First and most important I’m happy that the young Marine chose life.
Second, I haven’t seen a minute of the documentary because I was there and still am more than aware of what went on in Vietnam and back in what we called the world. I don’t pretend to know everything about what went on but I know more than enough to prefer to keep dormant memories dormant. But knowing how well Mr. Burns has done with other documentaries its probably best for those who weren’t there to take a good look see, then do a lot of thinking.
Pilger Criticizes Ken Burns’s ‘The Vietnam War’
For decades, the U.S. mainstream media has shied away from a clear-eyed view of the Vietnam War, not wanting to offend the war’s apologists, a residue of which tainted the recent PBS series, as John Pilger told Dennis J Bernstein.
By Dennis J Bernstein
October 03, 2017 “Information Clearing House” - Ken Burns’s 18-hour documentary on the Vietnam War, which aired on PBS and BBC, presented extraordinary footage of the war’s grotesque brutality but also soft-pedaled the motivations of U.S. policymakers as well-meaning albeit misguided, or as the prologue put it, a conflict begun in “good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings.”
This glossing over of U.S. neocolonialism and its deadly consequences angered John Pilger, who cut his journalistic teeth covering the Vietnam War for a decade. I spoke to Pilger after he watched the first couple of hours of the highly touted series.
Dennis Bernstein: I was reading your piece called “The Killing of History” and these lines stood out for me: “The revisionism never stops and the blood never dies. The invader is pitied and purged of guilt while ‘searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy’.” What is your initial response to the framework of the film?
John Pilger: That quote, “searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy,” is from Lynn Novick, who is Ken Burns’ collaborator on this series on the Vietnam War. If we don’t understand the meaning of the Vietnam War by now, I don’t know where our brains have been all these years.
Like so many colonial wars, it was an invasion based on a series of deceptions and lies. This is effectively denied in the Burns series. It starts off with the narrator saying that it was all conducted in good faith by decent people. It was all a big misunderstanding that grew out of the Cold War, and so on. That is complete nonsense.