Ain’t No War Like a Race War: Hearts & Minds. Counter-Racist Film Review

Guest Post By Josh Wickett

If you want THE documentary on the Vietnam war, this one is it. This is one of only 2 videos I have ever bought off the internet (because you couldn’t find them anywhere else). “Hearts and Minds” is clearly an anti- war documentary about Vietnam. It starts slow, but increasingly reveals more and more information until by the end you are completely disgusted that such an event could have even occurred.

(((shakin my head)))

I originally tracked this movie down years ago after hearing a radio clip of general William Westmorland saying: “life is cheap in the Orient…the Oriental does not value life like WE do…”.

You know one of those moments where you hear something on the radio that makes you look at the radio because you don’t believe what just came out of it?

This was one of those moments for me. I was like: “WTF? did he just say that!”

Actually, according to Peter Davis, he said it 3 times.

( Davis had to defend himself against charges he “tricked” Westmorland into making this statement. He documents how it occurred in the directors cut which you probably hafta purchase to hear.)

After that Davis shows footage of a south Vietnamese soldier’s funeral and how his family reacts.

The whole film employs this technique. He just slams you in yo face from one side to the other

To his credit, Davis highlights the role of racism without ever calling the viewer a racist. This is an interesting “self confession” cinema technique because if the shoe fits, they either gonna wear it, or throw it; and that’s good because both reactions reveal truth. This may be a side-effect of the movie not having a narrator. Its just people on the screen saying and doing. Who you “identify with” is who you identify with. Its all internal. There are no civilians in a race war; you worry that if you keep moving that line, pretty soon you are on the other side of it; but really, its the LINE that is the problem. To our credit, it takes a huge mind game to get people to kill other people when they aren’t in immediate danger; except for a racist, its easy for them; that’s why they are the masters of death.


The entire documentary is done using this same technique; where instead of a narrator; selected pieces of film are used to reveal truth; usually in the form of contradicting a previous piece of film (that you thought was true). It’s a very effective technique to NOT have a narrator and instead let your film do the talking and let the viewer sort it out.

Peter Davis did a real good job of tracking down footage that never made it to “TeeVee”; you have all seen the picture of the Vietnamese girl with her cloths all burned off, but you never seen the actual film of it?

And you definitely ain’t heard the audio of it.

Well he got it. And its disturbing too. This entire film is disturbing. You’re gonna wanna take a shower after watching it.


but that’s how it is.

The truth is black and ugly*, that’s why nobody wants it;

Till its too late.


PS- I watched this movie for the first time right around the invasion of Iraq when there was all this talk about the search for “Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction”.

Peter Davis includes a clip in this film of the then French Foreign minister describing a meeting with then secretary of state John Foster Dulles where he offers him two atomic bombs. The French Foreign minister seems to think its funny in an absurd sort of way… as if it was some kind of joke… “neither one nor three…two”; like it’s an understood protocol that you never lend someone an odd number of atom bombs.

Remember this scene the next time you are told some nonwhite people are involved in nuclear proliferation.

While you were busy focusing on Al Queda and Al Sharpton, Al Crakah tipped in an stole your pension!

News is something someone doesn’t want you to know; everything else is advertising

——Cree7’s Note: Race = Racism = White Supremacy—–

From 1974, by Peter Davis. Essential viewing if you want to escape history. From IMDB:

“This film recounts the history and attitudes of the opposing sides of the Vietnam War using archival news footage as well as their own film and interviews. A key theme is how attitudes of American racism and self-righteousness militarism helped create and prolong this bloody conflict. The film also endeavors to give voice to the Vietnamese people themselves as to how the war has affected them and their reasons why they fight the United States and other western powers while showing the basic humanity of the people that US propaganda tried to dismiss.”

View it here.

2 Responses to “Ain’t No War Like a Race War: Hearts & Minds. Counter-Racist Film Review”

  1. CREE-EIGHT Says:

    O H MY ! ! ! !

    I must concur, mimi. What is missing from the solution? Too many of the thoughts, hypotheses, insights, theories of black females.

    The problem IS white people.” But, I think it is likely that the schism between the black male and black female is the foothold that white people were able to exploit to establish the system of White Supremacy (racism). The correct balance between males and female is an age-old problem between people. The oldest one. And, it was first presented to black people. The evidence is that we didn’t solve it. And, no socio-material problem, including white supremacy, is going to be solved until we first solve the black male-black female problem. Genuinely. Not by acquiescing to males to gain their favor in an unstated competition with other black females for male attention.

    Thank you, Mimi. Truth is powerful. Especially when it is spoken in a ripe moment. Thank you.

    I have considered your advice to “keep swinging.” And, I have decided to heed it in order to reveal truth for the promotion of justice. Below is the email I sent to Gus T. Renegade a few hours after the episode you reference. It addresses the harm/value of one victim referencing the sexual history of another when discussing counter-racism strategies. Mr. Renegade did not inform me of his desire that the message remain private. So. it appears in its entirety, below:

    Greetings Gus,

    This is not intended to be a private message unless that is your preference.

    I want to share with you my view about the use, during a discussion, of cow bells and/or allusions to possible/known past sexual involvement of a black person with a white person. I do not think it is incorrect to make use of either provided that: 1) Said black person knows what the cow bell means to you before you ring it; 2) Said black person confirms that your understanding of what he/she has said is, in fact, what he/she said or meant; and; 3) You judge that the confirmed content is not correct, you explain why, and you explain the connection of the tragic sexual experience (rape) to the statement(s) you believe is/are incorrect.

    If one or more of the above elements is missing, I believe that said cow bell ringing and/or sexual references are, indeed, incorrect. They would, then, be a form of rhetoric that very often has the effect of short-circuiting the reasoning function of the listener. It is a time-worn method used by propagandists to disqualify anything that a speaker says without regard to the content of his/her statement. In my view, this rhetorical device is a form of discourteous name-calling.

    I strongly suspect that one or more of the frequent callers to the COWS has been in a tragic arrangement. Whenever such persons say something with which any listener disagreed but with which you agreed, the statement could be challenged simply on the basis of their status. And, your agreement with the statement could be challenged on the basis that your own sexual history is suspect. Not a constructive path that is efficient for the revelation of truth in a manner that promotes justice. That is my view.



    Last night, I listened for the first time to the episode Mr. Renegade broadcasted the night following the COWS program in which the muting of me is in question. In that 5-26 episode, Mr. Renegade repeated the phrase, “permanent damage” like he was teaching a nursery rhyme and in obvious references to me. Now, I don’t know with certainty what was his intent. I do know that the repetition of such phrases is another tactic deliberately used by propagandists to whip up unreasoned sentiment against a person or group of persons. While, I know that some of his listeners such as yourself think too critically for such a tactic to be effective, it would do the cause of justice a disservice not to address it. I hope this unfortunate conflict between victims goes no further. What statements I believe should be ignored and /or avoided, I will ignore or avoid. But, those I judge should be addressed will be.

    I want racism (white supremacy) to be replaced with justice before my existence is terminated. I don’t see how we can do that without the vigorous contribution of black females beyond the cheer-leading section.

  2. Okay. I could be mistaken, I am a victim. I don’t see any evidence that nonwhite/Afrikan women are addressing the racist/white supremacy war as vigilantly as their male counter parts. I haven’t been able to observe this. I do see that Afrikan women tend to back off as they are – as you have so honestly and correctly noted- when they are dismissed/attacked/or otherwise ignored by their counterpart. Yes, the problem is racist man and racist woman. agreed. But, in my humbel opinion we are doing a gross dis-service to our cause by allowing ourselves to be minimized and discredited by having ‘the problem is white people’ being used to shame us into silence. We must have this discourse. I believe you have read Elaine Brown’s book’s book ‘A taste of power’, in which she discusses the male/female issues regarding the ‘struggle’. With all due respect to Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (I don’t know if she has ever been married, had children- I have attended and heard her lectures for decades and never heard this mentioned, I agree with you that her reception by Black males does has a lot to do with the fact that she addresses the specific issues related to them and gives acknowledgement, and at times defers to Mr. Fuller. I am not saying that is incorrect I am just saying it is a factor. Now, in as much as these lectures and discussions have been going on for decades with no appreciable positive change in our cirmcumstances it begs the question- what is missing. I think the recent dialogue between you and Gus that he peppered with a reminder that you were engaged with racist man and the details thereof was disingenuous and incorrect. Our men have repeatedly demonstrated their disdain for competition as it were ( that is how it is most often perceived) from an equally informed, intelligent sistah. Sistahs can not back down from this fight to legitimize our position as it is not merely to be ‘prone’, or as an amen corner for brothers. Giving birth and being a female, mother especially in confinement provides us with issues, experiences that can not and should not be left to be articulated by brothas, ‘the problem is white people not withstanding’. And it is my guess as an experienced person in the field of social science, psychology, etc. working with thousands of persons of diverse backgrounds that in all likelyhood you were indeed ‘muted’ despite protestations to the contrary. Historically, males count on disarming females especially by hitting below the belt. We gotta put our big girll pants on and fight like hell. I mean, look at what was done to Winnie Mandela. IMHO. Hang in there and keep swingin!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: