Episode 9. A Disrespectful Loyalty (May 1970-March 1973)

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Episode 9. A Disrespectful Loyalty (May 1970-March 1973)

Annotated Transcript Of Episode 9

Errors and Omissions Episode 9: Comments from the Nixon Library

Years later, in 1985, [Nixon] wrote in No More Vietnams: “Other hawks suggested a different approach. They conceded to the doves that we should not have gone into Vietnam in the first place, but contended that now that we were there, we had no choice but to see it through. Our goal, they argued, should not be to defeat the enemy but to stay long enough so that after we withdrew there would be a ‘decent interval’ before South Vietnam fell to the Communists. I believed that this was the most immoral option of all. If our cause was unjust or if the war was unwinnable, we should have cut our losses and gotten out of Vietnam immediately. As President, I could not ask any young American to risk his life for an unjust or unwinnable cause.” [p. 103]

John Del Vecchio (Combined essay on 9 & 10)

R.J. Del Vecchio

And finally we get to the Easter Invasion. Yes it was 14 extremely well equipped NVA Divisions, but that totals up to more than the 120K men they claimed, closer to 200K. 400+ tanks, several hundred excellent Russian artillery pieces, all with longer range and faster rates of fire than any we'd left the ARVN, and hundreds of AA guns and missiles to take out the ARVN Air Force. And yes, US air support was there to offset the NVA advantages, but thank heavens they let Willbank say the key thing -- if the ARVN hadn't fought (and fought very hard), no amount of air power would have made a difference. But then they moved on with the flow of other topics, and never pointed out that this proved that when supplied and supported, the ARVN were fully capable of knocking heads with the NVA and winning.

Dan Kellum

John Kerry, former Secretary of State, was shown addressing a Congressional committee eloquently but went too far in claiming widespread atrocities by American troops in Vietnam. He was no friend to his fellow Vietnam veterans as he threw us all under the bus with his allegations. A Stolen Valor group came out with a report that the men cited as seeing or participating in the atrocities was untrue....this balanced report on Kerry's claims was not mentioned in the documentary. Marine Cpl. John Musgrave and a portion of 700 alleged Nam veterans were shown throwing their combat medals over a fence at the Capitol Building....John Kerry was shown standing in line to throw his medals. Musgrave and Kerry were now members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Charles Krohn

Those who leaked the top-secret Pentagon papers excused themselves for doing what their conscience required. The short version was, we bad, them good.
Overall, this episode favors those who opposed the war more than those who fought it. Soldiers' sacrifices seem trivialized, compared to the energy and idealism of the demonstrators. The reception of POWs coming home is tastefully handled, however.
Thieu may not have been the perfect democrat, but there was far less political tolerance in the North, the narrator notes. I think the right answer is "none." Even today, some 42 years after Saigon fell, Human Rights Watch claims "Vietnam's human rights record remains dire in all areas." I wonder if this makes some regret fleeing to avoid the draft?
I don't take issue that our being in Vietnam was more about us than it was about Vietnam. But the issues were far from simple.

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