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Untold History Of The United States

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  • Untold History Of The United States

    This is a very interesting and unsettling history series narrated by Oliver Stone. Anyone else watching it?
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

  • #2
    Who's showing it?
    Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

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    • #3
      History. I also like I love the 1880's too.
      This bass guitar kills TERRORISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      • #4
        I haven't seen the series yet, but am looking forward to it, having just seen Christiane Amanpour interview Oliver Stone and his co-writer about it.

        Seems like a series that would counter the view of those who view history through an 'American exceptionalism' lens.


        Philip
        "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

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        • #5
          It portrays America as an Imperialistic and uncaring player on the world stage.
          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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          • #6
            Isn't that what we were until the mid 20th century? Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine weren't exactly intended to benefit anyone but us.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Naffenea View Post
              Isn't that what we were until the mid 20th century? Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine weren't exactly intended to benefit anyone but us.
              Good points. Isolationist too unless there was something we wanted.
              Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Naffenea View Post
                Isn't that what we were until the mid 20th century? Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine weren't exactly intended to benefit anyone but us.
                We apparently were, but that isn't how our history usually portrays us. The series is excellent, INHO, well researched and well presented.
                Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                • #9
                  I've watched several of them. His world war two 'expose' really didn't cover anything that anyone of this blog wouldn't have known. I do think he underplayed the importance of U.S. war materials shipped to the USSR, and I don't recall much mention of the fact that the USSR was one of the two powers directly responsible for launching the war. while the Japanese started their war with China in 1937, it didn't blossom into WWII until Hitler (and Stalin) invaded Poland.

                  In Stone's view, the U.S. was responsible for the Cold War because we didn't kowtow to Stalin's concerns.

                  Technically, he has told no lies. All his facts would stand up. What many will miss, though, is that he has cherry picked his fact to suit his arguments, ignoring most that contradict the points he wants to make, and gliding smoothing over the others.

                  On Vietnam, my visceral nerve, he blithely repeats all the old liberal arguments.

                  The French were colonialists out to reconquer their colony: (Partially true up until 1947, patently untrue after 1947. They had worked with Ho Chi Minh's government in 1945-46, and even made approaches after the war started on 19 December 1946, not ending all attempts to negotiate with HCM until 30 January 1948, when they threw all their efforts behind a Bao Dai solution.)
                  Truman's anti-communism was the major factor that caused the Cold War and the reason we supported the French in reestablishing their colony.
                  (Yes, Harry was an anti-Communist, but Joe Stalin also had very much to do with the Cold War. But, Harry did NOT support a French return to Indochina. He only agreed to support the French in the latter part of 1950, after China had been 'lost' and the Cold War had turned hot in Korea. Even then, the majority of military equipment supplied was not targeted to French military units, but to the developing Indochinese armies. That military assistance agreement was signed by the U.S., France, the Vietnamese State, and the Kingdoms of Cambodia and Laos in late 1950.)
                  The U.S. put Diem in power. (Partially true, given that our backing helped secure Diem's power base, BUT that argument ignores the fact that Diem had been in and out of government since the 1930s, and had a power base in South Vietnamese politics.)
                  Stone makes no mention of Ho Chi Minh using the illusion of strong ties to the U.S. government in his bid to lead the Vietnamese Communist Party in 1945, or of OSS agents falling into that trap. Rather Stone soft voices HCM's alleged respect for the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence, without any reference to reality.
                  Stone refers to Laos as "Little Laos" in a cheap bid to arouse our anger against U.S. involvement there. In U.S. terms, "little" Laos ranks between the 12th and 13th largest U.S. states. It's roughtly two/thirds the size of California. We get lots of unrelated aerial bombing shots while Stone soft-voices about massive bombing of 'villages' and massive victims of Agent Orange. No mention of the fact that the great majority of Laos and Cambodia bombed throughout the war had been under North Vietnamese Army occupation for years, or that those 'villages' were likely inhabited by, or adjacent to, major NVA troop concentrations or supply depots.
                  On Cambodia, Stone emphasizes U.S. "illegal" activities there, but fails to mention any NVA "illegal" activities there. And his vision of Khmer politics behind the 1970 coup is simply: the U.S. did it. He makes no mention of pre-invasion Khmer politics, or the Khmer Serei or Khmer Kampuchea Krom, the latter of whose military activities in South Vietnam were at one time directed by this same General Lon Nol, acting on orders of Sihanouk. But he does mention that CIA and Special Forces Cambodian mercenaries from Vietnam were brought in to support Lon Nol's coup. (True, but the Khmer Krom were legally Cambodian citizens in Cambodia, and they were at war in the hopes of returning their territories to Cambodia.) But the listeners don't need to know all that. Stone does mention that far more Cambodians were massacred by the Khmers Rouges than had died in alkl the battles and bombings, but again his soft voice, seamless delivery of that one fact is meant to incline his listeners to the only possible Stonian conclusion: The U.S. was responsible for the genocide. Stone even has the gall to hold up Noam Chomsky as a bright and shining example of an intellectual who opposed the war. (OK, the Chom does quality as intellectual, but no mention is made of his adroit denial of the Cambodian holocaust while it was going on. One in which, while never specifically denying it, he heaps scorn on those reporting the atrocities, challenging their motives and veracity, while calling for an understanding that revolutionaries inevitably break some eggs in the basket in their efforts to bring much needed change to their societies.)
                  Yes, the Chom is a slippery worm, and so is Stone. The sad part about that is that once upon a time, Stone was one of us. Still, his 'history' in entertaining, fairly accurate in some parts, and quite off the mark in others. Those who find American visions of exceptionalism an anathema will rejoice in it. So will a great many whose history is limited to sound bites. To his credit, Stone has produced two good films on the war: Platoon and Between Heaven and Earth. Now would be a good time for Stone to pony up some money and mobilize his supporters to give Vietnam some of the Freedom of Expression that he enjoys in this country. He could start by identifying Vietnam's prisoners of conscience and publicizing their efforts to democratize the regime. He could start a campaign to have Vietnam disestablish the Communist Party as the country's only official party and establish a means for allowing opposition political parties to form and compete in elections.
                  dit: Lirelou

                  Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                  • #10
                    Excellent post, and very perceptive. History is rarely what any one person says it is, although Stone raises some interesting and disturbing points from time to time.

                    I think I would prefer watching it alongside an "official" history of the same period, to highlight the areas of contention and the differing viewpoints.
                    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PhilipLaos View Post
                      I haven't seen the series yet, but am looking forward to it, having just seen Christiane Amanpour interview Oliver Stone and his co-writer about it.

                      Seems like a series that would counter the view of those who view history through an 'American exceptionalism' lens.


                      Philip
                      I suggest you read LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME, both volumes, by James W. Loewen

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                      • #12
                        Here's a review by someone who has read their book, and even footnotes his response. In short, old rehashed leftist arguments. Not only have Stone and his buddy cherry-picked their "facts", they have selected earlier positions that were later repudiated by some of the very people they cite., such as Henry Wallace.

                        To quote a review by Sean Wilentz in The New York Review of Books:

                        With a few twists, above all its defense of the liberal anti-Communist (and Stone’s longtime personal hero) John F. Kennedy, The Untold History of the United States, both the book and the televised series, is a quirky summa of the old Progressive rhetoric, as proclaimed by Stone and Kuznick’s other hero, Henry Wallace, but presented as brand new. They fail to say that in 1952 Wallace published his article “Where I Was Wrong,” writing that he had been inadequately informed about Stalin’s crimes and did not see

                        "…the Soviet determination to enslave the common man morally, mentally and physically for its own imperial purposes….]

                        More and more I am convinced that Russian Communism in its total disregard of truth, in its fanaticism, its intolerance and its resolute denial of God and religion is something utterly evil."

                        He supported Dwight Eisenhower and, in 1960, Richard Nixon for president.

                        Although the book by Stone and Kuznick is heavily footnoted, the sourcing, as the example of Wallace’s 1952 article suggests, recalls nothing so much as Dick Cheney’s cherry-picking of intelligence, particularly about the origins and early years of the cold war. The authors also devote many thousands of words to criticism of such destructive American policies as Ronald Reagan’s in Central America and George W. Bush’s in Iraq, but much of this will be familiar to readers of these pages, as will their objections to Barack Obama’s use of predator drones. This book is less a work of history than a skewed political document, restating and updating a view of the world that the independent radical Dwight Macdonald once likened to a fog, “caused by the warm winds of the liberal Gulf Stream coming in contact with the Soviet glacier”—but now more than twenty years after the dissolution of the Soviet empire.
                        Those interested can read the whole review here:

                        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/arch...gination=false
                        dit: Lirelou

                        Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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                        • #13
                          Oliver Stone made that crap movie about the Kennedy assasination that was loaded with facts that were already proven to be false it's no surprise that he's making a documentry about the history of the US with his usual far left perspective style that makes the US look only terrible.

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                          • #14
                            Oliver Stone is very liberal and I think he does come at this from his own agenda to be sure. I havent seen this film but I am aware of much of what he has said before. Not all of what he talks about is worng though. The decisions to mess around in other peoples countries by the CIA in the 50's has had a lot of repercussions for America and others and its something that most in the States even aware of as so much of it was done overtly so they doent understand the context of the consequences of them... For people interested in this kind of thing "blowback" by Chalmers Johnson" is worth looking at... One must remember the polcicies of nations are not made by a nation, they're made by people with their own agendas , beliefs and wants and can bring all the flaws and unintended consequences that come with them...

                            P.S Not all of what is in JFK is bunkum by the way. I wonder what you are referring to specifically

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                            • #15
                              It's still a lot more interesting than reality shows and the other television mental rubbish.
                              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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