This is What We Do
The Vietnam War
Directed by Ken Burn and Lyn Novick
This week, Maori TV showed Episode 5 of the Vietnam War series, which covers 1967. By the end of 1967, over 20,000 Americans had died in Vietnam. In addition to raising taxes, Johnson was forced to gut his war on poverty to help pay for the war.
This episode explains the strategy pursued by US military leadership as well as replaying media footage of key ambushes and interviewing surviving veterans from both the US and Vietnam.Vietnamese veterans talk about the ease of tracking US GIs due to the trail of cigarette butts they left behind.
Many US fatalities stemmed from the use of the M16, viewed by one military analyst as a “piece of shit.” It frequently jammed under jungle conditions and was no match for the Soviet-made AK47 the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong used.
1967 was the year that university students across the US held their first mass anti-Vietnam War protests in New York and Washington DC. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara sent Johnson a private memo advising him the US couldn’t win the Vietnam war. It recommended the President freeze troop levels and cease carpet bombing North Vietnam to bring them to the negotiating table. Johnson promptly appointed him to head the World Bank and installed Clark Clifford as Secretary of Defense. McNamara would remain silent about his reservations about Vietnam for over 20 years.