Ron Kovic on his parents and their perspective of the United States

Oliver Stone on his father, Yale, and George W. Bush

Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer recently hosted veterans Ron Kovic, an anti-war activist and author, and filmmaker Oliver Stone at the University of Southern California for a discussion on war, peace and the American military-industrial complex. Kovic and Stone served in the Vietnam War, an experience that shaped their lives and their politics.

In the two clips above, Kovic and Stone discuss their parents and the myth of the American dream.

"My father was proud of the fact that he had worked very hard," Kovic says. He goes on to note that after he, Ron, was severely wounded in Vietnam, his parents' patriotism changed.

"In the end they were really the only ones listening to me," he says. "My parents had been a part of that baby-boomer generation, had been a part of that great history of World War II, and they'd come home from that the so-called 'Greatest Generation' ... [but] having it be your son, having it be the son that you raised, the innocent boy, the Little Leaguer, the Cub Scout, the Boy Scout—having that kid come back with three-quarters of his body mangled or gone, I mean that's got to affect them."

In the second video, Stone begins talking about his parents in a rather different tone. "I had very ambivalent feelings for Dad. I gave him LSD when I came back from Vietnam," Stone shares. "I wanted to wake him up."

He goes on to discuss his alienation from his family and the "entitlement and privilege" he witnessed in Yale students like George W. Bush.

Watch the clips in the player above, and check out the full interview, as well as links to other Veterans Day material, here.

—Posted by Emma Niles


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