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  • The quiet mutiny

    Hello boys .

    Any thoughts regarding this Vietnam contemporary Australian documentary ?



    I mean , for the ones of you that went there , did this so-called "quiet mutiny " had a reality at your own level ?
    That rug really tied the room together

  • #2
    Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
    Hello boys .

    Any thoughts regarding this Vietnam contemporary Australian documentary ?



    I mean , for the ones of you that went there , did this so-called "quiet mutiny " had a reality at your own level ?
    Hello sebfrench76:
    Thanks for posting this up. I had seen "Sir, No Sir!" but not this one from John Pilger.

    I see the questions you put as two distinct, separate, if related questions.

    Re question 1: "Any thoughts regarding this Vietnam contemporary Australian documentary ?" sebfrench76

    Someone who makes a thorough study of US in the RVN can form opinions about this film without having been there; more specifically without having been there in the late summer of 1970 when the film was made. A thorough treatment of the various issues the film raises warrants a pile of books, not a few internet bits. But I'll take a quick shot, obviously leaving out huge amounts of stuff.

    Keep in mind the time period, summer 1970. The cat was outa the bag--the US was not trying to win a war. The Cambodian push, 5 years too late, had just been done, arguably, to cover our retreat--or more accurately, our disengagement.

    IMHO Pilger's exaggerated generalization "mutiny" is not the worst of its kind among agenda-driven propaganda pieces.
    Pilgers' only direct intentional falsehoods I see involve these:
    a. innuendos of grunts' routinely assassinating officers in combat in the field, and grunts' murdering the two Donut Dollies. The craftily dishonest Pilger spews accolades about the bravery of his "friend", The American Grunt, but wants to make viewers believe that "grunts" routinely did these sorts things.

    b. Pilger's editorial opinion that a unique singular cause of US decision to quit supporting the RVN--that the US solder explains it via this so-called quiet mutiny--is not just inaccurate history, but transparently flagrantly simplistic--drawn from a flawed, absurdly narrow and incomplete set of alternative explanations. BTW Pilger's use of 'the war' to mean US presence, instead of The VN War, is commonplace even among the most adroit scholars on the subject until the year 2000 or so.

    (others may find a c, d, e, ...)

    Otherwise, for a cherrypicked agenda piece, I believe the film contains some accurate portrayals of the way many US EM felt about being there as of August 1970, certainly into 1971. I believe it accurately characterizes the fact that US personnel generally had little realistic direct morale support for their efforts--especially once the drawdown was in progress--but even in the earlier years. Pilger's exclusive focus on grunt draftees to make these points was inane, inept, and a bit stupid, since many if not most EM support personnel (from big rear to outpost rear) had similar opinions by Sept 1970 when the film was made, regardless of whether they were drafted or volunteers. I congratulate Pilger for noting that most of these GI's were still doing their jobs despite these attitudes.
    He's certainly correct that extended US ground combat ops could not have continued into 1971 as they had in the earlier years without the draftees. But in 1970, there were still guys incountry volunteering for combat operations.

    The way this and related material functions in broader assessments/narratives of the history of the war overall is another issue, another pile of books.

    Re question 2:
    "for the ones of you that went there , did this so-called "quiet mutiny " had [have] a reality at your own level ? " sebfrench76

    This is also worth a group of books in its own right. "Mutiny" as a generalization is an inane exaggeration overall.

    Keep in mind the time period, summer 1970. The cat was outa the bag--we weren't trying to win a war. Having served incountry during this period, 1970-71, at battalion rear area, large field rear base , artillery firebase, riding around in helicopters and birddog, in the bush just a little bit with the infantry, all the above, I say it was easy to find troops at all levels of deployment/assignment who would give the kinds of responses that Pilger was looking for to make his film. Re the general EM* attitude by Sept 1970 that putting in one's time, more like a prison term than a patriotic duty, few would have disagreed--but "few" is not 'none'. (Pilger didn't look for the other guys.) Plenty of chapter and verse available on dislike of the GVN, ARVN, etc as well. The Lifer issue was quite real, although no one talks about that on any VN War internet discussion board I've seen. These days, we're all brothers.

    *not talking about SF, Rangers, hard corps LRRP team guys, pilots, etc. Talking about the run of the mill EM troop/Lt incountry.

    Just my quick 2 cents' worth on an interesting set of questions. Other interesting aspects of Pilger's interviews, such as "asking why" require more time and space.

    j
    not a combat vet
    Last edited by Jeffy; 24 May 16, 10:14.

    Comment


    • #3
      AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!
      http://www.uswings.com/about-us-wing...nam-war-facts/
      Trying hard to be the Man, that my Dog believes I am!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
        Hello boys .

        Any thoughts regarding this Vietnam contemporary Australian documentary ?



        I mean , for the ones of you that went there , did this so-called "quiet mutiny " had a reality at your own level ?


        Being a Class of '71 guy, as it were,
        I flinched at the inclusion of this quote in the piece:
        "You don't tell an American soldier [what to do] -- you tell him why."

        Very poignant memory from my homecoming years: the awareness of a dire need to know a purpose for my endeavors from now on.

        Comment


        • #5
          However, fraggings did occur - thus the origin of the term - soldiers did disobey orders, and the practice of patrols going out and simply spending a few days doing nothing and then returning to report "No contact" arose as well. Drug use was rampant in the in-country troops, and alcohol was heavily consumed as well.

          The officers in the late stages of the war were in a hurry to get in some combat leadership time and "get their ticket punched", and often were poor leaders more interested in their own career advancement than in the lives and welfare of the soldiers they commanded.

          America came very close to losing complete control of its army in a war they never intended to win, and the rebellious attitude of the American Army continued well into the late 70's, especially in the Cold War combat units stationed in Europe, where drugs, alcohol and insubordination were commonplace, and officers were heavy users of both as well. The parallel between our army and the French poilu` in WWI cannot be ignored.

          Politically, economically and militarily, Viet Nam was a massive disaster for America.
          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

          Comment


          • #6
            Every swingin' Richard EM from the Class of '71 remembers this:
            "What're they gonna do--send ya to Nam?"

            Comment


            • #7
              Fraggings

              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
              However, fraggings did occur - thus the origin of the term - soldiers did disobey orders, and the practice of patrols going out and simply spending a few days doing nothing and then returning to report "No contact" arose as well. Drug use was rampant in the in-country troops, and alcohol was heavily consumed as well.

              The officers in the late stages of the war were in a hurry to get in some combat leadership time and "get their ticket punched", and often were poor leaders more interested in their own career advancement than in the lives and welfare of the soldiers they commanded....
              http://www.amazon.com/Fragging-Soldi.../dp/0896727157
              Fragging: Why U.S. Soldiers Assaulted Their Officers in Vietnam (Modern Southeast Asia Series) Hardcover January 15, 2011

              Review excerpts
              "While most perpetrators were never identified or punished, Lepre closely examined the records of the 71 soldiers and Marines who were convicted of the crimes in an attempt to discern a profile. He found that fraggers were younger than average, most came out of broken homes, and two-thirds were high-school dropouts. Blacks were overrepresented, and whites underrepresented. According to their psychiatric records, fraggers were immature, had low self-esteem, and were mediocre soldiers. Most of them used illegal drugs. Interestingly, few were draftees ..."
              Peter W. Brush

              Mr.Brush neglected to mention that Lepre found that fraggers were also rear area support personnel in nearly all the known cases.

              "Lepre then examines the fragging phenomenon in closer detail and demonstrates that the popular perception of fragging is deeply flawed. The usual portrayal is that of a gung ho officer looking to win medals and promotions for himself at the expense of his mens safety. The soldiers, disgruntled that their lives are being risked and lost for no reason other than their commanders personal gain, conspire to do a job on him, often by tossing a frag grenade into his tent in the middle of the night. Lepre points out that this was almost never the case. Most of the fraggings occurred in noncombat support units, where officers did not in any way place anyones life at risk. Furthermore, those fraggings that did occur in combat units were usually over a personal conflict. Lepre notes a number of incidences where officers were fragged over extremely trivial matters: one soldier was angry because he believed he was owed more cigarettes; another lashed out because the officer forced him to cut his hair; and yet another soldier killed his sergeant because the officer reprimanded him for falling asleep while on guard duty. With his in-depth research on these attacks, Lepre clearly demonstrates that rather than justifiable acts of self-preservation or protest, these fraggings instead represent nothing more than premeditated murder."
              Michael W. Ferguson

              See also, prior to Lepre's book:
              http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...ers-in-vietnam

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes, what Jeffy said, in all his posts. Pilger also assumes that the majority of low ranking enlisted were draftees. Draftees served throughout the Army and not just in Vietnam. They were not the majority, but they were important.
                dit: Lirelou

                Phong trần mi một lưỡi gươm, Những loi gi o ti cơm s g!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Merci tous!
                  Extremely interesting inputs ,and they have the flavor of the experience.
                  This is the mark of a real democracy than to allow a journalist to do such a depressing job...
                  That rug really tied the room together

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jeffy View Post
                    Every swingin' Richard EM from the Class of '71 remembers this:
                    "What're they gonna do--send ya to Nam?"
                    They might even bend your dog tag
                    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                    youre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sebfrench76 View Post
                      Hello boys .

                      Any thoughts regarding this Vietnam contemporary Australian documentary ?



                      I mean , for the ones of you that went there , did this so-called "quiet mutiny " had a reality at your own level ?
                      Seb,

                      I'll leave it for others to deal with the factuality of the doco. I know a little, but it isn't my area of expertise. There were undoubtedly issues within some units at various times, and anecdotally they became worse in the last few years of the war.

                      What I will comment on is John Pilger. He is from that school of 'journalism' and political comment that either thinks it is OK to lie in support of a 'worthy cause', or actually manages to convince itself that lies aren't lies at all if the cause is sufficiently worthy. Pilger's particular swamp is the 'anti-imperialist' left, where he sits alongside the likes of Wifred Burchett (sadly another Australian), Michael Moore, Tariq Ali and the King of the Mountain, the utterly disgraceful Noam Chomsky. There are many, many more - their first assumption is always that 'the West' and particularly the US are to blame.....somehow. Of course, they have their equivalents on the right who are every bit as appalling.

                      I imagine France has its own set of such people. One of the few advantages of being monolingual is that you tend to be limited to dealing only with the idiots you share a language with. Saves time.

                      My problem with people like this is that you simply can't trust a word they say. You have to check & re-check every assertion. As a result they are of little worth to anyone but an expert in the field who can immediately spot the distortions. They are occasionally interesting & provocative, but only as part of a comprehensive study of a topic. Taken alone they are worse than useless, literally.

                      As a young leftie growing up in Australia I was taken with the likes of Pilger, Moore & Chomsky. As my interest in history deepened my respect for them diminished. In particular my study of the Vietnam War radically changed my view of Pilger & Chomsky. They lie. All the time. I'm not even sure they know how much any more - 'the truth' is what suits their prejudices. Do not trust.
                      Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Brilliant reply ,sincerely.
                        That rug really tied the room together

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ta.
                          Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                            Seb,
                            As a young leftie growing up in Australia I was taken with the likes of Pilger, Moore & Chomsky.
                            This is how such folks make their nut: They depend upon coalitions of the complicit, the willing, the gullible, the impressionable, the vulnerable and the weak (among others). Some portion of these coalitions usually includes the young.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                              Seb,

                              What I will comment on is John Pilger. He is from that school of 'journalism' and political comment that either thinks it is OK to lie in support of a 'worthy cause', or actually manages to convince itself that lies aren't lies at all if the cause is sufficiently worthy. Pilger's particular swamp is the 'anti-imperialist' left, where he sits alongside the likes of Wifred Burchett (sadly another Australian), Michael Moore, Tariq Ali and the King of the Mountain, the utterly disgraceful Noam Chomsky. There are many, many more - their first assumption is always that 'the West' and particularly the US are to blame.....somehow. Of course, they have their equivalents on the right who are every bit as appalling.

                              I imagine France has its own set of such people. One of the few advantages of being monolingual is that you tend to be limited to dealing only with the idiots you share a language with. Saves time.

                              My problem with people like this is that you simply can't trust a word they say. You have to check & re-check every assertion. As a result they are of little worth to anyone but an expert in the field who can immediately spot the distortions. They are occasionally interesting & provocative, but only as part of a comprehensive study of a topic. Taken alone they are worse than useless, literally.

                              As a young leftie growing up in Australia I was taken with the likes of Pilger, Moore & Chomsky. As my interest in history deepened my respect for them diminished. In particular my study of the Vietnam War radically changed my view of Pilger & Chomsky. They lie. All the time. I'm not even sure they know how much any more - 'the truth' is what suits their prejudices. Do not trust.
                              The likes of Pilger, Chomsky, Moore, Turse, et al might do some direct misrepresentation, even lying as you say. That isn't the main problem. They can be caught when they lie directly. Their power rests with this: Most of the misrepresentations are more indirect--presentation of anecdotal factual material in such a way as to make it appear representative of a larger proportion of reality. A parallel example would be if I were to make a documentary on US Transportation System and show a three-hour stream of air disasters, blood, guts, people trapped in burning vehicles, children run over in the street, etc. Or a documentary on the priesthood and do 3 hours of nothing but serial child sex abuse. All this stuff really happened. It's horrible, detestable, extremely unfortunate, and it isn't lies at all. Passing it off as "The Real American Transportation System" or "The Real RC Priesthood" is the lie.

                              As you note,
                              "They are occasionally interesting & provocative, but only as part of a comprehensive study of a topic. Taken alone they are worse than useless, literally."

                              There it is, as we used to say. Most people have neither the time nor the inclination to bother with separating advocacy from reporting.

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