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Tue Jul 22, 2014, 12:37 AM

Why America Lost the Vietnam War [View all]

Two incidents: the first violent student protest and an ambush that the army lied about, the media lied about... but that was the direct result of pressure for results and a culture that does not allow questioning higher-ranking officers. Both follow events of Oct. 17, 1967 - the Battle of Ong Thanh and the University of Wisconsin protest of Dow (maker of Napalm) recruitment on campus.

I thought this doc was interesting for a few reasons.

1. It highlights issues that are still issues - class-based opportunities and how that forms views of people - the college kids had nice cars, were not looking at going to war, some of them were "other" - i.e. Jewish/New Yorkers, not from Wisconsin. They thought they needed to stop any show of support for anyone associated with the war.

The police - and the kids who went to Vietnam, were working class, did not have an expectation of college after high school - and the privilege of those in college seemed like an insult to the working-class "choices" in life.

2. The anger of the soldiers - at their commanding officers, at the "choices" they didn't have as soldiers - and the anger toward those who were in college who never knew what those soldiers faced.

All this contrasted with what the North Vietnamese thought about the battle, and the truth that is the first casualty of war.

Based upon the book, They Marched Into Sunlight (Pulitzer nominee in 2004), by David Maraniss.

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