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In the 1970s, those in a position to produce movies, TV shows, comics, novels, or memoirs about Vietnam were convinced that Americans felt badly enough without such reminders. It was simpler to consider the war film and war toy casualties of Vietnam than to create cultural products with the wrong heroes, victims, and villains.

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Desperate to cobble a pro-war cautionary tale out of a blood-soaked tragedy, we keep reimagining the loss in Vietnam not as a policy failure but as the product of an America that dishonored returning troops.

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If the combined power of thousands of Buddhist monks staging a nonviolent protest isn't enough to oust Burma's oppressive junta, one American hero (cue movie trailer voice-over) is coming to fight for democracy in a faraway land -- or at least stick his nose in another nation's business.

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