Vietnam War documentary series

I originally intended to watch the entire 10-episode series of Ken Burns’s The Vietnam War documentary on Netflix before we departed for Vietnam in December, but I wasn’t able to. I got only to the first two episodes, but that was already enough to fill me with angst. It’s quite sad that the Vietnam War is not taught in depth the way it should be in American schooling because so much of it is misunderstood by the American people, particularly when you think about the actual rational of the U.S. government to enter the war and continue to be a part of it. So much was either not shared to the American people, or felt out lied about to the American public. Many South Vietnamese, including my own mother (well, there’s some bias here since she ended up marrying an American soldier), think that the Americans were a blessing to the Vietnamese people in entering this war, that their reason to come was to save them. But as revealed in this documentary, that was actually the very last, and the least weighted reason, for the U.S. to enter the war. The number one reason was to prove internationally the American superiority, the American prowess over the world. The very last documented reason was to save the South Vietnamese people.

All the bombs that were repeatedly dropped on North Vietnam were done without the American public knowing about it. They were never informed. It was never covered in the news. So when a reporter from The New York Times came and actually witnessed this happening and reported it, so many Americans refused to believe it was actually true. But it was. This is the kind of thing that makes me so angry — a government trying to assert its authority and trying to come off as though they are peace-seeking, doing something selflessly, when in reality it is 100 percent motivated by selfishness, and carried out in total deception. How can anyone in their right mind see the facts of the Vietnam War and still believe that the actions of the U.S. government were justified? How can you lie to the people you govern over and then try to justify it? How can you commit so many war crimes and somehow manage to continue to be fully absolved from them to this day? These are the moments where it is so clear that life is unfair and that the worst of the worst never seem to get what they deserve. There is no ‘learning from your mistakes’ here. It’s just mistakes over mistakes, repeatedly.

I also say this as someone who would not be here today if the Vietnam War never happened, if the U.S. never participated in it. But it still makes me more angry beyond comprehension.

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