We haven't got space to do justice to David Zeiger's important historical documentary "Sir! No Sir!" but suffice it to say that it will change your understanding of the Vietnam era, even if you were alive then. In the conventional history of that conflict -- or at least the one inflicted upon us recently -- American servicemen fought for a noble cause, were undermined at home by treasonous radicals and pot smokers, and were spat upon and reviled by hippie chicks when they returned to their beloved homeland.
Among the things Zeiger's fascinating film demonstrates is that the spitting episodes almost certainly never happened. Beyond that, he suggests that a great many soldiers, sailors and Marines in American uniform had turned against the war by 1969 or 1970, and that American disengagement in Vietnam largely occurred because American men were no longer willing to fight there. There were "GI coffeehouses" -- gathering places for antiwar soldiers -- near every major military base in the country, even in patriotic heartland towns like Killeen, Texas (outside Fort Hood). There were literally hundreds of underground antiwar newspapers, distributed in every branch of the service.
There were numerous uprisings, large and small, within the American military. Some took the form of units simply refusing to go into combat (during the short-lived Cambodia invasion, for example). Some were more profoundly frightening to the power structure: black soldiers talking of racial and revolutionary solidarity with the Viet Cong, covert attacks against hated senior officers with fragmentation grenades (a practice known as "fragging"). Left-wing celebrities like Donald Sutherland and Jane Fonda (she is interviewed extensively, and her son, Troy Garity, narrates the film) staged USO-style infotainment tours for dissident servicemen all over the world.
If you weren't alive in the early '70s, there's no way to explain the tremendous instability of America, when economic and social collapse seemed like an ever present danger. The apex of "the '60s," in many ways, arrived around 1974. When Presidents Nixon and Ford withdrew from Vietnam, Zeiger says, it was because they had no choice. American military morale had bottomed out, and the war was no longer fightable, let alone winnable.
Does this have ramifications for the present military, and the present war? Only time can answer that question. But it is useful to be reminded that the men who actually fought America's last misguided imperial conflict turned against it in large numbers, while the men who had "other priorities" at the time -- like our current president and vice president -- have tried to sell us a fictitious history of why we went there in the first place, and why we left.