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  1. #27
    BamaNation Hall of Fame GrayTide's Avatar
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    Quote Originally Posted by gtowntide View Post
    I served there and I totally salute you for this stance. No one needs to die needlessly so politicians can pat themselves on the back and sell the country that we're winning when they knew we weren't.
    While I did not serve in Vietnam I was on active duty in the Navy from 1970-1972. I lost a couple of childhood friends in Vietnam and I often think how senseless their sacrifice was and it makes me sick. I remember my first visit to the "Wall" and seeing their names, it was an emotional and sobering experience to say the least. History has a unique way of repeating itself and the lessons our leaders did not learn from Vietnam are now being repeated in Iraq and Afghanistan. SMH.
    "My momma always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on." Forrest Gump

    "The past is never dead. It's not even past." William Faulkner

    "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but never preserved except in memory LLAP" Leonard Nimoy

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  3. #28
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Bamaro's Avatar
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayTide View Post
    While I did not serve in Vietnam I was on active duty in the Navy from 1970-1972. I lost a couple of childhood friends in Vietnam and I often think how senseless their sacrifice was and it makes me sick. I remember my first visit to the "Wall" and seeing their names, it was an emotional and sobering experience to say the least. History has a unique way of repeating itself and the lessons our leaders did not learn from Vietnam are now being repeated in Iraq and Afghanistan. SMH.
    Notice the title of the 1st episode - Deja Vu. We repeated the failures of the French.

  4. #29
    BamaNation All-American rolltide_21's Avatar
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    I’m just now getting to watch this. It is excellent.I was ignorant of the conflict with the French and Vietnam before our conflict. They wanted independence from colonialism. We were fighting a losing battle from the start. I also didn’t realize we were allies with Ho Chi Mein during WW2 and he saw us accordingly. I loved the title for the first episode- “deja vu”. I’m looking forward to the rest of the episodes. I’m not well studied about the Vietnam War and this is very informative. Thank you for the recommendation.


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  5. #30
    BamaNation Hall of Fame GrayTide's Avatar
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    It seems that while the WH and its cabinet wanted America to believe we were at war with communism (which was a popular fall back position at the time) we were at war with nationalism a much stronger force than communism. The government of South Vietnam then was as crooked as our government is now. We never learn anything from our mistakes, and sadly never will. Don't know how much time I have left, but I will never trust the U.S. government on anything.
    "My momma always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on." Forrest Gump

    "The past is never dead. It's not even past." William Faulkner

    "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but never preserved except in memory LLAP" Leonard Nimoy

  6. #31
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    Quote Originally Posted by Bamaro View Post
    Notice the title of the 1st episode - Deja Vu. We repeated the failures of the French.
    The first few minutes of the movie, We Were Soldiers Once touches on that, and references Dien Bien Phu. It's a good history lesson. Fair warning, though...it's a brutal opening, not at all suitable for kids.

    As several posters have mentioned deja vu, a few years after the events of Ia Drang (WWSO's subject matter) we came within a gnat's eyelash of reprising the French failure at DBP with one of our own at Khe Sanh.
    You can't reason a man out of a position he didn't reason himself into.

  7. #32
    BamaNation All-American rolltide_21's Avatar
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonTheory View Post
    War is hell.
    Hell is other people.

    Indeed.
    You’re exactly right. One of the N. Vietnamese soldiers in the first episode stated something which was very powerful, “The one’s who debate who ‘won’ are the ones who didn’t fight in it.”

    That will stick with me especially when political pundits and politicians start discussing if we are “winning” a war.


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  8. #33
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Bamaro's Avatar
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    Quote Originally Posted by 4Q Basket Case View Post
    The first few minutes of the movie, We Were Soldiers Once touches on that, and references Dien Bien Phu. It's a good history lesson. Fair warning, though...it's a brutal opening, not at all suitable for kids.

    As several posters have mentioned deja vu, a few years after the events of Ia Drang (WWSO's subject matter) we came within a gnat's eyelash of reprising the French failure at DBP with one of our own at Khe Sanh.
    Khe Sanh was indicative of the futility and waste of the entire war. After fiercely defending the base at Khe Sanh and actually winning and ending the months long siege, we quickly decided to abandon the base anyway. As is shown in this series, we did similar over and over during this war capturing hills and then quickly abandoning them (as with Hamburger Hill). All of this done at great cost of life, suffering and money.

  9. #34
    BamaNation All-American rolltide_21's Avatar
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    Quote Originally Posted by Bamaro View Post
    Khe Sanh was indicative of the futility and waste of the entire war. After fiercely defending the base at Khe Sanh and actually winning and ending the months long siege, we quickly decided to abandon the base anyway. As is shown in this series, we did similar over and over during this war capturing hills and then quickly abandoning them (as with Hamburger Hill). All of this done at great cost of life, suffering and money.
    History Channel’s Vietnam in HD spends an entire episode on this. It was the first war not about territory but about body count. We would take a hill, leave, and then the VC would retake it. “Search and destroy” was a costly strategy which led to failure.


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  10. #35
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    Re: Ken Burns' "Vietnam War" series on PBS

    Several thoughts here.

    Frustrating though it seems, the abandonment of hard-won ground wasn’t really the sign of futility in Vietnam that it would have been in other wars. Bear with me, because the reason requires some background.

    Here’s the deal: We often hear that the American Army never had the support of “the people” in that war. Given the protests and civil unrest back at home during that time, many today naturally assume that it’s referring to the American people.

    That’s not right.

    What kept us from winning was not the lack of unified support at home. It was that we never had the consensus support of the Vietnamese people.

    Those people had been subjugated for decades if not centuries. Whether the knife is held by a Chinese, or a French Colonialist, or a Maoist Communist, or an American capitalist, it doesn’t really matter if the blade is a half-inch from your carotid.

    So to a lot of the populace, especially the rural populace, we were just the latest in a long string of outsiders.

    That has military implications because it meant we were forever fighting guerilla actions in our rear. Actually, that’s not exactly right, because there were no “lines” in the traditional sense. So there was neither a front nor a rear. Essentially, the enemy was both everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

    Complicating matters, were they exceedingly difficult to identify. Distinguishing non-combatants from folks trying to kill you was virtually impossible. Age (young or old), sex, and outward appearances were meaningless.

    What they weren’t was stupid.

    They knew they couldn’t win pitched battles with any consistency. So they used ambushes and booby traps to create paranoia and constant – as in 24 / 7 / 365 – tension with our troops. Then, after a firefight (which my friends who were there tell me was often a release and respite from the tension), the enemy would just evaporate into the countryside.

    They tell me it was like trying to catch smoke in your hands.

    So the objective was not to hold ground, as was the case in most previous wars. The objective in Vietnam was to kill opposing soldiers. And we were pretty dang good at it.

    Which finally brings me back around to the idea that abandoning ground -- after killing several thousand of the enemy -- wasn't inconsistent with a winning strategy.

    Look, I'm not defending everything our leaders did. We clearly mismanaged the war on several fronts – never really defined what “victory” would be and we hamstrung our military efforts by putting geographical restrictions on ourselves that our enemies didn’t have.

    In a well-meaning limitation on time in-country, we inadvertently changed the objective of the individual soldier from winning the war with his buddies (as it had been for all previous wars) to simply surviving, alone if necessary, for 365 days.

    But none of those mistakes would have mattered if we’d had the support of the Vietnamese people. Which we didn’t.

    My personal favorite quote about the American era in Vietnam was spoken during the final days of the American presence by a North Vietnamese colonel.

    An American delegation was in Hanoi negotiating the treaty.

    One of our colonels was speaking with a North Vietnamese colonel. The American commented, “You know, you never beat us in a pitched battle.”

    To which his adversary replied, “That is true. It is also irrelevant.”

    I’ve used that line in all sorts of contexts ever since I heard it.
    Last edited by 4Q Basket Case; October 13th, 2017 at 01:21 PM.
    You can't reason a man out of a position he didn't reason himself into.

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