This feature-length documentary focuses on the efforts by troops in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to oppose the war effort by peaceful demonstration and subversion. It speaks ...
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This feature-length documentary focuses on the efforts by troops in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to oppose the war effort by peaceful demonstration and subversion. It speaks mainly to veterans, but serves as a ready reminder to civilians that soldiers may oppose war as stridently as any civilian, and at greater personal peril. Written by
Steve Fenwick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sir! No Sir! (2005) written and directed by David Zeiger is the "must-see" documentary of 2005. The film tells the story of the GI resistance movement during the Vietnam war.
I'm a Vietnam-era veteran, and I was peripherally involved in the military-based resistance to the war. Although I certainly wasn't an important player, I knew enough about what was happening to attest that the depiction in "Sir! No Sir!" is accurate and balanced. (Most of my own anti-war activity took place when I was off duty and could participate in public peace demonstrations. The GI's who opposed the war when they were on active duty took much greater risks than I did.)
Jane Fonda played a pivotal role in the anti-war movement, and she has a pivotal role in this movie. It's interesting that Ms. Fonda has--no doubt under pressure--retracted some of her statements and apologized for some of her anti-war activities. In the film she is not apologetic about her actions, and she clearly believes that what she did was right. I'm not sure which persona represents the real Jane Fonda. I hope it's the unashamed activist who was trying to save lives--both US and Vietnamese.
The movie spends quite a bit of time discussing the famous story about returning GI's getting spit at by peace activists. I had always accepted this story as true. All the civilian peace activists I knew were in sympathy with the GI's--we opposed the generals and the Commander- in-Chief, Richard Nixon, as well as his chief adviser, Henry Kissinger. However, I assumed that a small splinter group of peace activists really did harass returning GI's.
The film takes the position that the spitting episode never happened--it's an urban legend. I don't know the truth of this matter, but the fact that it may not have happened is certainly something worth thinking about.
I was interested that the word "Iraq" never appeared in the film. However, the implications of this movie are obvious. We are again bogged down in an unpopular war that cannot be won. Before the war on Iraq started, many of us in the peace movement said, "It's going to be another Vietnam. U.S. GI's and Iraqis will die, and the country will be divided." The rest is history, as they say.
In summary, this is an important documentary, whether or not you agree that the GI resistance movement was the correct and proper response to the war in Vietnam. See it and decide for yourself!
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