The Vietnam War: Resolve (January 1966-June 1967)
September 21, 2017 4:25 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Defying American airpower, North Vietnamese troops and materiel stream down the Ho Chi Minh Trail into the south, while Saigon struggles to “pacify the countryside.” As an antiwar movement builds back home, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and Marines discover that the war they are being asked to fight in Vietnam is nothing like their fathers’ war.
posted by homunculus (5 comments total)
> Seems like a good time to get into how the draft operated at this time, where individual draft boards had great leeway in determining who went and who didn't (as well as the many available deferments available), resulting in an outsized representation of poor and minorities being sent into service.

They went into this in this episode, although I can't remember if they specifically went into the role of individual draft boards.
posted by homunculus at 5:07 PM on September 21, 2017

They went into this in this episode, although I can't remember if they specifically went into the role of individual draft boards.

I don't remember that happening. They just generally talked about how if you had money, you got to be a guardsman, and they weren't usually sent to war. The idea being that if those guys had to go to war and have their lives interrupted, it would result in a lot of negativity (presumably from those the general public cares about, and influential families), and so as a result, there was a disproportionate amount of poor and minorities.
posted by cashman at 5:10 PM on September 21, 2017

I found it interesting that Reznor actually used "The Wretched" in this episode. None of the lyrics got sung, but it was evident, opening one scene.

I liked that we finally got the full Denton story. On the one hand I felt bad for the family because of their loss. But it was hard for me to get beyond knowing mentally I hated that they lost their son, to actual feelings of sadness for their loss. And that was because the guy didn't seem forced into it at all, even if he just bought into the whole patriotic thing. I have to imagine they wanted it to seem somewhat sterile and wanted it to come across that way, and it certainly did.

One thing that is startling about this show, is the amount of dead bodies they've shown. It's so sickening. I'm saying nothing new whatsoever, and I'm sure this gets covered in every war publication and has been said on this site a thousand times, but it's just striking to me that when a single person gets killed now, it's often a spectacle. A tragedy. There are sometimes hourlong shows about some person that died. But here, we watch military men fling a dead body on top of a heap of other bodies, landing disgustingly on top of the pile of at least 20 bodies, and then they walk off with the blood splattered gurney like they just threw a log on a fire.

I also marveled at the currently partially told story of the soldier who was imprisoned for 8 years. And at the scenes of the prisoners of war being paraded through the streets, blank faced. Like what do you do as a human in that situation. What does it bring you down to? Like you grow up and have all this social apparatus around you, telling you what to do. Telling you to match your shirt and your socks or whatever. Telling you to keep your elbows off the table. Don't interrupt people. Don't cut in line. Don't fart in public. Hold the door for the person behind you. Do the dishes you just ate with so they don't pile up.

And now what? You're just a person. You have thousands of people around you, but no society. You eat. You sleep. You exist. I don't know how that man did that for 10 years and retained any sanity. I'm sure like I said, that many accounts of this have been written, and I could find them and learn from them.

But the more I watch this show, the more I just wish all the lessons these people learned from being prisoner, from imprisoning, from killing people, or having their people killed, from cutting off body parts and from witnessing those parts, to watching people screaming in a fire of napalm, to seeing how lies and mistakes and ego just result in more death, more death, more death.

Why can't those lessons be required learning for all civilizations? Why are we about to go back into war?
posted by cashman at 5:30 PM on September 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm finding this series increasingly difficult to watch but also increasingly important to watch. I've been talking about it to my co-workers, none of whom are watching it. I'm DVRing it and might do a rewatch with mr hippybear when he gets back from working away for a week. I'm finding it horrifying but educational.

The NIN material in the series has been unexpected any time it has appeared. I don't disapprove, it's just strange to have things I recognize from NIN appear in this particular context. I know Reznor and Ross did the original music, but I didn't realize it would extend to pre-existing material.

I find myself wondering how much really really awful film and interviews and audio and photos Burns & Co found and didn't put into this in order to bring it to the border of bearable that it is.
posted by hippybear at 8:03 PM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm finding this series increasingly difficult to watch but also increasingly important to watch.

I'm taking a bit of a break after episode 4. I'll keep downloading the rest but it's a heavy watch.
posted by Fizz at 11:13 AM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

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