On What We Learn
July 11, 2019 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I watched the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary on Netflix last winter, and while there's plenty of horror and blame to go around, I left with the 10000% certainty that Richard Nixon was a goddamn war criminal.
posted by epersonae at 10:43 AM on July 11, 2019 [11 favorites]

"We learn nothing."

posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:27 PM on July 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

The new book by Max Hastings called Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy is rather good and balanced on blame. He doesn't have a lot of good to say about Nixon and Kissinger...

New York Times Review
posted by ndlxs at 3:17 PM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is probably about the time that my father's number came up. He'd been able to exempt himself for a few years because he was working for a military industry place, designing subs; but in early 1969 they cancelled that exemption. Somehow he and my mother found out that "well, us being married isn't an exemption because we don't have kids yet, but if we did..."

And so that is why I am about to be turning 50 next year instead of being about to turn 47 or something. The confirmation of my conception came after my father's number came up and while he was still waiting for notice of the date of his physical.

I learned when I was eight that I'd "saved" Dad like that, but it was presented as a miraculous coincidence instead of the planned thing it had been. Mom was terrified that if I found that out I'd think I wasn't really wanted. But on the contrary, my heart went out to them when I found that out - I saw my parents as a desperately young couple, terrified at the way the world was going mad, and hesitantly looking at each other and saying, "well, we knew we wanted kids someday, so...."

However, I also read about the kinds of things that my father didn't go through, and I admit that I feel a not insignificant amount of guilt.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:50 PM on July 11, 2019 [13 favorites]

Good article, thursdaystoo .
posted by doctornemo at 7:38 PM on July 11, 2019

Once you get that way you tend to stay that way.

It's never over.
posted by mule98J at 12:08 AM on July 12, 2019

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