Letters

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1. Letters

We are kicking off our campaign with a series of letters to be posted here.

Mr. Ken Burns

Allow me to introduce you to Vietnam Veterans for Factual History. We are a group of veterans/historians who came together to create a resource for serious students of the war. Our goal is to present only the facts and presentations of the complex history that are objective and readily verifiable. Most of us are both veterans of the war and researchers of the full history, and we all belong to numerous veteran organizations. We watched with interest your series, and now wish to provide you with our comments. Many of us in the Vietnam veteran community were deeply offended by your recent PBS television series on the Vietnam War. You correctly see that war as the origin of the current cultural polarization in American society and claim you intended your film to help bridge that divide. Unfortunately, its significant factual inaccuracies, omissions, and distortions deliver a message that is very negatively slanted against both the nation of South Viet Nam and American involvement there that exacerbates those divisions. 1. Your film portrays U.S. support for South Vietnam as blustering, blundering jingoism, and your choice of music, graphics, and interviewees demonstrates a bias in favor of the militant leftist anti-war cliches of the 1960s. It demonstrates a prejudice against the more than 90% of U.S. Vietnam War veterans who are proud of their Vietnam service. It demonstrates a prejudice against the tragic struggle of the embattled Republic of Viet-Nam to preserve its national sovereignty. It demonstrates a prejudice against the more than 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers killed by the Soviet-equipped and trained North Vietnamese Army and its Viet Cong subordinates.

2. You minimize Ho Chi Minh's life-long dedication to ruthless Leninism, his years of Soviet training and professional work as a covert Communist subversive, and the mass atrocities of his supporters in North and South Vietnam before, during, and after the Second Indochina War. You also fail to acknowledge U.S. treaty obligations to assist Southeast Asian governments fighting Communist subversion, terrorism, and invasion.

3. You ignore the actions of leftist U.S. politicians in cutting off funding for vital military supplies for the South Vietnamese Army and prohibiting U.S. enforcement of the Paris Accords of 1973 with combat air power from bases outside of Vietnam, as our President promised the South Vietnamese government; and as our Air Force successfully did during the 1972 conventional large scale invasion by the North Vietnamese Army.

4. Lastly, there is inadequate discussion of the results of the communist victory, the tens of thousands of executions, the million-plus sent to concentration camps, the curtailing of all civil liberties, and oppression that led to the first ever mass exodus of Vietnamese from their homeland.

We would welcome an opportunity to participate in a public debate regarding the U.S. role in the Second Indochina War and we hope you will work with us to facilitate such an expanded dialogue. It would at least allow Americans to fully understand the factual basis of the continuing cultural polarization originated by that war.

Sincerely,

PBS

We are Vietnam Veterans for Factual History, a group of veterans/historians who came together to create a resource for serious students of the war. Our goal is to present only the facts and presentations of the complex history that are objective and readily verifiable. Most of us are both veterans of the war and researchers of the full history, and we all belong to numerous veteran organizations. We watched with interest the Burns&Novick series you helped fund, and now wish to provide you with some inputs. Many in the Vietnam veteran community were deeply offended by the series. It correctly sees that war as the origin of the current cultural polarization in American society and the intention was for the film to help bridge that divide. Unfortunately, its significant factual inaccuracies, omissions, and distortions deliver a message that is very negatively slanted against both the nation of South Viet Nam and American involvement there that exacerbates those divisions.

1. The film portrays U.S. support for South Vietnam as blustering, blundering jingoism, and Burns' choice of music, graphics, and interviewees demonstrates a bias in favor of the militant leftist anti-war cliches of the 1960s. It demonstrates a prejudice against the more than 90% of U.S. Vietnam War veterans who are proud of their Vietnam service. It demonstrates a prejudice against the tragic struggle of the embattled Republic of Viet-Nam to preserve its national sovereignty. It demonstrates a prejudice against the more than 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers killed by the Soviet-equipped and trained North Vietnamese Army and its Viet Cong subordinates.

2. It minimizes Ho Chi Minh's life-long dedication to ruthless Leninism, his years of Soviet training and professional work as a covert Communist subversive, and the mass atrocities of his supporters in North and South Vietnam before, during, and after the Second Indochina War. You also fail to acknowledge U.S. treaty obligations to assist Southeast Asian governments fighting Communist subversion, terrorism, and invasion.

3. It ignores the actions of leftist U.S. politicians in cutting off funding for vital military supplies for the South Vietnamese Army and prohibiting U.S. enforcement of the Paris Accords of 1973 with combat air power from bases outside of Vietnam, as our President promised the South Vietnamese government; and as our Air Force successfully did during the 1972 conventional large scale invasion by the North Vietnamese Army.

4. Lastly, there is inadequate discussion of the results of the communist victory, the tens of thousands of executions, the million-plus sent to concentration camps, the curtailing of all civil liberties, and oppression that led to the first ever mass exodus of Vietnamese from their homeland.

In the interests of truly open civil discourse on this part of our history, we ask that you be willing to discuss with us possible remedies that demonstrate a better balance of inputs.

Sincerely,

THE RESPONSE FROM PBS"

PBS Response.jpg

Bank of America

We are Vietnam Veterans for Factual History, a group of veterans/historians who came together to create a resource for serious students of the war. Our goal is to present only the facts and presentations of the complex history that are objective and readily verifiable. Most of us are both veterans of the war and researchers of the full history, and we all belong to numerous veteran organizations. We watched with interest the Burns&Novick series you helped fund, and now wish to provide you with some inputs. Many in the Vietnam veteran community were deeply offended by the series. It correctly sees that war as the origin of the current cultural polarization in American society and the intention was for the film to help bridge that divide. Unfortunately, its significant factual inaccuracies, omissions, and distortions deliver a message that is very negatively slanted against both the nation of South Viet Nam and American involvement there that exacerbates those divisions.

1. The film portrays U.S. support for South Vietnam as blustering, blundering jingoism, and Burns' choice of music, graphics, and interviewees demonstrates a bias in favor of the militant leftist anti-war cliches of the 1960s. It demonstrates a prejudice against the more than 90% of U.S. Vietnam War veterans who are proud of their Vietnam service. It demonstrates a prejudice against the tragic struggle of the embattled Republic of Viet-Nam to preserve its national sovereignty. It demonstrates a prejudice against the more than 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers killed by the Soviet-equipped and trained North Vietnamese Army and its Viet Cong subordinates.

2. It minimizes Ho Chi Minh's life-long dedication to ruthless Leninism, his years of Soviet training and professional work as a covert Communist subversive, and the mass atrocities of his supporters in North and South Vietnam before, during, and after the Second Indochina War. You also fail to acknowledge U.S. treaty obligations to assist Southeast Asian governments fighting Communist subversion, terrorism, and invasion.

3. It ignores the actions of leftist U.S. politicians in cutting off funding for vital military supplies for the South Vietnamese Army and prohibiting U.S. enforcement of the Paris Accords of 1973 with combat air power from bases outside of Vietnam, as our President promised the South Vietnamese government; and as our Air Force successfully did during the 1972 conventional large scale invasion by the North Vietnamese Army.

4. Lastly, there is inadequate discussion of the results of the communist victory, the tens of thousands of executions, the million-plus sent to concentration camps, the curtailing of all civil liberties, and oppression that led to the first ever mass exodus of Vietnamese from their homeland.

In the interests of truly open civil discourse on this part of our history, we ask that you be open to discussion with us of possible remedies that would demonstrate a better balance of inputs.

Sincerely,


These will be followed by Press Releases also to be posted here. (These can be used by any member, since they are intended for public distribution.

For Tom Lipscomb

VIETNAM VETERANS FOR FACTUAL HISTORY

VVFH.org is a not-for-profit1 website organized by veterans of the Second Indochina War with a serious interest in its factual history. Its purpose is to share our revisionist interpretation of the war and our criticism of the left-leaning, journalistic version of it. Our membership has expanded to include non-veterans who share our interpretation and criticism of the traditional, "common knowledge" historical narrative of the war. Several of our members have Ph.D. degrees in history and government, and our web site has well researched articles on various factual aspects of the war in its proper context.

Http://wiki.VVFH.org is an interactive web site focused on a detailed critique of the new PBS television series on the "Vietnam War" produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It features an annotated transcript of all ten episodes, which is highlighted and footnoted to assist the viewer in noting the deficiencies in the Burns production. There are commentaries on the individual episodes as well as on the series as a whole. And there are also more detailed essays on particularly significant topics and individuals featured therein. We will continuously be adding information to this wiki as time and effort permit.

VVFH has also produced a series of books with appropriate articles expressing the views of our authors on subjects pertaining to various periods of the Second Indochina War. We have produced eight books so far 1963-1969 and 1975 and we will fill the 5 year gap with future volumes. These books are available from VVFH.org and amazon.com


1VVFH is an element of RADIX Foundation. a 501c(3) corporation.


From Nick Warr

This is a copy of the text of Nick's proposed Press Release. Images are not shown here. I will try to post a .pdf version as well.

Press release: Reviews: The Burns / Novick Movie, The Vietnam War Factual or Fictional History? Here’s the Rest of the Story!   November 11, 2017; dozens of historians and veterans speak in reaction to the latest documentary film about the Vietnam War.

https://wiki.vvfh.org/index.php/Main_Page

Contact: Nicholas Warr Hendersonville, NC Phone: 828-243-8708 Nicholas@stonehillproductions.com

  • * * * *

Although celebrated documentary film producers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick had a great opportunity to set the historical record straight with the production of their film, The Vietnam War, which was supported by a $30 million budget and took ten years to complete, we believe they missed the mark by a wide margin. Rather than produce the “definitive” history of the war, by providing testimony from a wide range of “voices,” including people involved in many different perspectives of the war, in balance with the actual historical accounts of what happened from eye-witnesses, our analysis of this film leads us to believe the makers were seriously influenced by a bias towards antiwar themes, such as the war being "unwinnable", a lack of moral justification for our involvement, and a lack of will of the South Vietnamese to really fight for their country. 

The organization known as “Vietnam Veterans for Factual History” - https://www.vvfh.org - is comprised of historians, authors and veterans who collectively believe that much of what has been written and published about the war is simply not factual. As historians, including many of us who served in the war and have remained very conscious of its history, we have become increasingly concerned that the 1978 prediction of Guenter Lewy has proven to be all too accurate. 39 years ago, Lewy wrote "Mythology, half-truth and falsehood concerning events in Vietnam abound and, unless corrected, will enter the textbooks for the mis-education of our children." Over the past few weeks since the initial release of the film on PBS, we have collected, collated and analyzed dozens of reviews written by many of us, and others, nearly all of which have been significantly negative about this movie, for many diverse reasons. From those, we offer the following excerpts: Andy Finlayson – Colonel Finlayson is a 1966 graduate of the U. S Naval Academy who served 25 years in the US Marine Corps as an infantry officer. He spent 32 months in South Vietnam as a Force Reconnaissance Platoon Commander, Infantry Company Commander and Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) Commander and Advisor. His most recent publication is a book entitled Killer Kane: A Marine Long-Range Recon Leader in Vietnam, 1967-1968. He is the author of several articles and studies related to the Vietnam War.

PHOTO:

Stephen J. Morris - Author of Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia and working on a book about the Vietnam war during the Nixon years. Some (of the “voices” in this film) hold to the views of the movement’s radical or hard-left wing, which considered the war a product of America’s iniquitous society and its inherently imperial foreign policy, while the country’s Communist opponents were virtuous and popular resisters…… Read the full review here: PHOTO: Mackubin Thomas Owens – a Providence contributing editor, the dean of academics at the Institute of World Politics, and editor of Orbis. He is a highly decorated U. S. Marine Corps combat veteran of the Vietnam War, author, and retired Colonel of Marines. A 1980 Harris poll of Vietnam veterans revealed that 91 percent were proud of their wartime service; 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service; and, contrary to the notion that the war was inherently unwinnable, 89 percent agreed with the statement that “our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win.” Read the full review here: Dr. James Robbins is Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs at the Washington Times, and Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council. In his latest book, This Time We Win; Revisiting the Tet Offensive of 1968, Robbins at last provides an antidote to the flawed Tet mythology still shaping the perceptions of American military conflicts against unconventional enemies and haunting our troops in combat. PHOTO: Terry Garlock – is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and occasionally contributes a column to a local newspaper. When we came home from Vietnam decades ago the values in our country seemed to have turned upside down. Read the full review here:

Phillip Jennings – Is the author of, among other books, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War. Mr. Jennings spent three years in combat in SE Asia, flying for the Marine Corps and Air America. It is the raison d’être of Mr. Burns’ film to justify the cowardly and morally bankrupt left that supported the communist invasion of South Vietnam and turned its back on the murder, imprisonment, and misery of our former allies in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Read the full review here:

Dr. Lewis Sorley is an author, a retired Lt. Col., U. S. Army, and he also served in the. Central Intelligence Agency, ’76-’83. During a panel discussion on the PBS series at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Vietnam veteran and historian Lewis Sorley said that Burns was “profoundly wrong” for “referring disparagingly to what he called Americans’ ‘puffed-up sense of exceptionalism.’” Sorely added, “Clearly, Burns does not much like America.” He also referenced the Burns comment at the Newseum preview that “You can find no overtly redeeming qualities of the Vietnam War” and his referring then to Americans’ “puffed-up sense of exceptionalism.” Sorley observed that clearly Burns does not much like America, and that that attitude permeated every aspect of the broadcast. PHOTO: Dr. Mark Moyar - is the Director of the Program on Military and Diplomatic History at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The author of six books and dozens of articles, he has worked in and out of government on national security affairs, international development, foreign aid, and capacity building. He holds a B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Cambridge. Omissions and distortions mar Ken Burns’s Vietnam War, a missed opportunity to provide an historically honest look at the conflict. Burns and Novick are not actually impartial referees…. Read the full review here:

  • * * * *

Since 2004, Vietnam Veterans for Factual History has worked to develop an effectively researchable database of books, movies, Op/Eds, articles and other historical records that cover the Vietnam War through all relevant points of view. We invite anyone, especially authors, historians and veterans, who want to learn the factual history of this war, which took place during a very divisive period in our nation’s history, come explore our interactive, web-based Wiki page here: https://wiki.vvfh.org/index.php/Main_Page We are devoted to discovering and documenting and publishing knowledge and wisdom, especially the truths about the war. We strongly believe all Americans should study military history so you will understand and accept that all wars are horrible, but that if we do not study and heed history, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. We believe this new film by Burns and Novick significantly distorts the factual history of the war. We urge you to get informed about your area’s colleges, universities and other schools, regarding the curriculum being taught to our young generation’s children and young adults these days. We are providing tools for anyone who wishes to support true history, and to continue to learn about this war, and we’re always looking for financial support and “elbow grease.” https://wiki.vvfh.org/index.php/Main_Page

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