Page 4


going beyond the 17th Parallel in Vietnam, but went beyond. It was merely going to respond to enemy attacks on its bases, but it went over to the offensive. It was not going to get involved in a major war on the Asian land mass but it did. “The President was not even faithful to his bad resolves: He said he would not negotiate, and then offered to do so, and spoiled that by refusing to negotiate with the major elements of the enemy he faces. “And even in this last adventure in Hanoi and Haiphong, we are told officially that the bombing of targets is not an ‘escalation’ of the war . . . there is now not a single major nation in the world that supports Johnson’s latest adventure in Hanoi and Haiphong . . . “There seems to be no guiding principle to what he is doing; there is certainly little faith here in the official spoken word; there is immense power but little confidence in anything . . .” Last month the Texas Liberal Democrats, whom one might expect to be the most constrained of all, being Texas liberals, from openly breaking with Johnson on Vietnam, adopted, with not one no vote, sharp rebukes of his policies there and a clear statement that if the choice is bombing Hanoi and mining the harbor of Haiphong or gradual withdrawal, they favor gradual withdrawal. Now he places this nation within an ace of bombing those cities. THE PRESIDENT’S OMAHA SPEECH last week in defense of the new 2 The Texas Observer Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorported the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. I’artner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Associate Editor, Larry Lee. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Bill Brammet., Larry Goodwyn, Harris Green, Dave Hie : 1-ey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Greg Olds,. James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Robert Sherrill, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not them escalation was bellicose, belligerent, and full of specious arguments. He talked like a general at war, not a president seeking peace. He was trying to club public opinion with college debate tactics, and he was trying to club those who disagree with him’ on Vietnam with accusations that they are letting down our fighting men, are helping communists, and want to “tuck tail and run out on South Vietnam.” Many of his arguments could have been used to prove the opposite case. The South Vietnamese have the right to decide their form of government without a gun at their heads, he said. What, then, of the military dictator Ky’s gun at the head of the South Vietnamese Buddhists? What, then, of all the Vietnamese now being told with our force that they must see their situation as Johnson sees it? He said North Vietnam is seeking to prove that “might makes right.” What special bombs are we dropping that makes them right and not might? He said the rest of Southeast Asia is protected by the shield the South Vietnamese and their “fighting allies” are putting up. In other words, might is making right! This characteristic of his arguments proves nothing except that he’s shadow-boxing. It’s too grave for shadow-boxing. The question is, will he bomb cities next in his crusade to save the people in them? The idea is grotesque–of course not! Either that is the answer, or else Johnson has placed this nation on a collision course with world morality and with Communist China. He is telling us what he is going to tell us. Let us tell him: he is President, but not God; this is still a democracy, with checks and balances; he cannot club critics into cowardice by calling them cowards. But the selves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. Subscription Representatives: Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; Denton, Fred Lusk, Box 8134 NTS; Fort Worth, Dolores Jacobsen, 3025 Greene Ave., WA 4-9655; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Clifford Dr., PA 3-8682; Huntsville, Jessie L. Murphree, Box 2284 SHS; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 42825; Odessa, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM 6-2269; Rio Grande Valley, Mrs. Jack Butler, 601 Houston, McAllen, MU 6-5675; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583; Cambridge, Mass., Victor Emanuel, 33 Aberdeen Ave., Apt. 3A. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $6.00 a year; two years, $11.00; three years, $15.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c: prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 5C4 West 24th St., Austin, Texas 78705. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. deep worry his Omaha speeh causes is the emotion that is driving him now. What we ask and what every American must ask now is where will he stop? Is there a stopping point? LYNDON JOHNSON has al ready scarred his place in history. Nothing can erase the stark disparity between his humanitarianism at home and his reflexive anti-communist aggressiveness in Vietnam. He does not understand the world ; he brings to the turmoil in the poor nations a West Texan’s simplistic frontier ideas about man-to-man relationships and how to behave in a fight with the enemy. The past year, impressive sections of the best elements in Americathe people in the colleges, the leaders of the churches, the top leaders of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate, Mansfield, Fulbright, Church, Gruening, Morse, Clark, the Democratic Majority Leader there, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have tried and tried to make the President see that he is oversimplifying the issues and that his policies in Vietnam are immoral as long as he insists on having his way without real compromise. His responses have been complex, ‘subtle and shrewd; they have been wheedling and threatening; they have not been straightforward. He has not heard these, the best people of the country, in what they are really sayingthat keeping on as we are, bombing, being more and more pigheaded and dictatorial about the fate of another country at terrible cost to our own young people, our country, and the people of Vietnam, we are betraying our own deepest human morality. If the bombings of the fuel dumps of Hanoi and Haiphong are preludes to the bombings of those cities’ populations, then it shall be so again, as it should never be so again, that we as a people be guilty of mass annihilation, of the ultimate arrogance, the maximum inhumanity, the killing of whole cities. If Lyndon Johnson tells the bombers to bomb out Hanoi and Haiphong, his name will be blackened forever in the history of the world. Worse, so will this country’s, for this; and worse still by far, the history of the world might then be stopped, might then just end, or start again in the bands and tribes in fields and jungles distant from the shells of once great countries. As William Fullbright said, we are a very great and a very powerful nation. We can sustain a setback in the purposes our President set for us in Vietnam and still prevail as a great nation and a force for great good in the world. There is still time. But until and unless Lyndon Johnson himself sees that his dedication to this war is misplaced idealism, and that his vanity and reputation as they are involved in the war are as nothing compared to the disaster for him and everyone if he does not stop short of citycide, this is a very bad scene, one we all are in, and all must act in, by the logic of the case however it comes to be when our turns come. THE TEXAS OBSERVER @ Texas Observer Co., Ltd. 1966 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South 60th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 58, No. 12 July 8, 1966