The Vietnam War: This Is What We Do (July 1967-December 1967)
September 21, 2017 11:27 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

American casualties and enemy body counts mount as Marines face deadly North Vietnamese ambushes and artillery south of the DMZ and Army units chase an elusive enemy in the central highlands. Hanoi lays plans for a massive surprise offensive, and the Johnson Administration reassures the American public that victory is in sight.
posted by homunculus (5 comments total)
 
The guy telling how he was given up for dead by three doctors was amazing. Not just the horror of his story, but he told and expressed it really well. Not everyone could survive something like that and retell it so well.

There's something about some of the Lyndon Johnson recordings that just infuriates me. The way he and others are talking about thousands of human lives in an almost casual way. Like "gee, sucks to be them, I guess, but this is what we have to do to stop Communism, so oh well." It's maybe not a "cavalier" or "offhand" tone, but it sure sounds like the scale of horror he's describing escapes him, or is meaningless to him.
posted by dnash at 7:53 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


God, this episode really brought home just what sort of giant meatgrinder the war was, with both sides willing to sustain seemingly endless casualties. The only difference being that one side had an actual purpose to be fighting for, while the other side increasingly had any clue why it was there or what it was doing.

And Tet has yet to hit.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:16 AM on September 22


The use of Paint It Black at the end of this episode very well remastered, I should say, makes one listen to the song in a new way, and I think that's ultimately beneficial for both the audience and the Stones because that song is so often referenced by people who have never really listened to it.
posted by hippybear at 9:28 PM on September 22


Like "gee, sucks to be them, I guess, but this is what we have to do to stop Communism, so oh well." It's maybe not a "cavalier" or "offhand" tone, but it sure sounds like the scale of horror he's describing escapes him, or is meaningless to him.

I wonder if its a situation where these men think/talk in this way in order to not personalize the decisions they're making in that office. It's a way to distance themselves from the choices they make. I don't know if its a conscious choice or if it just happens, something powerful people do in order to live with themselves.

It's fucked up.
posted by Fizz at 11:38 AM on September 24


I love John Musgrave's words. He has probably told these stories a ton of times, and they come off perfectly but pretty much completely genuine.

I'm in a pickle because what he said about turning subject to object was so well done, but it's only experienceable in the context of the main chunk of the episode. He says the racial epithets but you needed the narration from earlier in the episode describing how each epithet originated and came to be used.

There's a washington post article about it, and the post also has a soundcloud account where that story he told about how he only killed one person in Vietnam leads off the track.

But it just doesn't work to attempt to distill it down into any smaller chunks than the whole episode of this show. It does his powerful statement a disservice. And more disturbingly, I can easily see how short clips of what he said could easily be taken and used to make the opposite statement.
posted by cashman at 2:01 PM on September 24


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