The Sept. 28 letter “Don’t believe ‘Vietnam’ propaganda” is ludicrous. Letter writer Don Newell flew above the fray; he wasn’t a “ground pounder” as Army grunts and Marines were. He was “in country” early (1961) and late (1973), not during the worst years, 1964 to 1971. He taught in the “war college,” relying on statistics given by commanders who whitewashed facts. Atrocities shown in Ken Burns’ documentary are light compared to what went on, particularly after 1968. The documentary is neither propaganda-laden nor does it have the polemic structure that Newell claims.
My husband was an 18-year Marine vet with two tours, 1965-66 and 1970. He and Army acquaintances told me of instances/misdeeds done by both sides that would curl your toenails. Hubby was exposed to Agent Orange in both tours, dying years later from complications (Hodgkin lymphoma, diabetes).
Relevance to current events? Take the medicine and live with it! We haven’t learned anything in all the wars this country has fought (Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq). As for this country’s hubris — we have it in spades and have since the pilgrims landed. Greg Jayne’s column ” ‘Vietnam War’ lays out hubris of American leadership” (Sept. 24), and Burns’ documentary isn’t a disservice, but a lesson still to be learned.