EVO editor-in-chief Jaakov Kohn on the Pentagon Papers leak:
Whereas The New York Times gained millions in free publicity with everyone in a sweat about “Freedom of the Press,” the inescapable fact to be borne in mind is the politician’s terminal affinity for OVERREACTION.
Now, only fool and a knave can look at these documents as secrets. There is nothing in them that we haven’t known for years. They haven’t told us a thing we didn’t know and rave about ever since this paper existed. They called us every name in the book — fools, hippies, trippies and yippies — yet the fact remains that we were right. Therefore the most newsworthy item about this whole episode is the government’s reaction to it. Rather than cool it and reap maximum political benefit from it — I still believe it to be a Republican leak — the cretins choose to OVERREACT.
No matter what the outcome will be — the government will have lost. In spite of the bullshit that’s going down in the courts, it is their overreaction that inevitably lands them flat on their ass.
It is a statistic worth bearing in mind.
+ “Top Secret” by Lynda Crawford
The fact that the American public had been fed a belly full of lies on the war in Indochina to the point where they were blind to the deception used by the Johnson Administration in bringing the country into war comes as no surprise to the underground press. The East Village Other, without the benefit of any 7,000-page, 47-volume “History on U.S. Decision Making in Vietnam,” has been exposing it for years.
Ron Cobb / San Francisco Express Times / 1968
“Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor—both black and white—through the Poverty Program. Then came the build-up in Vietnam, and I watched the program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
“Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the young black men who had been crippled by our society and sending them 8000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.”
Quote from Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam, Martin Luther King’s landmark anti-war speech at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967
Anti-War Advertising: How To “Unsell The War”
San Francisco (LNS) — Henry Fonda appears on the TV screen:
“When I was a kid, I used to be really proud of this country. I thought that this was a country that cared about people no matter who they were or where they came from. But now, when I see my country engaged in an endless war, a push-button war in which American pilots and electronic technicians are killing thousands of Asians without even seeing who they kill.
“When I see us each week stepping up the tonnage of bombs dropped on Indochina…then I don’t feel so proud any more. Because I thought that was what bad countries did…not my country.”
The Fonda testimonial is one of ten new anti-war television spots in the Help Unsell the War campaign, a project sponsored by Clergy and Laymen Concerned, an ecumenical peace group. Unsell is trying, with some success, to use the advertising industry to help make people more aware of the war. In addition to the TV spots, radio commercials and ads in newspapers and magazines have been produced for the campaign.
The spark for Unsell was struck when a Yale University student named Ira Nerkin saw the CBS television documentary, “The Selling of the Pentagon.” The program showed how the Pentagon spends millions of tax dollars on pro-military propaganda in the mass media. Nerkin felt that the anti-war movement might also be able to use the same media.
He had friends in the advertising industry who put him in touch with people interested in helping out. The ads were ready by the summer of 1971 and Clergy and Laymen Concerned was approached and agreed to sponsor the project.
Clergy and Laymen set up a network of committees around the country which — making use of its status as a church group — approached local stations and papers requesting that the spots be run free of charge as public service advertising. About 25% of those contacted agreed; in some cases where media outlets refused, funds were raised and the ads placed as paid commercials. — Bill Gerson
Putting aside all the slogans about peace and martyrdom, WHY did a 51-year-old San Gabriel Valley mother and housewife drive downtown last Sunday on a blazing hot afternoon to drench her body in two gallons of gasoline, strike a match and die alone and screaming in a silent Civic Center?
Jeffrey Blankfort for San Francisco Express Times (1968)
“The demonstration had the tone of a festival and a religious ceremony. At the Panhandle where students and young people gathered earlier to march on the Federal Building, everyone was good-natured. 500 people lounged in the sun under the monument to William McKinley. There were dogs, daisies, harmonicas, cameras, kazoos, guitars and gentle conversation.”
“A Torch for Joan,” Berkeley Barb (1968)
“Joan Baez and Ira Sandperl, received an unexpected visit last Sunday from a good friend — Dr. Martin Luther King. Joan and Ira are serving 45-day sentences at Santa Rita for singing Xmas Carols in the right places.
Dr. King interrupted a busy schedule to fly out from Atlanta. He explained he was returning a favor by visiting Joan, her mother and Mr. Sandperl, “in appreciation for what they are doing for the peace movement.”
King recalled the many occasions when Joan and Ira had supported the struggle for civil rights — at Selma, Alabama, Grenada, Mississippi, and in Washington D.C.
After visiting for an hour, Dr. King held a roadside press conference. Over a hundred friends listened as King, referring to the civil rights and peace movements said: “I see these two struggles as one struggle. There can be no justice without peace and there can be no peace without justice.”
Answering critics who have charged that he has been “getting out of his field” by speaking on the war, Dr. King replied, “I have been working too long and too hard now against segregated public accommodations to end up at this stage of my life segregating my moral concern.”
“I want to make it very clear,” Dr. King declared, “that I’m going to continue, with all my might, with all my energy, and with all my action to oppose that abominable, evil, unjust war in Vietnam.”