Thoughts on Episode 2 of Burn’s Vietnam

This episode covered my first recollections of Vietnam which go back to my move from Kansas to Minnesota. JFK was killed within two months of my move and no one was paying attention to what had been a low level conflict which the military reported was going swimmingly. It wasn’t. It would be another year or two before my ex navy Dad began swearing at LBJ’s build up. I don’t think that even then my Father could imagine that ten years later I would be subject to a draft that might send me there but he read history and saw the war as a disaster. Maybe that’s where I get my foresight.

I remember passing around a Mad Magazine at a boy scouting expedition and reading the issue that showed “Headlines as Children see them.” It showed a band of gorillas running across an endless plain of mason jars. The actual headline was about the “secret war” our CIA was conducting across the border in Laos. It was “Guerrillas Attack across Plain of Jars.” The jars were huge stone jars. According to Wikipedia:

The U.S. Air Force dropped more bombs on Laos, primarily the Plain of Jars, than it dropped during the whole of World War II. This included 262 million anti-personnel cluster bombs. An estimated 80 million of these did not explode and remain a deadly threat to the population.

What the second episode made clear is that all the important people in those early years lied through their teeth about the great successes of the war. The exception were a half dozen reporters who could see that Vietnam was nothing like the US government was reporting to be.

That’s what I expect a good newspaper to aspire to. Honest, accurate, neutral reporting.

For the past decade in Duluth our “paper of record” has been a sad exception. My reporting that the Red Plan has put our District millions of dollars behind the eight ball every year is not welcome. That I prophesied that this could happen eight years ago is only an irritation for the Editors of the Trib. Instead, they point to the “ugly” past and blame it not on the powers who tell us everything is hunky dory, but on the very people who have been doing the work of good journalists in reporting the facts on the ground. They refuse to be the messenger and are in fact doing their best to shoot the messenger.

I’ve had some talks with friends who recommend I stop rubbing the Trib’s limitations on its editor’s noses. Maybe that’s the right thing to do. But as I pointed out in the first of these Vietnam reflections that has been the modus operandi of the Republican Party which has suddenly made the Mitch McConnell types the pariahs of folks the party paid little attention to until Donald Trump came around.

I’m simply being a hectoring parent telling my wayward newspaper to grow up and stop defending the powerful at the expense of the powerless.

Take that into consideration before you vote for the school board in November.

And while you are at it I’m being outspent 2 to 1 by the powerful. Donations to my impoverished campaign can be made here:

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