Ken Burns new PBS series The Vietnam War.

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Re: Ken Burns new PBS series The Vietnam War.

Postby Bob » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:33 pm

There were only 16,000 troops/advisors in Vietnam at the time of JFK's death, but the troop level ballooned to over 500,000 at one point, thanks to LBJ's escalation. Plus, let us not forget NSAM 263.

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Re: Ken Burns new PBS series The Vietnam War.

Postby bobspez » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:12 am

Bob, interesting memo, and article and videos on Bugliosi. Back in 1970 I had completed my first year of law school at U.C. Hastings. What I realized was that lawyers fight to win, not for truth or justice, and the legal system was about who was the best arguer, not about right or wrong or justice. I decided it wasn't the profession for me and never returned to law school the following September. In high school I was on the debate team as a stepping stone to my future career as a lawyer. You learn to debate both sides of every issue. In law school you do the same. It's a bubble of sorts where winning is the only goal. Lady Justice is blind, so it's easy for someone more skilled to tip the scales in their favor.
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Re: Ken Burns new PBS series The Vietnam War.

Postby Tom Bigg » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:43 pm

This from Gary North today:

The Crucial Fact About Ken Burns' Series on the Vietnam War

Gary North - October 18, 2017
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Ken Burns' series is being broadcast on PBS.

Why is this significant?

Because almost no one who watches PBS fought in that war.

Here are facts about the war. They are reasonably accurate. We can draw conclusions. They are here:

The key fact, rarely mentioned: only 9.7% of the men of their generation went to Vietnam. Of course, few young women served: 7,484 women (6,250 or 83.5% were nurses) served in Vietnam. Eight nurses died. One was killed in action.

Yet that war shaped the nation at the time. It shaped a generation. It brought down Johnson. It thwarted Nixon. Ford ended it -- an unelected President. That is, he accepted the reality of the collapse of the South Vietnamese army.

The war shapes our memory of the era. That is why Burns devoted 10 two-hour segments to it.

There is an audience for it. The audience members who were young men and women at the time were opposed to the war by 1968. Burns made this documentary to confirm their memories.

Next fact: Of the 2.6 million, between 1-1.6 million (40-60%) either fought in combat, provided close support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy attack.

Now we are down to 5% of that generation's young men.

Peak troop strength in Vietnam: 543,482 (April 30, 1968). Yet the war went on for another 7 years. Two Presidents would not pull out. Public opinion did not matter. Humphrey lost in November of 1968 because he would not agree to get out. Nixon promised he would get out soon: peace with honor. He said he had a plan. He lied. But so did Johnson. The nation was run for a decade by two consummate liars. Their careers ended in disaster.

CASUALTIES. Hostile deaths: 47,378. Non-hostile deaths: 10,800. I had never heard of non-hostile deaths before. That's almost 20%. (Pareto again.)

About 61% of the men killed were 21 or younger. This is normal in wars.

About 25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. In contrast, two-thirds of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII. This means that most of the anti-war protesters would not have been forced to serve. This also means that the anti-war movement should have come during World War II, when far more men were forced to go in, but this was not the case.

Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.

It was a white man's war. Almost 90% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian; 10.6% (275,000) were black; 1% belonged to other races. As for deaths, 86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics); 12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2% belonged to other races. About 70% of enlisted men killed were of North-west European descent.

Three-quarters of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds. Three-quarters had family incomes above the poverty level; 50% were from middle income backgrounds.

Almost 80% of the men who served in Vietnam had a high school education or better when they entered the military service. In contrast, 63% of Korean War vets and only 45% of WWII vets had completed high school upon separation. This is because there were far more high school grads in 1965 than in 1942.

Less than one-quarter of Vietnam vets had fathers with professional, managerial, or technical occupations. That class did not serve. It still doesn't.

None of this was mentioned in Burns' documentary. But almost none of it was mentioned at the time, either.

This is true after every war.

82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost because of lack of political will.

Nearly 75% of the public agrees it was a failure of political will, not of arms.

The outcome of war is based on political will. Political leaders who are determined to win at any cost to young men and taxpayers usually win wars. Politicians get us into all wars. Then half of them lose the wars they got their nations into.

Clausewitz's famous statement is this: "War is the continuation of politics by other means." When political will fails, wars are lost.

The documentary is clear on this: the February Tet Offensive was a military disaster for North Vietnam. The man who made the decision to launch it, Le Duan, was a tactical idiot. His commanders told him not to do it. Yet it was the correct decision strategically. It forced Johnson on March 31 to decide not to run. It broke the will to resist in the United States' voting population. Tet was the turning point. But it still took seven years to bring the war to a close.

Artistically, this documentary is almost as good as The Civil War (1990). It is the best thing that Burns has produced since then. But it was designed to please his intended audience: the anti-Vietnam War generation that did not fight. I think it succeeded.
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Re: Ken Burns new PBS series The Vietnam War.

Postby kenmurray » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:34 pm

JFK had ordered full withdrawal from Vietnam: Solid Evidence.... ... -evidence/
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Re: Ken Burns new PBS series The Vietnam War.

Postby Bob » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:10 pm

Ken, great find once again.

It's outrageous that we still hear false narratives about this situation. I just heard General Barry McCaffrey talk about the Vietnam war the other night and place the blame on both JFK and LBJ. And McCaffrey fought bravely there (three Purple Heart medals, two Silver Stars and two Distinguished Service Crosses). You would think he would know the true history of what really went down in Nam. :roll: :oops:

Then again, maybe he does. :evil:
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Re: Ken Burns new PBS series The Vietnam War.

Postby bobspez » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:12 pm

The last war in Asia that the US won was against Japan, the reason being we dropped two atomic bombs on them. At the end of the war Japan had no allies. But the Koreans and then the North Vietnames had allies in China and Russia, and Russia had atomic weapons. Militarily I don't know what more we could have done to win. We dropped more bombs on North Vietnam then on all previous US wars combined. We killed more than a millon Viet Cong and NVA soldiers. We were engaged in combat more than 10 years. Maybe it's like the old fable of the fox and the rabbit. The fox is faster than the rabbit. But the fox is running for his dinner, and the rabbit is running for his life.
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