In revisiting the PBS series on Vietnam, it is even clearer to me now that Burns' intention was more about bolstering his self-created image as america's chronicler of culture and benchmark events than it was to providing journalistic integrity in an attempt to uncover the many truths that still remain buried in mainstream accounts of Vietnam. But to do that, Burns would have had to stand up to his bosses at PBS who are solidly in the pocket of the neoliberal/neocon establishment.
Ten hours of dramatic footage and cherrypicked interviews does not tell the true story of how the invasion of Vietnam was planned before WWII had even ended. Or how the massive US military machine that was created during that war was eager to test for itself the evolving technologies that the Axis powers had been developing before their defeat for the control of developing nations -- particularly those intent on self-determination and guerrilla resistance. The genocidal experiment began in earnest long before troops were committed when the following steps and events began taking shape:
- the relocation to Bethesda and Aberdeen of various key members of the Third Reich and the scientists who ran the infamous Japanese torture center, Unit 731;
- the Pentagon's designing the "electronic battlefield" strategies for efficient carpet bombing of infrastructure;
- massive testing of bio-defoliants, "rainbow herbicides" and chemical weapons by Dow, Monsanto and others leading up to Operation Ranch Hand where the chemicals, like dioxin, were sprayed directly on millions of Vietnamese civilians to test mortality thresholds;
- drafting plans for sabotaging rice paddies and dams to force mass starvation through crop destruction and flooding to test human endurance;
- forced mass-relocation campaigns to subvert all sense of cultural identity and ancestral tradition;
- new interrogation, humiliation and torture techniques along with creation of programs like the State Department's Phoenix Program designed to destroy all will in the hearts and minds of the peasants who resist complete subjugation.
The following quote by the great war-photo journalist, the late Philip Jones Griffiths, will provide the needed contrast and perspective on Ken Burns' collaborationist tripe. In his book Vietnam Inc, Griffiths quotes a US officer reviewing the effectiveness of napalm on site in Vietnam in language that reveals the deep racist undercurrent of the US military. Race was a most critical factor in gaining approval in government funding for the atrocities, yet overlooked or downplayed by Burns, as it has been with every other revisionist "historian" of the US campaign of terror in Southeast Asia, specifically the Vietnam Experiment in Counterrevolution, a/k/a the Vietnam War:
We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn't so hot -- if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene -- now it sticks like sh*t to a blanket. But if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (white phosphorus) so's to make it burn better. And just one drop is enough, it'll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning.
***image source: John Pilger
(Article changed on November 5, 2017 at 04:40)