The demented old man occupying the white house mumbles, gaffs, and orders our military to leave Afghanistan. Pack it up, leave the keys in the visor and get the hell out, pronto. Yet, the Taliban, those crazy well-organized army of zelotes, demon processed devils from Hell with 12th Centaury Muslim beliefs, are taking back their country at record speed.
Did the United States believe that we could save the Afgan people from their history and fate? Did we learn nothing from the Vietnam War and our ill-fated escape in 1975? Someone, please show the current administration some newsreels from that time. Is John Kerry advising Biden?
As a teenager in the 60s, the real, and “living color” Vietnam war show came on every night at 6 PM, and Ken Burns (bless his heart) had nothing to do with this production. Nevertheless, it was the staple for all news shows from 1967 until its end in 1975.
NBC, ABC, and CBS ruled the airways. Cigarette smoking, bourbon drinking mad-men. Groomed and over-paid talking heads spitting out controlled information for our curiously horrified consumption. Lester Holt didn’t invent this type of journalism, but he damn sure paid attention and learned from his predecessors.
The grand wizard from Texas, LBJ, and his Washington DC cronies kept a tight reign on their messaging. As a result, American casualties were deflated, and Viet Cong deaths were inflated. But, of course, none of that crap mattered, except that we were losing our young American men at an alarming rate.
Television had not yet discovered that death and gore, like sex, sells to the viewing audience. We were holding on to our 1950s values by a single frazzled thread.
The assassination of Kennedy was the beginning of the end of our Ozzie and Harriet-induced innocence. Vietnam was JFK’s war-baby; and his downfall. Good old Texas boy, LBJ, found a way to energize the economy and re-stock the Washington coffers using the war as his vehicle. My father was a home builder at that time and he said he never made as much money as he did between 1966 and 1970. The guns were blazing, and the times were amazing.
Daily films of dead young American soldiers weren’t good for ratings or advertisers. “Wonder Bread” and “Proctor and Gamble” couldn’t compete with dead Americans on television, so, the war footage was heavily edited for family viewing. It was all about optics and fending off the exploding protest from the anti-war hippies, coddled and protected college students, and eventually, plaid shirt Bermuda shorts, mini-dress wearing suburbanites. 2021, in a sense, is much like 1975.
Take the words “Vietnam” and insert the phrase “Middle East,” and you will see that we are repeating history.
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