Submitted by Tom Lovell


          I lived through the thirties in the despair of French decline…. In essence, France no longer existed.  It existed only in the hatred of the French for one another.1 Raymond Aron


          A distinguished journalist and political theorist, Aron was referring to the bitter Kulturkampf, which broke out between French intellectuals during the years leading up to World War II.2 His words remind one of America’s plunge into its own kind of fratricidal warfare, made all the more bitter by the use of words rather than bullets.  Not since the Civil War had the United States been so divided as during the troubled years of Vietnam.  And at the center of it all was a wrenchingly out-of-joint American intelligentsia, riven by the need to take sides.

          The clash between French intellectuals alluded to by Aron involved rather evenly matched adversaries: on the Left, the Popular Front, including liberals, communists and socialists, pitted itself against the conservative Catholic, and, increasingly powerful fascist, Right.  In America, the intellectual divisions set in motion by the war in Vietnam were no where near that symmetrical.

          The vast majority of America’s left-leaning intelligentsia in a multiplicity of guises opposed the war.3 Some few of their number, however, remained steadfast in their support of both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson—and even later, President Nixon—in their respective efforts to prevent the Communists from taking over South Vietnam.  This essay looks at a handful of these apostates, who, primarily during the sixties and early seventies, parted company with their fellows.  How they accounted for taking the side they did and the price they often paid for doing so warrants further study.

                     *                        *                          *                 *

          As with the public at large, the rhetorical musketry initially exchanged between American intellectuals varied depending on the up and down course the war might take in any given moment.  On those occasions when progress against the enemy seemed sure, protests were usually discounted; when bad news predominated, the noise from the opposition, unsurprisingly, increased in both decibel level and political significance.

          Following the l955 Geneva Accords, for example, American foreign policy initiatives in Southeast Asia drew scant attention, much less criticism, be it from the intelligentsia or anyone else.  Protests over President Eisenhower’s resolve in the late fifties to defend Laos or aid the Diem regime in South Vietnam were practically nonexistent. As late as Kennedy’s assassination in November, l963, the elite policy-making team JFK put together, both at the Department of State and the National Security establishment, shared common ground with the media and the public over the need to resist Communist aggression, whatever the cost.4

          This nodding acquiescence, however, was dramatically swept aside early in l965 as Johnson ordered the bombing of targets in North Vietnam in response to Viet Cong assaults on American air bases in the South.  By the early spring, American college campuses were abuzz with a series of teach-ins where professors and students scrutinized and debated the President’s heightened bellicosity.  Any analysis of the contretemps that engulfed American intellectuals during Vietnam must take into account the role of the professorate.[7]

          One study has shown that the professors who took the lead in chairing the initial teach-ins and who continued later to protest the war the loudest, tended to be social scientists—about half of whom were tenured—and who consented to the label “liberal dove.”  The extent to which they moved even further to the left so as to become “radicalized”—as more than a few did—depended on how hard their respective administrations cracked down on student protestors, i.e., the more draconian the students’ punishment, the more radicalized the faculty.6

          One of the more noteworthy of the early teach-ins was held on May l5, l965, at George Washington University in the nation’s capital.  Among those who spoke against U.S. policy on that occasion was George McT. Kahin, a professor of political science at Cornell.  Kahin argued that American policy was flawed from its inception due to the failure to realize the significance the revival of nationalism was having on the Third World.  America’s obsessive portrayal of monolithic communism, he said, was making it difficult to take advantage of the yawning rift that had recently opened between Communist China and the Soviet Union.

          He proceeded to disavow the domino theory and voice what later became a major leitmotif of the antiwar movement, specifically the charge that the Administration was purposely misinforming the American public in order to justify is venture in Vietnam.6

          Kahin’s major opponent that day was Robert Scalapino, a professor of political science at Cal-Berkeley.  Scalapino’s remarks, like those of Kahin, ranged widely over rhetorical ground that would be assiduously retraced in the years ahead.  He focused on what, in his view, was the fraudulence of trying to claim an autonomous role for the Viet Cong.  To Scalapino, the VC was bound up inextricably with the Ho Chi Minh regime.

          At the macro level, Scalapino warned that American withdrawal would play to China’s strength and embolden Peking [Bejing] to press other countries in the area to toe the communist line.  In short, the domino theory was more fact than fancy.7

          In hindsight, it is important to observe that this event actually rose to the level of an evenhanded debate.  Two and more points of view obtained a hearing.  In the years that followed, those who sought unwisely, as it turned out, to defend the Administration’s case on college campuses were routinely shouted down, or, in some cases, threatened with bodily harm.8  Scalapino proved to be one of only a handful of practicing academics, who, over the course of the war, championed positions taken either by the Kennedy, Johnson, or Nixon administrations involving matters of national security.9

          Although better organized and more outspoken, the college antiwar community was not alone in its stand.  In due course, other centers of dissension emerged reflecting their respective intellectual constituencies.  These included the national news media and a large majority of spirited

“public intellectuals,” among who could be counted novelists, poets, and literary critics.  These two groups were joined in the mid to late sixties by elements of the same policy-making elite—memorably described as “the best and brightest”—whose counsel had ironically helped guide Presidents Kennedy and Johnson into the Vietnam quagmire in the first place.[8]

 *                       *                       *                         *

          For a rather nuanced understanding of why America’s intellectual elite—most of whom were on the Left--turned sour on the war, one need look no further than the shifting public philosophy of Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.  Schlesinger is perhaps best remembered as JFK’s in-house historian, who, shortly after his patron’s assassination, wrote a lengthy history of the Kennedy presidency.  His A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (l965), while comprehensive, tends toward the hortatory, with the young president rarely caught in a mistake.

          In the case of Vietnam, Schlesinger portrayed Senator Kennedy, as early as the l950s, presciently bemoaning American “overcommitment” in Southeast Asia, while, later as President Kennedy, finding himself stuck in an impossible situation inherited form John Foster Dulles. [9] Schlesinger’s own feelings toward Vietnam surfaced toward the end of his book, when, after completing a postmortem on the assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem, he mused over several “what if” questions that posed options, which, if taken at the time, might have resulted in a more felicitous outcome.[10]

          One year later, Schlesinger appeared to severe ties with what had been an exuberant anticommunist past when he mocked those around Johnson, especially Secretary of State Dean Rusk, for drawing what Schlesinger deemed a false analogy between the Vietnam crisis and the appeasement at Munich.  Like Kahin, Schlesinger insisted the Communists were not monolithic and that if the domino theory was a blueprint of reality why had it not been triggered after the fall of China in l949?  He feared that America’s anticommunist “moral posturing” effectively narrowed hope of a negotiated settlement.[11] 

          Schlesinger’s about face proved doubly significant and not just because of his highly regarded reputation as a liberal intellectual.  His career, after all, cut across the four categories of intellectuals cited previously: he was a tenured professor at Harvard, a newly-banded policy dove, and his regular contributions to important op-ed pages granted him at least honorary status as both journalist and intellectual gadfly.[12]

          With Schlesinger’s strident departure from the hawkish aviary, one would think the decks had pretty well been swept clean of liberal intellectuals capable of expressing sympathy for the Administration’s position on the war.  But some few stood ready to do just that. Two journalist-intellectuals who qualified for this dubious distinction were Max Ascoli, editor and publisher of the prestigious bi-weekly magazine, The Reporter, and the highly regarded TV news anchor, Howard K. Smith.[13]

         *                           *                         *                          *

          Ascoli emigrated to the United States from his native Italy in l931 after serving two years under house arrest as a political prisoner of the fascists.  In l928 his refusal to sign a professor’s oath of loyalty to the Mussolini regime landed him in “protective custody.”  Fleeing to the United States, he obtained a job teaching political theory at the New School of Social Research in Manhattan.  From his experiences and observations in Italy, he later would conclude that intellectuals often lacked the moral basis to make political judgments required to defend democratic institutions.[14]

          Ascoli revisited this theme years later when, as editor and publisher of The Reporter, he lashed out at the antiwar intellectuals for what he called their “childish innocence.”  “The illiteracy of the literate,” he wrote, “is well known.”  And “there is represented in our midst,” he snarled, “the dumbness of the clever.”  In the same breath, he applauded the longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer for advising the President on how best to respond to his intellectual “torturers.”  Hoffer, a proletarian autodidact whose literary metier lay in bashing intellectuals, told Eric Severied in a celebrated PBS interview that President Johnson should “pamper [the intellectuals], pet them, give them everything they want, but don’t give them power.”[15]

          In the next edition of his periodical, Ascoli raised his rhetorical assault on the intellectuals to a higher pitch with the following, almost painful, lament:

Do they know what they are doing to their country, these professionals of reflection and expression called intellectuals?  Do they think that by having set themselves apart form the major venture in which America is engaged they have become a separate and sovereign state?  No matter whether connected or not with campuses, there are enough of these unpossessed people to inflict the punishment of loneliness on those of their peers who refuse to go along.[16]


Further down the page, he blasted both Schlesinger and the leftist economist and former Kennedy ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith, for their attacks on LBJ’s foreign policy.  Ascoli charged the two with trading on their connections with the Kennedys so as to position themselves to return to power as “Mandarins” in the “court” of Bobby Kennedy.[17]

          Ascoli’s persistent attacks on the intellectual Left did not go unnoticed.  By January l968 he remarked that many of his old friends were asking him, “what had happened to the liberal Max Ascoli?  Why had he turned into an archconservative?  How could he go so far to the Right as to become an enemy of dissent?”

          In reply Ascoli asserted his bona fides as a civil libertarian.  He claimed that three times in his life he had taken a principled stand on freedom of speech: first in Italy; a second time during the McCarthy era; and, the third involved his decision to take on the war protesters.  He concluded with a line Martin Luther would have recognized: “My dissent from the dissenters is neither essay, nor cheap, and if I’m wrong, I can only say that I cannot do otherwise.”[18]

          By February l968 Ascoli’s patience with the antiwar movement had frayed to the breaking point; he posited in yet another editorial that America was currently faced with two enemies: international Communism and—with the war protesters in mind—nihilism at home.   He quoted with favor a New York Times Magazine piece by George Kennan.  The acclaimed diplomat observed that while he disagreed with LBJ’s Vietnam policy that the violent protests mounted against it were driving him to the President’s side of the barricades.[19]

          Since Ascoli had expended so much energy defending LBJ, it’s not surprising that the President’s announcement in March that he planned to halt the bombing and not seek reelection, hit the editor hard.  In an editorial that ran in the April l8 edition, Ascoli scolded Johnson for reneging on earlier promises to stay the course and for choosing a policy that amounted to “running out on the Vietnamese people.”[20]

          Due to shrinkage of advertising dollars from liberal publishing houses, apparently brought on by his antiwar editorial policy, Ascoli was forced to close down his magazine that summer.  Almost twenty years after he had launched the popular bi-weekly, he wrote his last editorial in the June l3 farewell edition.  He thanked his faithful readers and signed off brandishing his anticommunism and lamenting the decline in what he called ethical principles exhibited by “political regimes, most particularly those on the Left, and to the behavior of youth, especially when uncontaminated by ideals.”  “This bypassing of ethics,” he concluded, “has been the major heresy of our times.”[21]

             *                     *                     *                       *

          The narrative of Vietnam’s “journalism wars” tends to follow a familiar course: young Ivy League correspondents arrive in country ready to believe the domino theory and official communiqués depicting a stubborn and ruthless foe retreating before the brave American-trained South Vietnamese.  All too soon reality shatters this illusion as first-hand observations reveal cowardly, incompetent and hopelessly corrupt South Vietnamese, losing rather than winning the war.

          In due course the U.S. military and civilian war-making team is made to stand in the dock for purposeful misstatements. This millstone of suspicion expands into a “creditability gap” which is augmented by a series of television images depicting alleged misdeeds of ARVN and American forces, all of which reach critical mass in the coverage of the Tet Offensive and My Lai.

          The above version of a deceptive and increasingly incompetent U.S. Establishment comported nicely with the growing list of charges brought to bear by the antiwar intellectuals.  Brilliantly advanced in David Halberstam’s hugely successful analysis of the war,[22] it eventually took root and prevails today largely unchallenged.

          Most working journalists at the time agreed with Halberstam and his equally contrary colleague, Neil Sheehan.[23]  One of the few who did not share their assessment was the highly regarded Howard K. Smith.[24] 

          *                     *                       *                     *  

          In l965, the year Johnson began bombing the North, Smith turned 51 and his life up to that moment seemed right out of central casting, that is if the movie had anything to do with foreign correspondents.  Tall and distinguished in appearance, multi-lingual, a Rhodes Scholar, all of the above made up his personal resume, when, at age 26, he became United Press correspondent in London and Copenhagen.

          He later went to work for CBS radio as part of Edward R. Murrow’s fabled team of broadcasters assigned to cover pre-WW II Europe.  Smith sat out most of the war in Switzerland before reporting on the U.S. Army’s march into Germany.  After the war he headed CBS’ London bureau before returning home to become part of the network’s television news team.

          By the time the Vietnam War rolled around, Smith had been accused of being a communist, had moderated the Nixon-Kennedy debates, and been fired by CBS for slipping pro-civil rights’ editorials into his news broadcasts. He ended his active broadcasting career as a TV news anchor for ABC. [25]

          1965 proved a pivotal year for Smith.  His only son Jack was severely wounded in the bloody Ia Drang Valley ambush where hundreds of North Vietnamese regulars shot up elements of the First Cavalry Division in South Vietnam’s Central Highlands.  Smith denied that his son’s ordeal had anything to do with it but it was about this time that the TV broadcaster broke with his colleagues over coverage of the war.

           In his autobiography Smith said that by l965 he saw a gap widening between how he saw the war and the view taken by his fellow Washington-based pundits.  “My comments,” he wrote, “were frankly hawkish. I felt the Communist were on a roll in Southeast Asia: great China to the north, Indonesia planning to join the Communist bloc, just below, and North Vietnam, amply supplied by Russia and China, on a rampage in between.”[26]

          Smith noted that even Halberstam, at one point in his career, had felt that Vietnam was a “legitimate” part of America’s “global commitment”; and that it was one of only a handful of countries “truly vital to American interests.”[27]  In quoting Halberstam against himself Smith sought to call into question the young reporter’s judgment.

          Smith maintained that his on-air commentaries during these years increasingly reflected, at one and the same time, his criticism of the antiwar protestors and his support for continuing the war; neither of which proved popular with what he recognized as the “liberal mainstream.”  “I lost old friends,” he wrote, “as a bison loses hair, in large swatches.”  Walter Lippmann, the dean of pundits, turned away and Walter Cronkite wrote him a bitter note complaining that one of Smith’s critical on-air commentaries had been directed at him.  Smith denied purposely committing such a deed but admitted that it might have occurred inadvertently.[28]

          A month prior to LBJ’s pivotal March 31 speech, Smith was quoted in Time Magazine as calling the “credibility gap” one of the “more distorting simplifications of our time.”  Smith said that all presidents make statements to the press on facts that are only partially developed.  “Yet,” he continued, “we call it calculated deception if [Johnson] does not instantly provide facts and admit failure.  If he does not keep a frozen consistency, he is held to be lying.  No government ever has been run that way and none every will.”

          In the same piece Smith was quoted as writing that the reporting of the war had been totally one-sided, as seen, for example, in the widely-distributed still photo of the Saigon police chief executing a Viet Cong prisoner during the Tet Offensive.  “Not even a perfunctory acknowledgement was made,” wrote Smith, “of the fact that such executions, en masse, are the Viet Cong’s way in war.”[29]

          Two years later he returned to the attack with an article in TV Guide blasting what he saw as a “leftward bias” in the media.  Some reporting he said lacked the “depth of a saucer.”  Newsmen, he wrote, fail to give the complete picture of a story because of “conformity to a liberal party line” filled with “self-deceit and stupidity.”[30]

          Smith came to feel so strongly about the war that he contemplated writing a book seeking answers to the question of what went wrong!  Like Ascoli, he began to look with increasing concern at the behavior of the sixties’ generation.  On several occasions he spoke on college campuses in support of the war, only to be met with crowds of protestors who made it all but impossible for him to get his points across.[31]

          Toward the end of his 1996 autobiography, he ruminated on the Sixties and their impact on American culture.  He discounted the many pro-Sixties’ books and articles, then in fashion, as the product of the very people who caused the ruckus in the first place.  In Smith’s view, those people had got it all wrong; indeed, they had scandalously taken credit for positive changes that had taken place.  For example, the civil rights revolution was not the result so much of marches and sit-ins but the work of “middle-aged Blacks, mainly preachers, a rigorously honest Chief Justice, and the heart and skill of an out-sized Texas politician.”[32]

          In summation, Smith felt that the changes wrought by what he called the “Children’s Crusade” were negative.  The protestors, he claimed, prolonged the war by “present[ing] the enemy with a picture of America crumbling with violent dissension.”  Furthermore, “they did not bestow a more liberal cast on American life, they ensured the election of Richard Nixon and through Reagan and Bush a generation of conservative government wholly opposed to their aims.  It speaks well of the American spirit that the nation survived the most self-centered and indulgent of its generations so far.”[33]

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           Many of the liberal intellectuals who had signed on with President Kennedy to help shape policy opted, as in the case of Schlesinger, to pack their bags rather than serve President Johnson.  National security advisor McGeorge Bundy, however, stayed until l966 while McNamara soldiered on until over work and a depressive sense of gloom and doom hastened his departure early in l968.  That left only a handful of in-house intellectuals prepared to defend Johnson’s Vietnam policies.  Of these none proved as pugnacious as John P. Roche. 

          Unlike Rusk and Undersecretary of State Walt Rostow, both high-profile Johnson loyalists who started out as Kennedy stalwarts[34], Roche was a Johnson appointee; and by the time he joined the White House staff in the fall of l966, protests against the war had greatly intensified.

          A professor of political science at Brandeis and national chairman of Americans for Democratic Action, the 43-year-old Roche embodied a strong faith in post-WW II American liberalism.  An unabashed activist for civil rights and pro-labor to the bone, his liberal pedigree left little to be desired.  While head of ADA, he led a rump faction of liberal Cold Warriors who believed that “containment of communist power in Asia was a legitimate American enterprise.”[35]

          Roche had worked for Senator Kennedy in the fifties and originally arrived in Washington in l964 to write speeches for Vice President Hubert Humphrey.  However, it was an article he wrote for the New York Times Magazine in support of President Johnson that led to his White House appointment as “special advisor to the President.” [36]  The article combined two major themes: a mostly favorable critique of the Administration’s policy in Asia and a savage attack on the antiwar intellectuals.

          Roche wrote that containment had succeeded in Europe, but the U.S. had not yet applied it as an “overall policy” in Asia.  He agreed with critics that communism was polycentric in nature but that did not preclude the Red Chinese or North Vietnamese from acting aggressively with or without Soviet approval or supervision.[37]

          Roche pooh-poohed the prospect of negotiating a political settlement in Vietnam.  Any attempt to hold democratic elections in either the North or South, he wrote, was bound to fail because of the Communist propensity to intimidate the peasantry.  A strong military presence was required, he avowed, to persuade the Communists to eventually accept the status quo.  Drawing an analogy with Northern Ireland, Roche suggested that the best outcome for the U.S. might lie in the “creation of our own ‘Ulster’ in Southeast Asia.”[38]

          As for the angst of the intellectuals, Roche sorted it into its constituent parts: the New Left he described as both loony and "apocalyptic”; the grousing of the political theorist Hans J. Morgenthau, Roche chalked up to the dyspepsia of an old fashioned European intellectual convinced of America’s incapacity for wielding power; and, finally,  Roche viewed Walter Lippmann’s peevish opposition as mirroring the famous pundit’s gimlet-eyed belief that America’s sphere of influence should not extend beyond the Western Hemisphere and Western Europe.[39]

          Roche laid blame for the much discussed student unrest at the doorstep of the draft and the fact that for ten or more years young American men had largely been untouched by its demands.  Now placed in jeopardy they had reached out for some kind of “High Theory,” i.e., the unjustness of the war, to “maintain their civilian status.”[40]

          The source of the disaffection of the intellectuals, he opined, rested in their deep irrational distrust and even hatred of President Johnson.  Roche referred to the former as “snobs” who detected in LBJ someone who, unlike the stylish Kennedys, failed to share their own elevated tastes and sensibilities.  They felt “unloved,” he wrote.  Having served as a faculty dean, Roche wryly commented that intellectuals who feel unloved invariably cause trouble.[41]

          Clearly Roche, who later characterized himself as a “professional proletarian,” identified with the earthy and plainspoken Texan.  He had nothing but praise for Johnson’s Great Society welfare programs and the strides the President had made in behalf of civil rights. [42]

          In a l970 interview for the Johnson Presidential Library, Roche took direct aim at Robert Kennedy for leading the “whole communication [intellectual] elite,” pied piper-like, away from LBJ’s Vietnam agenda.  Referring to Kennedy’s cagey run for the presidency in l968, Roche portrayed RFK’s newly adopted antiwar posture as a hypocritical attempt to finagle support from his Party’s leftwing.[43]

          “Bob Kennedy,” said Roche, “made me look like a pacifist on the subject of Vietnam in 65 and 64 and 63.  The whole crowd swung from being the greatest domino players…to all of a sudden going the other way.  This was, I think, a body blow [to the Johnson Presidency].”[44]

          Like Schlesinger, Roche wore more than one intellectual hat: he fit the category of liberal academic as well as that of policy advisor to the President.  Yet, in each instance, he broke with the majority of intellectuals and remained unwavering in his support of America’s presence in Vietnam.  After retiring from the White House West Wing in l968, he returned to Brandeis where—in his role as professor and through a weekly-syndicated column—he waged war on the student left’s assault on higher education.[45]

                               *                                *                    *                 *

          While a handful of journalists, a dwindling few Johnson policy advisors, and a rare professor here and there, openly resisted the tide of antiwar intellectuals, “public intellectuals,” other than those connected with William F. Buckley’s conservative National Review, conspicuously avoided the pro-war ramparts.  Although late in making his presence known, one notable exception was Norman Podheretz.

          In 1960 at thirty years of age Podheretz became editor of the intellectual monthly, Commentary.  Along with its rivals Partisan Review and later The New York Review of Books, Commentary acquired a reputation, at least in the sixties, as a major venue for liberal and radical opinions on things both literary and political.  One of the band of New York Jewish intellectuals, long influential in shaping America’s high brow taste in the arts and literature, Podheretz strove to turn Commentary into an extension of his own leftist views on political issues.[46]

          In a lengthy memoir written in l981 Podheretz traced his circuitous journey from political liberal to radical, and then—in part, due to the Vietnam War—to an increasingly conservative approach to American culture and politics.  Swayed by his friendship with the iconoclastic novelist Norman Mailer and the writings of both the radical psychologist Norman Brown and the cultural anarchist Paul Goodman, he convinced himself that a new radicalism was a necessary antidote to a Kennedy Administration bogged down by its own pragmatic liberalism.[47]

          Like a bad vaccination Podheretz’s radicalism never really took hold.  By the late sixties, he noticed a hypocritical and condescending haughtiness on the part of his well-heeled leftist colleagues directed at their traditional political allies: ethnic blue-collar workers and white Southern Democrats.  What really made him question his new radicalism, however, was the Left’s abandonment of color-blindness when looking at race in favor of the newly fashionable color-consciousness.[48]

          Foreign policy-wise, his radicalism proved more persistent.  For example, he allowed New Leftists to contribute articles to Commentary basically of a “better Red than dead” nature.  He lifted his own early views toward the U.S. presence in Southeast Asia from Morgenthau’s realistic school which argued that the U.S. should get out, not on moral grounds, but simply because “we could not win.”[49]

          He eventually began to take issue with those in the antiwar movement who increasingly sought not so much U.S. withdrawal as an American defeat.  He quit collaborating with the New Left historian Staughton Lynd after discovering the latter’s “attitude toward Communism was much more benevolent than I had realized, and his ideas about the American role in the world much more hostile.”[50]

          Podhortez, moreover, found little to admire in the writings of the doyen of the New Left, C. Wright Mills.  Mills’ prose reeked of hatred for the U.S. and his portrayal of an America caught in the grip of a “power elite” Podhoretz thought grossly exaggerated.  Mills’ “theory of convergence,” i.e., that the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. were becoming increasingly more alike also came under Podhoretz’s fire by as did the radical sociologist’s love affair with Fidel Castro.[51]

          Indeed, Podhoretz took the New Left to task for its hatreds, which, he claimed, included all varieties of liberals—particularly those who were outspokenly anticommunist—and that of an America soon to be spelled contemptuously with a Kafkaisque “k.”  By l968 Podhoretz claimed the New Left had slipped its original moorings and that its famous front group, Students for a Democratic Society, “had moved from argument and example to shouting down speakers with whom it disagreed on the ground that only the ‘truth’ had a right to be heard.”  If one went “against the Movement party line,” he reminisced, “the likely penalty was dismissal from the field of discussion.”[52]

          He said what turned him completely against his preexisting radicalism was the antiwar movement’s presentment that the U.S. was evil, particularly as to its presence in Vietnam.  Podhoretz avowed that rather than evil, the U.S. involvement, regardless of how wrongheaded it might have been, was prompted more out of an “excess of idealism” than anything else: Americans simply were trying to live up to JFK’s call for national sacrifice against Communist aggression.[53]

          Pohoretz became so exercised over the antiwar movement and its collateral ideologies that beginning in June, l970, and for three years running he turned the full resources of Commentary to warring against it.  Twelve years later Podheretz’s anger had abated not at all, if anything it had increased, so he wrote a polemical history of the Vietnam War designed to challenge the New Left-etched historiography that he felt had triumphed in the interim.[54]

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1 As quoted in Tony Judt’s Past Imperfect: French Intellectuals, l944-l956 (Berkeley, l992), l5.

2 Battles between French intellectuals remain an ongoing part of the Parisian landscape.  The post-WW II period witnessed feuds between the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.  During the Vietnam War the French Left dominated the intellectual battlements and fulminated in favor of an American defeat.  It has only been in the last twenty years that a discernible anti-Leftist tilt has emerged among French intellectuals. 

3 American conservative intellectuals were at a premium at mid-century.  Most clustered around William F. Buckley Jr., bi-weekly National Review.  After the Vietnam War their number substantially increased as a host of erstwhile liberals moved into their ranks.

4 David W. Levy, The Debate Over Vietnam (Baltimore, 1991), 28-51.

[7] For an early critical look at the teach-ins, see Irving Kristol “Teaching In, Speaking Out: The Controversy over Vietnam “ Encounter (March, l965), 65-70.

6 Faculty involvement in protests against he war varied widely.  The elite private colleges witnessed more anti-war fervor than did the public, open-admissions, institutions.  Regional differences also obtained with the hinterland schools experiencing fewer disruptions than those located on the two coasts.  Kennth J. Heineman, Campus Wars: The Peace Movement at American State Universities in the Vietnam Era (New York, l993), 42-75.

6 As quoted in Marcus C. Raskin and Bernard B. Fall (eds.) The Viet-Nam Reader (New York, l965), 289-296.

7 Ibid., 296-306.

8 One of the most egregious example of this behavior occurred when Secretary of Defense McNamara was threatened by a mob at Harvard shortly in June, l966.  In Retrospect, 253-256. 

9 There is some indication that there might have been more “Cold War liberal” professors than met the eye at the time.  See Ronald Radosh, Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left, and the Leftover Left (San Francisco, 2001), 96.

[8] David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (Greenwich, l972).

[9] Thousand Days (Cambridge, l965), 538.

[10] Ibid., 998.

[11] Schlesinger Jr., The Bitter Heritage: and American Democracy, l941-l968 (Greenwhich, l968), xiv-xix.

[12] Allen J. Matusow, The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the l960s (New York, l984), 377-78.

[13] The Reporter is mentioned in this article as being rated only behind Time, U.S. News and Newsweek as the most referred to of all “magazines used in [the] work of reporters.  William L. Rivers, “The Correspondents After 25 Years” (Summer l962), 4-10.

[14] Peter M. Rutkoff & William B. Scott, New School: A History of the New School for Social Research (New York, l986), ll8-9.

[15] Editorial, The Reporter (December l4, l967), l2.

[16] Ibid., (December 28, l967), l5.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid., (January 25, l968), 10.

[19] Ibid., (February 8, l968), l3; George F. Kennan, “Rebels Without a Program,” New York Times Magazine (January 21, l968), 35-46.  This article was placed in book form including letters-to-the-editor in response, Kennan, Democracy and the Student Left (Boston, l968).

[20] Ibid. (April 2, l968), 10.

[21] Ibid., (June l3, l968), l8.

[22] Best and Brightest,796.

[23] Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie (New York, l988) remains one of the better books written on the war from the perspective of a front-line reporter.

[24] The following article highlights Smith as one of the more reliable and listened to TV broadcasters.  Fred W. Friendly, “Vietnam: What Lessons?  TV at the Turning Point” Columbia Journalism Review (Winter, l970-71), ll3-18.

[25] Most of the biographical material regarding Smith is drawn from Wilson Biography Plus off the Web and his autobiography, Events Leading to My Death: The Life of a Twentieth Century Reporter (New York, l966).

[26] Smith, Events, 326.

[27] David Halberstam, The Making of a Quagmire (New York, l964), 336, and as it appears in Smith, Events, 327.

[28] Smith, Events, 326-9.  There is no mention of this incident in Cronkite’s autobiography, A Reporter’s Life (New York, l996).

[29] “Columnists, Disillusioned with Journalism” Time (March l, l968), 42.

[30] Howard K. Smith, “A Reporter’s View of Liberal Bias,” TV Guide (February 28, l970), 38-41.

[31] Smith, Events., 337.

[32] Ibid., 345.

[33] Ibid.

[34] For evidence of Rusk’s and Rostow’s loyalty to LBJ see Thomas W. Zeiler, Dean Rusk: Defending the American Mission Abroad (Willmington, 2000), 207-216; and W.W. Rostow’s The Diffusion of  Power: 1957-1972 (New York, l972), 526-533.

[35] Oral History Interview John P. Roche AC 79-61 File p. 5; Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.  Some biographical material on Roche came from Gale Literary Databases off the Web and from Who Was Who in America Volume XI (l993-96), 234.

[36] Roche File pps. 15-16.

[37] John P. Roche “A Professor Votes for Mr. Johnson,” New York Times Magazine (October l5, l965) as found in Roche, Sentenced to Life: Reflections on Politics, Education, and Law (New York, l974) 54-65.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Roche File p. 9.

[43] Ibid., p. l0.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Roche’s column, entitled “A Word Edgewise…” appeared from l968 through l974.  Two anti-student protestor columns appeared February l0 and April ,10, l969.  Columns are on file in Papers of John P. Roche Box 1 File 4A38 in the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.

[46] A god source for the battles between New York intellectuals over their ideological differences regarding the war and other political and cultural issues is Phillip Nobile’s Intellectual Skywriting: Literary Politics and the New York Review of Books.(New York, l972), 6-7.

[47] Norman Podhoretz Breaking Ranks: A Political Memoir (New York, l981), 47-50.

[48] Ibid., l68-169.

[49] Ibid., 184.

[50] Ibid., l88-189.

[51] Ibid., l92-201.

[52] Ibid., 219-220.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Norman Podhoretez Why We Were in Viet Nam (New York, l982), 9-15.