Many years ago, I found a quarter inch audio reel in a rotting cardboard box, covered in dust, while helping my dear friend and mentor, Lighting Cameraman John B. Peters, clean up his garage. He told me it had been recorded in Vietnam during his coverage of that war. On the box, still legible, was handwritten: “Firefight, no name village, near Chu Lai, September 10, 1966, Nagra 3, 3,75 I.P.S.”
John recalled that he was out with a patrol that day, and when the Vietcong ambushed them, they all had to duck for cover, but his soundman kept the audio recorder rolling throughout the duration of the fierce firefight that followed
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Sep 6, 2013 -
In the Year of the Pig
is a documentary on the Vietnam war, produced and originally released in 1968 as the war raged. It begins with some background on the end of the French colonial period, then moves on to the American involvement. It features gripping historical footage from the war itself and from leading political players of the time. At the time of its release, a New York Times review
said "There are no frills and few ifs, ands or buts about the stinging, graphic and often frighteningly penetrating movie". It is highly recommended for anyone seeking to understand more of the history of the war. Viewable in its entirety here
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Apr 21, 2013 -
The Things They Leave Behind.
"When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 15, 2013 -
The first thing we learned about war re-enactment is that it's fucking terrifying having guns fired at you, even ones loaded with blanks. The second thing we learned is a common re-enactor's dilemma called "The G.I. Effect", which is basically that people playing Americans don't like to die. So sometimes they just don't.It's Like Vietnam All Over Again, pt 1
. Part 2
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey
on Jan 4, 2013 -
"First Kill is a war documentary
that explores the dark side of man and the psychology of soldiers at war. Vietnam veterans are interviewed about their experiences and what war does to the human mind and soul."
posted by gman
on Feb 16, 2012 -
A Look Back at the Vietnam War on the 35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. (The following photo collection contains some graphic violence and depictions of dead bodies.)
posted by docgonzo
on Apr 21, 2011 -
The Wars of John McCain.
"John McCain believes the Vietnam War was winnable. Now he argues that an Obama administration would accept defeat in Iraq, with grave costs to American honor and national security. Is McCain’s quest for victory a reflection of an antiquated pre-Vietnam mind-set? Or of a commitment to principles we abandon at our peril? Is there any war McCain thinks can’t be won?"
posted by homunculus
on Sep 26, 2008 -
. I’ve come to bear witness to American folly, to rest my eyes on the flying machines that flattened the forests of Southeast Asia, poisoned its people, and changed my life.
A personal essay about the long-reaching effects of Agent Orange. [more inside]
posted by amyms
on Apr 5, 2008 -
40 years ago
tomorrow, more than 500 villagers were raped, tortured, and slaughtered
(disturbing images) by American soldiers in a hamlet nicknamed Pinkville. Four Hours in My Lai
tells the story. Part 1
. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive
on Mar 15, 2008 -
The enormously talented photographer courtneyutt traveled to Vietnam with her father, who served in 1970-1971. courtneyutt turned his Vietnam photo album into a rephotography project, revisiting pagodas
, etc. etc. Ain't never been there, but I can tell you, Vietnam has really changed.
Nothing warlike here -- she says, "my father was mostly interested in buildings! which makes sense, because after he returned from vietnam he became an architect." (See previous rephotography projects on mefi here
. Nothing as personal as courtneyutt's.)
posted by dbrown
on Sep 20, 2007 -
images from the Vietnam war. Some photographers never made it out: Dana Stone
, Henri Huet
, Sean Flynn
Tim Page is still alive and his photos tell the story of 'Fire in the Jungle"
Several of these almost forgotten legends hung out at Franki's House
at one time or another.
Page, Stone and Flyn were all friends of Michael Herr who wrote about them and the war in Dispatches
which was widely acclaimed and acknowledged by Hunter S. Thompson as puts the rest of us in the shade
posted by adamvasco
on Aug 8, 2007 -
...By refusing to recognize or admit that the Vietnam War was from its inception primarily a civil war, and not part of a larger, centrally-directed international conspiracy, policymakers assumed that North Vietnam was, like the United States, waging a limited war, and therefore that it would be prepared to settle for something less than total victory (especially if confronted by military stalemate on the ground in the South and the threat of aerial bombardment of the North). In so making this assumption, policymakers not only ignored two millennia of Vietnamese history, but also excused themselves from confronting the harsh truth that civil wars are, for their indigenous participants, total wars, and that no foreign participant in someone else's civil war can possibly have as great a stake in the conflict's outcome--and attendant willingness to sacrifice--as do the indigenous parties involved.The Wrong War - Why We Lost in Vietnam
See also Who Lost Vietnam ?
See also Vietnam in Retrospect: Could We Have Won?
posted by y2karl
on Apr 18, 2007 -
"We wired the Ho Chi Minh Trail
like a drugstore pinball machine and plugged into it every night." From 1965 to 1975, telemetry from thousands of microphones hidden in remote Vietnam jungles were fed to a massive data processing center in Thailand, where an IBM System/360 [wiki]
mapped real-time Vietcong movements to display terminals. The details
of Project Igloo White remained compartmentalized and highly classified until only several years ago.
posted by rolypolyman
on May 22, 2006 -
"I've been silent long enough...
My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results." Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's former top operations officer, becomes the latest military insider to raise his voice against the "zealots" who led the US into war in Iraq. He writes in Time
magazine: "Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again... After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war." During the Vietnam war, such discontent among soldiers sparked a massive campaign of disobedience and peace activism (as well as, more darkly, fragging
) within the ranks, as recounted in a new documentary called Sir! No Sir!
Can it happen again? Ask the Soldiers for the Truth
posted by digaman
on Apr 9, 2006 -
Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq?
Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.
The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars
, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money
? Also see here
posted by digaman
on Feb 3, 2006 -
For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War
Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, is author of "Transformation of War" (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers. An interview
with Martin Van Creveld. See also Nowhere To Run
posted by y2karl
on Nov 29, 2005 -
- from the London Review of Books, a review of Jane Fonda’s War: A Political Biography of an Anti-war Icon
by Mary Hershberger.
So, what is the story behind Jane Fonda? You will find few people so reviled among macho warrior types. Back in the Depressingly Christian Private School (DCPS) that I went to, to hear some of the things she had been accused of you'd have thought she was the Whore of Babylon herself.
The truly interesting thing about this article isn't the discussion of the reality of Fonda's anti-war protesting measured against the myth, but as an illustration of the kind of pass-it-along info, whose truth is a matter of almost-scriptural faith, that serves as the conventional wisdom concerning the Left in the ill-educated backwaters that compose so much of our nation. This kind of thing is the political equivilent of the story of the midget who hanged himself on the set of The Wizard of Oz
Additional reading: the Snopes page on Jane Fonda
posted by JHarris
on Nov 13, 2005 -
For young deserters, refuge is hard to find
It seemed like a drastic but simple solution: a step over the border into a country that had offered sanctuary before to Americans fleeing their homeland.
Instead, the growing band of US soldiers who have sought political refuge in Canada after defying orders to serve in Iraq have found themselves in a political limbo.
posted by Postroad
on Apr 25, 2005 -
The argument I make in my book is that what I describe as the new American militarism arises as an unintended consequence of the reaction to the Vietnam War and more broadly, to the sixties... If some people think that the sixties constituted a revolution, that revolution produced a counterrevolution, launched by a variety of groups that had one thing in common: they saw revival of American military power, institutions, and values as the antidote to everything that in their minds had gone wrong. None of these groups — the neoconservatives, large numbers of Protestant evangelicals, politicians like Ronald Reagan, the so-called defense intellectuals, and the officer corps — set out saying, “Militarism is a good idea.” But I argue that this is what we’ve ended up with: a sense of what military power can do, a sort of deference to the military, and an attribution of virtue to the men and women who serve in uniform. Together this constitutes such a pernicious and distorted attitude toward military affairs that it qualifies as militarism. An interview with Andrew Bacevich
, international relations professor and former Army colonel, and author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
--and here is a review
. Recently by Bacevich: We Aren't Fighting to Win Anymore - U.S. troops in Iraq are only trying to buy time
posted by y2karl
on Feb 21, 2005 -
Ann Coulter and the facts on Vietnam Its nice seeing Ann Coulter squirm
. While being interviewed by the CBC's Bob McKeown, Coulter displayed her lack of historical knowledge on Canada's involvement (or lack of) in Vietnam. What's even more telling is her inability or refusal to back down even when she is dead wrong.
Here is the video
posted by mountainmambo
on Feb 1, 2005 -
The Curious Case of George's Medals.
Does this picture
contain a medal that GW Bush did not earn? All day at the Democratic Underground they've been congratulation themselves for finding the smoking gun. Is it really that easy? Acutally looking at a picture? Must the president *now* release his records to prove that he wasn't wearing a medal that isn't documented in any of his records?
posted by tsarfan
on Aug 23, 2004 -
"We were wrong, terribly wrong.
We owe it to future generations to explain why."
In The Fog of War
, a revelatory new documentary about his life and times, a disquieted Robert McNamara
implores us to understand why he did the things he did as an Air Force lieutenant colonel who helped plan
the firebombing of Japanese cities
in World War II
, and, later, as a secretary of defense and pivotal decision-maker during Vietnam
, which some Americans came to call "McNamara's War."
One of the movie's most powerful passages covers McNamara's little-known service in World War II, when he was attached to Gen. Curtis LeMay
's 21st Bomber Command stationed on the Pacific island of Guam. LeMay
's B-29s showered 67 Japanese cities with incendiary bombs in 1945, softening up the country for the two atomic blasts
to come. McNamara was a senior planning officer. Story by "Killing Fields"' Sydney Schanberg
in the American Prospect
posted by matteo
on Nov 12, 2003 -
Created by the CIA in Saigon in 1967, Phoenix
was a program aimed at "neutralizing"--through assassination, kidnapping, and systematic torture--the civilian infrastructure that supported the Viet Cong insurgency in South Vietnam. The CIA destroyed its copies of the documents related to this program, but the creator of Phoenix gave his personal copies to author Douglas Valentine. He, in turn, has given them to The Memory Hole
. They have never previously been published, online or in print. Via Politech
posted by gd779
on May 27, 2003 -
PeaceTrees Vietnam. Reversing the Legacy of War.
"A group of American volunteers, including Vietnam War veterans, helped Vietnamese victims of the war move Thursday into a newly built 'peace village'
on the site of a former U.S. Marine base. The 100 families who will live in the village lost relatives or limbs in explosions of bombs, shells or other ordnance left over from the war. PeaceTrees Vietnam, the Washington State-based nonprofit group which sponsored the $385,000 project, says it spent months digging out 339 pieces of ordnance both American and North Vietnamese to make the 100-acre site safe."
Beautiful project and story....but one can't help wonder how many years will pass before we reverse the legacies of today's (and tomorrow's) wars.
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on Sep 20, 2002 -
View the Wall.
Recently a group of photographers took photos of every name on the Vietnam Memorial, did some magic in Quicktime VR, and now you can search the entire wall virtually. Nothing is as good as actually being there, but this is a close second.
posted by jragon
on Jun 28, 2002 -
The Green Fields of Vietnam
There was an interesting program aired tonight on RTE (Irish TV), about Irish born soliders who fought in the Vietnam War. Although only one Irish born solider is officially listed as having been killed, there were 20 others, who gave their US address when they enlisted. It's believed that 2000 Irish born men served in that conflict (they had emigrated and a Greencard means you can be conscripted) but the vast majority of these remain unknown.
posted by tomcosgrave
on Apr 23, 2002 -