Last Days of Vietnam! a must see!

Last Days of Vietnam! a must see!

Director/Producer Rory Kennedy’s “Last Days in Vietnam” [Netflix] Requires Mandatory Viewing!
The Vietnam War haunts many of us veterans in different ways. My friend was a helicopter pilot evacuating the wounded and he is still angry today. He keeps asking me the one question I cannot answer:
“Why did we got to Vietnam? And why were over fifty thousand American warriors killed?”

My direct involvement in the war came when I was ordered by Under Secretary of State for Management to be involved in the evacuation of Vietnam, especially regarding certain American ambassadors. In particular he was referring to Ellsworth Bunker and Graham Martin, two distinguished war hawks who refused to concede defeat in the waning days of the war.

My career at both state and the IC began with an attempt debrief the senior officials involved in the decision not to evacuate Saigon. I learned that the distinguished Ambassador Graham Martin refused to recognize the simple fact that the North Vietnamese were winning. That point came home to me once again as I viewed the brilliant, haunting documentary film entitled “Last Days in Vietnam”.

A very talented documentary film artist, Rory Kennedy produced and directed a brilliant visual narrative. The film depicts in painful images how American leaders were not prepared to win the war nor to exit the war in an orderly, humane way. In contrast, Ms Kennedy’s masterpiece portrays the heroism of thousands of American servicemen [Marines], CIA operatives, helicopter pilots, guards, contractors and Navy personnel. These valiant men/women attempted to extract as many thousands of South Vietnamese as possible. If they were left behind these people were assured impending death from the imminent North Vietnamese victory.
The film highlights the raw courage of many military/intelligence officers who defied the orders of both Ambassador Graham Martin and POTUS Gerald Ford. In particular, one name stood out for me— US naval officer Richard Armitage. His refusal to obey Presidential orders saved countless thousands of South Vietnamese lives.

I met him several years later when I was a DAS for State and he was a DAS for DOD. He looked like a football player [graduate of Annapolis] and talked like a  savvy combat warrior who knew much more than he would say. Unlike his future boss, Sec.State. Collin Powell, I had a lot of respect for Richard.  He never bragged about his exploits nor self-deprecated his opinions on a host of extant problems like North Korea, the Middle East, and SE Asia where both of us were deeply involved. Unfortunately, I realize Armitage’s legacy is not as sterling as my impression of him was at that time. Yet, from this film, I learned that Captain Do, a Republic of Vietnam Navy officer who served with Armitage said the following:

“Armitage [who spoke fluent Vietnamese] seemed drawn like ‘a moth to flame’ to the hotspots of naval warfare: bedding down on ground with Vietnamese commandos, sharing their rations and hot sauce, telling jokes in flawless Vietnamese. He never wore a uniform but he was always dressed in native garb.” [Wikipedia]

No one can really glorify a war that should not be fought in the first place. Such a war was invariably lost because of a major dereliction of duty by our JFK [Rory’s uncle], LBJ, Nixon, Kissinger, generals, et. al.  I recommend that our military and civilian representatives watch this film to understand one simple point. It’s easy to start a war but it is major bitch to finish it, or even to win.

In any war zone, hundreds of thousands of civilians will be killed for nothing. We call that ‘collateral damage’. The real damage from the Vietnam War was created by our political and military leaders who had no idea of how to win or even lose a war sixteen thousand miles away.

I fear that we have repeated Vietnam over and over again in:

  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Syria
  • Africa
  • Yemen

Now American citizenry must defy any new attempts at creating unnecessary wars.  “The Last Days of Vietnam” illustrates a metaphor that has lasted for over the past fifty years. We have won no wars and never will as long as we act in a self-delusional manner, invading foreign countries for nonsensical ethereal concepts, like the “War on Terror”!  A complete oxymoron!
Ho Chi Minh warned us :

“You will kill ten of us, but we will kill one of you; in the end, you will tire of us first, and then leave defeated.”

Years later when I negotiated the Cambodian Peace Treaty with the famous Vietnamese Foreign Minister Lee Duc Tho, he said to me:

“You Americans can win any war. But, you are lazy and undisciplined in your thinking; you will never really finish to the end.”

Nothing has changed in fifty years!!


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14 thoughts on “Last Days of Vietnam! a must see!

  1. Ron Sanderson

    I was born in 1965 and I have seen pictures and have heard and read about senseless American wars from day one. Some of my earliest memories as a young boy were asking my mother “What is Gorilla warfare ” Seeing those reports from VN on the family TV as young as I was then 3-4-5-6 stay with me to this day. I hope Ken Burns PBS project on the war is as great as his other projects are. I recommend his wonderful JAZZ series. I own it and watch it once every year. I would like to see less not more senseless American involvement in far away lands. I haven’t seen a decade without it.

    1. I was born in 1959 and, while I do not recall thinking of the Vietnam War during childhood, as I grew older, I would meet Vietnam War veterans. I only have one person I’ve ever met who would discuss their experience in that awful war. Every other man I ever met categorically refused to discuss it.

      I see war much as His Holiness the Dalai Lama does—as anachronistic. As I write in my second book, there was a necessity to fight the elements, the animals in the wild, when homo sapiens first walked the earth. What once served as an adaptive psyche 10,000 years ago, now is psychopathological. Humankind should have moved beyond war by now and able to solve problems through dialogue. But that is based on the maturity level of the individual and collective psyche. The collective psyche of humanity is, generally speaking, on average, around the adolescent stage, with variations based on race, ethnicity, and culture, as some races operate, on average, around the age of 8 to 12 years, while other races, on average, operate, on average in early adulthood. Again, I refer to the collective, not individual psyche of a race, ethnicity, culture. But, generally, the collective psyche of the entire human race operates between age 12 and 18 years of age. The archetypes which are manifest in the collective psyche during this stage are the Barbie Doll and G.I. Joe. And we all know what the male thinks most about during his adolescence: sex and aggression. Hormones play a huge role for both genders. A relative few are born old souls, perhaps having lived many lifetimes.

      I’m just hoping the collective masculine psyche on this planet can move into the early adulthood phase! That is when war will become unproductive and outdated. We need the Mature Masculine to manifest in leadership. And we do not need for women to simply adopt the masculine psyche. For anyone interested, read the book, King, Warrior, Magician, Love: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, by Jungian analysts Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette.

  2. BillUK

    I have an anecdote you may find interesting, a friend of mine works for a company that clears mines around the World, Cambodia, middle east and Africa are the biggest clients. Anyway when they have finished a contract, to prove it is safe, the employees have to play a game of soccer in the old mine field! A sure way of making certain you do a good job. Apparently business is booming. I did wonder if Diana’s stance on mines contributed to her ‘accident’ in the Alma Tunnel.

  3. The people’s Champion President Donald J. Trump will Pull the The United States military back into our nation from
    Afghanistan and other nations!!!! Time to be lean but fortified!!!! He will do what’s Wise!!!!

    He is our Champion and the demonic blocks are Lifting now; Time for an attorney general that will go down in history as one of the greats!!!! As he will take down the entire satanic criminal network of frothing walking dead in our nations capital, the district of that worthless goddess columbia!!!!

  4. Raymond Howard Carlson


  5. Joseph Chiara

    I may have already said it, but it is not being allowed to appear. Why is that?

  6. Joseph Chiara

    Still not being allowed to appear…… criticism of Pieczenik is apparently not welcomed or allowed… credibility, fairness, and open discussion is taking a nosedive, oh well another one who apparently has clay feet.

    1. Chia Cha

      Do not be too complex it will pass.

      1. Joseph Chiara

        I tried again, still not allowed… it did not pass. No language problem at all with was attempted to be posted. Oh well, he is not not a free speech, or respecter of he views of others or logic which challenges his statements.

  7. I have always wondered why the U.S. went to war in Vietnam. I am no war expert, but I have learned as I have gotten older that wars are usually fought for one of these reasons or a combination thereof: natural and mineral resources, land expansion, religion, to dominate and destroy “other” who is perceived as a threat.

    At root, all wars are psychological in the sense that one war party is seeking to dominate and overpower, if not destroy, the opposing war party. The human psyche, the ego, seems to never change in this respect. Alfred Adler’s theory comes to mind. So many millennia and still going to war.

  8. desert fox

    Vietnam was a tragedy brought on by zionist neocons in the American government via a false flag ie the gulf of tonkin non attack and thus provide the zionists with their war for the profit of the bankers and the MIC.

    1. You are correct in noting that the Zionists have had a grip on America for decades. But I believe President Trump has a strategy whereby he protects Israel and the Jews, but is widening the strategy to dilute and dissolve the stranglehold that the Zionist faction has had on America for decades. So it protects Jews, but stops the cancer of Zionism from destroying America and Western civilization. Trump is a masterful negotiator. I think he knows that it is critical for there to continue to be a bond between Christians and Jews due to our more advanced culture, sophistication, traditions, and intellectual achievements in the world. We must bond to thwart the rise of Muslims from overtaking the world and establishing a caliphate. However, I also strongly believe Trump knows that the Neo-Con, Zionist strategy of the Oded Yinon Plan (he may only know about this conceptually) has almost bankrupted America and, thus, America must break the stranglehold of this particular strategy by replacing it with one that achieves the dual goals of protecting the Jewish-Christian bond, yet advances the economic, cultural, and sovereignty of America. It is a tight rope walk, but Trump is a masterful negotiator. All he needs are competent tacticians around him to execute on his strategies. I hope you give a fresh look at President Trump. He is no puppet to anyone. He despises weak people and that’s what a puppet is—weak. He is a rebel and I love that aspect in him!!

      You may have already watched this video below of Benjamin Freedom’s 1961 speech, but I will pass it along just in case.

      Benjamin H. Freedman 1961 speech

  9. So many shades of grey on this topic…I’m going to check this movie out! It is interesting that the name of WORMWOOD is a synonym for both heroin and Chernobyl….the bitter star of war which poisons the people’s hearts and minds

    1. Wow what a powerful presentation: “Last Days in Vietnam”. In that situation it seemed like there was a lot of strategical failure but still much tactical courage

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