Does the Burns documentary tell the full story…accurately?
Beginning September 17, 2017, PBS (Oregon Public Broadcasting here) will air the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick series on the American war on Vietnam or as they call it, “The Vietnam War.”
Based on the film trailers and interviews with Mr. Burns, it appears that he will paper over some of the worst foreign policy decisions, lies intended to deceive the American public, and military atrocities ever commited by the US government.
The Corvallis Linus Pauling Chapter joins many other VFP chapters across the country to push back against the Burns narrative by conducting a public forum on October 4 to discuss what could have been more accurately represented and how to create a more enduring, accurate record of the war. See the flier for that forum at the bottom of this page and please visit our Facebook event, especially if you are near Corvallis and can participate and invite your friends to do so.
We are led in this effort by several VFP Vietnam veterans who have compiled a list of initial talking points for use while watching and discussing the documentary series. The cover letter for those talking points follows here and this is a link to the full talking points paper.
VFP Talking Points
August 20, 2017
To VFP members:
[Follow this link to] PBS’ brief descriptions of the 10 episodes along with concise, documented talking points you can use when participating in local PBS panels, making public statements or doing news interviews. In addition to the brief talking points and discussion questions, we’ve provided excerpts from important publications that provide deeper insight and further documentation.
This paper will help you authoritatively address issues raised in the PBS series and answer fundamental questions about the war, such as:
• What was the US motive?
• What was the motive of the Vietnamese enemy?
• Did the US mistakenly stumble into the war?
• Were US intentions honorable?
• Who was most responsible for the suffering of the civilian population?
• Why did the US lose?
• What are the basic lessons of the war?
VFP’s role in this national discussion is extremely important.
We need to explain that VFP, and hopefully much of the nation, is moving beyond the important but noncontroversial “healing and reconciliation” suggested by Burns’ and Novick’s series to an understanding that we must face uncomfortable truths that will challenge the myth that America is exceptional and always on the good side [emphasis added]. If those truths are ignored, any discussions on Vietnam will be hollow. Review VFP’s Statement of Purpose. It will help guide your discussions.
VFP has created a second set of talking points, not to replace those above, but to augment them.
This project is bigger than a documentary series.
The US government is conducting a series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war. You can be sure, with #45 in the White House, the history of the war will be revised significantly. This may be the last chance for Vietnam veterans to set history and future generations straight on what really went down.
Veterans For Peace also produces a newspaper called Vietnam Full Disclosure, which has just been updated. It is available for download and purchase here and will be available in hard copy at our October 4th Corvallis forum.
The Vietnam Full Disclosure site is a great resource with the most recent updates on the Burns film, news, and historical data.
If you would like to engage more fully in the Vietnam Full Disclosure discussion, please join the Full Disclosure google group by logging into a valid Google account, visiting the group here, and asking to join. They are very responsive.
Use the hashtag, #VietnamTruths.
Flier for the Corvallis forum, October 4, 2017: