Everything you need is downtown and at the Downtowneryou’re there For information on how you may obtain a valuable Downtowner Motor Inn Franchise, write the Downtowner Corporation, Franchise DepartmentHA, 202 Union, Memin the center of things Washington making periodic use of the television networks. . . . But travel in the conventional campaign sense must be reduced to a minimum.’ “BUT I KNOW how much power I’ve got. I know I’ve got four million men under my command.” So said Johnson, according to Evans and Novak. But they seem curiously blindered on foreign policy. They do not seem to see, for instance, any international McCarthyism in the State Department releasing “the names of fifty-four ‘Communist and Castroist’ leaders in the Rebel camp” in the Dominican Republic, although they knew McCarthyism when they saw it in the Leland Olds case and in connection with Johnson’s late but effective participation in the McCarthy censure. They shrug off their discovery that in 1965 Lyndon Johnson ranked the three top hawks in his administration, in order, as Dean Rusk, McGeorge Bundy, and Lyndon Johnson. I have gathered from reviews one respects that Philip Geyelin’s book on Lyndon B. Johnson and the World is a virtuoso treatment of that subject. For telling and chilling insight into the way Johnson personalizes policy issues and takes opposition as enmity, however, I strongly recommend the first biography of Sen. William Fulbright, Tris Coffin’s latest book. Coffin writes off-hand and with a journalist’s way of organizing his information, but over the pages, over the chapters, his work grows on you, and at the end of this book you know you have been well informed by a deep and civilized conscience. Senator Fulbright, of course, is a great man. Some people think of him now as a martyr. To be that, he would have to have lost; but he has not lost. The national conscience is thoroughly alive to the immorality and ambiguity of the Vietnam war because of Fulbright more than because of any individual; his courage, scholarship, and restraint command national and world-wide respect. Coffin’s biography is less concerned with orthodox specifications of biography-like information than with this, Fulbright’s present, urgent role. Appreciating Fulbright’s far-seeing contribution to the founding of the United Nations, his establishment of the Fulbright scholarships, his courageous opposition to simplistic anti-communism, Coffin nevertheless begins With and soon returns to Fulbright as Johnson’s nemesis on Vietnam. At places, I will tell you plain, this book, and the man it is about, are so moving, you will pause in the reading to breathe deeply and think long. “At that time,” Coffin writes of 1965, “Senator Fulbright believed the President was sincere. Since then, perhaps a year later, he has had nagging doubts; did Johnson really want to end the war before he had changed the face of Asia as a monument to himself, as the pharaohs raised their pyramids?” After Johnson publicly attacked Vietnam critics as turning on “their own fighting men” and as 10 The Texas Observer “nervous Nellies,” Coffin says Fulbright remarked, “How could we have been so wrong about this man!” Johnson, Coffin reports, may be preparing to support Orval Faubus against Fulbright in 1968. After the historic Fulbright hearings on Vietnam, and Johnson’s remark before 6,000 persons, “You can say one thing about those hearings, but I don’t think this is the place to say it,” Coffin reports: “Fulbright’s faith in his old friend rusted away. He no longer referred to him in conversation as ‘the President,’ but as ‘this man, LBJ.’ What concerned him the most was his inability to break into the other’s mind and to receive a rational reply. .. . “The summer of 1966. . . . President Johnson called [Fulbright] to his office and talked to him privately for an hour, a highly emotional harangue. We must win a military victory; if the enemy persist in their defiance, we will grind them to ashes. They cannot stand up to our power; they must collapse before the Congressional elections. “The Senator had never seen Johnson so insecure, so frenetic. . .. [Fulbright] told members of his staff he was afraid the President was beyond a rational discussion of Vietnam. The Senator feared that while Johnson was in this mood, he was capable of almost any recklessness, including the bombing of China.” In mid-July of this year, Fulbright told Coffin: “I am very pessimistic. . . . I think it likely the war will spread in intensity and area. . . “He shook his head and went on: ‘I am very concerned about my country. I have never felt this way before. I wake up at nights, and I think, we are capable of so much, progress, so much good, and we toss away men, money, resources, goodwill like pennies into a savage war for what? “If the Great Society had stuck to its goals, it could have been the beginning of the golden age of America. . . . “I am distressed about my country for another reason. I don’t like to see us labeled across the world as a brutal aggressor mauling a small nation with our terrible power. We are not that kind of. people.’ The Senator shrugged his shoulders. ‘Of course, the people can’t always foretell what their leaders will do when the mantle of power falls on them.’ “He was silent again. When he spoke it was with great spirit. ‘It is an incredible irony who would have thought that Lyndon Johnson would take this turn? It is a tragedy that might have been written by the ancient Greeks. . . . I think often of the Peloponnesian War and the debate by which Alcibiades persuaded Athens by a narrow margin to attack Syracuse. Athens was the strongest power of the Western world. In a few years, worn out by the excesses of constant warfare, Athens fell and the greatest culture the world has known gone.” R. D.
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