PBS’s Vietnam series doesn’t look very closely or critically at the US government’s motives there, according to Vietnam veteran Eric Margolis. From Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
Much of America, including yours truly, has been watching the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series, ‘Vietnam.’ Instead of clarifying that confusing conflict, the series has ignited fiery controversy and a lot of long-repressed anger by soft-soaping Washington’s motives.
This march to folly in Vietnam is particularly painful for me since I enlisted in the US army at the height of the war. Gripped by youthful patriotism, I strongly supported the war. In fact, the TV series even showed a pro-war march down New York’s Fifth Avenue that I had joined. Talk about déjà vu.
At the time, 1967, the Cold War was at full force. We really believed that if the US did not make a stand in Vietnam the Soviets and Chinese would overrun all of South Asia.
No one in Washington seemed to know that China and the Soviet Union had split and become bitter enemies. As ever, our foreign human intelligence was lousy. We didn’t understand that Vietnam deserved independence after a century of French colonialism. Or that what happened in Vietnam was of little importance to the rest of the world.
Three American presidents blundered into this war or prolonged it, then could not back out lest they lose face and risk humiliation. I don’t for a moment believe that the ‘saintly’ President John Kennedy planned to end the war but was assassinated by dark, rightwing forces, as is claimed. This is a charming legend. Richard Nixon, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson all feared that a withdrawal from Vietnam would lose them the next election. Republicans were still snarling over ‘who lost China’.
The current 17-year old US war in Afghanistan has uncanny resemblances to the Vietnam War. In Kabul and Saigon, the US installed puppet governments that command no loyalty except from minority groups. They were steeped in drugs and corruption, and kept in power by intensive use of American air power. As in Vietnam, the US military and civilian effort in Afghanistan is led by a toxic mixture of deep ignorance and imperial arrogance.
To continue reading: Vietnam Déjà Vu