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Ken Burns’ film on Vietnam ignores power of the anti-war movement

(published originally on Waging Nonviolence) Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s PBS series, “The Vietnam War,” deserves an Oscar for its depiction of the gore of war and the criminality of the warmakers. But it also deserves to be critiqued for its portrayal of the anti-war movement. Millions of us joined the struggle against the war. I worked for years as an organizer for major national demonstrations and many smaller ones. Any semblance between the peace movement I experienced and the one depicted by the Burns/Novick series is purely coincidental. Two of my fellow activists, Ron Young and Steve Ladd had similar reactions to the series. Historian Maurice Isserman says the film is “both anti-war an

What the PBS "Vietnam War" series missed about draft resistance

(Published in the San Francisco Chronicle) The PBS series “The Vietnam War” presents a devastating history of the war, showing it to be ill-conceived and a major human tragedy for both America and Indochina. It clearly validates that the peace movement was right to oppose the war and call for the withdrawal of American troops and air power. But, despite that, in its 18 hours, the series falls seriously short in how it portrays the peace movement. While segments do present some major antiwar events, the series misses its full scope, significant impact, and lessons for today. In the last episode of the series, the producers chose to include two antiwar voices who both apologize for their actio

The Moral Case for Draft Resistance

(Published in the New York Times) On Monday, Oct. 16, 1967, Americans gathered by the thousands in cities and on campuses all over the country for the first “Stop the Draft” week. On the steps of federal buildings, city halls and university buildings, hundreds of young men protested the Vietnam War by turning in their draft cards — a national act of civil disobedience. In Boston, draft resisters assembled in the historic Arlington Street Church and turned in their cards in what seemed like a sacramental rite. They moved solemnly up the aisle, some in tears, and deposited their draft cards in offering plates. Others burned their cards in the flame of a candle held by a candlestick once owned

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THE BOYS WHO SAID NO!

Draft Resistance & the Vietnam War

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