Ken Burns Vietnam

I am catching up on Ken Burns documentary Vietnam.  I was anticipating a slanted view of the war that concentrated on the liberal explanation for Vietnam.  It is not that at all.  It’s very good.

How do I know it’s good?  An acquaintance of mine is Allen Lynch.  He received the Medal of Honor in Vietnam.  He also is one of the reasons I shaved my head.  I believe his words were, “Just grow a pair and do it.”.  Allen has commented on his Facebook that he thinks the documentary is very good and very different from anything before it.

Allen also said that if there are a lot of vets watching, we should be prepared for some PTSD cases.  That’s great advice.

I was in grade school growing up during the war.  My uncle went and served as an officer in the Brown Water Navy.  He was in naval intelligence.  Just like my father in law that was an infantry officer in Korea and the vets who I meet from WW2, no one talks about their experience.  I think Burns documentary has shown why.  Who wants to remember?

There are a lot of lessons to be gleaned out of the documentary.  First, you focus on what you measure.   The leadership in Washington DC and the brass in the military were measuring the wrong things.  Body counts didn’t matter.  Second, culture is important.  Halting the spread of communism is a worthy endeavor for a country like America.  Propping up a corrupt government to do it isn’t.

We are seeing some similarities to the 1960s and today. But, I don’t think they are exact parallels.  One of the biggest differences is back then we had a draft.  If American leadership wanted to send 500,000 more soldiers, they had to draft them.  Today they’d have to recruit them.  At least the military feels some economic cost.

The country was divided then, and it’s divided today but the reasons for the division are far different.

One division that is not talked about enough that we need to think about is the role of government in our lives.  Government taxation in many cases has become oppressive.  I was at an event the other night where we talked about it.   One person said that Illinois was on the road to fiscal health and they will just have to do more of it.  The only thing Illinois and the governments in Illinois have done is raise taxes.

I really don’t care how demographers and intellectuals are looking at my home state.  They are measuring the wrong things.  They aren’t any different than the brass that ran the Vietnam War.  People are leaving here.  They are leaving because of taxes and government.  Taxes are killing economic opportunity.

50 years from now, I don’t know what a documentary of this generation will look like.  I have faith that America will remain, and the ideals it’s founded on will remain.  But, there are certainly times I wonder if we should recast the current situation.  Are taxpayers the proletariats and government officials the”capitalists” in a perverse form of Marxism?