Episode 6. Things Fall Apart (January 1968-July 1968)

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Episode 6. Things Fall Apart (January 1968-July 1968)

Annotated Transcript Of Episode 6

John Del Vecchio

Yes, we were lied to by our government and our politicians, as this and the next episode aptly show. But we were, and are being, lied to by the information branch of our society, the news media, with equal or worse consequences. Much of the lies of the latter have become part of our historical narrative. A paradigm shift is mandatory. Our current ambient cultural story and worldview has been skewed from reality and is leading us, as a nation, down a road we may find leads to a place we never intended going.

R.J. Del Vecchio

The one moment in this that struck me really well was when the man talking about how when he and a whole bunch of other Americans were hanging together, lots of different people, it struck them so strongly that "WE WERE AMERICANS", a moment that I remember vividly in my own experience there one day. It's a feeling of commonality and unity that is priceless, and sadly today has become so rare.

Dan Kellum

Loan's shooting of VC Capt. Lem seemed to far outweigh the VC/NVA's murdering 2,800-6,000+ Hue civilians. It's odd how the Tet Offensive played in the American press as the VC/NVA's attack countrywide seemed to prove they were far from beaten by the American and Vietnamese forces as Westmoreland was claiming. North Vietnam's leader Duan thought the Tet Offensive would result in the Vietnamese people and RVN soldiers to rise up to join them in overthrowing the RVN government. That didn't happen as the Vietnamese people hunkered down and let the two sides fight it out. RVN troops, American troops, Australians and ROK Marines/soldiers won a great victory. Unfortunately that isn't how it was portrayed in the American media as protest groups only grew louder.

Charles Krohn

As the Tet Offensive unwinds, it's easy to feel compassion, even pity, for LBJ. He obviously is following news from the front closely, even having a scale model of the Khe Sanh outpost installed in the White House, fearing it may become another Dien Bien Phu. One can hardly blame him. We know now that the NVA intended to feed American decision-makers information that would lead them to reposition troops to the borders from cities they intended to attack. Regardless, they attacked everywhere and anywhere, unsuccessfully in the long run. Their casualties were widely disproportionate, considering the failed and costly results--except for American public opinion, where image counts as much or more than facts. As news from Vietnam shatters confidence at home, riots and demonstrations rock America. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King are killed, sending many into deep funk along both racial and political divides. None of the assurances from LBJ's key subordinates that victory is around the corner have a long shelf-life; the NVA never seem to weaken, much less give up their struggle. The narrator observes, "the world seems to be falling apart."

Lawrence Tracy on BG Loan

“Context is everything,” goes an old saying. Unfortunately, the Sunday, September 24 episode of the PBS Documentary “The Vietnam War” did not provide the context of the most iconic photo of the war-that of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong terrorist. Let me provide that context, based on conversations with both the late General Loan and the late Eddie Adams, the photojournalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for taking the photo.

Christian Appy (Episodes 5 & 6)

Each of the film’s subjects speaks individually, from a tight-shot cocoon, and their representations of the past are never directly challenged. We hear differing perspectives of the war, but political or moral conflicts (beyond the personal) are not deeply probed or appraised by the narrator or anyone else. It’s as if every opinion presented is intended to coexist peacefully with all the others and viewers are not meant to be provoked to develop coherent positions of their own.

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Continue to Episode 7.The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968-May 1969)

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