On March 18 C-SPAN 3 revisited the Vietnam War with a focus on 1968 in a discussion with Washington Post editor David Maraniss and man of many parts Jim Webb moderated by Steve Scully. It is the first part of the nine-part C-SPAN series 1968: America in Turmoil. C-SPAN has posted the video here along with the usual accessories. I have embedded it below.
The contrast of Maraniss with Webb is instructive in its own way. Maraniss is the author of They Marched in Sunlight and other books. His is the voice of elite liberalism, liberal clichés, liberal self-loathing, and what Charles Hill calls “a new form of moral superiority.” Maraniss has his points, although they are few in number.
Webb is of course a graduate of the Naval Academy, a Vietnam vet, a lawyer, a former government official and United States Senator. He is also the author of several novels, a memoir, and the history Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. On the subject of the war, Webb speaks from first-hand experience as well as his own study. As the calls taken in the course of the conversation demonstrate, he speaks for many vets when he speaks of his service with pride.
This discussion brings to mind the Burns/Novick/Ward PBS “documentary” The Vietnam War. I wrote about it in “Notes on the Ken Burns version” and in subsequent posts noting several critiques of the PBS “documentary.” My purpose in writing here is to reiterate the special disgrace Burns achieved in excluding Webb and other such vets who vindicate the the honor of their service as well as the American role in Vietnam.