Reaction to Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” documentary
My friend, RL Del Vecchio, contacted me after posting my article about the NVA / VC atrocities of the Vietnam War to inform me that none of what I posted was even mentioned in Ken Burns’ documentary about the Vietnam War. Instead, he showed My Lai and other photos of the “napalm girl” (ARVN pilot and not US dropped it in error), the assassination of the plainclothes VC officer on a Saigon street, and American soldiers burning villages. Making it look like we were the bad guys during the war.
Del mentioned that he is part of a group, Vietnam Veterans for Factual History, who is trying to get Mr. Burns to set the record straight and to come clean with the inaccuracies in the film. I was part of a special group of veterans who was invited to a private showing of the one-hour long preview that circulated the country prior to the event beginning on local PBS stations. It was during that preview that my wife continued to mention that the film was biased and leaned more toward the POV of the enemy than from our own soldiers. Her opinion was confirmed after watching the first two episodes. I soon heard from other Vietnam Veterans and how disappointed they were in the documentary; citing the same reasons.
Mr. Burns’ camp continues to evade the VVFM, however, the group did receive a response from PBS which I quote here in part: “…the film generated a tremendous amount of attention, from the public, members of the military community and veterans, nearly all of which praised the film’s respect for our soldiers and its balance. Maybe more poignantly, not a day goes by when I do not hear from veterans of the war about how thankful they are for the film, helping them speak about their experience with family and friends, something they had rarely done before.
“Ken and Lynn went to great lengths to include diverse voices in the film. We did the same in our outreach across the country, meeting with veterans’ groups, Vietnamese-Americans and those who opposed the war, as well as with a wide-range of historians and military experts. The film was extremely well received at the Air Force and Naval Academies, the Army Command and General Staff College, as well as at the Pentagon…”
Do you believe that “nearly all” of the veteran community “praised the film”?
I’ve put together a short video (less than 2 min.) using the Powerpoint presentation Del forwarded to me last week:
Images of compassion
These are assorted pictures of US soldiers and Marines protecting, helping, carrying Vietnamese in the midst of the war.
Why didn’t Ken Burns include photos like this in “The Vietnam War” instead of portraying us differently? – Vietnam Veterans