Sunday, July 19, 2009

Walter Cronkite --- War Criminal?

No, "Uncle Walt" didn't fit the text book definition of a "war criminal" anymore than George W. Bush or Dick Cheney ever would. He was a "newscaster" or "newsman" or, as they call them in Australia, a "newsreader" He seemed benign enough, very "grandfatherly", a nice, regular old guy. But behind this facade was a doctrinaire liberal with the bully pulpit to shape public opinion in a very powerful way. People trusted him and took his word as gospel on the issuses of the day. So when he became an anti-Vietnam War mouthpiece, the viewing public followed him. The thing is, he misunderstood or didn't care about dreams and aspirations of the people South Vietnam. He eventually became the "posterboy" for the leftist media machine that mobilized into an all-out media and college campus revolt that aided the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army and, in my opinion, the blood of dead G.I.'s and South Vietmanese civilians drips from Cronkite's hands. Yo, the news accurately, don't lie. TET was a U.S. VICTORY, yet you ignored that and offered your now famous opinion that the war was lost. His sins of omission and commission are being carried on by the likes of modern Main Sream Media cesspools MSNBC, CNN, and psycho leftist web sites like HuffPo and Daily Kos.

If you'all will please indulge me for a second and come along as Sherman and I climb aboard Mr. Peabody's "Wayback Machine" and go back...back...back, to 1969 America. I was a smart ass 10 year old and even then thought I "knew it all". I didn't then, I don't now. We would watch network TV because you had three channels in the pre-cable days of late 60's and early 70's El Paso, way out in hot, dusty far-West Texas. The national news casts began at 5:30 local time. My little brother Frank, a.k.a. the "channel changer" sat nearest to the TV and changed the channels. There were no remote control so that was his job. You had Walter Cronkite at CBS and Huntley-Binkley at NBC, and I think Frank Reynolds at ABC. That was it. Most often we got our national news of the day from CBS and "Uncle Walter". He wielded tremendous influence over American TV viewers during his years as the CBS anchor. I don't remember the assassination of J.F.K., I was too young. Cronkite made his reputation with his now very famous live newscast confirming the death of our young American President. He later confided that that was as close to 'breaking" on the air that he ever got. (Larry King interview May, 2001) and that was totally understandable. We Americans pride ourselves on peaceful executive transitions free of the subterfuge and rankor like the attempted hi-jacking by Al "Globalwarmer" Gore attempted in 2000. That was an attempted "coup by lawyer" and he was correctly rejected by the Supreme Court. The funny thing is, had he not tried to "cherry pick" Democrat friendly counties in and around Miami and instead recounted the whole state of Florida, he might have won. Or he might have been totally crushed. Those same lawyers have perfected "election theft by lawyer" tactic, Gore's guy was David Boies, Franken's is the firm of Perkins Cole of Washington D.C.; they helped Al "the mysoginist idiot" Franken keep counting votes until he was ahead and win a Senate seat in Minnesota that he has no business defiling. Stealing elections seems to be a Democrat lawyer "growth industry", but I digress.

Much has been made of quotes attributed to a North Vietnamese general, Vo Nguyen Giap, and whether he really said the following: "What we still don't understand is why you Americans stopped the bombing of Hanoi. You had us on the ropes. If you had pressed us a little harder, just for another day or two, we were ready to surrender! It was the same at the battles of TET. You defeated us! We knew it, and we thought you knew it. But we were elated to notice your media was definitely helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender. You had won!" --this quote is popularly attributed to Gen. Giap but is probably not accurate. He did site the U.S. media as an ally in a more mild way and wasn't the only N.V.A. officer to make such statements. It was obvious that North Vietnam was out gunned and needed American opinion to sour for the tide of American opinion to turn against the war.

The Kerry Presidential campaign in 2004, opposed by the Swiftboat Veterans For Truth political group ambushed Kerry with his own words and puffed up deeds when our young Lt. Kerry returned from Vietnam and latter embarked on his political career. The group Kerry later led, Vietnam Veterns Against the War, famously exaggerated and misled the Senate Committee called the Fulbright Hearing. During the Vietnam War in 1970 he told a Congressional committee that American soldiers, "...raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of [J]enghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks..." -- see

Kerry's people sluffed off his traitorous lies and deeds as well as the words of Gen. Giap concerning the effect of American traitors as just "urban legends" despite evidence to the contrary. An N.V.A. general staff Colonel, Col. Bui Tin echoed Gen Giap's sentiment that anti-war propogandists and activists undoubtable helped the North. In a 1995 Wall Street Journal interview Col. Bui said the following:

Q: How did the Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?

A: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Mihn said "We don't need win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out."

Q: Was the American anti-war movement inportant to Hanoi's strategy?

A: It was essential to our strategy. Support for the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Everyday our leadership would listen to the world news over the radio at 9:00 a.m. to follow the growth of the American anti-war movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle with us.

This brings me back to good ol' "Uncle Walt". How he could, in all his college dropout wisdom, shove his spectacles down to the end of his nose, lean into the camera and tell the good citizens of the United States of America in this now famous editorial that:

"Tonight, back in the more familiar surroundings in New York, we'd like to sum up our findings in Vietnam, an analysis that must be speculative, personal, subjective. Who won and who lost in the great Tet offensive against the cities? I'm not sure. The Vietcong did not win by a knockout, but neither did we. The referees of history may make it a draw. Another standoff may be coming in the big battles expected south of the Demilitarized Zone. Khe Sanh could well fall, with a terrible loss in American lives, prestige and morale, and this is a tragedy of our stubbornness there; but the bastion no longer is a key to the rest of the northern regions, and it is doubtful that the American forces can be defeated across the breadth of the DMZ with any substantial loss of ground. Another standoff. On the political front, past performance gives no confidence that the Vietnamese government can cope with its problems, now compounded by the attack on the cities. It may not fall, it may hold on, but it probably won't show the dynamic qualities demanded of this young nation. Another standoff.We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. They may be right, that Hanoi's winter-spring offensive has been forced by the Communist realizationthat they could not win the longer war of attrition, and that the Communists hope that any success in the offensive will improve their position for eventual negotiations. It would improve their position, and it would also require our realization, that we should have had all along, that any negotiations must be that-negotiations, not the dictation of peace terms. For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. This summer's almost certain standoff will either end in real give-and-take negotiations or terrible escalation; and for every means we have to escalate, the enemy can match us, and that applies to invasion of the North, the use of nuclear weapons, or the mere commitment of one hundred, or two hundred, or three hundred thousand more American troops to the battle. And with each escalation, the world comes closer to the brink of cosmic disaster.To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.
This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.”

Gee thanks, Walt! TET was a U.S. victory. Could you have found that out from the comfort of your hotel in Saigon? I doubt it. Did you find some rubble to stand in front of to make nice "photo ops" out of? Ya, that was easy. Finding out the truth about TET would have been harder, maybe even dangerous. I know Cronkite covered WWII as a reporter for the UPI, and I salute him. Was he of the age in the late 60's that Vietnam was too perhaps too hazardous for him to accurately ferret ou the truth? Did perhaps age and a wisdom lead him to stay to out of Viet Cong machine gun range?

There is no doubt that North Vietnam propagandists used the Walter Cronkites' and John Kerrys' of this world to force the U.S. out of S.E. Asia with catastrophic results for the millions of innocent victims left behind. The South Vietnamese that didn't or couldn't flee were subjected to unspeakable misery. Cambodians were punished for resisting communism by dying by the millions in Pol Pot's Killing Fields. Communist Vietnam plods along today, a third world sweat shop, cranking out cheap athletics shoes and other easily massed produced consumables. The "People's Paradise" in deed.
Good bye and good riddance "Uncle Walt"; you helped sow the seeds of what the American people are reaping decades after the "end" of the Vietnam War. You falsely led the despots of the world to view the U.S. as just a "Paper Tiger" without the political will to stand up and fight for what is right and liberate people from the bondage of oppression without the lie that America is an Imperialist occupier. Thanks Walt, you emboldened a group of raggedy assed "students" to occupy or Embassy in Iran in 1979. You set the stage for incursions by Sadam into Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. When repelled by U.S. led coalition forces Saddam resorted to duplicity and terror. Saddam's threat to Saudi Arabia, our "ally" in the Middle East, led to U.S. airbases in the land of Mecca and Medina igniting Al Queda's current wave of terror attacks and general Jihad against America and her allies. A strong U.S. victory in Vietnam could have changed history, but you sat at your typewriter and unilaterally decided that we "LOST" the war, like our present day Democrat Sen. Harry Reid. Walt, you've passed on, but 300 plus million Americans live with consequenses of you shooting off your mouth, getting it wrong, and giving our enemies a blueprint to defeat us and ginning their confidence way up. Thanks for NOTHING, and that's the way it really is.


CMB320 said...

It was 1968 when Tet occured, not 1969.

James J. Benoit said...

I'm aware of the date of the TET offensive, thank you though. I returned to the U.S. in Dec. 1968, my comments are about the totality of the Cronkite damage beginning with his TET screed, not with TET specifically.

Individualist said...

I find your article interesting James. I was very young at the time of the TET Offensive in the Vietnam war and remember nothing about it. When I was a Junior in High School I was taught that the TET offensive was a success for the Vietkong. IT was stated that because the enemy could mount a combined surprise attack that the troops were demoralized and this led to the loss of the war.

As I remember it, the statement made was that the troops while eventually pushing back the invaders were spooked because they could be attacked at any time. It never crossed my mind to question the validity of the facts the professor was teaching me. As I remember we spent more time doing plays about “Tricky Dick” and reenacting “Inherent the Wind” than reading the history text book in class. I was Nixon and Deep Throat and the Minister in Inherit the Wind. My choice. Ah well I am dating myself so I will stop.

Very informative James.

Anonymous said...

The country mourns Cronkite.
But you've got Limbaugh.
Speculate on the miniscule national reaction when he either dies from a drug overdose or is shot dead by some NRA fanatic that mistakes him for a moose,

By the way, you've never served in the miltary, right? I thought not.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us what magazines and newspapers you read. I'd like to see if your idiocy is based on something a bit more substantive than run-of-the-mill fascism in which right wingers
view their reflection.
Or are you another Palin and just skip it all, preferring to rely on ignorance?

James J. Benoit said...

Anony, calm down buddy. You don't have to agree, just try to dispute the FACTS! I read the local AP filled garbage newspaper, the Jersusalem Post Magazine in comes in weekly, Car & Driver and various mags on-line (Economist, Newsweek,WSJ, ect.). I'm reading a biography on German General A. Kesselring, I just finished "Band of Brothers", I'm starting the Catholic Bible from the start, in the middle O'Reilly's "Bold Fresh", and an old bio of Joesph Stalin. Meanwhile I'm preping for the GRE and beginning the application process for Grad School. I graduate in Dec. Good enough for you?

Individualist said...

"I'd like to see if your idiocy is based on something a bit more substantive than run-of-the-mill fascism in which right wingers
view their reflection."

If you want to see the true face of Fascism I'd suggest you look hard into a mirror. Then read a history book and ask why the progressive publications such as the new Republic saw Musolini as a hero.

The term right wing fascism is an oxymoron. There is not one conservative philosophy to which the government ownership of corporations is not anethma. Since this is the very basis of the Fascisti a liberal collectivist movement that was a spinoff of Marxism leftists are the ones that own it. And we here at Sherman's March won't let you lefties forget it.

James J. Benoit said...

How very true Indy...a typical leftist tactic is to attack the intellect of your opponent, despite evidence that many lefties don't measure up themselves.

Auguste Ballz said...

Cronkite started the whole "talking head as pundit" practice. And when he realized that the country wasn't listening to him anymore (after Reagan's election) He got out. The best friend Gen. Giap ever had.

Auguste Ballz said...

It's good to have a troll here once in a while. Especially a brave one who won't put a name to the drivel. Nice to see they don't change, all invective, no counter argument.

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