Tag: anti-war protest

May ’70: 2. Nixon Kicks It Off!

I want to continue this review of May, 1970 with a deeper look at Richard Nixon’s speech, broadcast 40 years ago tonight. It was that speech, announcing that US troops were invading Cambodia, which triggered the eruption of protest that was May 1970. Actually, you could say Tricky Dick predicted it:

My fellow Americans, we live in an age of anarchy, both abroad and at home. We see mindless attacks on all the great institutions which have been created by free civilizations in the last 500 years. Even here in the United States, great universities are being systematically destroyed.

The US High Command had known since 1967 that the Vietnam War was unwinnable, as the leaked Pentagon Papers later showed. Nixon had been elected in 1968 with the promise that “new leadership will end the war” and giving wink-and-nod no-comment replies to reports he had a “secret plan” to do so.


Even though I’ve been following the business pages and economic blogs pretty closely, transfixed by the kind of horror one gets watching a 47 car pileup in real time, no headlines since election night have depressed me more than those about plans to send 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan. It turns out the four combat brigades mentioned during the campaign-7000 troops-require support troops. Oh, and more air surveillance and support capacity. Who knew?

I just went back and reread Thomas Powers’ grim prediction, written during the last Democratic primaries in the Spring. I strongly encourage you to check it out, but here’s the money quote:

At an unmarked moment somewhere between the third and the sixth month a sea change occurs: Bush’s war becomes the new president’s war, and getting out means failure, means defeat, means rising opposition at home, means no second term. It’s not hard to see where this is going.

Okay, Obama doesn’t take office for 8 more weeks. Sure, he deserves a honeymoon. Lorry nose, he has the Biggest Economic Crisis Since The Great Depression ™ to deal with.

But what about us? We don’t have to wait 8 weeks to act.

Honeymoon? On this blog, chances are as good that Prop 8 made you involuntarily single than that you got married this month.

And what reason do we have to keep our mouths shut about how an out-of-control military budget and those annual “supplemental appropriations” for Iraq and Afghanistan left the budget deep in the red as the government starts trying to contain the meltdown?

Back to Thomas Powers. In the quote above, he says getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan “means rising opposition at home.” That’s our cue. We have to show, to demonstrate if you will, that not getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan will mean “rising opposition at home.” Big time.

I’m not here to debate tactics. If you feel comfortable calling your Congresscritter, do it. If you can give money to the splendid young men and women of Iraq Veterans Against the War, do it. If are moved to write a letter to the editor, do it. If there’s a protest coming up that you can take part in, do it. Personally, I recommend the Iraq Moratorium, a nation-wide, locally-based, bottom-up initiative on the Third Friday of every month.

Crossposted at Daily Kos.