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The Texas Observer Politics and War in Texas A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South DEC. 10, 1965 25c TEXANS AND VIETNAM Austin Vietnam darkens the Christmas season in Texas as it does everywhere in the country. Stories about young Texans who have died in the fighting are appearing in the home town papers . . . Smithville, Houston, Mount Pleasant, Austin. The Observer here undertakes a review of how Texans have responded in recent months. Christmas gifts are being sent to our troops in Vietnam and to the people of Vietnam. Mayor Erik Jonsson, Spec. 5 Jerry Allen, who has just returned from Vietnam, and others in Dallas have announced that citizens can take materials that can be used to rebuild homes, personal items for hygiene, cleaning materials, school supplies, sewing equipment, fabrics fire stations nearest their homes. Some of the items go to the troops, and some will be distributed to the Vietnamese by the troops. This is part of a national program sponsored by the Jaycees, Young Republicans, and Young Democrats.’ In Austin the same program is called the Gift Lift,’ and it is going forward in other Texas cities. Gov . John Connally says these programs “are dramatic proof to our men in Vietnam that the vast majority of Americans care about them and what they are doing,” 3 and Sen. John Tower, the Texas Republican, backs them as proof of “support for our men in Vietnam.” 4 In Overton, East Texas, Mrs. Pearl Gamble of Overton noticed nearly half a ton of used clothing stored in a building, found that it could be bought for $50, and got local Rotarians to help buy it. Freight costs of $98 have been paid by local people in Overton, and the clothes will be sent to Cpl. James W. Bush, a Texas Marine in Vietnam, for distribution by Christmas. 5 At Southern Methodist University, the special concerns committee of the Student Senate has undertaken to raise money to rebuild a village in South Vietnam\(building a hospital, market place, and a few houses would with students at the University of Michigan, to build a orphanage in South Vietnam. 8 Students in a men’s dorm at Texas Tech voted to send 5,000 Christmas cards to U.S. servicemen there.’ The VFW in Denison is sending a package containing a fruitcake and other items to all Denisonarea servicemen they can confirm to be in Vietnam. 8 The president of the Austin local of the Communications Workers of America, Howard Pyle, invited citizens who want to make free calls to servicemen overseas to write in 25 words or less why they want to, since CWA nationally pays for more than 1,000 such free calls from the U.S. annually, plus 500 originating from overseas. 9 TEXAS POLITICIANS have re, sponded to the situation about as they might have been expected to. Sen. Tower was in South Vietnam, visiting units and bases, Nov. 28-Dec. 5 and will return to Washington Dec. 17 and hold a press conference. He said before he left on this trip, “I will be looking into the supply status of our Vietnam forces, studying the effectiveness of our weapons, and seeking to determine what congressional action will be needed next year to assure full support of our men. In addition, I want to assure our men that despite the unfortunate protest demonstrations, the vast majority of Americans support their firm stand against Asiatic communism and will back them up with whatever it takes to win.” Tower said he is paying his own way except where military transport is necessary.i Responding to President Johnson’s July speech on Vietnam, Tower pledged full support.” He has said, “Should we withdraw, we would destroy the wills of people everywhere to resist communism.”” He believes the U.S. needs to do more to deter Communist China. “We are programming only that [nuclear] deterrent we feel will effectively offset Russia’s aims. I think we’d better go to work fast to provide the added planes and missiles needed to deter Red China and Asiatic communism.” 13 Sen. Robert Kennedy’s remarks about blood for the Viet Cong caused Tower to say in San Antonio, “I’ve already deplored the giving of blood to the Viet Cong by the Peaceniks. I’m very much opposed to giving blood to anybody but our people. It would appear to condone the acts of irresponsible beatniks who burn their draft cards and advocate blood and bullets for the Viet Cong . . . I’m surprised that Sen. Kennedy would make such a statement.”” \(Sen. Kennedy, asked a question, had said that giving blood to the North Vietnamese through an international agency would be “in the oldest traditions of this country.” Upholding this, his brother Edward said, “If a man is wounded and dying, we don’t ask what his political ideology is.” 15Sen. Yarborough did not respond direcly to the President’s July speech on Vietnam other than to urge that justice be done for U.S. veterans, as more and more of them are called into uniform, by the enactment of the Cold War GI Bill. 18 Yarborough’s Veterans’ Day statement likewise concentrated on this legislation.” The senior senator from Texas has not discussed Vietnam in public statements in recent months. Tower and Connally, joined by Cong. 0. C. Fisher, San Angelo, addressed about 6,500 persons at an Americanism rally in San Angelo stadium Nov. 7. Although none of the main speakers so said, the San Angelo Standard-Times ran a black two-line lead headline on the rally, ” `Peaceniks’ Labeled American Traitors,’ ” with pictures of Connally, Tower, and Fisher thereunder. Connally said Americans owe a debt of gratitude to the “vocal minority of beatniks, peaceniks, and draftniks” for awakening Americans to the fact that the U.S. is engaged in a bloody war. Foreign policy is open to debate, but if each person pursued his own such policy, the result would be chaos and certain defeat, he said. The vocal minority literally “have no faith in themselves, their fellow man, or their government,” Connally said, continuing: “The non-communist student who waves a placard saying ‘get out of Vietnam’ is the front man, whether he believes it or not, for a communist organizer or sympathizer somewhere up the line . . . He may think he supports a lofty cause, when in fact he supports the subversion of human dignity and individual freedom . . . So long as there is one American soldier in one foxhole, carrying out his orders to fight for his country, every other American owes him an obligation of full support.” Tower said that “in spite of what the peaceniks, beatniks, and muddy-minded intellectuals say or think,” the U.S. has a duty to fight communism in Vietnam, and “in shedding our blood in Vietnam now, we preclude the possibility of fighting on a greater front at a far greater cost later.” Fisher said a minority element demands “the pulling down of the Stars and Stripes