Voters in 1972 did not have any historical context for understanding what was happening in Vietnam.I occasionally listen to Michael Savage's radio program as an excercise in masochism and also because he is, though a sick, sick man, perhaps the finest radio performer currently on air (that's an entertainment industry judgement, but there it is). I'm beginning to think he may be right when he says that liberalism is a mental illness.
-Anonymous Liberal at Gleen Greenwald's place
No context for understanding Vietnam! UH-HUH. "The Forgotten War" indeed.
In any case, what truly irks me is this remarkably smug attitude: The critics are wrong because we're nothing like those damned pacifists protesting Vietnam. You're damn right you're nothing like them. You lack their courage. You lack their moral vision. You certainly lack their music. The antiwar movement in the Vietnam era lived up to its name. It didn't oppose the war because it had been waged "incompetently," nor because it was "a distraction from the real war on terror/communism," nor because it was fought with "bad intelligence." They were not concerned with the petty gains of electoral victory, and they didn't compromise themselves with endless chatter about how goddamn tough and intelligent they were, how much better and more skillfully they'd wage war if only someone would put their liberal fingers on the trigger. They didn't whine endlessly that the war was "degrading the quality of the military" or "hurting troops" or "overextending the military," which of course we need to keep our clients in line.
The antiwar movement of the Vietnam era, unlike today's pallid non-imitation, was brave enough to say not simply that the war was incompetent, unwise, or a distraction from some bigger, even more ephemeral war, but that it was wrong. It was wrong in all its aspects. There was not an ounce of right in it. There was not an ounce of goodness in it. It diminished us. It made us villains.
They were willing to say so and damn the consequences. Today's antiwar Democrats aren't fit to drink their bongwater.