by WorldTribune Staff, November 7, 2017
Oliver North, who was a Marine platoon leader in Vietnam, said the documentary “The Vietnam War” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick does an “egregious disservice” to those who served and blatantly smears the president who “brought us home.”
“It’s sad, but I’ve come to accept that the real story of the heroic American GIs in Vietnam may never be told,” North wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Times.
“Like too many others, Ken Burns portrays the young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of the Vietnam War as pot-smoking, drug-addicted, hippie marauders. Those with whom I served were anything but. They did not commit the atrocities alleged in the unforgivable lies John Kerry described to a congressional committee so prominently featured by Mr. Burns. The troops my brother and I were blessed to lead were honorable, heroic and tenacious. They were patriotic, proud of their service, and true to their God and our country.
“To depict them otherwise, as Mr. Burns does, is an egregious disservice to them, the families of the fallen and to history.”
North, the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and two Purple Hearts, said that Burns and Novick reserved some of “the most blatant travesties in the film” for President Richard Nixon.
“Because of endless fairy tales told by Ken Burns and others, many Americans associate Richard Nixon with the totality and the worst events of Vietnam. It’s hardly evident in the Burns ‘documentary,’ but important to note: When Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968, he inherited a nation – and a world – engulfed in discord and teetering on the brink of widespread chaos. His predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, was forced from office with a half-million U.S. troops mired in combat and fierce anti-American government demonstrations across the country and in our nation’s capital.
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick may not recall – but my family remembers: It was Lyndon Johnson who sent my brother and me to war. It was Richard Nixon who brought us home. It is very likely we are alive today because Mr. Nixon kept his word.”
That’s not the only opportunity for accuracy Burns ignored, according to North.
“He could have credited Mr. Nixon with granting 18-year-olds the right to vote in July 1971 with the 26th Amendment to our Constitution. (Does Ken even recall the slogan, “Old enough to fight – old enough to vote!” He should. Mr. Burns turned 18 that same month.)”
North wrote that Burns cherry-picked “from the infamous ‘Nixon tapes’ to brand the president as a devious manipulator, striving for mass deception – a patently false allegation.”
By the time Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, “the Vietnam War was all but won and the South Vietnamese were confident of securing a permanent victory. But in December 1974 – three months after Mr. Nixon departed the White House – a vengeful, Democrat-dominated Congress cut off all aid to South Vietnam,” North wrote.
“It was a devastating blow for those to whom Mr. Nixon had promised – not U.S. troops – but steadfast military, economic and diplomatic support. As chronicled in memoirs written afterwards in Hanoi, Moscow and Beijing, the communists celebrated. The ignominious end came with a full-scale North Vietnamese invasion five months later. Despite the war’s end – and the trauma that continues to afflict our country – there is little in the Burns so-called documentary about the courage, patriotism and dedication of the U.S. troops who fought honorably, bravely and the despicable way in which we were ‘welcomed’ home.”
Nixon “was dedicated to ending the war the right way and committed to sustaining American honor. He kept his promise to bring us home,” North wrote.
“Ken Burns and Lynn Novick failed to keep their promise to tell all sides about the long and difficult war in Vietnam. Like John Kerry, they have committed a grave injustice to those of us who fought there.”