This is biased, one-sided propaganda film-making at its worst, or best, as the case may be, justifying the anti-Vietnam war movement. While there may have been reasons for opposing the war, and while there should have been protests against the way the war was waged by military strategy-ignorant control freaks like Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara, this film ignores those bases and concentrates on people who just didn’t want to fight any more. There are soldiers like that in every war. In fact, most soldiers don’t want to fight. Not all of them whine with the success these people had. Their whining, combined with the fact that the Nixon Impeachment came at just the right time in the war for the North Vietnamese to make their winning move while the Administration was totally preoccupied with Watergate, resulted in the Communist North Vietnamese-Viet Cong winning the war resulting in the deaths, imprisonment, and expatriation of more than 2 million South Vietnamese.
Everything that can be spun is spun like a top. For instance, Bob Hope, who was a national institution, beloved by virtually everybody, is referred to as the “pro war comedian who turned cheers to jeers.” That’s not the way I remember it. But, then, history is made by those who tell it, not those who do it. And that, in the end, is the reason for this movie. Consistent with their activities in the ‘60s and ‘70s, there is no lie too great to tell to justify their positions.
There are many ludicrous statements made by the people interviewed in this film. For instance, one said, “They went through a list of people in the military to be assigned to defend the Democrat National Convention in Chicago in 1968 and didn’t send anyone they thought might be subversive.” He said this as if it was outrageously discriminatory that “subversives” would be excluded from being sent to defend people against those with whom he was subverting. Excluding people who could cause trouble just sounds reasonable to me.
Another complained about being court-martialed, claiming they singled him out because he told them he “wasn’t going to do what they ordered him to do because he’s not their slave.” So they court-martialed him. Well, duh! When you are in the service, you say, “yes, sir,” and salute. If someone says he’s not going to follow orders, that’s a court-martial offense, regardless of what he’s ordered to do, so long as it is a legal order. According to the film he was acquitted in his court martial, but is today serving a ten year prison sentence. Well, that’s interesting, but the film doesn’t say why he is in prison. What were you expecting? Facts?
Another, Susan Shall, was incensed that General Westmoreland wore his uniform to Congress and other places in which he made statements supporting the war. She said she should be allowed to wear her uniform when she marched in protest of the war, even though she was still on active duty. Let’s see, Gen. Westmoreland was working in support of a government policy, to win a war, and Ms. Shall was working in opposition to government policy, working to lose the war. And she thinks her wearing her uniform to defeat the United States in war is the same as someone else on active duty wearing his uniform to help the United States win the war. Are Ms. Shall and her aforementioned compatriots living in some parallel universe where common sense is suspended?
Nowhere in the film is there any mention of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is the law under which they live while they are on active duty. All of them clearly violated the UCMJ and were justly punished.
Jane Fonda is shown commenting at length. Jane apparently is still proud of the way she vilified the American POWs when they were finally repatriated and came home. The film is narrated by her son. Well, you get what you pay for and you should know what you are going to get and not going to get when you go to this film. What you are not going to get is reason or balance. This is nothing more than a diatribe.
There’s much more. Another ex-soldier said that air craft carriers aren’t part of the fleet anymore. No, they’re used by the United States to attack peasants. What?
Another complained that the army “turned me into a killer, training me to take someone else’s life.” Well, yes, that is what you are trained to do in the infantry. So?
Another, Bill Muskat, says that Nixon went to an air war because the army was refusing to fight. This raises another point of which this film tries to convince its audience, that there was an army-wide mutiny. Everyone was refusing to fight, so Nixon had no choice but to start bombing the north. Sounds intriguing, but ‘tain’t so, McGee.
These people all express pride for what they did. None ever mention the fact that the result of America bailing out of Vietnam was the deaths, imprisonment, and mass exodus by those lucky enough to get out and not drown in the effort, of 2 million South Vietnamese.
This is a film that is so devious, it is one of which Joseph Goebbels would be proud