[sixties-l] Re: [Fwd: sixties-l-Vietnam War

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: Fri Jun 16 2000 - 06:59:29 CUT

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    I respectfully disagree with Marty's analysis, which also happens to be
    that now being peddled by the media's "official historian of the
    Sixties," Todd Gitlin (who was shown on national television at the start
    of the Gulf bombardment, donating blood for "our boys over there."

    I have not read the book that Marty refers to but I know enough of US
    history and the role of the Democratic Party in the post-WW2 world to
    say, with a certainty, that Humphrey was not about to end the war in
    Vietnam, and to now say, in hindsight, that the anti-war movement made a
    mistake and extended the war by not supporting him, is the same kind of
    rationalizations that we are subject to every four years when the issue
    of "the lesser of two evils" is thrust upon us. (Had Dole been elected,
    for example, is unlikely that we would have had NAFTA and the "welfare
    reform" legislation passed, and the dismantling of our civil liberties
    that has taken place under Clinton.)

    With few exceptions, the Democratic Party, has and continues to be a
    "war party," constantly running scared from the charges that it was
    "soft on communism," and "soft" on military spending. That neither of
    there charges was true was inconsequential. The Republicans were always
    forcing the issue, and Humphrey, a premier Cold Warrior, was not about
    to change the party's direction. In fact, he might have escalated the
    war far beyond what Nixon went on to do.

    Johnson, who had seen the war interfere with his plans for "The Great
    Society" became so paranoid before the 68 convention that he scheduled a
    number of helicopters to bring him to Chicago in order to confuse any
    possible attempt by anti-war movement forces to shoot him down. If that
    sounds preposterous, one needs to remember how highly charged the
    atmosphere was in the days leading up to the convention. In the end, he
    decided not to run, because he saw no victory for the US in Vietnam and
    a destroyed legacy.

    Sen. Eugene McCarthy was a "peace" candidate, but, by being so, he
    became totally estranged from the party.

    In sum, I find the kind of revisionist thinking expressed in the post, a
    blueprint for supporting Al Gore and rendering the political movement
    that we need to build, stillborn.

    Jeff Blankfort

    > Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 17:55:11 -0400
    > From: Marty Jezer <mjez@sover.net>
    > Subject: Re: [sixties-l] Re:Vietnam War (DH not mentioned)
    > SNIP

    > The interesting question (a real difficult one), as I wrote in an earlier
    > post, (lost in the DH furor) was whether the anti-war movement made a
    > strategic mistake by taking a revolutionary turn in 1968 just when the
    > mainstream population was opposing the war. I didn't understand then, but
    > I do now, but had Humphrey become President (a sure thing with only token
    > movement support), he would have been compelled to end the war on
    > essentially the same terms Kissinger got a few years later. To continue the
    > war would have destroyed his presidency and with it the Democratic Party.
    > As Paul Joseph in his fine South End Press book, Cracks in the Empire,
    > documents, the major elements of the Democratic Party, including its
    > corporate financial backers, were ready to quit the war in 1968. The
    > so-called "wise men" (that's a yuk) organized by Clark Clifford told LBJ
    > the game was up. That's why he resigned. The anti-war movement, in my
    > opinion, was about to achieve its goal of ending the war after the 68
    > election when it took a revolutionary (violent and nonviolent) path. We
    > bear some responsibility for electing Nixon President and for the war's
    > continuation. I don't think we are morally to blame. We didn't order
    > strategic bombing, Operation Phoenix, destroying villages to save them and
    > other actions which, I believe, represent war crimes. But in our
    > inexperience, enthusiasm, and misguided politics, we let an opportunity for
    > peace to pass. Of course if Humphrey had had the courage to do what LBJ was
    > too much of a coward to do and say the war had to be ended, he would have
    > had our support and been elected. Then he would have had to produce if only
    > to save his party. (As for the defense industry and it's support for the
    > war, spending would have been high even without the war -- high defense
    > spending in a stable domestic political situation is better for them than
    > higher spending in a situation of political turmoil -- a point Paul Goodman
    > and others made in 68. Ending the war would have been unpopular on the
    > right, but the defense industry wouldn't have been desperate and many
    > corporations, craving domestic stability, would have been happy to can it).
    > Marty Jezer
    > e

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