Hunched forms move through the mass of dripping gray-green foliage, alert to a movement, a crack of a branch, weapons raised forward. An earth-shaking blast. Bodies fly. Screams.
Back in camp, a damp, disheveled young man bends over a typewriter, tapping the keys with urgency. “He’s here as an observer,” a soldier comments.
Names surface in my memory: Daniel Ellsberg, Robert McNamara, Ben Bradlee. Katharine Graham. Viet Nam. It was the late 60’s and early 70’s. A political science graduate, I was living in Berkeley, center of anti-war protests. Here in the theater, the events on the screen begin to come back to me. I’m surprised at how little I remember now. More than fifty years have passed, but the suspenseful unfolding of the story of the Pentagon Papers in the movie “The Post” grabs me.
Lies. Lies. Lies. The American public hoodwinked. There’s a good word: hoodwinked. Duped. Bamboozled. Thousands of young soldiers sacrificing their lives for what? I am angry.
And now? Tantalizing tidbits of information leak out to the public. In a few years we’ll learn the truth about the machinations of our current administration. How we let ourselves be hoodwinked once again. Have we lost the capacity to demand transparency? To be shocked or indignant at the constant flow of lies?
With the movie jungle scenes still fresh in my mind, I watch a “Sixty-second Vacation” feature on CNN. Tall buildings brightly lit up with neon signs. Solid masses of cyclists flow down a broad boulevard. I’m invited to enjoy the attractions of Viet Nam.
I imagine the faces of an American family sitting in their living room watching this latest vacation destination – where their son lost his life.