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And yep, there’s Dylan, a hippie chick with flowers, grunts in the jungle, Marlboro hard packs and M-16s at the ready. No, wait, it’s one of those balanced documentaries.
Burns treats us to the trope-ish story of Ho Chi Minh foolishly writing fan letters to American presidents over the years, starting way back with Woodrow Wilson at the end of WWI, thinking the American love of freedom, ye olde tale of democracy, the experience as fellow colonialists—all of which should have bonded the United States to his side over the imperialist French. There’s also a bunch of actual Vietnamese interviewed in Burns’ movie, albeit disproportionately far too many identified as formerly of the “South Vietnamese Army.” The For the Americans in the audience, there’s also a dollop of “Vietnam as a test of manhood/the test of manhood is actually a metaphor for broken American dreams of the 20th century.” Burns had no choice with this one, as it is required as much as the shots of Saigon prostitutes in their tight ao dai’s.
"The hailstorm crushed most of the corn, and about 70 hectares [173 acres] of plum trees that were near harvest time dropped their fruit prematurely.
Seedlings at tree nurseries were also severely damaged," said Nguyen Dinh Diep, vice chairman of Pac Nam District.
He is too easy on the politicians who cynically manipulated the public, he is too easy on the bulk of the media who gleefully participated in the manipulation (everything short of proclaiming WMDs in Hanoi), too easy on individual soldiers who took advantage of lax leadership to, in historian Nick Turse’s Burns drinks too deeply from the cup of “hate the war, not the warrior.” Deaths were committed because of a policy that demanded body counts—the number of “enemy” killed—as the borderless war’s only metric of accomplishment. Burns indeed lets all of us off too easy: Us, the American people, the voters, the spectators, the ones who bought the epic story that Vietnam was a struggle between two great forces for the soul of civilization, Communism versus Freedom.
We let Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon lie to us about the war, then let five successive modern presidents, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner (Kissinger also won the Peace Prize for ending the war he first helped prolong) lie to us about Iraq in a spin of our illusion of invincibility and moral rightness.
Burns tried to be all things to all people, while failing at the most important task, making history valuable to the present.
The condition is expected to bring rain to the Red River Delta, including Hanoi.
doesn’t try very hard, he can’t be blamed for failing as a filmmaker even if he had. There are too many Vietnam Wars to accurately portray in a documentary, even one 18 hours long. But Burns’ real failure is not as a documentarian per se, it is one of courage., showing war footage in reverse, so bombs return to their mother ship’s belly, rockets are sucked out of the bush back onto helicopters, and, in case the point wasn’t clear yet, the 1st Cav walks backwards onto their Hueys and departs the rice paddy.