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Film / In the Year of the Pig

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In the Year of the Pig is a 1968 documentary by Emile De Antonio chronicling The Vietnam War and the events leading up to it, from the end of World War II to the late 1960s.


Provides examples of:

  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Says Senator Thruston B. Morton:
    We've put over three million of them into what I would call a concentration camp. They call it a "refugee center".
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Says French scholar Paul Mus:
    [E]very time Ho Chi Minh has trusted us, we betrayed him!
  • Corrupt Politician:
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    • Joseph Buttinger says that decline of the Diệm regime was marked by an increase in corruption. He recalls a dinner with Diệm's brother Nhu, who said that while there could have been an opposition in South Vietnam if he led it, the problem was that he was the only intelligent man around, and he didn't have the capacity to both lead his brother the President and organize the opposition.
    • Then-House Minority Leader Gerald Ford argues on June 18, 1965 that refusing to allow elections to be held in Vietnam in 1956 was the only proper course of action because elections held in communist-controlled North Vietnam would not have been free elections. Wayne Morse provides an alternative viewpoint (see Puppet State, below).
  • Disaster Dominoes: John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State in the Eisenhower administration, introduces the so-called domino theory, whereby one country turning to communism would lead to another doing the same, and then another, and so on.
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  • Distinction Without a Difference: Journalist David Halberstam recalls a meeting between war correspondent Bernard Fall and Prime Minister of North Vietnam Phạm Văn Đồng, where the latter said that President of South Vietnam Ngô Đình Diệm needed American aid because he was unpopular, and was unpopular because he got American aid. When Fall said that it sounded like a vicious circle, Đồng responded that it was not – it was a downward spiral.
  • Drunk with Power: Joseph Buttinger says that Ngô Đình Nhu and his wife Madame Nhu both had a drive for power that is best described as pathological.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: Early on, this is used on a photo of a man at a helicopter with ammunition belts draped around him. He gets a Feet-First Introduction and then it pans up to his face.
  • Man on Fire: Roger Hilsman recounts the events of Thích Quảng Đức setting himself on fire.
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  • Not So Different: Senator Thruston B. Morton notes that the Vietnamese view Ho Chi Minh similarly to how citizens of the United States view George Washington.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: It is noted that nationalism is the reason the Vietnamese fight the French and later the Americans – communism is mostly incidental as something to rally around.
  • Puppet State: Senator Wayne Morse says that the U.S. used its power and influence to create one of these in Vietnam by not allowing elections to be held in accordance with the Geneva Accords, contrasting Gerald Ford's viewpoint (see Corrupt Politician, above).
  • Red Scare: The threat of communism is brought up multiple times as a reason to fight in Vietnam. Senator Joseph McCarthy warns of becoming "an island in a communist sea" if Indochina is lost.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: We get to simultaneously hear reassurances that prisoners of war are treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and see prisoners of war get beaten up.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Thruston B. Morton muses that since such a large portion of the U.S. economy is geared towards the military, there is a risk of a military-industrial alliance affecting policy, and Vietnam is a case in point.
  • We Have Reserves: U.S. Generals Curtis LeMay and Mark Clark make the case that an important difference between the two sides of the conflict is that the lives of the soldiers are more precious to the Americans than to the communist enemy – that the communists are willing to lose men in larger numbers than the Americans, and that it would therefore be prudent to make the means with which the war is fought material rather than people.

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