Sunday, April 08, 2007

The US vs. John Lennon - A Must See Film

The best 100 minutes I've spent in awhile was spent watching this documentary. Not only did it take me back to my own anti-war roots in the late '60s and early '70s, but it made me realize how apathetic we've become as a nation. We speak in polite tones about how appaling the current debacle in Iraq is, but we don't express it with the passion and outrage that we did during Vietnam. And if you think the comparison is not valid, here's an excerpt from a Richard Nixon speech on Vietnam (some of which was capured in the film). If this doesn't sound familiar to you, listen a little closer when Bush speaks about Iraq:

"We have adopted a plan which we have worked out in cooperation with the South Vietnamese for the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat ground forces, and their replacement by South Vietnamese forces on an orderly scheduled timetable. This withdrawal will be made from strength and not from weakness. As South Vietnamese forces become stronger, the rate of American withdrawal can become greater.

I have not and do not intend to announce the timetable for our program. And there are obvious reasons for this decision which I am sure you will understand. As I have indicated on several occasions, the rate of withdrawal will depend on developments on three fronts.

One of these is the progress which can be or might be made in the Paris talks. An announcement of a fixed timetable for our withdrawal would completely remove any incentive for the enemy to negotiate an agreement. They would simply wait until our forces had withdrawn and then move in.

The other two factors on which we will base our withdrawal decisions are the level of enemy activity and the progress of the training programs of the South Vietnamese forces. And I am glad to be able to report tonight progress on both of these fronts has been greater than we anticipated when we started the program in June for withdrawal. As a result, our timetable for withdrawal is more optimistic now than when we made our first estimates in June. Now, this clearly demonstrates why it is not wise to be frozen in on a fixed timetable.

We must retain the flexibility to base each withdrawal decision on the situation as it is at that time rather than on estimates that are no longer valid."

Of course, most of the film centers around the outrageous behavior of the FBI and their attempts to silence dissenters on behalf of Nixon's White House. Truly horrifying. There are no conspiracy theories posed about the death of Lennon. I applaud the filmmakers' restraint in that regard.

For me, there was a bit of comc relief as well: Seeing Bobby Seale as a guest on the Mike Douglas Show. Those were different times, my friends.