A new PBS documentary film series is looking at one of the most divisive wars in American history. “The Vietnam War” is a 10-part documentary series that tells the story of the era-defining conflict over 18 hours. Filmmaker Ken Burns and director Lynn Novick spent six years working on the upcoming series, with accounts from more than 100 witnesses.
“The Vietnam War was a decade of agony that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans,” Burns said in a press release. “There wasn’t an American alive then who wasn’t affected in some way — from those who fought and sacrificed in the war, to families of service members and POWs, to those who protested the war in open conflict with their government and fellow citizens. More than 40 years after it ended, we can’t forget Vietnam, and we are still arguing about why it went wrong, who was to blame and whether it was all worth it.”
Burns’ upcoming documentary draws extensively from historical footage and images, much like his acclaimed 1990 series “The Civil War,” which returned to PBS in September 2015.
“Borrowing something from Ulysses S. Grant's tenacious military strategy, Burns stages a relentless, multifront assault on viewers' emotions,” James M. Lundberg, an assistant history professor, writes in Slate. “Working in the soft glow of nostalgia, he manages to take a knotty and complex history of violence, racial conflict, and disunion and turn it into a compelling drama of national unity.”
“The Vietnam War” features interviews from those on both sides of the conflict, as well as civilians caught in the middle of the war.
“We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy. Ken and I have tried to shed new light on the human dimensions of the war by looking at it from the bottom up, the top down and from all sides,” Novick said in the release. “In addition to dozens of ‘ordinary’ Americans who shared their stories, we interviewed many ‘ordinary’ Vietnamese soldiers and noncombatants in the North and South, and we were surprised to learn that the war remains as painful and unresolved for them as it is for us.”
“The Vietnam War” will air on PBS in September 2017. The documentary series will also feature additional content on the series’ homepage.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."