Using interviews and frontline footage, Vietnam — The Quiet Mutiny reveals the internal sense of disillusionment and frustration born from the rift between bureaucracy and soldiers, that triggers the withdrawal of the United States military from Vietnam. As the US employs psychological warfare against the Vietnamese, reporter John Pilger finds himself unable to obtain meaningful information from the military—a press conference he attends is nicknamed “the 5 o’clock follies” for the evasive nature of the proceedings. And so it is with the grunts, the “wheels of the green machine,” that Pilger finds a very human side to the US presence in Vietnam: soldiers who were once ready to serve their country, now doubtful of their purpose there. Plied with visits from Miss America and ignored by Vice President Spiro Agnew, they experience the war in a way many of their superiors do not.
The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by psychologist Stanley Milgram in July 1961, three months after the start of the trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. The experiment set out to measure the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience, in an attempt to answer the popular question at that time: “Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders?”