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Winter Soldier (1972)

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For three days in 1971, former US soldiers who were in Vietnam testify in Detroit about their war experiences. Nearly 30 speak, describing atrocities personally committed or witnessed, ... See full summary »

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Title: Winter Soldier (1972)

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Storyline

For three days in 1971, former US soldiers who were in Vietnam testify in Detroit about their war experiences. Nearly 30 speak, describing atrocities personally committed or witnessed, telling of inaccurate body counts, and recounting the process of destroying a village. The atrocities are casual, seem routine, and are sanctioned or committed by officers. Images from the war illustrate the testimony; there's a side discussion among veterans about racism and a couple of interviews about the soldiers' self-realization. The testimony appears in the US Congressional Record on April 6 and 7, 1971. A "winter soldier" contrasts with Paine's "summer soldier and sunshine patriot." Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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19 June 2010 (Japan)  »

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Stratiotes tou heimona  »

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How do you tell someone to be the last man to die for a mistake ? : John F. Kerry April 23, 1971
1 December 2006 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

Powerful thought-provoking and sometimes almost unwatchable documentary about the men who were sent to South-East Asia to fight what has became the worst diplomatic and military disaster in America's 230 year history the Vietnam War. Filmed in late January and early February 1971 in a Detroit Howard Johnson that includes among the 125 Vietnam veterans in attendance the now Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. The film has former as well as a number of active Vietnam Vets spilling their guts out on how they not only survived the hell in Vietnam but now how they'll never be the same again physically mentally and emotionally from the experience of participating in that war.

We get to see, in a number of photos and film clips, and hear story after story by former US combat veterans both soldiers and US Marines ,looking more like hippies then clean cut all-American boys, telling of the horrors that they not only went through but in many cases participated in. The horror stories were told had to do with a number of My Lai-like massacre's as well as countless random shootings knifing and fatal beatings of innocent Vietnam civilians caught in the crossfire. Were also told about defenseless and tied-up North Vietnamese soldiers and Viet Cong guerrilla prisoners of war most of them thrown off, alive and terrified, from US Army helicopter's in mid-flight over the Vietnamese jungle.

Most of the Vietnam Veterans in the documentary were in combat as early as six months before it was filmed and we see how they changed so suddenly this after they served their time and were no longer in danger of being sent back to Vietnam again. We hear the ex-GI's and US Marines emotionally and heart-fully speaking not only for themselves but for those young Americans who were to be sent overseas to continue the war that at the time was already some seven years old; if you count the notorious Gulf of Tonkin incident of August 1964 as the beginning of a full-scale US military involvement in that conflict.

The incidents relived by most of the US combat veterans in the film are so gut wrenching that some of the GI's and US Marines actually broke down in tears reciting them. It's was almost a miracle that they would, after what they went through, even want to talk about their experiences in that war-ravaged country. The combat vets tell their personal stories before an audience, many who were in tears themselves in hearing what they had to say, knowing that they'll be looked upon as monsters by the very people whom they were supposed to be fighting for and who's rights and liberties that they were supposed to be defending. Many of the men in the documentary ended up on drugs or became alcoholics and in some cases even killed themselves because of the trauma that they suffered. After seeing "Winter Soilders" It's a wonder that now in 2006 there are people, who were of age in serving in that war but didn't, who still feel that it was justified and that the US should not have withdrawal after the fall of Saigon in the spring of 1975. The war actually ended for the US in a signed armistice with the North Vietnamese government in January 1973.

Seeing this startling documentary now and having it shown to millions of Americans, on DVD Video tape and cable TV, is very timely. "Winter Soilders" will not only bring the war in Vietnam back home after over thirty years to the American public in the knowledge of just what a major disaster it was not only for the US which lost some 60,000 US servicemen dead and almost 300,000 wounded and missing but the Vietnamese who lost an estimated 3 to 4 million killed in the 11, 1964-1975, year conflict. The documentary will also help change the minds of those Americans, now well under 50%, who still feel that the equally unpopular and unwanted War in Iraq going on now is worth the blood and money that it demands of the American public in lives, already almost 3,000 killed, and money, 346 billion dollars as of Nov. 30, 2006.

In fact the war in Iraq is even more illegal then the Vietnam War was back then. Unlike in Vietnam the US invaded and occupied Iraq and was not asked by it's government, like it was by the South Vietnamese government back in the early 1960's, to send US troops to fight and die there to protect it's freedom and security. Another big difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that there was no armed insurgency in the latter, Iraq, like there was in the former, Vietnam. The growing Iraqi insurgency that has cost more then 90% of the US casualties in Iraq only materialized and grew after the invasion and occupation of that country by the US and it's so-called "Coalition of the Willing" in the spring and early summer of 2003.


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