[sixties-l] POW/MIA Tape

From: Phillip Daniels (ambush1@sprint.ca)
Date: Sun Jul 09 2000 - 17:06:16 CUT

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    With regard to the recent posts about "Among The Missing," the documentary program about the history of the POW/MIA activist movement, I am not a raving Rambo freak nor an apologist for anything. I'm not even from the sixties. My documentary traces the beginnings of the POW/MIA Movement (1965-73). Subsequent episodes in the five part series explore the history and impact of the movement over the past thirty years--and is designed for a mainstream, not niche audience. Further to the discussion about Mr. Franklin and Ms. Katz Keating, both of whom I have read, I will confess that I have some problems with Franklin. After meeting with and getting first hand accounts from many of the people Franklin wrote about--but did not contact--in connection with "Mythmaking in America," I think at times he makes both some factual mistakes and some errors of exaggeration. Also, I have always found that his wholesale acceptance of the US government's position and information on POW/MIA matters troubling, since in his pre-MIA work, Mr.. Franklin himself demonstrates that the US government lied to the public constantly about everything to do with Vietnam. Yet in his book he accepts as sacrosanct everything the government has to say on Vietnam POW/MIA matters, and uses that info as the base for his largely negative view of activities by POW/MIA families and activists. But I am a still a big fan of his cultural analysis and his overall thesis about the "psychocultural function" of the POW/MIA issue. To be sure, it is a very useful idea when discussing the social impact of this fascinating, often fractured, but still determined activist movement.
    To the central point that initiated the discussion, it is very true that the US government gave both overt and covert assistance to activist family members in the early days of the movement, and Nixon was very concerned with ensuring that the League of Families did not turn against him politically once its profile had been raised to international proportions. But to say that Nixon "created" the POW/MIA movement is too extreme. I thought Ms. Laffley's description in her post of the families as being co-opted was much better.
    If any educators, writers, scholars, or students on the 60s list are interested in actually seeing this film, please let me know as I am happy to offer a special price on VHS copies for participants in this discussion group. If there are any lurkers who have seen the program and would like to comment, please do. I'll also entertain any questions or beefs about the project here or via tel/fax(416) 925-0999, or email ambush1@sprint.ca .

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