I watched all 10 episodes and have them on my DVR and have watched some episodes a second time. It’s embarrassing how little i actually knew about the Vietnam war (and to give weight to the critics–how little i still know). I was born in 1973, so coming into consciousness about Vietnam was a lot like walking into a movie with 10 minutes left after all the important events had happened. And that really was my knowledge of the war, movies that provided a bunch of sound bytes and images that are several degrees removed from the horror of it all. “It was a police action” “It was a political war” “They didn’t want to win” and of course the girl with napalm on her skin.
After watching this documentary, i didn’t come away feeling any sort of sympathy or innocence for the American side. Just a feeling of disgust and realizing we haven’t learned a damned thing since, other than perhaps controlling the message “better”.
The Crocker family story with Moghie telling his family that if he were Vietnamese he’d be fighting for the North. If American “leadership” had any sincerity about our professed ideals, how different our foreign policy would look and how much tragedy would never occur.
They kept bringing up Westmoreland’s strategy of body count and crossover, the point where the number dying for the North was greater than the rate at which the NVA and NLF could replace those numbers. So morbid, but made clear to me the “logic” of what was going on in movies (and battles) like “Hamburger Hill.” For the Americans, the war wasn’t about real estate, it was all about making “contact” with the NVA to waste them. If that doesn’t convince everyone that the American political class is populated by a bunch of ghouls, there is no hope for us.
If there was a protagonist at all at the top, he was Ho Chi Minh. That’s the main takeaway for me from the documentary, that Ho Chi Minh was Vietnam’s right and legitimate leader, a national hero. The rest of the documentary underscored how infantile Americans are with our Red Scare and the horrible things we do to make it all go away. We kill millions all because we can’t stop pissing in our pants.