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Ken Burns, Lynn Novic, and The Vietnam War

If you did not get a chance to watch Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novic’s masterful The Vietnam War, be sure to stream it now before it goes away for awhile.  Links to the program follow at the end of this post but you won’t be able to stream it for much longer.  Don’t miss the very first episode.  It provides so much historical back ground.

My two favorite take-aways from that film (a ten-episode event, not all of which were a full two hours) are these.

From Episode 05: “This is What We Do (July 1967–December 1967),” minutes 49:44 to 50:36.

Karl Marlantes, a former I.S. Marine, discussed his experience.

One of the things I learned in the war is that we’re not the top species on the planet because we’re nice.  We are a a very aggressive species.  it is in us.  And people talk a lot about how the military turns, you know, kids into, you know, killing machines and stuff and … I’ll always argue that its just finishing school.  What we do with civilization is that we learn to inhibit and rope in these aggressive tendencies and we have to recognize them.  I worry about a whole country that doesn’t recognize it because it you think about how many times we get ourselves in scrapes as a nation because we’re always the good guys.  Sometimes i think if we thought we weren’t always the good guys we might actually get in less wars.

From Episode 07:  “The Veneerer of Civilization (June 1968–May 1969),” minutes 1:11:32 to 1:12:46.

Nguyen Ngoc, from the North Vietnamese Army, is featured.

When a soldier goes to the front and kills his first enemy, he’s really afraid.  He’s really afraid because to kill someone is terrifying.  But then you get used to it.  War awakens a savagery in people.  I was in the jungle a long time.  Animals aren’t that savage.  Tigers aren’t that savage.  Tigers kill when they need to eat.  But people don’t kill each other because they are hungry.  When people kill and mutilate, that’s the savagery of war.

Now for the links.  Any one of the following should work to access, at least for awhile, Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novic’s The Vietnam War.

http://www.pbs.org/show/vietnam-war/ or here



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