Monday, January 16, 2006


I still remember Walter Cronkite's words from 1968....the ones he used when he had the balls to say that we couldn't win in Vietnam.

Now, the elder journalist is saying the same thing about Iraq.

From Tina at Fuzzy And Blue:

Cronkite: Time for U.S. to leave Iraq

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television WriterSun Jan 15, 6:47 PM ET

Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, whose 1968 conclusion that the Vietnam War was unwinnable keenly influenced public opinion then, said Sunday he'd say the same thing today about Iraq.

"It's my belief that we should get out now," Cronkite said in a meeting with reporters.

Now 89, the television journalist once known as "the most trusted man in America" has been off the "CBS Evening News" for nearly a quarter-century. He's still a CBS News employee, although he does little for them.

Cronkite said one of his proudest moments came at the end of a 1968 documentary he made following a visit to Vietnam during the Tet offensive. Urged by his boss to briefly set aside his objectivity to give his view of the situation, Cronkite said the war was unwinnable and that the U.S. should exit.

Then-President Lyndon Johnson reportedly told a White House aide after that, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America."

The best time to have made a similar statement about Iraq came after Hurricane Katrina, he said.

"We had an opportunity to say to the world and Iraqis after the hurricane disaster that Mother Nature has not treated us well and we find ourselves missing the amount of money it takes to help these poor people out of their homeless situation and rebuild some of our most important cities in the United States," he said. "Therefore, we are going to have to bring our troops home."

Iraqis should have been told that "our hearts are with you" and that the United States would do all it could to rebuild their country, he said.

"I think we could have been able to retire with honor," he said. "In fact, I think we can retire with honor anyway."

Cronkite has spoken out against the Iraq war in the past, saying in 2004 that Americans weren't any safer because of the invasion.

Cronkite, who is hard of hearing and walks haltingly, jokingly said that "I'm standing by if they want me" to anchor the "CBS Evening News." CBS is still searching for a permanent successor to Dan Rather, who replaced Cronkite in March 1981.

"Twenty-four hours after I told CBS News that I was stepping down at my 65th birthday I was already regretting it and I've regretted it every day since," he said. "It's too good a job for me to have given it up the way that I did."


Tina said...

Thanks for the hat tip Grandpa Eddie... and I was really lil when Cronkite stopped being the nightly anchor, but I do remember watching him on my parent's TV every night after dinner. They had great respect for him. And it is a complete shame that we haven't been able to replicate and/or replace him yet.

Grandpa Eddie said...

You're welcome, kid.
I'm sure your mom and dad miss him, I know I sure do. I had high hopes for Dan Rather...but in the end he even fell to the political pressure from the WH, the Repugs, and the asshole neocons. He must've lost those brass balls he had when he was reporting from 'Nam.

SheaNC said...

Here's what I find interesting (I feel a new post idea coming on here) with regards to Cronkite's observation that we could not win in Vietnam and cannot win in Iraq:

America hasn't really won a war in 60 years or so, and hasn't won a war by itself in, what, a century?

Many of us were raised with the WWII wartime propaganda vision of American superiority. But in WWI & WWII, we were just part of a group, and it is only speculation that we could have won those wars alone (probably not). Since then, there has been Korea (a stalemate, still actually at war), Vietnam ("cut and run"), Grenada (oh, please), & Iraq I & II (an unending adventure begun through false pretenses and continued through the 90's and the new millenium). Also, numerous subversive covert actions we can only whisper about.

America the military superpower is a paper tiger, and the world must be able to see it. What was the last war we successfully won, unilateraly? War with Spain? With Mexico? A hundred years ago? And, with all due respect to the othere countries, if America the superpower can't manage to overwhelm, say, a practically-third-world country like Afghanistan, how it hope to fulfill the neocons' fantasies of global domination?

And, Iran is three times as big and ten times as powerful as Iraq!

karena said...

I love the piece on Cronkite. I wished we had never gone in there in the first place. I think Cronkite is right, we should be able to get out with dignity. He is wrong in believing that the neo-cons are the least bit worried about getting out. They want perpetual war and constant chaos in the Middle East. Shock and awe. They wouldn't know what to do if their fake plans for a peacful democracy actually worked.

Grandpa Eddie said...

You're right, we haven't won a war by ourselves for over a century. The last one was the Spanish-American War, which was trumped-up. Those in power at the time needed something like a 9/11 to focus everyone's attention on something other then the problems at home. I did a post, a while ago, on some of the conflicts we've been in since becoming a nation.

"...if America the superpower can't manage to overwhelm, say, a practically-third-world country like Afghanistan, how it hope to fulfill the neocons' fantasies of global domination?"

By not allowing anyone, save our allies, the right or ability to produce or posess nuclear weopons. If the US is the only country...along with our close posess WMD's, what country would stand up to the US and not do what it is told.

I think that at least 1/3...a very moderate estimation... of the country wish now that we had not gone into Iraq. The world would be a whole lot more stable right now if we hadn't.

I'm not so sure that the neocons want "...perpetual war and constant chaos in the Middle East...", but I am sure that they are willing to continue to waste our troops and resorces until they are the only ones left standing with nukes and have domination of the world.