things. A shot we've never really gotten again.


This all made me even more interested to see how Micheal Mann decides to bring the Tet Offensive to the screen next year or in 2019 with his Hue 1968 mini-series.
 
Jan 13, 2015
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Finished 9 and 10 last night. Great doc. Too much to process at this moment, particularly with Nixon's avalanche of scumbagerry in Episode 9, and how the US treats S. Vietnam after all that. What a waste. And at such a critical juncture for the US. Makes me sit back and wonder what LBJ and MLK could've done going into the 70s without Vietnam fueling an already divided nation. It's like we fumbled our shot to truly examine the country and fix things. A shot we've never really gotten again.


This all made me even more interested to see how Micheal Mann decides to bring the Tet Offensive to the screen next year or in 2019 with his Hue 1968 mini-series.

I'm starting to read Hue 1968. It's pretty great so far. Author is Mark Bowden, who wrote Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo
 

Enduin

No bald cap? Lies!
Nov 29, 2006
13,304
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All throughout the episodes I have really felt resentment towards LBJ. Maybe he did some good stuff domestically but with vietnam he really fucked up.

But now with these later episodes on Nixon...jesus...just pure scum.

It's pretty nuts when you think how LBJ could have quite probably sealed his legacy as the greatest President in US history with what he did domestically between Civil Rights Act, Medicare and more, but his arrogance and ignorance with Vietnam ruined him and nearly the country completely.

Nixon was from day one just a snake in the grass. The man was corrupt and immoral to the bone to a rather frightening degree. How the fuck Johnson and Humphry just let that peace talk shit slide and not have him arrested in beyond me. That was pure treason.
 

LQX

Member
Dec 18, 2008
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This series has really opened my eyes to Nixon. I knew there had to be a reason he was so hated but I had no idea he was such a all around big pile of runny dog shit and a traitor on top of that.


Also, I hope this series becomes required watching in high school. It will be a much better and impactful learning experience. I read a lot about Vietnam in high school but this series is really sticking to me unlike anything I read and forgot in those history classes.
 

Nista

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May 29, 2007
1,514
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Irvine, CA
Finished 9 and 10 last night. Great doc. Too much to process at this moment, particularly with Nixon's avalanche of scumbagerry in Episode 9, and how the US treats S. Vietnam after all that.

Episodes 8-10 just made me so angry about the political and social situation in the US, more than any of the hopeless battle scenes from the start of the series. The fact that a majority of people polled support the National Guard shooting college kids, and believed in Nixon's appeals to the "silent majority" makes me so irate.

It's so creepily similar to the Trump bullshit today, I am glad we still have freedom of the press. Needs to be more releases to the public of stuff like the Pentagon Papers. Except now they can just cry Fake News and hide their heads in the sand.

The worst part of My Lai is that everyone involved on the US side basically got away unpunished. Lt. William Calley Jr. is still alive today, living with his family in Atlanta. He should have served that life sentence, since he robbed those hundreds of villagers of their happy lives with their families.
 

Spike Spiegel

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Jun 7, 2004
13,018
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Tonight's episode:



Episode 09. "A Disrespectful Loyalty" (May 1970-March 1973)
South Vietnamese forces fighting on their own in Laos suffer a terrible defeat. Massive U.S. airpower makes the difference in halting an unprecedented North Vietnamese offensive. After being re-elected in a landslide, Nixon announces Hanoi has agreed to a peace deal. American prisoners of war will finally come home – to a bitterly divided country.
Watch the episode online @ PBS.org

Any way to watch this in the UK?
From earlier in the thread, it looks like BBC4 is airing it?

Heads up for the UK.
Episodes 1&2 tonight on BBC4.
 

LQX

Member
Dec 18, 2008
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Ha, I love how they show a fully naked child then a few minutes later block out Jane Fonda's breasts in Barbarella. Ridiculous, especially given the amount of death and gore that has been shown so far.
 

PillarEN

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Feb 23, 2015
10,871
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Ha, I love how they show a fully naked child then a few minutes later block out Jane Fonda's breasts in Barbarella. Ridiculous, especially given the amount of death and gore that has been shown so far.

Not in the uncensored version ;)
 

nampad

Member
Feb 19, 2013
8,024
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The soundtrack is great but they could have at least included one Vietnamese song. And having more South Vietnamese soldiers as guests (except Major Toan) would have been nice too, they are always forgotten (or only depicted as useless allies).

I don't get all the hype for the series after 6 episodes but maybe it is because I am Vietnamese and already watched/read a lot about the war. The first few episodes were the best when they reported more about the history of the whole conflict and the politicians behind it.

If it's the picture I'm thinking it is, the man being executed had just been caught after murdering a policeman's family. The man doing the killing was the best friend of the man whose family was brutally murdered by the soldier, whose mission was to sneak into the south kill women and children to punish and demoralize southerners.

Another piece that was not represented well by the documentary.
 

Spike Spiegel

Member
Jun 7, 2004
13,018
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Tonight's finale:



Episode 10. "The Weight of Memory" (March 1973-Onward)
While the Watergate scandal rivets Americans' attention and forces President Nixon to resign, the Vietnamese continue to savage one another in a brutal civil war. When hundreds of thousands of North Vietnamese troops pour into the south, Saigon descends rapidly into chaos and collapses. For the next 40 years, Americans and Vietnamese from all sides search for healing and reconciliation.
Watch the episode online @ PBS.org

If anyone is interested in a follow-up, there was an excellent PBS documentary several years back called Last Days in Vietnam that covered the fall of Saigon and the flight of American and South Vietnamese from the country. Definitely worth looking up.
 

Sub_Level

wants to fuck an Asian grill.
Apr 9, 2009
31,414
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The Fall of Saigon was absolutely shameful with the way that ambassador acted.

Even tho the bloodshed wasn't as bad as expected, seeing those South Vietnamese try their hardest to flee during the calm before the storm was heartbreaking.
 

OG Kush

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May 30, 2010
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Heads up UK folks! This just started showing on BBC. Can catch up on iplayer. They're upto episode 4 at the moment.
 

Karkador

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Mar 3, 2010
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Made it to the halfway point last night, finishing Ep 5.

The worst thing I've found about the documentary so far is that it's an exhausting watch. Following the saga of the American government constantly lie to itself and its people that "victory is just ahead!" is like watching a gambling addict lose again and again with no self control...for years.....with many thousands of lives as the wager. It's so fucking stupid.

Politicians asking people as a nation to hold their breaths, for decades, until they finally get it right, or at least until the next election, really is too much to ask.

I can't help but compare today's political circus to the one from back then. People in 2017 should know better.
 

Enduin

No bald cap? Lies!
Nov 29, 2006
13,304
1
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Just finished this up. Man what a fantastic series, but my lord was it tough to watch. Anger, frustration, sorrow and so much more. The last two episodes were especially emotional and powerful.

Surprised more wasn't said about the evacuations stateside or things like the babylift and the very tragic Tan Son Nhut C-5 plane crash.

My mother's parents temporarily housed numerous refugee families and took care of many infant orphans waiting to be flown around the country or oversees to their new adoptive families. They themselves adopted my youngest uncle in the end as well.

My mom was 18 at the time and was pretty much solely responsible for one infant herself for several weeks or a couple months before the child was to fly off to France and my mother practically refused to let her go once she was to fly off.

Another refugee who was in his teens when he came over is like another son for my grandparents who they still talk with regularly. He came over with his two elderly parents, who everyone assumed were his grandparents for the longest time, and his older siblings had to basically kidnap him in the middle of the night to force him to leave the country and accompany the parents while the rest of them stayed behind.
 

Sectorseven

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Jun 14, 2013
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Man, watching the last episode and I actually found that footage of soldiers dumping helicopters overboard kind of disturbing. I'm not sure how to articulate it, but It was just sort of unnatural looking. A combination of desperation and capitulation I've never seen from the US military.
 

ghostmind

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Jul 11, 2005
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Finished this tonight and I am drained - watching the series put me through the emotional wringer, I can’t imagine what it must have felt like living it (I was a baby at the end of the war, so I have no recollection).

I really dislike Nixon now.
 
Dec 16, 2015
1,066
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I disliked Nixon because of Watergate, but I didn't realize how much scumbag he really is. How many people died because he sabotaged the talks and then took his time waiting several years to withdraw? Then the false promise to continue to help South Vietnam afterwards. A terrible human being. Who knows what South Vietnam would look like if they could've defended themselves?
 

Karkador

Banned
Mar 3, 2010
8,599
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A lot of questions I have about modern politics in the US, I am finding answers to in this Vietnam documentary. Particularly Nixon's term, but not limited to him.
 

gohepcat

Banned
Jul 12, 2004
3,134
282
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Everyone comes out looking pretty bad in this. The hyper patriotism seems to be one of the worst parts of this. Just the complete lack of ability to admit any mistakes at any point no matter how many lives it costs.

I also really appreciated that they didn’t paint the antiwar movement as flawless. It resonates very much today. I think people forget that young people often have kind of … inelegant…ways of going about things.

I couldn’t help but to keep thinking of how poorly the current president would’ve handled any of this. It’s just so unbelievably dangerous that he is in office. The types of decisions that all of these men had make…
 

Karkador

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Mar 3, 2010
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I couldn't help but to keep thinking of how poorly the current president would've handled any of this. It's just so unbelievably dangerous that he is in office. The types of decisions that all of these men had make...

If there's any silver lining to the Trump presidency, it's that he came in with things not quite as bad as they were when Nixon got in. But he's certainly trying to catch up.

But one salient point about Trump compared to Nixon is that they both came into power in a similar way - a deeply divided left vs a republican candidate standing tall and unified with his party on a bunch of lies.
 

dabig2

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May 15, 2007
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hype alley
Everyone here shitting on Nixon is forgetting about Kissinger, who is just as despicable.

Indeed. And I don't mean to dredge up the 2016 primaries at all, but it's why I was so happy when Bernie chided Hillary for her Kissinger mention. Dude was a monster who should be sitting in the Hague for his crimes, or at least be persona non grata to any decent human being. Fuck him.
 

NullPointer

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May 4, 2006
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I think this the greatest and most affecting documentary I've ever seen.

I cried (at least) three times during its 10 episodes, and for completely different reasons. What an emotional wringer. Pure seething anger, incredulity, horror, sadness, reflection and hope. So much to take in and learn from.

Just brilliance.
 

Buba Big Guns

Banned
Apr 10, 2008
4,920
0
0
Amazing documentary and really a must watch. I didn't know too much about the war and wow...

Just finished episode 5 and holy shit what a fucking waste of life.

What the fuck was the point of even fighting for 'victory' if it was literally impossible to achieve for about a million different reasons which the American leadership already knew about. It was literally to not look bad and that's it.

How the hell could they "win" the war if they would never even step foot into North Vietnam for fear of China and USSR. The NV would obviously constantly be getting resupplied.

Crazy how many similarities there are to the Iraq war...really learned nothing from history.
 

smisk

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Jan 15, 2015
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Got sucked in to episodes 8 and 9 at the hotel while on travel.. Great series, definitely need to go back and watch the rest.
I think things are bad nowadays, but can't imagine something like the Kent State massacre happening, so maybe we've improved a bit.
 

nampad

Member
Feb 19, 2013
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Finished the series.

The sheer size of the documentary allowed it to be the probably most encompassing Vietnam War documentary available. Unfortunately, some parts could have been fleshed out more as I have stated some times in this thread. I wish the series would have included those parts instead of some battle sequences.
While understandable, the series was also a bit too focused on the US point of view for me.

I am glad they included more South Vietnamese stories in the last episode. Watching the series made me appreciate the hardships my parents went through even more. My parents barely speak about the war and the time my family flew the country. I only get parts of it when they reminiscence with some of their friends.

My father fought for the South and had to go to one of the re-education camps after the war. He actually saw a buddhist monk burning himself on the streets of Saigon.
At the Fall of Saigon my parents had the chance to flee the country but could not leave my grandparents behind. They flew some years later on one of those small boats you see in the last episode, fortunately everyone in my family survived.

While my family was on the losing side of the war, I am also glad that Vietnam gained its independence and reunification. The Vietnamese managed to fight back so many bigger nations over hundreds of years like the Mongols, Chinese, French and Americans.