Douglas Caddy

Ken Burns tackles the Vietnam War

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Comments made on Facebook about this article by John Newman:

John Newman: Unfortunately, Burns is apparently going to use the old coverup story that LBJ did not reverse JFK's withdrawal policy from Vietnam--in spite of the enormous about of documentation and taped White House conversations and the declassification of McNamara's secret Pentagon debrief. You can scroll back through my newsfeed about 5-6 weeks ago for the details about this.

 
John Newman
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John Newman Some of his other documentaries are pretty good, so this is mystifying. He did not contact Peter Dale Scott, James Galbraith, or myself about this--the three of us have published the most on the JFK-LBJ transition in Vietnam. So something doesn't seem quite right about this. The timing of his documentary is right at the time that the JFK remaining records are due to be released.

 

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10 minutes ago, Douglas Caddy said:

That Trump dig at the end of the article did nothing but infuriate Veterans in the comments section. How could they be so stupid to let that little, irrelevant diddy remain in that article? The divisiveness just escalates.

Cheers,

Michael

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I already saw Platoon with the Samuel Barber Adagio on the soundtrack, so I'll pass.

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Posted (edited)

Mike C

Maybe the dig did infuriate the veterans. But if they don't  actually  understand even to this day that they were pawns in a war they'd  never win then there's  nothing  more to say.

Kennedy  of all people  said in the 50s that the effort over there by the   French  was a losing  effort. Nothing including  dollars  guns and American  soldiers  was going  to  change  that.

PS I'm  allowed  to say this because  my brother in law served over there from 66-67.

Edited by Michael Walton

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, Douglas Caddy said:

Comments made on Facebook about this article by John Newman:

John Newman: Unfortunately, Burns is apparently going to use the old coverup story that LBJ did not reverse JFK's withdrawal policy from Vietnam--in spite of the enormous about of documentation and taped White House conversations and the declassification of McNamara's secret Pentagon debrief. You can scroll back through my newsfeed about 5-6 weeks ago for the details about this.

 
John Newman
Remove
John Newman Some of his other documentaries are pretty good, so this is mystifying. He did not contact Peter Dale Scott, James Galbraith, or myself about this--the three of us have published the most on the JFK-LBJ transition in Vietnam. So something doesn't seem quite right about this. The timing of his documentary is right at the time that the JFK remaining records are due to be released.

 

To John Newman, Peter Dale Scott, and Galbraith--and particularly to John, with whom I spent so many hours on his Vietnam manuscript (which was originally a Ph.D. thesis at George Washington); and who permitted me to blurb for him, on the back of the 1992 original hardcover edition (fellow blurb authors were Oliver Stone, Colby, and Scott): John basically did ground breaking work in unearthing a war conspiracy. My eyes were opened to the Vietnam situation--around 1967--by using the New York TImes Index, and seeing, right there in the public record, how the war had been methodically escalated starting about a month after Johnson's inauguration.  Presently, this is all "old hat," but at the time, it was amazing.  Then, of course, came the Pentagon Papers, in June 1971.  As far as I'm concerned, the next stop on this train of disclosures was John Newman's book in 1992.

Now let's turn to Ken Burns. . . :

I am reasonably familiar with Ken Burns, having had a multi-hour meeting with him in March 2007. 

The subject (of course) was the Kennedy assassination, and at issue was what role, if any, Burns might play in a making a movie using material from Best Evidence, both the book, and the already-existing documentary footage.

What a disappointment.  From personal experience, I can attest that Burns is completely contemptuous of conspiracy theories in the case of the Kennedy assassination.

He is (or at least "was.," at the time I met with him) a nasty, biased, arrogant, sarcastic lone nutter.

Given his attitude, i find it difficult to believe that he will meaningfully engage, in any way, on the debate about a post-assassination policy reversal in the area of Vietnam; yet that, at heart, is what the 60's was all about; and that is what is historically important.  Can any of us who study this area ever forget the pioneering work of Peter Dale Scott, and how he pieced together the genesis of policy reversal, within days of Kennedy's murder, from un-redacted sections of other documents?

Ken Burns is not a radical.  He sticks to what is safe, but "interesting."

His film about the the Brooklyn Bridge is a good example.

On that score, you can expect plenty of carefully crafted emotion about Vietnam (a great "tragedy" I'm sure he will intone), but little of substance when it comes to "policy reversal."

If Ken Burns could get funding for a film about vanilla ice cream, I'm sure he would make a multi-part documentary about that too.

Consequently--and now addressing Peter Dale Scott, and James Galbraith,and John Newman, all of whom  did pioneering writing in this area: do not expect to be interviewed at all-much less meaningfully interviewed--by this particular film maker.  Its just not going to happen. (And should that suddenly materialize, in some much-delayed fashion, be on guard about how the result is edited).

For further information, contact me at "dsl74@cornell.edu

DSL

4/3/2017; 3:50 a.m PDT

Los Angeles, California

 

Edited by David Lifton

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