Senator Morse traži povlačenje Vijetnama

Senator Morse traži povlačenje Vijetnama


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U obraćanju pred Odborom za vanjske odnose Senata 10. ožujka 1968., senator Wayne Morse, žestoki kritičar rata u Vijetnamu, napada vijetnamsku politiku predsjednika Lyndona Johnsona nakon što je general William Westmoreland zatražio da se pošalje još 200.000 vojnika kao odgovor na ofenzivom Tet.


S.1484 - Vijetnamski zakon o nepredviđenim situacijama 94. kongres (1975. -1976.)

Ovdje prikazano: Dopunjeni Senat izmijenjen (23.04.1975.)

Vijetnamski zakon o nepredviđenim situacijama - osniva Vijetnamski fond za nepredviđene situacije u iznosu od 100.000.000 dolara za korištenje tijekom fiskalne 1975. godine u humanitarne svrhe i povlačenje sredstava, za što predsjednik utvrdi da je u nacionalnom interesu.

Dopušta uporabu Oružanih snaga za zaštitu povlačenja građana Sjedinjenih Država i njihovih uzdržavanih osoba. Zahtijeva da se takvo povlačenje dovrši što je brže moguće.

Od predsjednika zahtijeva podnošenje izvješća i na drugi način poštuje odredbe Rezolucije o ratnim ovlastima u slučaju uporabe Oružanih snaga. Od predsjednika zahtijeva da u slučaju uporabe Oružanih snaga potvrdi Kongresu da postoji izravna i neposredna prijetnja za takve građane.

Omogućuje povlačenje, pod određenim uvjetima, ugroženih stranih državljana.

Zahtijeva da sredstva odobrena ovim Zakonom rasprše Ujedinjeni narodi ili dobrovoljne agencije za pomoć.

Odobrava izdvajanje 150.000.000 USD za fiskalnu 1975. godinu za pružanje humanitarne pomoći izbjeglicama i drugim potrebitim osobama žrtvama sukoba u Južnom Vijetnamu i Kambodži.

Zahtijeva izvješća predsjednika u intervalima od 90 dana o korištenju sredstava prema ovom Zakonu. Zahtijeva od predsjednika da svaki dan izvješćuje o broju građana u Vijetnamu i broju građana i stranih državljana koji su otišli te zahtijeva izvješće u roku od 48 sati od donošenja ovog zakona o predsjednikovim planovima za evakuaciju osoba opisanih u ovom Zakonu.


‘Antiratne’ i druge borbene riječi

DEMOKRATI su proveli tri desetljeća pokušavajući istjerati duha senatora Georgea S. McGoverna, čija je predsjednička kampanja iz 1972. koja je pozivala na povlačenje iz Vijetnama iskristalizirala imidž njegove stranke kao blage u nacionalnoj obrani.

No, istražujući srednjoročne izbore prošlog tjedna, gospodin McGovern (84) je rekao da vidi priliku za antiratnu kampanju u predsjedničkoj utrci 2008. godine.

"Volio bih ponovo trčati da sam 25 godina mlađi", rekao je u intervjuu iz svoje kuće u Montani. "Mislim da bih pobijedio."

Uoči polugodišta, zaprepaštenje zbog rata u Iraku dovelo je demokrate do političkog statusa koji nisu uživali od prije gospodina McGoverna: po prvi put u desetljećima ankete pokazuju da javnost vjeruje demokratima koliko i republikancima vanjski poslovi.

No dok gledaju naprijed, demokrati su rastjerani između dvije vizije svoje povijesti. Neki potencijalni kandidati na izborima za Demokratsku stranku 2008. i mnogi liberalni aktivisti tvrde da je republikanska odgovornost za rat u Iraku, zapravo, oslobodila demokrate naslijeđa gospodina McGoverna. Kažu da će izbori 2006. pružiti mandat za novi antiratni argument: da se trupe mogu povući iz Iraka kako bi se ojačala američka sigurnost drugdje u svijetu.

Drugi stratezi i politolozi tvrde da je irački rat dao demokratama drugačiju priliku da opuste svoj imidž McGovernita, djelomično odbijajući pozive na brzo povlačenje iz Iraka.

"Sve što birači rade daje demokratama šansu i bolje je da to ne upropastimo", rekao je Gary Hart, bivši senator i predsjednički kandidat.

Hart je rekao da bi mlađi McGovern mogao pobijediti na izborima za Demokratsku stranku, ali bi i dalje izgubio opće izbore. "Samo trčanje na platformi 'izvuci nas iz Iraka' neće riješiti problem demokrata po pitanju nacionalne sigurnosti", rekao je.

Nakon Vijetnama, prošlo je kratko vrijeme kada se činilo da se obje strane natječu kako bi ih se smatralo strankom suzdržanosti: trenutak u predsjedničkoj utrci 1976. kada je senator Bob Dole, republikanski kandidat za potpredsjednika, optužio da su “demokratski ratovi” u 20. stoljeću ubijeno je ili ranjeno „1,6 milijuna Amerikanaca, dovoljno da ispuni grad Detroit“.

No iranska talačka kriza tri godine kasnije okončala je taj kratki hir mira. A otkad je predsjednik Ronald Reagan započeo vojnu kampanju, demokrati su patili od ugleda kao stranke koja nije bila sigurna u očuvanje sigurnosti Amerike. Njihove jedine predsjedničke pobjede bile su u godinama relativnog mira između kraja hladnog rata i terorističkih napada 11. rujna.

Tijekom međugodišnjih kampanja, demokrati su se pojavili na izborima samo napadom na ponašanje predsjednika Busha u ratu. Nisu precizirali niti dogovorili jasnu vlastitu alternativu.

Tom luksuzu, međutim, dolazi kraj. Dana 8. studenog, dan nakon izbora, pozornost će se preusmjeriti na predsjedničku utrku 2008. godine. Kako se nositi s Irakom moglo bi biti odlučujuće pitanje demokratskih izbora, a kritiziranje predsjednika Busha možda neće računati puno na općim izborima jer bi republikanski kandidat mogao biti i glasni kritičar kako se njegova administracija nosila s ratom.

Udovoljiti bazi stranke "dovedi ih kući", a pritom ojačati njezine sigurnosne vjerodajnice možda neće biti lako. Anketa USA Today -a objavljena u petak pokazala je da više od 80 posto javnosti očekuje od demokrata da postave raspored za povlačenje iz Iraka ako preuzmu kontrolu nad Kongresom. No do sada nitko od čelnika Demokratskog kongresa nije tražio fiksni rok.

I premda svi potencijalni primarni kandidati - i predsjednik Bush po tom pitanju - kažu da žele trupe kući što je prije moguće, po pitanju rasporeda, njihovi stavovi teško da bi mogli biti različitiji.

Senatorka Hillary Rodham Clinton, najistaknutiji kandidat, odbacila je svaki raspored za povlačenje. Senator John Kerry, kandidat za 2004. godinu, i senator Russell Feingold iz Wisconsina već su pozvali na određen rok.

Gospodin Feingold je ustvrdio da su mnogi demokrati učinili "ozbiljnu pogrešku" uhvativši se u vijetnamskoj povijesti stranke. Bojeći se sudbine gospodina McGoverna, zaglavili su u onome što je nazvao "Iračkom zamkom".

"Misle da će, ako netko pozove raspored za izlazak iz Iraka, biti označeni kao" prekini i bježi "", rekao je gospodin Feingold. Demokratski dobici na izborima 2006. godine, rekao je, pokazat će da javnost prihvaća širi argument za povlačenje iz Iraka radi učinkovitije borbe protiv terorizma drugdje u svijetu.

Kevin Mattson, liberalni povjesničar sa Sveučilišta Ohio, tvrdio je da su usporedbe s kampanjom McGovern obmanjujuće i "šašave".

Kao prvo, za razliku od kritičara iračkog rata, ni gospodin McGovern niti bilo koji drugi istaknuti demokrata nisu se protivili Vijetnamskom ratu jer je to bila prepreka u borbi protiv komunizma - argument koji bi bilo teško iznijeti u toj naprednoj fazi hladni rat. Savjetnici potpredsjednika Huberta Humphreya pozvali su ga da podnese takav slučaj 1968. godine, no on je to odbio, rekao je gospodin Mattson.

Drugi su, međutim, tvrdili da bi dopuštanje da njihove pobjede ove godine zasjene iskustvo McGovern -a moglo biti najveći rizik s kojim se demokrati suočavaju 2008. "Moja je zabrinutost da će neki demokrati iz naše pobjede izvući pogrešne lekcije", rekao je senator Joe Biden iz Delawarea.

Napominjući broj konzervativnih demokratskih osporavača ove jeseni, rekao je da glasači traže "dvostranački konsenzus" o tome kako ostaviti više od kaosa i nestabilnosti u Iraku. "Povlačenje nije plan", rekao je gospodin Biden, "to je reakcija." Ono što je zapečatilo imidž demokrata nakon Vijetnama, kažu povjesničari, nije bila samo kampanja gospodina McGovernna već i njihova reakcija dok se javno mnijenje okrenulo prema ratu. Nakon 1968., demokrati u Kongresu počeli su pritiskati da se rat zaustavi ili prekine njegovo financiranje. A njihovi napori dosegli su vrhunac nakon prijevremenih izbora nakon Watergatea 1974. godine, kada su mnogi demokrati tumačili svoje klizište kao mandat za smanjenje nacionalne obrane.

Danas nitko ne daje slične prijedloge. No, James M. Lindsay, direktor Robert S. Strauss za međunarodnu sigurnost i pravo na Sveučilištu Texas u Austinu i bivši dužnosnik za nacionalnu sigurnost u Clintonovoj administraciji, rekao je da bi veliki pobjedi 2006. mogli ohrabriti antiratne demokrate 2008., dok je "centriste" poput gospođe Clinton privlačio bliže povlačenju.

"Ali bit će mnogo demokratskih stratega koji će im u ušima šaptati da" ne želite ići tamo "jer je to loša politika, a loša politika za pokretanje", rekao je. “Problem je što morate pobijediti i na općim izborima. Ne morate se žaliti ljudima koji su se odlučili i posljednje četiri godine imali naljepnicu na braniku na stražnjoj strani automobila. ”

G. McGovern je sa svoje strane rekao kako ga je rasprava podsjetila na način na koji su republikanci optuživali demokrate da su slabi prema komunizmu, iako je obuzdavanje demokratska ideja. "Nadam se da nećemo imati 50 godina slabljenja terorizma u očima republikanaca", rekao je.


Učinak Vijetnama na birališta u ❦

Nemoguće je predvidjeti što će se dogoditi od sada do studenog u Vijetnamu, ali sve što se dogodi utjecat će na rezultate kongresnih izbora 1966. godine. Vijetnamci-katolici, budisti ili Viet Cong, general Ky ili Ho Chi Minh-teško da će stajati slijedećih nekoliko mjeseci i čekati povratke izbora. Čini se sigurnim samo reći da SAD do studenog neće govoriti ni o pobjedi ni o miru.

No, što god se dogodilo u Vijetnamu, američki izbori vjerojatno neće postići konsenzus, bilo za ili protiv trenutne politike uprave. Javno mnijenje je previše zbrkano i previše kontradiktorno, pa će u samo nekoliko slučajeva biračko tijelo imati priliku birati između jasnih alternativa. Čak i tada će izbor biti nešto manje od referenduma o vijetnamskoj politici, rezultati će također ovisiti o normalnim stranačkim opredjeljenjima, razlikama u unutarnjoj politici i osobnoj popularnosti, da se opća javnost može podijeliti u uredne skupine jastrebova, golubova, pristalica administracije i "mirovnjaci". Zapravo, većina istraživanja javnog mnijenja, koju su krajem prošle zime proveli politolozi sa Stanforda i Chicaga, pokazuje da je većina Amerikanaca duboko ambivalentna u pogledu rata. Pedeset i šest posto protivilo se čak i postupnom povlačenju, 61 posto je odobrilo radnje predsjednika Johnsona, ali 54 posto se usprotivilo nastavku rata u sadašnjem intenzitetu. Pedeset četiri posto podržava slobodne izbore, čak i ako je Viet Cong pobijedio, ali gotovo isti postotak protivi se čak i postupnom povlačenju. Sedamdeset posto podržava primirje pod nadzorom Ujedinjenih naroda, čuvajući sadašnjost zapravo političke podjele. No, 77 posto protivi se bilo kakvom povlačenju koje bi riskiralo gubitak Laosa ili Tajlanda, što je mogući rezultat takvog primirja.

Ukratko, Amerikanci preferiraju gotovo svaki način djelovanja koji bi mogao okončati rat, ali neće prihvatiti vjerojatne posljedice takvih akcija. Još nisu naučili glavnu lekciju povijesti dvadesetog stoljeća: da ne postoji poseban razlog zašto stvari moraju ispasti kako treba.

Činjenica dovodi u pitanje čak i agilnog političara poput Lyndona Johnsona. On može djelovati u relativno širokom rasponu alternativa i biti siguran da će javnost odobravati ono što radi, ali ista javnost gotovo će se neizbježno svidjeti onome što dolazi. Otkako je provedeno ispitivanje Stanford-Chicaga, sukobi između vlade Ky i budista, zajedno sa stalno rastućim brojem žrtava, diskreditirali su predsjednikovu politiku. U najnovijem nacionalnom ispitivanju samo je 47 posto podržalo Johnsonove akcije u Vijetnamu.

Gubitak popularnosti predsjednika koštao ga je znatnog političkog kapitala. Demokratski kongresmeni, željni izbjegavanja oznake upravnih guma, sve su nespremniji podržati predsjednikove prijedloge. Svi Johnsonovi talenti uvjeravanja nisu uspjeli dati administraciji ništa više od najužih pobjeda za svoja dva najoriginalnija novija programa, Učiteljski zbor i Prijedlog zakona o dopunama stanarine. Štoviše, ti su računi morali biti toliko zalijevani da ih oboje osakate. Predsjedavajući House Ways and Means Wilbur Mills, vjetrokaz mišljenja Kongresa, mogao je slobodno ubiti Johnsonovu ponudu da snizi tarife za istočnoeuropske zemlje čak i prije nego što je uspio dobiti sponzora.

Nepopularnost predsjednikovog položaja i općenito nezadovoljstvo ratom pojavit će se u dva oblika na ovogodišnjim izborima: kao općenito smanjenje udjela glasova Demokratske stranke i u pojedinačnim natjecanjima gdje je rat glavno pitanje. Čak i bez rata, demokrati bi bili teško pritisnuti da zadrže razinu popularnosti iz 1964. godine. Brojni kongresmeni, državni i lokalni dužnosnici zbrisani su na dužnost na klizištu LBJ. Bez Barryja Goldwatera mnogi bi od ovih demokrata automatski bili u problemima. Sada se moraju suočiti s činjenicom da je rat, poput depresije, uvijek bio gubitnik glasova za stranku na vlasti.

Zastupnički dom SAD-a pruža prikladnu ljestvicu jačine stranaka, budući da će svi njezini članovi izaći na ponovni izbor. Prije godinu dana, kada nije bilo jasno da li će Vijetnam zasjeniti sva druga pitanja, mnogi su promatrači smatrali da bi demokrati mogli pobjeći s minimalnim gubicima. Mnogi od 70-ak brucoša demokrata bili su izvanredno privlačni kandidati koji su izgledali sposobni trčati ispred svoje stranke u svojim rubnim okruzima.

Iako mnogi brucoši i dalje pokazuju iznenađujuću snagu, većina političkih analitičara očekuje da će demokrati izgubiti sa 20 na 50 mjesta, pa postoji mogućnost da će republikanci izbrisati dobitak od 40 mjesta iz 1964., iako je malo vjerojatno da će pobijediti 77 mjesta koja su im potrebna za kontrolu Doma.

Moje je mišljenje da će demokrati izgubiti ili 28 ili 54 mjesta: 28 ako im opća razina popularnosti padne za oko 5 posto (s većinom brucoša koji se drže nešto bolje) 54 ako opća razina padne više od 5 posto, te se tako uvlači pod gotovo sve marginalne prvašiće. Usput, gubitak demokratskih glasova umanjit će pad "liberalnih glasova". Konzervativni demokrati vjerojatno će povratiti nekoliko mjesta koja su izgubili od segregacijskih republikanaca Goldwater na jugu.

Takvi demokratski gubici ne mogu se smatrati nedvosmislenim odbacivanjem politike uprave Vijetnama. Novi 90. Kongres bit će namijenjen američkoj glasačkoj javnosti. Predsjednički najizraženiji kritičari - senatori Wayne Morse, Ernest Gruening, J. William Fulbright - vjerojatno neće nastaviti podržavati sadašnju vijetnamsku politiku. No, manja je vjerojatnost da će podržati pregovore s Viet Congom, pauze u bombardiranju ili drugu politiku golubova. To će također biti neprijateljski prema domaćim programima Velikog društva.

Pojedinačna natjecanja, posebno za Senat Sjedinjenih Država, jasnije će naznačiti učinke Vijetnama na ponovne izbore do 1968. Najzanimljivije, a vjerojatno i najznačajnije natjecanje ove godine je u Morseovoj matičnoj državi Oregon. Tamo demokratski kandidat, Robert Duncan, snažno podržava administraciju, dok republikanac, guverner Mark Hatfield, pokušava zauzeti poziciju negdje između Duncanova i Morseova.

Na predizbornim izborima za Demokratsku stranku 24. svibnja, Duncan je uz pomoć državnog AFL-CIO-a odlučno pobijedio Morseovog kandidata, Howarda Morgana. Morse, uvijek maverick (i sam je nekada bio republikanac) tiho podržava Hatfielda i predviđa da će pobijediti u studenom. Ishod je daleko od jasnog. Oba su kandidata učinkoviti borci i dokazani birači glasova, a vjerojatno će doći i do značajnog prelaska stranačkih linija.

No, utrka u Oregonu teško je tipična. U većini ovogodišnjih natječaja u Senatu, demokratu koji podržava politiku uprave, možda s nekoliko rezervi, suprotstavit će se republikanac koji zauzima sličan ili tvrđi stav. Stoga će u većini slučajeva samo oni koji se zalažu za eskalaciju rata imati priliku iznijeti svoja stajališta. Nekoliko mjesta u Senatu moglo bi se promijeniti u ruke, ali demokrati će vjerojatno zadržati 68 mjesta koja su imali u posljednje dvije godine.

Do sada nije bilo govora o priznatim "kandidatima za mir". Propust je namjeran. Kandidati trećih strana koji nastupaju na mirovnim platformama neće biti uspješniji nego što su bili u posljednjem dijelu, drugim riječima, glasovat će tako malo glasova da će samo naglasiti slabost svog cilja. Niti će ljudi koji se kandidiraju na demokratskim (ili povremeno republikanskim) izbornim izborima protiv kongresmena koji podržavaju administraciju vjerojatno postići mnoge pobjede. Odlučujući gubitak Howarda Morgana u Oregonu sugerira da protivljenje očito nepopularnom ratu nije dovoljno za prevladavanje prednosti postojećih kandidata.

Jedini kandidati za mir koji mogu očekivati ​​pobjedu su oni demokratski dužnosnici koji su se oduvijek protivili administraciji-William F. Ryan iz New Yorka i George Brown iz Kalifornije, na primjer. Njihov uspjeh neće biti posljedica toliko njihove ideologije, koliko činjenice da su izuzetno dobro ukorijenjeni u svojim okruzima.

Čini se da će oni koji traže od ljudi jasan poziv za okončanje rata biti ozbiljno razočarani rezultatima izbora u studenom. Natječaji za zastupnike u Predstavničkom domu i Senatu vjerojatno neće donijeti zapanjujuće pobjede za "kandidate za mir", a već su nanijeli neke ubjedljive poraze. Predstojeći pad demokratskih postotaka ne može se promatrati kao rezultat referenduma o ratu, već kao politička neizbježnost.

Predsjednik već shvaća da su njegovi postupci općenito nepopularni i uskoro će shvatiti, ako već nije, da će rezultati tih postupaka vjerojatno biti još nepopularniji. Međutim, on također zna da štetnija nepopularnost dolazi od onih koji preferiraju eskalaciju pa povlačenje. Da je sadašnja politika isključena kao alternativa, prema anketi Stanford-Chicago, javnost bi radije proširila rat nego povukla se s razlikom od 2-1.

Ta se brojka može promijeniti kako Ky nastavlja napadati pagode ili ako se na obećanim vijetnamskim izborima pojavi antiamerička vlada (što se čini nevjerojatnim s obzirom na to tko će ih provesti). No, izbori u ovoj zemlji donijet će samo dvosmislenu presudu o ratu i zastoj u domaćim pitanjima. Ako će se doći do nekog zadovoljavajućeg zaključka o ratu, to će ovisiti o inicijativi Bijele kuće, a ne o izborima 1966. godine

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Kršćanski konzervativac koji se protivio Vijetnamskom ratu

David T. Beito kao izvanredni profesor povijesti na Sveučilištu u Alabami, a Linda Royster Beito predsjednica je Odsjeka za društvene znanosti na Collegeu Stillman. Pišu biografiju T.R.M. Howard, vođa građanskih prava i poduzetnik. David T. Beito član je Liberty and Power, grupnog bloga na History News Network.

U onoj mjeri u kojoj je 1964. bilo kakvo vjersko pravo bilo koje vrste, Eugene Siler lako se kvalificirao kao član platinaste kartice. U svojih devet godina u američkom domu nije imao premca u svojoj revnosti za provođenje "kršćanstva i amerikanizma". Ipak, prije četrdeset dvije godine, ovog mjeseca, 7. kolovoza 1964., učinio je nešto što bi bilo iznimno rijetko za modernog pandana na vjerskom pravu. Nije se slagao s hitnim predsjednikovim zahtjevom da odobri vojnu akciju u stranom ratu. Siler je bio jedini koji je u američkom domu glasao protiv rezolucije Tonkinskog zaljeva. Budući da se "upario" s prijedlogom zakona (što znači da je bio odsutan tijekom glasovanja), međutim, većina povijesnih izvještaja ne spominje ga.

Samoopisani "Kentucky hillbilly", Siler rođen je 1900. u Williamsburgu, gradu smještenom u planinama u jugoistočnom dijelu države. Za razliku od većine Kentuckijana, on je, kao i njegovi susjedi, bio republikanac s rebrastim stijenama. Ljudi ovog osiromašenog područja podržavali su Uniju tijekom građanskog rata i od tada su stajali uz GOP u dobrim i lošim vremenima. Siler je služio u mornarici u Prvom svjetskom ratu, a dva desetljeća kasnije kao kapetan vojske tijekom Drugog svjetskog rata. Njegova iskustva s ratnim realnostima ostavila su ga hladnim prema većini prijedloga da se američke trupe pošalju na štetu.

Nakon što je diplomirao na Sveučilištu Columbia, Siler se vratio u Williamsburg kao odvjetnik u malom gradu. Pobožni baptist, lokalno se proslavio kao propovjednik laik, koji je na kraju služio kao moderator Opće udruge baptista u Kentuckyju. Suzdržavao se od alkohola, duhana i psovki. Kao odvjetnik, odbio je sve klijente koji traže razvod ili su optuženi za zločine povezane s viskijem.

Službu je započeo kao izabrani sudac Apelacijskog suda u Kentuckyju 1945. i odmah je odbio redovnu mjesečnu dodjelu 150 dolara za troškove. Umjesto toga, novac je dao u poseban fond koji je osnovao za stipendije. Nije iznenađujuće što je Siler često citirao spise iz klupe. Učinio je isto u svojim govorima kao neuspješni republikanski kandidat za guvernera 1951. godine čime je stekao reputaciju u cijeloj državi kao "Biblijski križar".

Siler je dosljedno isticao društveni konzervativizam tijekom svog mandata u američkom domu koji je započeo 1955. Sponzorirao je prijedlog zakona o zabrani oglašavanja pića i piva u svim međudržavnim medijima. Rekao je da je dopuštanje ovih oglasa slično dopuštanju "grubim šuškavcima" da se oglašavaju na "otvorenim vratima svog poslovnog mjesta za privlačnost naše školske djece". Naravno, on je „100 posto čitao Bibliju i Očenaš u našim državnim školama“.

Siler se, poput svog dobrog prijatelja i republikanca, iz Iowe, predstavnika H.R. Grossa, smatrao fiskalnim čuvarom. Prezirao je sve događaje i borio se protiv državnog duga i visoke potrošnje. Siler je, međutim, napravio iznimke za svoje domove podržavajući kontrolu poplava i druge savezne mjere koje su pomogle njegovom okrugu.

Kao i s Grossom, Siler je bio republikanac Roberta A. Tafta koji je bio nesklon petljanju u saveze i strane močvare. Dosljedan protivnik inozemne pomoći, bio je samo jedan od dvojice kongresmena koji su glasali protiv Kennedyjeva priziva rezervi tijekom berlinske krize. On je favorizirao Goldwater 1964. godine, ali nikada nije dijelio svoja sokolska stajališta. Činilo se da to domaći ljudi nemaju ništa protiv. Ponekad demokrati nisu uspjeli čak ni postaviti kandidata.

Siler je bio rani i predskazani kritičar američke uključenosti u Vijetnam. U lipnju 1964., nedugo nakon što je odlučio da se više neće kandidirati, polu -u šali je rekao da se za predsjednika kandidirao kao antiratni kandidat. Obećao je da će podnijeti ostavku nakon jednog dana na dužnosti, ostajući tek toliko da dovede trupe kući. On je okarakterizirao Rezoluciju Tonkinskog zaljeva koja je ovlastila Johnsona da poduzme "sve potrebne korake" u Vijetnamu kao "prolaznu" izliku da "zapečati usne Kongresa protiv budućih kritika".

Pogoršanje situacije u Vijetnamu potaknulo je Silera da izađe iz mirovine 1968. godine kako bi se kandidirao za nominaciju američkog Senata na platformi koja poziva na povlačenje svih američkih trupa do Božića. Ernest Gruening s Aljaske i Wayne Morse iz Oregona, jedina dva američka senatora koji su glasovali protiv rezolucije Tonkinskog zaljeva, također su poraženi te godine.

Iako je Siler živio do 1987., rijetki su se sjetili njegova ranog stava protiv Vijetnamskog rata. Sumnjivo je da mu je to posebno smetalo. Znao je da je njegov ugled siguran među običnim baptističkim republikanskim planinskim narodom na jugoistoku Kentuckyja koji su ga slali u Kongres gotovo desetljeće.


Primjedbe senatora Johna F. Kennedyja o Indokini pred Senatom, Washington, DC, 6. travnja 1954. godine

Gospodine predsjedniče, došlo je vrijeme da se američkom narodu kaže otvorena istina o Indokini.

Nerado dajem bilo kakvu izjavu koja bi se mogla pogrešno protumačiti kao neprihvatljiva za galantnu francusku borbu u Dien Bien Phuu i drugdje ili kao stranačka kritika našeg državnog tajnika neposredno prije njegova sudjelovanja u osjetljivim raspravama u Ženevi. Ni ja, kao onaj koji nije član onih odbora Kongresa koji su o tome upućeni - ako ih se nije konzultiralo - ne bih htio istupiti nestrpljivo ili uznemirujuće u svojoj procjeni situacije. No, govori predsjednika Eisenhowera, tajnika Dullesa i drugih ostavili su previše neizgovorenog, po mom mišljenju - a ono što je ostalo neizgovoreno srž je problema koji bi trebao zabrinuti svakog građanina. Jer ako će američki narod po četvrti put u ovom stoljeću putovati dugim i mukotrpnim ratnim putem - osobito ratom za koji sada shvaćamo da bi ugrozio opstanak civilizacije - onda vjerujem da imamo pravo - pravo koje trebali smo dosad vježbati - detaljno ispitati prirodu borbe u koju bismo se mogli uključiti i alternativu takvoj borbi. Bez takvog pojašnjenja ugrožena je opća podrška i uspjeh naše politike.

Budući da je tajnik Dulles odbacio, konačno, svaki prijedlog pregovaranja o Indokini u zamjenu za priznanje Crvene Kine, one rasprave u Ženevi koje se tiču ​​da bi se rat mogao usredotočiti na dvije osnovne alternative:

Prvi je mirovni sporazum koji se temelji ili na podjeli područja između snaga Viet Minha i Francuske unije, moguće duž 16. paralele ili na temelju koalicijske vlade u kojoj je zastupljen Ho Chi Minh. Unatoč suprotnim željama, trebalo bi biti očito da bi popularnost i rasprostranjenost Ho Chi Minha i njegovih sljedbenika u cijeloj Indokini uzrokovali da podjela ili koalicijska vlada rezultiraju konačnom dominacijom komunista.

Druga alternativa je da Sjedinjene Države uvjere Francuze da nastave svoju hrabru i skupu borbu, alternativa koja će, s obzirom na trenutno stanje mišljenja u Francuskoj, biti usvojena samo ako Sjedinjene Države obećaju sve veću potporu. Izjava tajnika Dullesa da "nametanje u jugoistočnoj Aziji političkog sustava komunističke Rusije i njenog kineskog komunističkog saveznika. Treba ispuniti ujedinjenim djelovanjem" ukazuje na to da je naša politika davati takvu podršku koju ćemo, kako primjećuju New York Times prošle srijede "bori se, ako je potrebno, da zadrži jugoistočnu Aziju pod kontrolom" i nadamo se da ćemo dobiti podršku slobodnih azijskih zemalja za ujedinjeno djelovanje protiv komunizma u Indokini, unatoč činjenici da su takve nacije nastojale od početka rata politika hladne neutralnosti.

Mislim da je važno da Senat i američki narod pokažu da podržavaju ciljeve gospodina Dullesa, unatoč našim poteškoćama u utvrđivanju punog značaja njegovih ključnih fraza.

Svakako, ja, na primjer, zagovaram politiku "ujedinjene akcije" mnogih nacija kad god je to potrebno kako bi se postigla vojna i politička pobjeda slobodnog svijeta na tom području, dobro shvaćajući da bi to na kraju moglo zahtijevati određenu predanost naše radne snage.

No ulijevati novac, materijal i ljude u džungle Indokine bez barem daljnje perspektive pobjede bilo bi opasno uzaludno i samouništavajuće. Naravno, sva rasprava o "ujedinjenoj akciji" pretpostavlja da je neizbježnost takve pobjede, ali takve pretpostavke nisu ništa slično sličnim predviđanjima povjerenja koja su uljuljkivala američki narod dugi niz godina i koja bi, ako se nastave, predstavljala neprikladnu osnovu za određivanje razmjera američkog sudjelovanja.

Dopustite mi da ukratko pregledam neke izjave koje se tiču ​​napretka rata na tom području, i bit će razumljivo zašto kažem da se ili nismo iskreno i u potpunosti suočili s ozbiljnošću vojne situacije, ili naše obavještajne procjene i one Francuzi su bili jadno neispravni.

U veljači 1951., na primjer, pok. Brig. General Francis G. Brink, tadašnji šef vojne savjetodavne skupine Sjedinjenih Država u Indokini, rekao nam je o povoljnom razvoju događaja na tom području kao rezultat nove taktike koju je osmislio general Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. U jesen iste godine i sam general De Lattre izrazio je optimizam u svom govoru pred Nacionalnim tiskovnim klubom ovdje u Washingtonu i predvidio pobjedu, pod određenim uvjetima, za 18 mjeseci do 2 godine, tijekom posjeta Francuskoj.

U lipnju 1952. američki i francuski dužnosnici objavili su zajedničko priopćenje u Washingtonu izražavajući zajedničku odlučnost dviju zemalja da uspješno okončaju bitku, a državni tajnik Acheson izjavio je na svojoj konferenciji za novinare da -

"Čini se da se vojna situacija povoljno razvija ... Agresija je provjerena i nedavne naznake opravdavaju mišljenje da se plima sada kreće u našu korist. Možemo predvidjeti nastavak povoljnog razvoja situacije."

U ožujku 1953. francuski dužnosnici ponovno su došli u Washington, ponovno izdali izjave u kojima su predviđali pobjedu u Indokini, te su se ponovno pridružili Sjedinjenim Državama u priopćenju o planiranju vojne akcije i potpore Sjedinjenih Država čime bi se postigao njihov novi cilj odlučne vojne pobjede za 2 godine .

U svibnju 1953. predsjednik Eisenhower i državni tajnik Dulles rekli su Kongresu da će naš program uzajamne sigurnosti za Francusku i Indokinu pomoći "smanjiti ovaj komunistički pritisak do upravljivih razmjera". U lipnju je poslana američka vojna misija na čelu s generalom O'Danielom kako bi s generalom Navarrom u Indokini razgovarali o načinu na koji pomoć Sjedinjenih Država "može najbolje pridonijeti napretku cilja poraza tamošnjih komunističkih snaga", a u jesen prošle godine general O'Daniel izjavio je kako je "uvjeren da će vijetnamska vojska obučena od strane Francuske, kad bude potpuno organizirana, nadvladati pobunjenike".

U rujnu 1953. francuski i američki dužnosnici ponovno su se sastali i, najavljujući novi program opsežne američke pomoći, ponovno izdali zajedničko priopćenje u kojem je ponovljen cilj "ranog i pobjedničkog zaključka".

2. prosinca 1953., pomoćnik državnog tajnika za pitanja Dalekog istoka Walter S. Robertson rekao je Ženskom nacionalnom republikanskom klubu u New Yorku - riječima gotovo identičnim riječima onih državnog tajnika Achesona 18 mjeseci ranije - da "vjerujemo u Indokini. plima se sada okreće. " Later the same month Secretary of State Dulles state that military setbacks in the area had been exaggerated and that he did not "believe that anything that has happened upsets appreciably the timetable of General Navarre's plan," which anticipated decisive military results by about March 1955.

In February of this year, Defense Secretary Wilson said that a French victory was "both possible and probable" and that the war was going "fully as well as we expected it to at this stage. I see no reason to think Indochina would be another Korea." Also in February of this year, Under Secretary of State Smith stated that:

"The military situation in Indochina is favorable. . Contrary to some reports, the recent advances made by the Viet Minh are largely "real estate" operations. . Tactically, the French position is solid and the officers in the field seem confident of their ability to deal with the situation."

Less than 2 weeks ago, Admiral Radford, Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, stated that "the French are going to win." And finally, in a press conference some days prior to his speech to the Overseas Press Club in New York, Secretary of State Dulles stated that he did not "expect that there is going to be a Communist victory in Indochina" that "in terms of Communist domination of Indochina, I do not accept that as a probability" that "we have seen no reason to abandon the so-called Navarre plan," which meant decisive results only 1 year hence and that the United States would provide whatever additional equipment was needed for victory over the Viet Minh with the upper hand probably to be gained "by the end of the next fighting season."

Despite this series of optimistic reports about eventual victory, every Member of the Senate knows that such victory today appears to be desperately remote, to say the least, despite tremendous amounts of economic and material aid from the United States, and despite a deplorable loss of French Union manpower. The call for either negotiations or additional participation by other nations underscores the remoteness of such a final victory today, regardless of the outcome at Dien Bien Phu. It is, of course, for these reasons that many French are reluctant to continue the struggle without greater assistance for to record the sapping effect which time and the enemy have had on their will and strength in that area is not to disparage their valor. If "united action" can achieve the necessary victory over the forces of communism, and thus preserve the security and freedom of all southeast Asia, then such united action is clearly called for. But if, on the other hand, the increase in our aid and the utilization of our troops would only result in further statements of confidence without ultimate victory over aggression, then now is the time when we must evaluate the conditions under which that pledge is made.

I am frankly of the belief that no amount of American military assistance in Indochina can conquer an enemy which is everywhere and at the same time nowhere, "an enemy of the people" which has the sympathy and covert support of the people. As succinctly stated by the report of the Judd Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January of this year:

"Until political independence has been achieved, an effective fighting force from the associated states cannot be expected. . The apathy of the local population to the menace of the Viet Minh communism disguised as nationalism is the most discouraging aspect of the situation. That can only be overcome through the grant of complete independence to each of the associated states. Only for such a cause as their own freedom will people make the heroic effort necessary to win this kind of struggle."

This is an analysis which is shared, if in some instances grudgingly, by most American observers. Moreover, without political independence for the associated states, the other Asiatic nations have made it clear that they regard this as a war of colonialism and the "united action" which is said to be so desperately needed for victory in that area is likely to end up as unilateral action by our own country. Such intervention, without participation by the armed forces of the other nations of Asia, without the support of the great masses of the peoples of the associated states, with increasing reluctance and discouragement on the part of the French – and, I might add, with hordes of Chinese Communist troops poised just across the border in anticipation of our unilateral entry into their kind of battleground – such intervention, Mr. President, would be virtually impossible in the type of military situation which prevails in Indochina.

This is not a new point, of course. In November of 1951, I reported upon my return from the Far East as follows:

"In Indochina we have allied ourselves to the desperate effort of a French regime to hang on to the remnants of empire. There is no broad, general support of the native Vietnam Government among the people of that area. To check the southern drive of communism makes sense but not only through reliance on the force of arms. The task is rather to build strong native non-Communist sentiment within these areas and rely on that as a spearhead of defense rather than upon the legions of General de Lattre. To do this apart from and in defiance of innately nationalistic aims spells foredoomed failure."

In June of last year, I sought an amendment to the Mutual Security Act which would have provided for the distribution of American aid, to the extent feasible, in such a way as to encourage the freedom and independence desired by the people of the Associated States. My amendment was soundly defeated on the grounds that we should not pressure France into taking action on this delicate situation and that the new French Government could be expected to make "a decision which would obviate the necessity of this kind of amendment or resolution." The distinguished majority leader [Mr. Knowland] assured us that "We will all work, in conjunction with our great ally, France, toward the freedom of the people of those states."

It is true that only 2 days later on July 3 the French Government issued a statement agreeing that—

"There is every reason to complete the independence of sovereignty of the Associated States of Indochina by insuring . the transfer of the powers . retained in the interests of the States themselves, because of the perilous circumstances resulting from the state of war."

In order to implement this agreement, Bao Dai arrived in Paris on August 27 calling for "complete independence for Vietnam."

I do not wish to weary the Senate with a long recital of the proceedings of the negotiations, except to say that as of today they have brought no important change in the treaty relationships between Vietnam and the French Republic. Today the talks appear to be at an impasse and the return from Paris to Saigon of the Premier of Vietnam, Prince Buu Loc, is not a happy augury for their success. Thus the degree of control which the French retain in the area is approximately the same as I outlined last year:

Politically, French control was and is extensive and paramount. There is no popular assembly in Vietnam which represents the will of the people that can ratify the treaty relationship between Vietnam and the French. Although the Associated States are said to be "independent within the French Union," the French always have a permanent control in the high council and in the Assembly of the Union and the Government of France guides its actions. Under article 62 of the French Constitution, the French Government "coordinates" all of the resources of the members of the Union placed in common to guarantee its defense, under policies directed and prepared by the French Government. French Union subjects are given special legal exemptions, including the privilege of extraterritoriality. The French High Commissioner continues to exercise powers with respect to the internal security of the Associated States, and will have a similar mission even after the restoration of peace. When Vietnamese taxes affect French Union subjects, there must be consultation with the representatives of the countries concerned before they are imposed. The foreign policy of Vietnam must be coordinated with that of France, and the French must give consent to the sending of diplomatic missions to foreign countries. Inasmuch as the French did not develop experienced governmental administrators before World War II, they have guided to some degree actions within the local governments by requiring the Vietnamese Government to turn to them for foreign counselors and technicians.

Militarily, French control is nearly complete. The United States has in the past dealt primarily with the French military authority, and these in turn deal with the Associated States. Our equipment and aid is turned over to the French who will then arrange for its distribution according to their decision. The French are granted for a period of time without limit facilities for bases and garrisons.

Culturally, the French are directly in contact with the training of intellectual youths of Vietnam, inasmuch as France joined in the establishment of the university, installed a French rector, and provided that all instructions should be in French.

Economically, French control of the country's basic resources, transportation, trade, and economic life in general is extensive. In Vietnam, estimated French control is nearly 100 percent in the field of foreign commerce, international and coastal shipping, and rubber and other export products. The French control 66 percent of the rice export trade. Moreover, possession of property belonging to the French cannot be changed without permission of the French and France shares the veto right under the PAU agreement on matters affecting France's export and import trade.

All of this flies in the face of repeated assurances to the American people by our own officials that complete independence has been or will be granted.

In February of 1951, for example, the American Minister to the Associated States, Donald Heath, told us that the French colonial regime had ended and that "all Indochinese Government services were turned over to the Indochinese States." This is untrue. In November of 1951, Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk again assured us that—

"The peoples of the Associated States are free to assume the extensive responsibility for their own affairs that has been accorded them by treaties with France."

Last year, the Department of States assured me that—

"France had granted such a full measure of control to the 3 states over their own affairs that . these 3 countries became sovereign states."

In February of this year, Under Secretary of State Smith stated that the representatives of the Governments of Vietnam and of France would "meet in Paris to draw up the treaty which will complete Vietnamese independence." As I have said, those conversations began in July, and broke off 10 days ago. And again Secretary Dulles stated last week that—

"Their independence is not yet complete, but the French Government last July declared its intention to complete that independence, and negotiations to consummate that pledge are underway."

They are underway 9 months after the pledge was originally given.

I do not believe that the importance of the current breakdown of these negotiations has been made clear to the Senate or the people of the United States. Every year we are given three sets of assurances: First, that the independence of the Associated States is now complete second, that the independence of the Associated States will soon be completed under steps "now" being undertaken and, third, that military victory for the French Union forces in Indochina is assured, or is just around the corner, or lies 2 years off. But the stringent limitations upon the status of the Associated States as sovereign states remain and the fact that military victory has not yet been achieved is largely the result of these limitations. Repeated failure of these prophecies has, however, in no way diminished the frequency of their reiteration, and they have caused this Nation to delay definitive action until now the opportunity for any desirable solution may well be past.

It is time, therefore, for us to face the stark reality of the difficult situation before us without the false hopes which predictions of military victory and assurances of complete independence have given us in the past. The hard truth of the matter is, first, that without the wholehearted support of the peoples of the Associated States, without a reliable and crusading native army with a dependable officer corps, a military victory, even with American support, in that area is difficult if not impossible, of achievement and, second, that the support of the people of that area cannot be obtained without a change in the contractual relationships which presently exist between the Associated States and the French Union.

Instead of approaching a solution to this problem, as Secretary Dulles indicated, French and Vietnamese officials appear to be receding from it. The Vietnamese, whose own representatives lack full popular support, because of a lack of popular assembly in that country, recognizing that French opinion favoring a military withdrawal would become overwhelming if all ties were entirely broken, have sought 2 treaties: one giving the Vietnamese complete and genuine independence, and the other maintaining a tie with the French Union on the basis of equality, as in the British Commonwealth. But 9 months of negotiations have failed thus far to provide a formula for both independence and union which is acceptable to the parties currently in the government of each nation. The French Assembly on March –and I believe this action did not receive the attention it deserved – substantially lessened the chances of such a solution, through the adoption of a tremendously far-reaching rider which declared that France would consider her obligations toward Indochinese states ended if they should revoke the clauses in the French Constitution that bind them to the French Union. In other words, Mr. President, the French Parliament indicated that France would no longer have any obligations toward the Associated States if the present ties which bind them to the French Union – ties which assure, because of the constitutional arrangement of the French Union, that the French Republic and its Government are always the dominant power in the union – were broken.

I realize that Secretary Dulles cannot force the French to adopt any course of action to which they are opposed nor am I unaware of the likelihood of a French military withdrawal from Indochina, once its political and economic stake in that area is gone. But we must realize that the difficulties in the military situation which would result from a French withdrawal would not be greatly different from the difficulties which would prevail after the intervention of American troops without the support of the Indochinese or the other nations of Asia. The situation might be compared to what the situation would have been in Korea, if the Japanese had maintained possession of Korea, if a Communist group of Koreans were carrying on a war there with Japan – which had dominated that area for more than a century – and if we then went to the assistance of the Japanese, and put down the revolution of the native Koreans, even though they were Communists, and even though in taking that action we could not have the support of the non-Communist elements of country.

That is the type of situation, whether we like it or not, which is presented today in connection with our support of the French in Indochina, without the support of the native peoples of Indochina.

In Indochina, as in Korea, the battle against communism should be a battle, not for economic or political gain, but for the security of the free world, and for the values and institutions which are held dear in France and throughout the non-Communist world, as well as in the United States. It seems to me, therefore, that the dilemma which confronts us is not a hopeless one that a victorious fight can be maintained by the French, with the support of this Nation and many other nations – and most important of all, the support of the Vietnamese and other peoples of the Associated States – once it is recognized that the defense of southeast Asia and the repelling of Communist aggression are the objectives of such a struggle, and not the maintenance of political relationships founded upon ancient colonialism. In such a struggle, the United States and other nations may properly be called upon to play their fullest part.

If, however, this is not to be the nature of the war if the French persist in their refusal to grant the legitimate independence and freedom desired by the peoples of the Associated States and if those peoples and the other peoples of Asia remain aloof from the conflict, as they have in the past, then it is my hope that Secretary Dulles, before pledging our assistance at Geneva, will recognize the futility of channeling American men and machines into that hopeless internecine struggle.

The facts and alternatives before us are unpleasant, Mr. President. But in a nation such as ours, it is only through the fullest and frankest appreciation of such facts and alternatives that any foreign policy can be effectively maintained. In an era of supersonic attack and atomic retaliation, extended public debate and education are of no avail, once such a policy must be implemented. The time to study, to doubt, to review, and revise is now, for upon our decisions now may well rest the peace and security of the world, and, indeed, the very continued existence of mankind. And if we cannot entrust this decision to the people, then, as Thomas Jefferson once said:

"If we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education."

Izvor: Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files, Box 894, "Indo-China speech of 1954, 6 April 1954." John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.


The Christian Conservative Who Opposed the Vietnam War

David T. Beito as an associate professor of history at the University of Alabama and Linda Royster Beito is chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Stillman College. They are writing a biography of T.R.M. Howard, a civil rights leader and entrepreneur. David T. Beito is a member of Liberty and Power, a group blog at the History News Network.

To the extent a religious right of any kind existed in 1964, Eugene Siler easily qualified as a platinum card member. In his nine years in the U.S. House, he was unrivaled in his zeal to implement “Christianism and Americanism.” Yet forty-two years ago this month, on August 7, 1964, he did something that would be extremely rare for a modern counterpart on the religious right. He dissented from a president’s urgent request to authorize military action in a foreign war. It was Siler who cast the lone vote in the U.S. House against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Because he “paired against” the bill (meaning he was absent during the vote), however, most historical accounts do not mention him.

A self-described “Kentucky hillbilly,” Siler was born in 1900 in Williamsburg, a town nestled in the mountains in the southeastern part of the state. Unlike most Kentuckians, he, like his neighbors, was a rock-ribbed Republican. The people of this impoverished area had backed the Union during the Civil War and had stood by the GOP in good times and bad ever since. Siler served in the Navy in World War I and two decades later as an Army captain during World War II. His experiences with the realities of war left him cold to most proposals to send American troops into harm’s way.

After graduating from Columbia University, Siler returned to Williamsburg to be a small town lawyer. A devout Baptist, he gained local renown as a lay preacher, eventually serving as moderator of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky. He abstained from alcohol, tobacco, and profanity. As a lawyer, he turned away all clients seeking divorces or who were accused of whiskey-related crimes.

He began service as an elected judge of the Court of Appeals of Kentucky in 1945 and promptly refused his regular monthly allotment of 150 dollars for expenses. Instead, he gave the money to a special fund he set up for scholarships. Not surprisingly, Siler often quoted the scriptures from the bench. He did the same in his speeches as the unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor in 1951 earning him a statewide reputation as a “Bible Crusader.”

Siler consistently stressed social conservatism during his tenure in the U.S. House which began in 1955. He sponsored a bill to ban liquor and beer advertising in all interstate media. He said that permitting these ads was akin to allowing the “harsh hussy” to advertise in “the open door of her place of business for the allurement of our school children.” Of course, he was “100 percent for Bible reading and the Lord’s Prayer in our public schools.”

Like his good friend, and fellow Republican, from Iowa, Rep. H.R. Gross, Siler considered himself to be a fiscal watchdog. He disdained all junkets and railed against government debt and high spending. Siler made exceptions for the homefolks, however, by supporting flood control and other federal measures that aided his district.

As with Gross, Siler was a Robert A. Taft Republican who was averse to entangling alliances and foreign quagmires. A consistent opponent of foreign aid, he was just one of two congressmen to vote against Kennedy’s call up of reserves during the Berlin crisis. He favored Goldwater in 1964, but never shared his hawkish views. The people back home did not seem to mind. Sometimes, the Democrats failed to even put up a candidate.

Siler was an early, and prescient, critic of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In June 1964, shortly after deciding not to run again, he quipped, half in jest, that he was running for president as an antiwar candidate. He pledged to resign after one day in office, staying just long enough to bring the troops home. He characterized the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized Johnson to take “all necessary steps” in Vietnam as a “buck-passing” pretext to “seal the lips of Congress against future criticism.”

The worsening situation in Vietnam prompted Siler to come out of retirement in 1968 to run for the U.S. Senate nomination on a platform calling for withdrawal of all U.S. troops by Christmas. Ernest Gruening of Alaska and Wayne Morse of Oregon, the only two U.S. Senators who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, also went down to defeat that year.

Although Siler lived on until 1987, few remembered his early stand against the Vietnam War. It is doubtful that this particularly bothered him. He knew that his reputation was secure among the plain Baptist Republican mountain folk of southeastern Kentucky who had sent him to Congress for nearly a decade.


How Gaylord Nelson Almost Stopped the Vietnam War

What really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964 remains murky 50 years later, despite a number of books and inquiries into a naval skirmish off the coast of North Vietnam. But it became Lyndon Johnson’s justification for widening the war, and Congress quickly gave him the authority he wanted.

An amendment to the Gulf of Tokin resolution, drafted by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson but never introduced, might have changed history.

President Johnson went on television to say he had ordered retaliation after “renewed hostile actions” against U.S. ships. The American response would be “limited and fitting,” he declared. “We still seek no wider war.”

The resolution he sent to Congress was simple. “That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” A second section said the peace and security of Southeast Asia were vital to the U.S. national interest.

Sen. Gaylord Nelson wanted to know what that meant. Was Congress being asked to write the President a blank check on Southeast Asia? He asked J. William Fulbright, Foreign Relations Committee chairman and floor manager for the resolution, on the Senate floor. “Am I to understand that it is the sense of Congress that we are saying to the executive branch: ‘If it becomes necessary to prevent further aggression, we agree now, in advance, that you may land as many divisions as deemed necessary, and engage in a direct military assault on North Vietnam, if it becomes the judgment of the Executive, the Commander in Chief, that this is the only way to prevent further aggression?’”

That would be “a grave decision on the part of our country,” Fulbright said. “I personally feel it would be very unwise under any circumstances to put a large land army on the Asian continent. It has been a sort of article of faith since I have been in the Senate that we should not be bogged down.” But, he admitted, “I do not know what the limits are” on what action the President could take. “I do not know how to answer the Senator’s question and give him an absolute assurance that large numbers of troops would not be put ashore. I would deplore it. And I hope the conditions do not justify it now.”

Nelson said he intended to vote for the resolution. “I do not think, however, that Congress should leave the impression that it consents to a radical change in our mission or objective in South Vietnam,” Nelson said. The mission, he said, was to help establish “a viable, independent regime, which can manage its own affairs, so that ultimately we can withdraw from South Vietnam.” Fulbright agreed, and said the resolution was “quite consistent with our existing mission and what has been our understanding of what we have been doing in South Vietnam for the last ten years.”

Nelson was still uneasy enough that when he walked to the Senate with George McGovern the next morning, for the final debate on the resolution, he had an amendment in his hand. It said:

“The Congress also approves and supports the efforts of the President to bring the problem of peace in Southeast Asia to the Security Council of the United Nations, and the President’s declaration that the United States, seeking no extension of the present military conflict, will respond to provocation in a way that is ‘limited and fitting.’ Our continuing policy is to limit our role to the provision of aid, training assistance, and military advice, and it is the sense of Congress that, except when provoked to a greater response, we should continue to avoid a direct military involvement in the Southeast Asian conflict.”

McGovern and Nelson walked up to Fulbright in the front row of the Senate, and Nelson told Fulbright he wanted to introduce the amendment. “Don’t do it,” Fulbright said. “We want this mainly to show bipartisan support and to undercut Barry Goldwater. We’d like to see it pass unanimously. The campaign is coming up and Goldwater is going to hit him for not using our full power.” Johnson had privately told Fulbright he wanted no amendments, “not even the Ten Commandments.” The administration wanted strong bipartisan action now, Fulbright said. The President did now want to expand the war, Fulbright said, and he would say so again on the Senate floor.

Nelson rose to say he was disturbed that every Senator who spoke seemed to have his own interpretation of what the resolution meant. To clarify the matter, he offered his amendment and asked Fulbright to accept it. “I do not object to it as a statement of policy,” Fulbright said. “I believe it is an accurate reflection of what I believe is the President’s policy, judging from his own statements.” But accepting the amendment would confuse matters, require a conference committee and delay action, he said. Nelson, a freshman Senator who considered himself “no foreign policy expert,” had “a great deal of respect” for Fulbright, who was certainly “not a war monger,” he said. So he deferred to Fulbright and did not press the amendment or ask for a roll call. Nelson and McGovern voted with the majority when it passed 88-2. Only Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Greuning of Alaska voted no. The House vote was unanimous.

For the record, Nelson took the floor the next day to say he had voted for the resolution based on Fulbright’s assurance that it meant “no change in our basic mission in Vietnam. That mission is one of providing material support and advice. It is not to substitute our armed forces for those of the South Vietnamese government, nor to join them in a land war, nor to fight their war for them.”

President Johnson echoed Nelson’s remarks, pledging in October that he was “not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”

On March 8, 1965, the first combat troops, 3,500 Marines, landed at Da Nang to defend the air base, beginning a steady increase in U.S. ground troops.

Johnson believed he had all the authorization he needed for escalation, in the form of the Tonkin Gulf resolution. “He carried that thing around in his pocket,” Nelson said. “I was at a meeting with him at the White House when he pulled it out and said, ‘You guys authorized this.’” LBJ called it the “504 to 2” resolution.

Sen. Mike Mansfield, later recalling Nelson’s questions on the resolution, said: “History may have taken a different turn if the Senate had done what was right rather than what was expedient, and had followed the advice of (Nelson).”

Bill Christofferson is the author of Gaylord Nelson’s biography, “The Man From Clear Lake,” published by University of Wisconsin Press.


'I Want the White House's Hair on Fire:' Senator Calls for Action to Save Afghan Interpreters

A Maine senator is calling for the U.S. to house tens of thousands of Afghan interpreters and their family members in territories held by NATO countries while their visa applications are being completed.

"I want the White House's hair on fire" over the pressing need to ensure Afghans' safety, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said in a telephone briefing with reporters. "The time is short, and getting shorter all the time."

King said he has not discussed his idea to temporarily house Afghans in NATO territories with President Joe Biden, but added that he is "trying to think as creatively as possible about how to solve the problem."

U.S. troops have a mandate to depart Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11, 2021.

King later clarified in the roundtable that he was not suggesting Afghans stay in NATO nations themselves, but territories they held, similar to how the United States holds Guam. This, he said, would give the Afghans a safe place to stay while not compromising the NATO nations' security.

"Afghanistan is a NATO operation, and there were NATO allies involved along with us in Afghanistan, pretty much from the beginning," King said. "I think we need to call upon our NATO allies to help with this process, and perhaps to provide a waystation for some of these people."

He also said the military may need to detail some Washington D.C.-based personnel to the State Department to help plow through a backlog of roughly 18,000 Afghans awaiting processing for their Special Immigrant Visas.

But the State Department's handling of the Special Immigrant Visa program is troubled and slow, taking more than 900 days on average to process applications for Afghan allies and their dependents. At this pace, by the time the vetting process for many is finished, King said, the Americans will be long gone -- and their lives are in danger.

A rapid military evacuation of Afghans would be complicated, King said. Because Afghanistan is landlocked and there is no sealift option, the evacuation would almost certainly have to be done by air.

Further complicating matters: The U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Sunday suspended all visa operations, due to an intense outbreak of COVID-19 throughout the country.

"It's not only a moral issue, it's a national security issue," King said. "This can't just be business as usual at the State Department. . History judges you for how you go into a war, but also how you leave it."

King noted that after the Vietnam War, the United State temporarily housed Vietnamese refugees in Guam while similar immigration issues were resolved. Today, some advocates for Afghans are vociferously pushing the government to take the same step now.

King said he's not specifically recommending Guam as the waystation for Afghans, but that NATO nations may fill that role today, and allow the time for proper processing.

King did not spell out exactly how he envisioned detailed Defense Department personnel might help out with Afghan visas. It could be, he said, that as personnel are transitioned out of remote areas in Afghanistan, they could do a stint in Kabul to help with visa processing.

He cited the need to get the chief of mission at the U.S.'s embassy in Kabul to sign off on visas, helping to alleviate one major backlog.

The U.S. also has a practical motivation for acting here, King said: if it does not help Afghans now, will potential allies in future conflicts risk their own lives to assist America?

"The signal it sends is, do not help the Americans, because when the crunch comes, they're going to abandon you," King said. "You cannot operate in a foreign theater without the cooperation and assistance of residents there, who believe in the cause that you're supporting. But they're going to have to think twice, if there's a major bloodbath after we leave Afghanistan and we didn't do everything possible to solve this problem."

King stressed that he isn't calling for lowering screening standards "or simply opening the gates," as that could possibly allow a terrorist planning an attack to sneak into the country. But, he said, "we've got to speed it up."

He said he has heard from service members who have depended on Afghans as interpreters and guides, and are now "gravely concerned" for their safety.

King said he was alarmed when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that planning to help Afghans is "working through the system right now." But in a conversation after the hearing, King said, Milley agreed that this is an urgent problem that requires an "all hands on deck" solution.


Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution or the Southeast Asia Resolution, Pub.L. 88–408, 78 Stat. 384, enacted August 10, 1964 , was a joint resolution that the United States Congress passed on August 7, 1964, in response to the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

  • Introduced in the Housekao H.J.Res. 1145
  • Passed the House on August 7, 1964 (416-0)
  • Passed the Senate on August 7, 1964 (88-2)
  • Signed into law by PresidentLyndon B. Johnsonna August 10, 1964

It is of historic significance because it gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of conventional military force in Southeast Asia. Specifically, the resolution authorized the President to do whatever necessary in order to assist "any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty". This included involving armed forces.

It was opposed in the Senate only by Senators Wayne Morse (D-OR) and Ernest Gruening (D-AK). Senator Gruening objected to "sending our American boys into combat in a war in which we have no business, which is not our war, into which we have been misguidedly drawn, which is steadily being escalated".(Tonkin Gulf debate 1964) The Johnson administration subsequently relied upon the resolution to begin its rapid escalation of U.S. military involvement in South Vietnam and open warfare between North Vietnam and the United States.


Gledaj video: Wayne Morse from War Made Easy