Vietnam War

Horsetrack Hooligans podcaster and Vietnam War movie afficionado Jordan Pratt joins us to talk about the Gulf of Tonkin incident, The Battle of Hue, Operation: Rolling Thunder, cluster bombs, napalm, fragging, the My Lai massacre, tunnel rats, torture, agent orange, unexploded ordnance and more. Plus movies, comics and Lesser of Two Evils: would you rather be an American soldier or a Viet Cong?

Music: “Ride of the Valkyrie” by Wagner




17 Responses

  1. Ace episode guys! The stuff about the insanely evil GI unit and the underground tunnels was especially fascinating.

    I’d say my favourite Vietnam movies are HAMBURGER HILL (1987) which really showed the futility of the whole mess, and HOUSE (1986) WITH William Katt, in which the murderous undead villain is a ghostly GI out for vengeance.

    One of the flagships for “unseen victims” of the Vietnam War is the Red-Shanked Douc (Pygathrix nemaeus), a small monkey native to Vietnam and Laos that was decimated by carpet bombing and Agent Orange- only 10% of their pre-war number exist today, and a lot are born mutated due to AO…

  2. I hope nobody is offended by my “Operation: Kill Gook” joke. It was intended to portray the racism of the US soldiers at the time, not my own racism. That’s a different joke.

  3. Excellent, excellent episode guys! You never cease to disgust me with new instances of human behaviour you find. 🙂 Parts of that were pretty gut-wrenching, nearly as bad as the Ted Bundy episode. That said, I’m pleased to be educated about them now.

    Wouldn’t mind knowing what Hamburger Hill is like in your opinion. I’ve seen Apocalypse Now (Redux) and the Deer Hunter, will probably skip Platoon now, but am wondering about HH.

    Just as you were mentioning that 80 million bomblets I was wondering what could have been done with all the steel and raw material that went into them. Must have been an amazing boon to the manufacturing industry in the US for quite a while.

    Anyway, well done.

  4. Another great episode,

    Just blown away by the fact that the US started bombing because of a storm.
    Also l Really hope there will be an episode about underground bases and tunnel systems, that episode I am already excited for. While i wish you guys would have mentioned the ho chi minh trail.

    Also it was mentioned in the episode how unreliable the M16 could be back then, but i just wanted to bring up the fact that it was not uncommon for a US soldier to ditch his M16 to pick up an AK-47 instead, though one of the issues with this tactic is that it caused instances of friendly fire as US soldiers generally shot in the direction of the sound of an AK-47.

    Also it would be a very caustic episode if an episode was done on things banned by the Geneva convention and why.

    Thanks for another great podcast I look forward to next week.

  5. “It’s a beach party Vietnam
    surfin’ with the Vietcong
    Cooking hot dogs with Napalm
    It’s a beach party Vietnam”
    -The Dead Milkmen

  6. Great episode! I love Good Morning Vietnam; such a good soundtrack. I always remember it as being funnier than it actually is, though.

    1. i always wondered that. i had an intellivision game when i was a kid. i’m pretty sure it was called sea battle. it was awesome. i recall the pt being the only vessel besides the submarine that could fire torpedoes. it was super quick. its only fault was that it only took a little bit of damage to destroy it.

  7. A book (and subsequent movie) set in Viet Nam during the French war with Viet Nam that I’d recommend is The Quiet American. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone. I would definitely recommend reading the book or, if you aren’t a reader, watch the movie. The film is very close to the book and very well done.

  8. This is probably one of those things that came up during recording but didn’t survive the editing stage, but it’s worth mentioning that Larry Hama, in addition to writing The ‘Nam, was the primary writer for Marvel’s (several) G.I. Joe series over the years; the guy even wrote the bulk of the bio cards that were on the action-figure packages. (I’d love to know who edited them for release in Canada, though, as I distinctly remember being surprised as a kid to read that supposedly American soldiers came from places like Red Deer.) Actually, even a quick once-over of his Wikipedia entry suggests that the guy’s led quite the interesting life.

  9. Also, yeah… seconding banks!’s recommendation. Graham Greene rules.

  10. Excellent episode. The counterpoint to your indictment of Platoon, however, is Keith David. Anything containing Keith David is automatically awesome. Perhaps the movie’s main failing is sending him home. Spoiler Alert.

    1. Did you forget he was in Armageddon? It was so bad NASA shows it in its management training program to see how many scientifically inaccuracies they can find.