1027 – Vietnam Vet Bob Baker’s take on The Vietnam War doc


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W.R. (Bob) Baker

Episode 1027 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature another opinion about Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic documentary The Vietnam War. This particular show viewpoint comes from a Vietnam Veteran well qualified in experience and education to make an astute assessment of the thimblerig game pulled off by messrs. Burns and Novick with their documentary.

W.R. (Bob) Baker submitted his opinion in a piece published in The Small Wars Journal blog titled: The Documentary “The Vietnam War”: Artistic License as History. He served in Vietnam in 1971as a 96B/Intelligence Analyst assigned to the 525th MI Group headquartered in Da Nang. That was followed by assignments at Fort Bliss, Texas, two tours with the European Defense Analysis Center (EUDAC) in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany; and finally the 513th MI Group in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

After service in the Army he worked as an analyst for Interstate Electronics, Northrop-Grumman and Xontec defense contractors then became a teacher in Maryland primary and secondary schools. Baker has a bachelor of science degree in Government from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton. He has authored articles about the Easter Offensive in Vietnam during 1972 where it is estimated the NVA forces lost 75,000 soldiers and 250 to 700 tanks. He is currently writing a book on this subject.

With these qualifications in mind it is the opinion of this writer Baker’s comments carry much weight. He not only served in country as an intelligence analyst in the military the documentary was furcating but he has continued studying the war in later years.

His opinion is radically opposed to those of the many cupcakes who are in complete agreement with the documentary’s conclusion that the North Vietnamese were a bunch of innocent choir boys and the US were losers and totally wrong.

Listen to episode 1027 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast and discover the accurate assessment of the documentary by someone who knows the truth.

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1026 – Vietnam Vet Blaine Taylor opines on The Vietnam War program


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Blaine Taylor

Episode 1026 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature the opinion Vietnam Vet Blaine Taylor toward Ken Burns’ documentary The Vietnam War. Taylor’s thoughts on the program were presented in a piece provided to the  Maryland Reporter website titled: Vietnam TV series veered leftward, siding with Communist winners and anti-war movement.

Taylor is well qualified to offer a accurate and well thought out description of the program. In 1972 he earned a BA in history from Towson University. He received training at the US Army Infantry School, Ft. Benning, GA, 1966; US Army Jungle & Guerilla Warfare Training Center, HI, 1965; Basic Training, Ft. Jackson, SC, 1965 and Advanced Infantry Training, Ft. Dix, NJ, 1965.

He served with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in the Vietnam War in 1966-67 and was awarded 12 medals and decorations, including Combat Infantryman’s Badge/CIB. After he service in Vietnam with the US Army, he became a published author, magazine editor and freelance writer. He has also worked in banking, retail sales, advertising, public relations.

Like many other Vietnam Veterans he watched the entire ten episodes of the documentary and came away with the opinion Burns and Novick “veered leftward, siding with the Communist winners and the anti-war crowd.” He felt the two producers were tilting the program series toward the more malleable under 50 crowd, figuring they concluded the older generations had already firmed up their attitudes toward the war.

Taylor said this about the program: “thus, the North Vietnamese veterans were uniformly portrayed as valiant freedom fighters who won, American veterans depicted as having turned against their own war, and U.S. anti-war movement members, draft-dodgers, and those who left our country also being right. Those of us who fought it as a war worth waging were wrong.”

Listen to episode 1026 of this podcast to discover Taylor’s thoughtful viewpoint of what should really be focused on when looking at the Vietnam War itself.

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1025 – Five biggest lies about Vietnam exposed

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Don’t be taken in by Lies about the Vietnam War

Episode 1025 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be an exposure of five of the biggest myths (lies) about the Vietnam War. It is the opinion of this writer the forces against the efforts being made by the US in Vietnam to stand up against the rise of world communism put out false information to back up their point of view. Unfortunately much of that false information has become ingrained into many as true facts.

Even the recently aired epic documentary by Ken Burns and his partner Lynn Novick The Vietnam War helped perpetuate some of the most popular misconceptions about the War. To help correct some of these misconceptions, Lan Cao has stepped up to the plate and has knocked five of these low hanging curve balls out of the park.

She is well qualified for the job. Born in Saigon in 1961, she grew up in nearby Cholon. In 1975 upon the fall of Saigon she was taken to Avon, Connecticut where she lived with an American family. Cao received her B.A. in political science from Mount Holyoke College in 1983 and a law degree from Yale Law School. After law school graduation, she worked as a litigation and corporate attorney at a NYC law firm. She also clerked for a federal judge, Constance Baker Motley of the Southern District of New York.
Recently she provided and opinion piece to the Washington Post titled: Five myths about the Vietnam War. In it she addressed and dismantled five popular untruths about the war.

They included:

1. The Viet Cong was just a rag tag group of restless youth.

2. The refugees who came to the U.S. were Vietnam’s elite.

3. American soldiers were mostly draftees and uneducated.

4. The VC took over the U.S. Embassy in the Tet Offensive.

5. South Vietnamese soldiers were unwilling and unable to fight.

Listen to episode 1025 of this podcast to discover the real story about these myths about the Vietnam War.

1024 – The Vietnamese – Cambodian War comments


Ken Burns, The Vietnam War, vietnam veteran news, mack payneIn this episode 1024 of the Vietnam Veteran News the final part of the epic documentary The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick will be reviewed. Finally it is over, the 10th part in the eighteen hour ten part program has been aired to the public on PBS. The feeling it leaves a watcher is similar to that of a person who just regurgitated a spoiled seafood platter supper. It was a difficult process during the upchuck but when it was over you feel better.

That’s how I felt after watching the concluding episode. It was over and we moved on. The program started out with a salute to Everett Alvarez, the first American pilot shot down in the war. He survived in a North Vietnamese prison until 1973. Then it was mentioned many of the POW marriages fell apart after the happy reunions.

The fall of South Vietnam to the North was covered in sadly excruciating detail. The outgunned ARVN’s fought as best they could against the stronger NVA but to no avail. It was a sorry spectacle seeing what happens to a US ally who gets cut off by their benefactor Uncle Sam.

Vietnam was reunited but ruined and then to pour gas on the fire the dominate North Vietnamese installed a communist form or government and economic system. No surprise – within ten years their economy was in shambles and the country was on the verge of starvation. Wisely after the old line communist leaders died off, the pragmatists initiated the Doi Moi program. Essentially they scrapped the communist economic framework and installed a free market system and the country never looked back. Today Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

Another fascinating item mentioned on the final program was the Vietnam – Cambodia War. It is largely unknown to most Americans and it cost the Vietnamese more than 50,000 soldiers according to Burns and Novick.

Listen to episode 1024 of this podcast to get the full story about both the wars Vietnam fought with Cambodia and China after the American War.

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1023 – Mack Payne’s take on Show 9 of The Vietnam War documentary


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Episode 1023 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be a full blown and nothing else but a review of Part 9 of the Burns and Novick epic documentary, The Vietnam War. In this show part Burns and Novick take the lid off the Vietnam War septic tank and throws it away. A lot of unsavory topics were aired. This will become evident when the show topics are reviewed.

The show ended with an upbeat story covering the release of the POWs with all its happiness, glee and relief. Finally the prisoners were released. Some had been in the Hanoi Hilton for many years including the Air Force pilot who had been held since 1964. It was uplifting to see the happy reunions of families and loved ones.

The rest of the show was on the unsavory side. Here is what else Burns and Novick chose to feature:

  1. War protesters – They pointed out how the protesters back during the Vietnam War made today’s dissenters demanding safe spaces on college campuses and Black Lives Matter carping about perceived police brutality look tame in comparison. Hopefully the latter day protesters don’t imitate those of the Vietnam Era.
  2. The Pentagon Papers – Is there nothing sacred anymore? Daniel Ellsberg and his cohorts don’t believe so as indicated in his decision to steal and release the top secret report on the Vietnam War.
  3. President Nixon – Of course they had to bash Nixon as a crass self serving politician who cared about nothing other than his reelection. They did have to grudgingly give him credit for opening up ties with Communist China and building better relations with the Soviet Union.
  4. Agent Orange – No critical review of the Vietnam War would be complete without a condemnation of our use of our despicable use of the deadly defoliant known as Agent Orange.
  5. Operation Linebacker I and II – These operations involved the heavy use of massive B-52 bomber attacks that turned out to be extremely effective.
  6. The Burned Girl – The iconic image of young Kim Phuc running naked and badly burned after being hit with napalm by a South Vietnamese Sky Raider pilot can never be forgotten.
  7. Jane Fonda – What else can you say when it comes to depressing topics related to the Vietnam War. She has to rank at the top of that list.

Don’t miss Part 10, the final installment of this epic documentary.

Listen to episode 1023 for the full review of the 9th installment of The Vietnam War.

1022 – Pensacola Vietnam Vets are watching War PBS documentary show

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Vietnam Army veteran Ron Smith shows off a replica of the 5-ton gun truck on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, that he built based on the one he drove while serving in Vietnam.(Photo: Tony Giberson/tgiberson@pnj.com)

Episode 1022 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will be a continuation of the discussion about Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic documentary, The Vietnam War, currently being aired on PBS TV. Part 8 of the 10 part program covered numerous topics that were mostly of a down lifting nature.

They included:

  1. POWs both in the Hanoi Hilton and these unlucky enough to be held south of the DMZ.
  2. Hamburger Hill which brought up the question of why would we fight so hard for a piece of real estate and then leave as soon as we took the place.
  3. The Vietnamization policy which the show put forth as being only a ploy by President Nixon to get out of Vietnam with honor.
  4. The Woodstock rock festival.
  5. The ugly side of Race relations in Vietnam.
  6. The terrible practice of “fragging” where soldiers were killing their officers.
  7. The tortured peace talks in Paris.
  8. The death of Ho Chi Minh.
  9. Violent anti-war protests.
  10. The My Lai incident where Lt Calley and his heroes murdered over 100 villagers.
  11. The incursion into the Kingdom of Cambodia.
  12. The Kent State riots where three students were killed by gunfire from National Guard troops.

It would be safe to assume Part 8 of the series was on the depressing side. Despite the hard hitting effects of the documentary, veterans seem to be watching it in droves. A story in The Pensacola News Journal Titled: ‘Painful to watch:’ Veterans keep close eye on new PBS documentary on Vietnam War which was submitted by Melissa Nelson Gabriel (mnelsongab@pnj.com) veterans in the Pensacola are watching every episode with interest.

Listen to episode 1022 and discover what Pensacola area Vietnam Veterans Lenny Collins, Steve Hatfield, Clif “Spanky” Graf and Ron Smith have to say about the program and their thoughts about the war.

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1021 – A Brit’s viewpoint on Ken Burns’ documentary The Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War. Photograph: BBC

Episode 1021 of the podcast Vietnam Veteran News will feature a Brit’s opinion of Ken Burns’ epic documentary The Vietnam War. It comes in a story titled: The Vietnam War: terror, heartbreak and helicopters ablaze in an epic documentary that was submitted by Mark Lawson. The lead sentence in his story gives a fairly good idea what his opinion is of the epic documentary: “It’s rare for someone who makes TV documentaries to become the subject of one. But earlier this year, Tom Hanks hosted a tribute show called Ken Burns: America’s Storyteller. Colleagues, historians and even presidents praised the work of a film-maker who has consistently encouraged Americans to look to their past.”

He pointed out that the Vietnam War was the first one to be televised and that thanks to the heroic actions of the Prime Minister at the time, Harold Wilson, who opted out on the US invitation to join in the fray could watch the war with a historical disinterest.

More than likely, the real reason the Brits declined to enter the War was because they had just ended their own ten year war against Communist insurgents in The Malayan Emergency and were tired of the whole insurgent war thing. By the way it was called an emergency rather than a war because Lloyds of London would not pay damages for a war. Another interesting little tidbit about the British war in the Malay Peninsula was that they were the first to use a jungle defoliant which later gained fame in the Vietnam Was with its new name – Agent Orange.

Lawson provided a well thought out description of the documentary and pointed out several techniques used by Burns and his creative partner Lynn Novick. One for example was their persistent even-handedness.

Listen to the entire episode number 1021 and discovery the full report of The Vietnam War by a reporter with a British point of view from The Guardian.

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1020 – Vietnam and Afghanistan – Sameo Sameo


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The second wave of combat helicopters of the 1st Air Cavalry Division fly over American troops on an isolated landing zone during Operation Pershing, during the Vietnam War.

Episode 1020 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will examine some of the amazing similarities of the Vietnam War and The Soviet Union foray into Afghanistan. The vehicle for this examination will be a story by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept website titled: Ken Burns Says the Vietnam War Was “Begun in Good Faith.” So Was Every Other Lousy War. Schwarz worked for Michael Moore’s Dog Eat Dog Films and was Research Producer for Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.” He’s contributed to many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and Slate, as well as NPR and “Saturday Night Live.” In 2003 he collected on a $1,000 bet that Iraq would have no weapons of mass destruction.

With that in mind we will proceed with the consideration of his conviction the leaders of both nations committed the same fatal mistakes in their decision to go to war on behalf of a client state. In the upcoming final episode of Ken Burns’ “Vietnam War” it will be concluded: “The Vietnam War was a tragedy, immeasurable and irredeemable.” At this, Schwarz states “despite the voluminous evidence the series itself provides, it turns out the Vietnam War was not a crime, nor a malefaction, nor an abomination. It was merely a tragedy, as the directors also say twice in a New York Times op-ed.”

He is leery of Burns and Novick’s supposition about the good faith of the decent Americans who devastated Vietnam. He dug into the Soviet archives for background information about that country’s incursion into Afghanistan back in the 1980″s and found some eye opening revelations. He makes some very interesting opinions as to the motivation of the Soviets.

Listen to episode 1020 and discover the amazing things Schwarz discovered about eerie similarities between American and Soviet actions in war.

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1019 – Ugly features of the Vietnam War


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The Vietnam War, writes Freeman, “must be remembered and condemned for the debacle it actually was.” (Image: vietnamfulldisclosure.org)

Episode 1019 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature the opinions of Robert Freeman expressed in a story he submitted to the Common Dreams website titled: There Is No Rehabilitating the Vietnam War. Thanks to the showing of Ken Burns epic documentary The Vietnam War, there has been a great deal of discussion about the war and Freeman’s opining is a part of that discussion.

In his Common Dreams story, Freeman is making the case that The Vietnam War was “one of the greatest American foreign policy disasters of the twentieth century.” By the way, he writes about economics and education. He is the author of The Best One-Hour History series which includes World War I, The Vietnam War, The Cold War, and other titles.

Common Dreams is a non-profit independent news center created in 1997 as a new media model. They are optimists who believe real change is possible. But only if enough well-informed, well intentioned — and just plain fed up and fired-up — people demand it. They believe that together we can attain our common dreams. Common Dreams works diligently to uncover and publish honest, independent news and information that you can rely on. Every day.

Freeman states: “Since the day it ended, in 1975, there have been efforts to rehabilitate the Vietnam War, to make it acceptable, even honorable.” He is of the opinion that will never happen. He gave credit to the fact there were many sides to the story of the war, it was complex and so nuancical. But despite those realities he points out three fatal mistakes the American leadership committed during the Vietnam War that cannot be whitewashed over or laundering out of our national memory.

Listen to episode 1019 to discover the three fatal errors committed in Southeast Asia by the American leadership in 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

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1018 – Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War and Troy Walker


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Episode 1018 will feature an editorial about the Ken Burns epic documentary The Vietnam War found in the Morehead News of Kentucky titled: New PBS series on Vietnam gritty, painful. Also highlighted will be the noble project initiated by an Army veteran designed to help those being affected by veteran suicides.

The epic documentary The Vietnam War is half way through its ten part run consisting of 18 hours of gut wrenching information. In the opinion of the Morehead News editorial staff, “The Vietnam War” series is a gritty, painful history lesson that should be seen by every American. They contend “It offers powerful evidence that we Americans were intentionally misled by our political and military leaders about the corrupt governments in the South, our failure to win support of the people and told outright lies about battlefield successes.”

Whatever a person’s opinion is toward the Vietnam War it is very important for all to see this program. The cost of that war in life and treasure to all parties involved is so high it should never be repeated. Knowing the reasons why the War came about will help succeeding generations from making the same tragic mistakes.

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Troy Walker’s‏ Dog Tag Furniture project is the only non-profit organization dedicated to paying for veteran’s funerals.

Troy Walker is an Army veteran who lives in Norwood Young, Minnesota, not too far from Minneapolis. A while back one of his best friends from his Army days committed suicide. His friend’s widow let Troy know she did not have the resources to provide a proper burial for her late husband. Troy stepped forward to help his friend’s widow. What he did for her led him to create a tremendous program that helps many others in the same situation.

CLICK HERE and discover the wonderful thing Troy Walker is doing to make a big difference for other veterans and their families.

Listen to episode 1018 and discover the full story about what veteran Troy Walker is up to and what the editorial board at the Morehead News really thinks about Ken Burns epic documentary The Vietnam War.

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