‘The Vietnam War’ documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick sparked great debate among those of my generation and not least of all with my former Army buddies. This Post is adapted from correspondance I had with one of my friends from Charlie Company.
Vergangenheitsbewätigung (the word the Germans use for their work on coming to terms with what they did and atoning for the sins of their fathers)
A lot has been made of Donald Trump’s refusal to serve in the military during the Vietnam War. As a wealthy young man, he probably knew much better than we Grunts did, what that war was all about. At the same time, when Muhammad Ali died this year, little was made in the mainstream media about his refusal to serve when he said: “I got nothing against the Viet Cong. No Vietnamese ever called me nigger.” 1 The major reason for this is the US has never drawn the right conclusions on that war even though the military did.
Visas just seem to be a money making scheme for the Cambodians while for the Vietnamese it is an exercise in sadism.
The Hmong are a fiercely independent people who see Vietnamese profiteers moving in on their land as a threat. But the biggest threat to their way of life is probably tourism.
In which the Vietnamese try to destroy my prejudice and I search for the war that, as a young soldier, I could not support.