To Censor the American Press
TWO ON
VIETNAM
VIETNAM AT WAR
Lt. Gen. Phillip B. Davidson
(Presidio)
 
CHICAGO '68
David Farber
(Chicago)

Any readers with a rusty pump are exhorted not to touch Vietnam at War. We were winning that damned war, Davidson says, and then all the traitors got into the act. Traitors in the press, in the Senate, and, would you believe --- in the Pentagon itself. Like Paul C. Warnke,

    a bastion of the far left, [who] had long opposed the war for ideological reasons. When a reporter asked him when his doubts about Vietnam had begun, he replied, "At the begining, in 1961. I could never understand why a smart politician like Jack Kennedy was always against insurgencies when we should obviously have tried to be for them." The fact that almost all the insurgencies of the early sixties were either Communist-inspired or Communist-led made no difference to Paul Warnke.

One would have to be a card-carrying whacko to be a Military/Pentagon type in our free democracy in the twentieth century. Vietnam at War is an excellent example of this, and all the psychological clues are here. The enemy without. The enemy within. The real traitors? Of course --- the American people themselves, wimps with a positively weird distaste for blood and gore and death. Davidson quotes, with relish --- and pickles --- the words of military historian Alistair Horne:

    I have often reflected that, had there been live TV coverage in World War I, fighting would have been called off some time before the Battle of the Marne, and we would all now be speaking the language of the less squeamish Germans.

Translation: If you let the home folks see the reality of war, they won't want it, and won't want to march to slaughter --- the fools. During WWII no pictures were released of the 30,000,000 civilian dead, the 50,000,000 wounded. Davidson wants to be damned sure that our next war is sanitized in the same way so the Yahoos will be in the front lines, where they belong --- and not monkeying around on the streets of Washington, in front of the TV cameras.

    This awesome power of the news media --- plus their bias and irresponsibility in reporting the Viet Nam War --- has led informed critics of all ideological shades to suggest that some form of censorship be imposed on future conflicts. [T]he problem --- a serious one --- remains, and it will be solved. It will be solved by either total media censorship à la Grenada and the Falklands or in some softer form.

David Farber teaches history at the University of Kansas, and it shows. He wants to be sure we know that in the troubled summer of 1968, the Chicago police would never have been such meanies if they hadn't been taunted, showered with rocks, etc. Their brutal beating of Rennie Davis (clubbing him repeatedly with nightsticks as he tried to crawl away; thirteen stitches) was understandable because one of the kids had pulled down the American flag there in Grant Park and had, in general, been insulting, and Rennie foolishly tried to protect him. Surging into the Hilton's fourteenth floor to maul the Eugene McCarthy workers was understandable because someone, somewhere in the Hotel, had been throwing rocks and papers down on the military tanks.

The Yippies --- hell, all the demonstrators --- were at fault because they didn't have a Program; they were just sitting around protesting. In fact, says Farber, speaking of the whole Mobe, let's "give it a label appropriate to the times...call it Castroite."

Farber has obviously been hired on by the spirit of Richard J. Daley, Sr. to muddy the waters of what James Bevel used to call "His-Story." Or, perhaps Faber is such a juvenile that he doesn't remember that the main battle wasn't over Chicago and its streets: it was over the ruination of land, homes and livestock --- not to mention women and children --- in a country 12,000 miles away; ruination by the U. S. government, which refused, repeatedly, to recognize that abuse is still abuse even when it is practiced far away, on another culture, in a foreign land --- said barbarity coming under the cover of mile-high aerial bombardment.

The pictures in Chicago '68 tell it all: no bloody heads or broken arms or legs. Daley looks like Richard Nixon's granny, and Police Superintendent James B. Conlisk, who helped foment the whole police riot, is pictured with a beatitude not far to the right of St. Francis of Assisi. Most surprisingly, the publisher conned Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden into delivering encomiums for this travesty. If we could get to them (one in the legislature, the other in the grave) we'd tell them to demand a recount. And if we were the University of Chicago, we'd try to figure out how this grunt, straight out of the Hardy Boys' School of Historical Writing, got on the payroll.

--- P. J. Waterson  


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