Re: The media after Tet

Wed, 6 Nov 1996 08:46:12 -0500

Two quick comments re. Lindsay's question (is she on the list?)

> From what I've gathered, the media (written and
>electronic) turned anti-government after the Tet Offensive and the visit
>of Walter Cronkite. However, there was still a silent faction of society
>that emphatically endorsed the war. My opinion is that the media did not
>lose the war, but bad military tactics and strategies did.

Well, the "conversion" theory about the media pre- and post-Tet is
exaggerated. There was ample evidence of MAJOR attrition in support for the
war among (a) the media, (b) governing economic & political elites, and (c)
the American people BEFORE Tet. It continued AFTER Tet (after an immediate
surge in pro-war opinion). By making an exaggerated case (that revolves
around Cronkite's admittedly dramatic trip to Vietnam --he was already
doubting-- and his statement on TV), the Right manages to build its "case"
that the media contributed to the "loss" of Vietnam.

But, what do you mean by "bad military tactics and strategies," because this
sounds a little like the Right's OTHER campaign that the "politicians didn't
let the military [do what it had to do to] win." Try to be precise about
WHAT military strategies and tactics would or could succeed in a "war" that
was really a struggle of imperial power and its client/puppet autocracy in an
externally-sustained artificial entity called "South Vietnam" against the
determined anti-colonialist/anti-imperialist movements of masses of "the
people" of Vietnam. How do you win a war that increasing numbers of American
soldiers came to recognize was really a struggle against "the people of
Vietnam." And what does it look like when you win? And what does that mean
about "us?"
Ted Morgan

Department of Political Science
Maginnes Hall #9
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015
phone: (610) 758-3345
fax: (610) 758-6554