In the past 2 days I have been watching the documentary film series by Ken Burns: THE VIETNAM WAR. I was a child during the 1960’s. Born in 1955. My memories of that war are memories of what I saw on the television and the culture and life of that time. The war shadowed everything. It was a vague distant thing. “Vietnam” was some obscure place far away. I recall no feeling about the right or wrongness of it. It was war and it was CONFUSING because it was not like what I had heard about World War II. Black and White. At the same time there was the civil rights movement that added more confusion. I never had any black friends at school. They were DIFFERENT but there were never any racial incidents with anyone I knew. I never called anyone “nigger”. It was just a very rude word. It was easier to learn to say “fuck” than that “N” word. There was also a survival aspect to it: Where I lived if you used that “N” word on someone not white, you got your ass beat 😉 Yes I live in the North.
I never served in the military. The draft became a lottery system when I was in high school and ended soon after. IF I had been drafted, I probably would have been rejected for mental problems. I was mental wreck at that time. Even though I have never served, the war of that time, the culture the whole shitty mess of it has followed me. The older I got the more I learned about it. The documentary is merely a refresher course about it. It is a very good BALANCED documentary with views from all sides. What it shows is the stupidity and insanity of that war and perhaps ALL wars. It makes me think of all little wars since that time and of how the USA has never learned anything from the Vietnam war. The USA is still in Afghanistan. There are vague sounds of war talk in Washington DC now. Possibly a war with Iran. It’s like we Americans cannot help but choose stupid people to lead us and send our youth off to die stupidly for nothing. If this were a course taken in school, the USA as a student would get a failing grade over and over because the same stupidity is repeated over and over.
The oldest of those that now lead the USA are men that got out of military service. 1 man, dying of cancer was a decorated fighter pilot and eventual POW. In a very sick way, HE of all people was ridiculed by the president WHO WAS A DRAFT DODGER! A coward. THAT is what the USA has come to now. How soon the USA forgets the lessons of the past and thus may so easily send more of it’s youth off to die while old men that have only seen wars in movies, urge them on.