And just when we all hoped it had faded away, the specter of Vietnam resurfaced like an old wound, bleeding. Over the decades we have been inundated with all the books, movies, documentaries, essays, talking heads opinions, retired generals’ reflections, soldiers’ ruminations, reporters’ observations, historical revisions, flawed war planning, the numbers game, the finger-pointing, the rationalizations and justifications, the systemic failures, the outright lies, and most of all the unfathomable waste in this tragic episode of American history. Fittingly, Ken Burns’ compilation of the events of the Vietnam War is presented as a comprehensive and elegant obituary to our nation’s ugliest war.
The lessons to be learned are many, but paramount is for our country not to get involved in a military invasion of another country that poses no threat to us, located thousands of miles from our shores, to commit our resources to an obscure, unachievable end, and to leave the entire situation worse off than when we began. Whew, I’m glad we’ve never made that mistake again.
Tom Yount, Boise