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tv   Washington Journal Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Discuss their Documentary...  CSPAN  September 13, 2017 12:05am-12:46am EDT

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places around the country that have embraced charters the most systematically are also the fastest improving cities in the country. i'm not saying make every school public school or charter, i'm saying if we look at the data and want to do what works for truth kids let's treat every public school like a charter. we can call it a district and a renaissance school, but let's give it the autonomy so people who run the school can really make the decisions and create a school model that will work for the kids i have to teach. >> and, let's hold them accountable for their performance and if they do a great job. >> watch saturday in eastern on c-span twos book tv.
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>> ken and lynn have made a new tv series about the vietnam war, we talked to them about the program on the "washington journal", this is 40 >> joining us now or can burns and ling, the vietnam war which airs on sunday, thank you for coming on the program a lot of stuff and information have come out with the vietnam war, why do you think your version was needed out there. >> i think will be constantly but unfortunately we have spent more so the last 42 years not discussing it. there's been so much new information, veterans are coming forward with their story and
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people involved are coming does, forward. what i think it does is aggregate the most recent scholarship and speak to the veterans of the united states and we have no political agenda, but also interview people in north vietnam and civilians and soldiers to get a 360 view of it and create a space where we cane finally find a way to do it. fortunately we had an underwriter at bank of america o that was willing to say we want you to take on complicated questions and let's have a national dialogue about that. so we come out ready to share aimed at everybody. >> so where did they come from? >> we found people through word-of-mouth mouth, we went to
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families that have lost someone, people who went to canada, incredible heroes the marines and we tried to represent as many as possible. we probably met a thousand people and interviewed a asoul t hundred. in each person open their soul to us and shared some of the darkest moments of their lives the most profound experiencesd i they've had and help us get deep into this. >> you found even in theand humn vietnamese. >> i think we tend to that as we meet the other, so what was interesting is that our american veterans, marine and army i say no my goodness, the vietcong and
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the north vietnamese sound like me. these are the people who pipe that my dreams and were my enema and now i understand and i realize the experience of war on the grounds in the front linesf in those moments of terror of taking the hill, their experiences are similar all through time. lived in films on the secondr f world war and there is a uniqueness to each one and also strange similarity. what we understood is that there is more than one truth and that we tend to particularly something that did not turn out so well for us tend to say it's only one thing or we get locked in her heart inside lower don't
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listen to the other. we try to create the space where participants could feel their voices were heard regardless of their opinion just regardless of what their experience was but our viewers could as well and because we did not have a political agenda that we wantedi to create a space where americans could sit down, talk about the cliché we went intimate conversations like why did you go to that protests? that's the conversation we want to have take place. >> host: ask questions about their project you can call in if your vietnam veteran anyone tese questions will show you bit from the documentary, this is one soldiers perception of what happened this is what he had to say.
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>> will just adapt, and then yoi adapt. you adapt to the atrocities of war you adapt to killing, dyinga i should say doesn't bother you as much when i first arrived in vietnam there are some interesting things that happened and i questioned some of the marines is made to realize that this is war and this is what we do and it stuck in my head, this is war, this is what we do and after a while you embrace that. >> tell us more about this person. >> this gentleman was roger harris from boston, he was very
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generous to share his story with us when he was a brown die car and one of the most dangerous places, and he waske extraordinarily open about how difficult the experience was what it was like to feel that ne you work come home and he tried to explain that to his mother and a phone call was a all of devastating moment, what was the purpose of all this i when he gets home from vietnam he comes out of the play and he connected the cabin realizes it because it's an african-american what's going on at home is racialhem strikes. he embodies some of this. >> as far as the scope of it, how many chapters to you have and what you do in those? >> is ten episodes, pbs will run
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the first five the 17 through the 21st and then pick up the 24th to the followinggweekly thursday. each one of those will be played twice. if you get in late go to bed early you can watch them all. the first episode is the table setting introducing you totext characters and placing you within a geopolitical context, treated kennedy's inauguration on the capital and that would kinda get granular, we focusneda down. that is kennedy's administration and the six-month time and that it begins to open up. the last takes us to the peace treaty of 73 to the present. understand the ways in which our two countries have been together the way they are conflicted about the war and struggling about the meaning. they wo
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they want so many people there beginning to wonder if it's worth it, not so much willing to ignore the cost as their leader suggested they did. they suffered unbelievableth losses just as we continue the debate that i quote today. mass demonstrations against the current administration, the president sure the presses line, asymmetrical warfare, big drops of classified material, this is all coming we started this years ago there's hundreds of things that echo with the present. but we finish this almost two years ago, we could not have anticipated what the current moment was. yet, we begin to realize how helpful history could be in helping us understand and
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because were so divided andof involved in hyper partisanship we think may be pulling out insane we can have a conversation and not let that dining room conversation to send into an argument we could help us understand not just them but. now. >> will start some calls. marty, go ahead. vietn >> my brother fought in vietnam and came home, he didn't volunteer to go, he was drafted. because of the respect for country he went. he came home and he was never the same. so, over the years he let a little bit out here and there. regardless of what the war mentor why we're there, it affected him the rest of his
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life because he never experienced anything like that, he said people made it sound like we were brutal and we were not near as brutal as the vietcong. the people in villages and the children they sent out with candles they had made and thewo soldiers would buy them and when they would like them they would explode so, i don't agree 100% with war, but i know that this president doesn't want war and is not in it for war and we better have a good reason as far as he's concerned to get involved in a war. >> host: thank you. i'm sure this not the first part of the story.
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>> guest: thank you so much foro sharing the story of your brother. many people a have had similarar experiences. that's with vietnam is complicated because of theof asymmetrical nature of the warfare and not knowing who the enemy was. you don't know if the children are your friends are youre fighi enemies. for the vietnamese were fighting against us they saw the total war.l everybody who is willing tota fight would fight, and that cause complicated and more questions first military and our soldiers were caught in the middle of it. many were drafted and trying to do their duty and serve their country. i think our film which i very hard to represent the writing of experiences and let the story speak for themselves. the question of whether we
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should go to war is a profound one. this is why, thank you for sharing. >> danny in arizona. >> good morning. >> caller: first things first, i'm 68 going on 69, little. overweight, type two diabetes, but i'm a big fan of cambron's. and in the civil war document at the end when you have the two civil war veterans and one was from the north arose from the south and one turn to look at the other and says and was it also real, now i know what he meant. it's crazy.o believ
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it's hard to believe we did something like that and surviv survived. >> guest: this is what the last caller was talking about.cies oh i think we have one marine in the film he says were not the dominant species on the planet because were nice and a lot of people like to blame thed military for turning young men into killers. but he says i consider that only finishing school. what happens is the rest of the population particularly when we have a military that suffers itl losses because we don't have a national draft and national service, we forget most of the population separates us from the experience of war. the so unique in this question from the civil war from the ancient greeks until the was it not real? did it not happen because the experience of combat most of us do not spend any time of her day
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thinking or violent death is possible at any moment. that will transform you in the weighted marty's brother and it will leave you with a sense of connection to the civil war soldiers and all who have gonene before. we have an obligation to study,o work. not just to make sure the policymakers understand and they are to be very careful before they commit u.s. treasure but particularly u.s. blood but we need to understand it at a psychological level how tough it is not only to survive it but then come home and live with it. were very grateful you're here and you shared your story. i can't wait for you to see the whole stories. >> i think one of the things that the end of the civil war the soldiers coming together and
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we've seen it in the film and i wonder if these ordinary soldiers are able to see thead healing and each other. we found that in this film as well. it's been interesting to see the veterans watch the film in vietnam and american veterans watch the film and see their old men who have a lot in common who have differences. >> host: this is daniel on the line. >> caller: hello, my uncle served in vietnam and i got to see and pass away and he suffered through the pst.g, he never shared anything. i don't remember anything he told as far as a positive or negative story.ced my f unit is my father did drugs. my dad died when i was ten. i remember growing up and being angry when i saw him pass away and see how sick he was the week i stayed with him i fully understood what he went through
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and the fact that there's something semi- family they don't talk about this one of them. the one last thing he was able to do is he hated the governmene so much because of what he went through that he did not collect social security toward the end, so i feels there's always two sides of the story and i feelths sad that there's so much patriotism with older americans that the americans can do no wrong. there's so much propaganda with current news about vietnam is so hard to get the information up. i'm looking forward to seeing your film. >> guest: you hit the nail on the head, how do we handle it, what you do personally is your own experience with these
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horrible memories, some people are able to adjust, some hide it away sometimes it's a car toxics brew. the larger question you're bringing up as the vietnam wares is the first time where we really began to question the government. we assume before the word presence and presidents would not lie to us. after that were sure they're all line. showed that administration afte administration and even ford were not completely open with what was going on. there's a get gigantic change in the collective consciousness about the government. other s that's a pendulum that can swing too far to the other side with paranoia and distrust pickets out of control. the government has on a hold done a good job of staying within the history of the world.
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in the case of vietnam you can see the way in which information and free flow and transparency we would expect in a democracy failed. that part of the reason why thi is still an open festering wound not just in the intimate and painful way you described, in our heart goes out to you and your family for all that you have suffered, but also in a a general sense of losing faith with the essential idea of us together. we've come out of vietnam were independent free agents that we have been collectively engaged in the work of democracy, compromise working together and getting things i think the film details that. i love to near thoughts after you've seen your entire film. >> host: richard nixon were talking about the current status of the war and what comes next. will sean get your response.
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>> because of the increased strength of the south vietnamese and because of the success of the operation, because of the achievements of the south vietnamese operation i'mdrawal. increasing in the increase in the rate of american withdrawa withdrawals. we have it in our power to leave vietnam in a way that offers a brave people are realistic hopei and freedom. we have it in our power to prove to our friends in the world that america's sense of responsibility remain the world's greatest single hope of peace. in generations in the future will look back at this difficult, trying time in american history and they will be proud that we demonstrated that we had the
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>> this was the bus. >> guest: delivers into been in office. >> this little speech was a work of art. i know little something about speech writing and it was no act because no actor in hollywood could've done at that while. >> i love that you put them in front of the camera what we tried to capture. >> throughout the film we try to show your private conversations because of incredible audio tapn and that johnson and nixon administration you can see what they're saying publicly and privately. h you get to know them on a humanh level. this particular moment nixon is basically doing a brilliants thing with that speech. tell the american people his plan is working and we're going
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to turn the world to the vietnamese and they can win and everything is fine. in fact, the opposite is happening. many of kissinger complimenting him on what a great speech it was a man understand this showmanship and the need to sell their story, their good and he's about to win the presidency. because of this way of modulating their message i think we both understood in a deeper way nixon's great political gift. >> was good in new york, mark, your next, go ahead. >> good morning, you can search terrific, i look forward to seeing this. i served in the navy by the dmc religious mentioned. i was on the uss boston. but we were shelling in support of everyone who was south of
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dmc. i was joke around, i was struck ground that i didn't serve in the military i was in the navy, we have hot food, we had hot showers, and worst of all we had air conditioning. i'm wondering how much because aside of shelling we were really fired upon except occasionally, wondering how much effort or film you gave to the navies involved in vietnam? >> thank you mark. i realize when i was looking at the various things they didn't say navy but it is included and we do a lot of that, the shelling in support of that, were up with you guys trying to bail out some of our marines, mostly marines and up there1967.
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fighting. with the navy pilot who is the first to be shot down over nortf vietnam in response to the golf incidents that poses forward into the vietnam experience. it's very much a part of our show. i can't wait for you to see the whole thing. i don't think you'll feel like you're there in your air-conditioned comfort. the navy plays a crucial war and the war effort. >> here is len.abe >> hello. i'm glad to talk to the babe ruth's of documentary filmmaking. >> we like to think of it more like ted williams my dad was a world war ii vet, and he held harry truman in the highest in.s
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i guess i was 17 when the war ended in and started college the next year penn state. i noticed a lot of the guys in non- have become college students but having difficulty, academic, social, trouble with the law. when i talked my daddy said we went to college on the g.i. bill i didn't know anybody. so is the difference between that war and this one. they were both brutal according to this stuff my dad told me it was as ugly as it gets. >> we've done okay now and it is as ugly as it could possibly get. it was a big feature on our 2007 documentary, lincoln address. >> we wrestled with this a great deal. on one hand you could say there many veterans, known from world war ii with serious problems.
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at that time we didn't talk about it. i remember a veteran we talked d to said they went to see a dr. and said just act normal and you'll feel number. it's that or older generation may have suffered just as much if not more but there is no way to acknowledge that publicly. the vietnam veterans were muchbt more willing and able to talk about what they're going through. they came home to a terribly fractured country which is why so traumatic to come home. one veteran said being on aosite college campus after the war was difficult because of the animosity between college students and soldiers perceived unreal. it was something we never figured out how to talk about her deal with. >> one of the things you show quite a bit the protests goingc on i'm sure there certainn perceptions, but what do we learn about them is their new else to them? >> we just have a sense now that we reduce things in the
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superficiality to just as binary thing, and for the war or guesswork. it's mostly every shade of gray. we watch from episode one and evolution of the movement that sometimes makes horrific mistakes. so morally and ethically pure that it represents in a more send a self-interested instead of ethical and legitimate disagreements with war. sometimes it gets too violent at a time when americans are supporting the idea that the war was a mistake.ct that point would like to make is when you study war, the obvious thing is you're dealing with conflicts between nations, armies and tribes. another aspect the colors are bringing up is that there's a psychological dimension. a war going on inside people. -- our protesters go through
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enormous changes during the warn having their own battles within themselves they think we don't spend enough attention traditionally. one thing the film does this want to make room for not only a position but the fact thatua within a particular individual across dozens of individualsve those positions might migrate, grow, develop, and become something else. there are wars going on between the united states and north vietnam. and those going on in the jungle but then within so many of individuals there were some conflicts going on that we feell the need to report. >> we talked about it a lot because were trying to understand this was a time when our democracy showed itself
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maybe his finest hours and people felt they had a stake because of the draft and the war had been going on a long time. people began to question it over time spoke out in our government responded. that's a sense of strength of the democracy whether you agree or not. that's how things are supposedts to work. >> we reported a respected scholar from vietnam who fought in the north vietnamese army as a ground. he could offer unbelievable viewpoints and we ended up wraprviewing him. is kind of like david mccullough and walter isaacson all wrapped together. and he's very wonderful throughout the film. he saw the film and he said, i thought as the war was progressing and they would show the propaganda that the protest represented our weakness. seen the film i realize the
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protests were your strength, the vietnamese had a rigid society that controlled the information nobody was told about the future casualties. they blindly went into war. it was a meatgrinder for them. sixty times more than us. and he could come in retrospect to respect the fact that we had a democracy and when people disagree they could march down and say, i disagree and nothing happened to they were put in jail for the rest of their lives are killed or purged. and he understood that. i thought there's possibility. >> let's go to baltimore maryland. >> hello. it's an honor to talk to. i expect your impartiality and i look forward to yourtr
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documentary. i try not to miss them. i was in vietnam and i'm still conflicted at 69 years old still dealing with the conflicts in my mind with the vietnam war. sometimes i'm not proud of nots feeling the way some vietnam peo veterans feel but i do have a personal problem with it. no, i dealt with two wars because there is a were going here in the united states with martin luther king. so conflicted there and i'm conflicted in vietnam as well.ts i saw it in a different light than some other people saw. so 69 years old i'm still conflicted with that. i think you can hear to my voice. >> guest: you have asked the cadillac of all questions.
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that's exactly what the film is dealing with. it's all right to be conflicted about it. in fact, the enemy of good history or good understanding is certainty. was something is upside down and backwards as vietnam, you're not knowing is a position of strength. you can rest assured that the story vietnam does not exist in a vacuum in our film. it is intertwined with the civil rights movement, the women's movement environmental movement. all the strains of the activities, cultural and otherwise in the 1960s. for me as a filmmaker races been essential aspect of the american narrative. you can have a country founded on the words of thomas jeffers jefferson, all men are createde equal but ignore the asterix that jefferson owned human
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beings and into the contradiction. so to see that it has that kind of complication. i would just suggest not only please watch the film, but rest assured your uncertainty is ing fact probably the best position to be in. once he starts and this is how it was then you've alienated half the people in your probably wrong most of the time. we found in the editing dealing mantra we could adopt his comments complicated. sometimes a thing and the opposite of thing archer at the same time. poster said there is will the one truth in war. when you're faced with that is a veteran that can be tough to go there. and i come back to a country that doesn't respect you and judge you on the content every
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character and the extent of your sacrifice.n. and it shows us that we had a lot of work to do then we have a lot of work to do now. i think you for your question. >> richard from wisconsin, go ahead. let's try homer. in shreveport, louisiana. >> caller: hello. i'm one of your daily listeners. i was in high school one day and the service the next. i volunteered for the air force because i refuse to go to the army.trong as i wasn't as strong as mohammedr] ali. so i had to come in the sticks. so i joined the air force. you believe i had 17i went i scholarships but i went on in.
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i've always agreed that there are to be a boy going into the military but it was a confusing time for me and i'm 75 years olt and i saw the co-pay at the virginia. >> and again we talk about the stories that come into play. >> the fact that homer with the when you're in the middle of something that's as chaotic as a war it's going to be confusing. we hope our film by trey gliding somebody perspective will help to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. many said just because i was
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there i don't know what was happening. you don't know what's happening on the homefront, so we triedt hard to see this from every point of view and let it unfold chronologically. hopefully will make more sense when you see the film.. there's just questions that this story asked of us as americans. were looking forward to see what you think about. >> it one thing both of you? learned that's what it was, we went in, i went in someone who grew up with a high draft number lived on the college campus and saw the country been torn apart and i went in with some arrogance day one was how much i didn't know, the world turned
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upside down, just basic things, the leadership in vietnam, he was checking with power with other people that's an interesting dynamic and just as the tapes provided inside the cove what's going on in the administrations it's unsettling, so too the scholarship has revealed their conventional wisdom and who is running things in hanoi, is fascinating. so you have this geopolitical chess match going on in all three capitals as well as the experiences of the soldiers there on all sides in the soldiers if you will in the war against the war back home. >> i agree. we can go on about it because. everyday was a revelation.
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one thing that was a devastating and profound was from the beginning of this war up until 1975 when the war ended there's never a time when the people in charge of our government in the capital, white house and pentagon had confidence in what were doing their and believed we could succeed and understood the nature of the conflict. we didn't know our enemy. is very painful lesson we had to learn as a country. i'm not sure we've absorbed those lessons. so that's why think it's so relevant today. >> we been talking to filmmake filmmakers, thank you both for coming on. >> guest: thank you. >> c-span's "washington journal", live everyday with new some policy issues that impact too. coming up on wednesday morning washington post technology
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reporter discusses the recent equifax data breach. then rendon boyle, member of the budget committee talks about his new bill that would eliminate the debt ceiling. texas republican talks about the federal government's role in providing disaster relief after the hurricanes. watch "washington journal", live at 7:00 a.m. eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. >> sundays at 7:00 p.m. eastern on oral histories. six interviews with prominent photojournalists. this sunday, a conversation with frank johnston but his photos and career. >> when they brought oswaldo hughes within 3 feet of me when jack ruby who leaked out from behind me and one between bob jackson and i, we were all
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thrown to the floor because there must've been 100 place in that basement that sunday morning. >> watch our photojournalist interviews. sundays at 7:00 p.m. eastern on american history to be on c-span three. >> harvard sociologist gave a talk about race in america. focusing on income and residential segregation. this was recorded in june at stanford university in california. this is just over an hour. >> there's no way to introduce bill, given his incredible accomplishments and undisputed status is one of the u.s. leading public intellectuals. unfortunately a dying breed.


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