Vietnam Veterans Set the Record Straight After PBS TV Series Whitewashes Communism

a list of names in white on a marble slab, soldiers who died or went missing in the Vietnam War.

This week, Vietnam veterans sent a letter to PBS, Ken Burns, and Bank of America setting the record straight about the Vietnam War.PBS's new documentary TV series, "The Vietnam War," produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and funded by Bank of America, left out key aspects of the war, including the communist connections of North Vietnamese dictator Ho Chi Minh and the brutal repression after the war, veterans alleged.

"The whole cause of all this agony and bloodshed was the aggressive North Vietnamese invasion of the South. If it hadn't been for that, none of this ever would have happened," Lewis Sorley, a Vietnam War veteran, historian, and director at Vietnam Veterans for Factual History (VVFH), told PJ Media in an interview Wednesday. "Burns never seems to find that worth mentioning or condemning and I wonder why."

Sorley alleged that Burns and his fellow filmmakers "had clearly decided that they wanted to tell the standard left-wing narrative of an unwinnable, unjust war." The PBS documentary also obscured the evil of communism throughout the war and afterward. The veteran suggested that presenting the American and South Vietnamese forces as heroic would be "anathema" to the filmmakers.

In the letter VVFH sent to PBS, Burns, and Bank of America, Vietnam veterans emphasized four key omissions and distortions with broad-reaching consequences. The documentary presented a view of the war "very negatively slanted against both the nation of South Vietnam and American involvement there" that "exacerbates" the current cultural polarization in America today.

1. "Blustering, blundering jingoism."

First, the documentary portrayed "U.S. support for South Vietnam as blustering, blundering jingoism," with "Burns' choice of music, graphics, and interviewees" demonstrating "a bias in favor of the militant leftist anti-war cliches of the 1960s."

Although Sorley took part in a three-hour interview for the documentary, he only appeared "four times" in the actual program, for only "about half a minute each." He remembered the interviewer giving off "very dismissive" body language. "The person interviewing me was offended by my understanding of the nature of the war and how it was conducted."

In a 1980 survey, 91 percent of Vietnam veterans said "I am glad I served my country." A full 66 percent said they would serve again, even knowing the outcome of the war. According to VVFH, the Burns documentary "demonstrates a prejudice against" these veterans and "the more than 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers killed by the Soviet-equipped and trained North Vietnamese Army and its Viet Cong subordinates."

2. Minimizing Ho Chi Minh's communism.