Interview with Tim Bowden (Frontline out takes)

Accession Number F10540
Collection type Film
Measurement 10 min 36 sec
Object type Interview
Physical description 16mm/colour (Eastman)/sound
Maker Bowden, Timothy Gibson 'Tim'
Bradbury, David
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made 15 March 1978
Access Open
Conflict Period 1970-1979
Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

Tim Bowden as an ABC journalist in Vietnam. His experience on a twenty four hour stay with a United States Marine Corps unit on a search and destroy mission in a free fire zone. Told to walk in the tank tracks as a way to avoid mines and booby traps. How the Marines forced Vietnamese villagers to walk in front of the tanks as they advanced. The villagers knew where the mines would be because the Viet Cong would alert them so they waste the VC mines. The Marines spotted what they thought was a NVA soldier so the tanks and artillery fired into the village. Bowden's shock as a young boy with a war Buffalo was caught in the fire. The Marines actions at variance with policy of winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese. The American troops did not see the Vietnamese as people. Incidents such as this indicated how the My Lai massacre could happen. Bowden explains that to report the war you could not afford to be emotionally involved. Bradbury comments that technology could not win the war and the media coverage could not change the minds of the people as well. Bowden attributes this to the sameness of the television coverage. Difficultly in getting actual combat footage. The unreality of television cut people of emotionally from what they were viewing. Neil Davis as one cameraman who did go to the front line. Describes Neil Davis as compassionate and one of the most sensitive people he ever met. Davis' instinctive rapport with the Asian people. Davis as the only Western cameraman to go out continually with the South Vietnamese troops. Bradbury asks if Davis will end up dying on a battlefield. Bowden replies that Davis is very experienced and has been in combat more often than any soldier. He knows when to take risks or not. Though his intuition can sometimes let him down pointing out that he was badly wounded by a mortar bomb.

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