The Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary The Vietnam War is not required viewing ("Don't Forget," Open Mic, Oct. 4). Burns and Novick want viewers to believe the war "was started in good faith by decent men." Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth.
The U.S. government and its mainstream media propagandists need to sanitize history in order to justify current and future wars. This is what PBS (the Petroleum Broadcasting Co.) is doing. It would be more accurate to peruse the Pentagon Papers, released by Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony J. Russo Jr. in 1971, documenting how the government knew it couldn't win the war, yet killed 3.1 million people.
Also check out A Rumor of War (1977), in which Marine Lt. Philip Caputo describes "orgiastic violence" as "standard operating procedure . . . kill as many of them as possible . . . stack 'em like cordwood," and Nick Turse's 2013 book Kill Anything That Moves. The "endless slaughter" was "neither accidental nor unforeseeable," but rather "the outcome of deliberate policies, dictated at the highest levels of the military."
Also, the group Veterans for Peace, on their resource Vietnam Full Disclosure, comments: "Burns and Novick's film . . . can be understood as a sophisticated exercise in empire denial."
I'll tell you how the fires will affect insurance ("Fair Questions," Oct. 25): about $400 a month, that's how.
Insurance is already too expensive and there are too many government-mandated coverage requirements like the two years worth of expenses for those displaced. What is that, two years of staying in a hotel plus some food allowance? There is also a built-in workers' compensation insurance requirement for homeowners' insurance, and don't be surprised if the government gouges the insurance companies when billing for cleanup. Insurance that provides only minimal liability and rebuilding of burned structure should be available for those who want it in the interest of affordability.
I am a fan of some of those building methods (Open Mic, Oct. 31). How would rammed earth fare in a fire? What about a living roof? Of course, we live in earthquake country too, and that has to be accommodated. The other aspect of this issue is, should we be living in the wildland/urban interface? That is why these fires are so catastrophic. Once people move into the woods, minor fires no longer occur, leaving the occasional huge fire to wipe everything away. Lets do some honest, creative thinking about these issues.
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