Oliver Stone on Coming to Terms with Vietnam

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In this 2009 Moyers Moment from Bill Moyers Journal, filmmaker Oliver Stone describes his personal experiences as a soldier in Vietnam and explains how they inform many of his films, particularly Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, which deal explicitly with war. The mass killing and suffering of civilians in Vietnam reminds him of today’s war in Afghanistan, Stone says, and he recalls the desensitization to killing with which he had to come to grips when he returned home.

Watch the full conversation between Bill and Oliver Stone.

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  • Penny

    People need to wake up to whats going on here, need to speak out against the way this country is going. The wars, hypocrisy, the lies, the money being spent, the money being given to a lot of other countries, one which Shawn Hannity talked about a few weeks ago, was Mexico, we are giving them one Billion a year. FOR WHAT!!! Even Shawn Hannity asked the question FOR WHAT? Why are we giving so much money to all these other countries when we have TRILLIONS of dollars debt. Then cut all our communities up, the schools, teachers, programs, and keep raising our taxes, and giving all our jobs and work to China. WAKE UP PEOPLE! Before it’s to late. People are to busy, addicted with there face stuck in their cell phones all day they don’t even see what’s happening.

  • Dan C.

    I was an undergraduate during 1968 to 1972 and pretty much educated myself about the American War in Viet-Nam, including listening on the radio to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (chaired by Senator Fulbright I believe) concerning the origins of this conflict. It became patently clear that America had blundered into a colonial war taking the place of the French. The Vietnamese People were fighting a war
    of independence from colonial domination. During the Senate committee meeting
    an American OSS officer, who was attached to Ho Chi Minh during the Japanese
    occupation, said that Ho greatly admired America’s fight for independence against the British Empire and had hoped that after WWII the Americans would help the Vietnamese secure their independence from the French Empire. The Senate chambers fell silent.

    When I was in graduate school during 1975 to 1980 I heard that some ROTC cadets
    were being told that the “Vietnam” War was lost because of “civilian constraints”. Nothing was learned from the lessons of this conflict and decades later the Neocon war hawks were confident that Americans could be intentionally deceived into waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The American War in Viet-Nam was a blunder- the American War in Iraq was calculated. When will we ever learn?

  • Guest

    Ending the draft was the worst thing that ever happened to this country. Students marched in protest to the Vietnam War; “Hell NO, We Don’t Want to Go!”
    That war was wrong. Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were Wrong. But now since it is volunteers going to war and “Not Me”, there are no protests.
    We do not raise our children to kill, be maimed emotionally or physically, or killed.
    Remember after the Vietnam war how violence in the poor neighborhoods exploded? Young soldiers risked all for their country, then came home and found that nothing changed for them.
    This country needs a new vision. Nations can forget the murder and mayhem we create in their countries if we can stop and do good instead of harm. The world would be so much better a place if we sent in the Peace Corp instead of the Army and Marine Corps.

  • Gary Masters

    Hanoi should have surrendered immediately. The they would have all they have now, and the aid we promised and all their people would have survived.