tv Reel America ABC Scope The Vietnam War - How Much Dissent 1968 CSPAN November 11, 2017 10:00am-10:37am EST
and said to me how proud he was of us. he said, you know come in the 1960's, i was one of the protesters. he wasn't proud about that at this point. it was really heartwarming to see something like that. >> what was it like for you when you came back from vietnam? what your would that have been? >> i came back from vietnam, i left vietnam -- it was christmas eve of 1970. i was back home in connecticut on the end of christmas day in 1970 that was the termination of my military service. coming back, it wasn't like it is today. we had to fall right back into our civilian way of life. people didn't recognize vietnam veterans. they didn't talk about it.
you just try to put it behind you and go on with life. >> did you have to deal with people who were critical of our involvement in vietnam or did you just not talk about it at all? botheredvery few who -- most of them didn't know that i was involved in vietnam. we just went about life. i was never really in that kind of situation where people work trying -- were trying to attack me or anything like that. >> you enjoyed your time talking to the public? >> i loved it. i'm think that the archives to this. my grandson and i were down at the wall the other day. it was a wonderful experience for them. i ran across a man down there and he said where were you in vietnam and i said i was at camp -- he said, were you a bikini? i said yeah. how do you get that?
he said, well, you're a pilot. he was in the three 61st -- 361st, the pink panthers. both of our companies were in the central highlands. he supported the fourth division. we supported artillery units and the special forces out of pontoon. with the cobra unit, we supported the special forces. it was a very interesting couple of years. >> thank you for talking with us. >> i appreciate you having me. thank you. >> this is american history tv on c-span3. every weekend, we feature event coverage come eyewitness accounts and discussions with authors come historians and teachers. our coverage of the vietnam war continues with an episode of the weekly series, "abc scope."
, "the vietnam war: how much dissent?" it examines resistance to the war, with footage of demonstrations, interviews, and portions of a press conference by lyndon johnson. this is about 30 minutes. >> they raise their voices. they march against the government. most dissenters define themselves with this kind of protest activity. some go farther, burning selective service cards and burning the american flag. hundreds of protesters are sometimes arrested. which activities fall in the ounds of lawful dissent and which go beyond the limits and become lawless or rebellious? ♪
>> abc scope, the wide world of people and events. this week, "the vietnam war: how much dissent?" here with that story, our abc correspondent. john: hardly a day goes by without a new report of another demonstration or protest against the vietnam war. hardly a day passes when those who support the war wonder how -- don't wonder how much dissent is too much. those who oppose it asked themselves how far can i go in expressing this opposition? the question "how much dissent" is as old as socrates. it is as familiar as the opinion as oliver wendell holmes that the right of free speech does not give people the right to shout fire falsely in a crowded theater.
it is as current as the controversy over the indictment of dr. spock. we will address ourselves to this important question on a report this week. >> john scali will return in one minute. >> outside the justice department in washington, on october 20, dr. spock and the reverend william sloane urged young men to turn in their draft cards. the reverend collected some cards and brought them to the justice department himself. indictments handed down earlier this month charge kaufman, spock, and three others were arrested for conspiring to aid young men to evade the draft.
this was the reverend's reaction. >> we welcome the indictment. what we want to do is to try and demonstrate that many aspects of the war and the law are really unconstitutional. i am disturbed to get letters from people who say how can a christian minister oppose the law of the land? these people seem to forget that one, from a religious perspective, never surrender one's consciousness to the state. it goes through the entire bible. we must obey god rather than men. our puritan forefathers came to this country because they were dedicated to the notion that you do not surrender your conscious to the state. jesus was officially charged with treason. peter and paul were in and out of jail all the time.
from a religious point of view, it is possible to say three things about law. one, that it is good. without it, creation would be chaos. therefore, the law reflects and doesn't reject this. which means that one is always trying to improve a law which means that one has respect for what is legal but is more concerned with what is right. it is important to remember that this is not to advocate anarchy, this is not to advocate revolution. if we're willing to accept the legal punishment then we are in fact supporting and not
appending -- upending the legal order. you cannot say that somebody who is engaged in civil disobedience is trying to destroy the whole order and is an anarchistand a revolutionary. if he is a revolutionary, like adams, or jefferson, or others were, he is out to destroy the whole order. i am not as radical as jefferson. it always hurts to be called unpatriotic. i was a captain in world war ii. i was three years and the central intelligence agency. i always thought that i would try to serve my country. i do not think one serves one's country by asking good men to die bravely in a bad cause. >> how are the nation and the government tolerating the vietnam dissenters compared to the situation in past wars? we we talked to an organization dedicated to defending the rights of dissenters. john of the american civil liberties union. >> i think the climate in the country with respect to the toleration of dissent is better in this war that it has been in any previous war.
this does not mean the climate is not showing some increasing hostility. what is unique about this war is that it is very unpopular, perhaps the most unpopular in recent history. the expressions of dissent on the part of government officials themselves have tended create an area in which government has had to tolerate dissent. >> melvyn wolf, legal director of the american civil liberties union. >> if you asked me how the government was behaving itself in the face of dissent, if you asked me that question about two weeks ago, i would have said that with certain notorious exceptions, general hershey and his selective service policy, that by and large the federal government was behaving itself quite well. but, the the indictments of dr.
spock and the reverend and the other three individuals marks off a very critical change of behavior by the government. they have lost their cool. i think that they have been reached by the criticism, affected and injured by it, which is the purpose of criticism of governmental action in a free society. if it is not effective speech, then it really doesn't serve its full purpose. >> abc's bob clark asked a strong administrative supporter on vietnam his view on the questions raised by the indictment. >> do americans who believe the war is immoral have a right to preach resistance against the draft? >> i think the question of morality in this war has to accommodate itself to the concept of majority rule in a democracy.
we have a place for conscientious objectors and for those who are immediately subject to draft, where they can make peace with their conscience. in terms of a man of god to place his judgment of morality above and beyond that of the majority, i would think that would be a bit presumptuous. i'm afraid that the tendency on the part of so many who would inject morality is to try to get the lord on their side or to pretend they have a monopoly on what the lord would do in vietnam. i would hope that they would remember a retreat on that line that abraham lincoln resorted to when he said all i hope is i am on the lord's side. >> people have a right to be
heard in court. that is part of the american system. generally, people who do such advocating ought to be in jail. i'm not talking about particular cases, because i do not know the facts involved, but anyone who advocates the burning of draft cards, that advocates and conspires the disobedience of the law, they are to be punished. we have heard these pseudo-intellectuals at on these college campuses. they say you southern folks ought to obey the law. now these same elements are advocating the disobedience of unjust laws and that is the reason we have anarchy. >> the field secretary of the war resisters league, a pacifist group. >> this may sound old-fashioned or square, or patriotic, but i think dr. spock was greatly honored by the indictment.
i would be honored to be among those indicted. i think it is an honor to be indicted for the defense of the nation against a president who has usurped powers that are not his under the constitution, who has involved us in war without a declaration of war and who has violated campaign pledges. >> the 74-year-old head of selective service is the storm center of a second controversy involving the centers of the draft. he has told a draft board to take away the deferments of registrants who interfere with selective service procedures. when these students staged a sit in in ann arbor, michigan, in october of 1965, he ordered some of them inducted. the courts have since held the action unconstitutional, but
that does not change the general's tactics. he explained his position. >> we have individuals, fathers, apprentices, farmers, being deferred. at the same time, we are attempting to interfere with violence or threats. the logic is awkward when you differ people who violate the law. >> is that why they were deferred? >> they were deferred as, for instance, a student. whether a student was using it as a study in his laboratory work, or whether he is moonlighting, it seems immaterial because it is inconsistent with the federal government deferring in national interest to have him attacking the national interest by doing
acts which come under the violations of the law. a deferment is not anything but a civil action. you do not get a deferment unless someone gives it to you. the only person who can give it to you is the local board. therefore, the local board has a responsibility to see the individual who got the deferment lives up to the implied contract and that you cannot defer anybody unless you expect them to obey the laws they are being deferred under. >> your critics say you are stifling dissent in this country. >> if this gets people to obey the laws, i am guilty. if it is stifling consent to make a person do what they are supposed to do, what the congress says they have to do, i am guilty. >> hershey has substituted the
selective service board for the courts. he said selective service boards are empowered to determine where crimes have been committed. this is nonsense. the only body that can determine whether crimes to be committed are the courts. >> those who criticize general hershey, i do not put much stock in anything they say. many of them are advocating the right to make speeches in favor of the communists in the guise of academic freedom. they will be resolved in favor of general hershey and not this liberal, left wing, pseudo-intellectual crowd. >> i think the general hershey ought to retire. the moment you inject punitive aspects to selective service, it
becomes a self-defeating operation. i do not believe the general has the right to inject that. i don't believe that ought to be the basis of any selective service system. it becomes a kind of penal service as a punishment for some law you may have broken. >> we will hear the views of president johnson and some of his critics when abc scope continues in one minute. >> one of the largest peace demonstrations in history was held last october in washington. more than 50,000 marched on the pentagon to protest the war. a leader of the demonstration was jerry rubin, a radical activist of the so-called new-left. we recently asked him his views on the limits of dissent. >> lyndon johnson is a common murder. -- murderer.
he should be arrested for murder. there are no limits to dissent. i think the peace movement should have the anger of the vietnamese woman whose child was burned by napalm. that is the anger the peace movement should reflect. the peace movement has to go in the streets and use the tactic of disruption. the american people are drunk with apathy because they don't care. our country is now on the situation germany was in the 1940's. we are committing mass murder. we are lawless. the only people who can save this country are the people who recognize this and who are willing to risk their lives to stop this country from its murder. >> some more moderate critics of vietnam policy charge advocates of the war with failing to distinguish between responsible and irresponsible dissent. hatfield talked about clark. >> there is a tendency to create the impression that you must be -- that if you're not for president johnson, then you must
be for ho chi minh. this great polarization that you are either for us or against us. you either line up with the president or the communist party. this is very dangerous. there is responsible dissent that attempts to point out the weaknesses and the fallacies of the president possible policy ident's policy and offer alternatives. it should be differentiated from those who are burning their draft cards and creating a riotous situation. this is one of the problems we face as dissenters. >> do you think president johnson himself has been guilty of this intolerance toward dissenters? >> i think so. he has said there is a right to dissent, but he has given the very definite impression through language and allusions of other kinds that if you do not support his policy, it is costing lives
in vietnam and destroying the morale of our boys in vietnam. it is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. to me, this totally contradicts his previous statement that there is a role for dissent. by these words, by these actions, he is negating the possibility of dissent and almost destroying dissent. >> president johnson was asked about this kind of criticism at his news conference on november 17. >> i haven't called anyone unpatriotic. i have not said anything that would indicate that. i think the wicked flee when no one pursues them. i do think that some people are irresponsible and make untrue statements. they ought to be cautious and careful when they are dealing with the problem involving their men at the front. there is a good deal of difference between criticism and
responsible dissent and indifference, all of which we insist on and all of which we protect. stormtrooper bullying or f throwing herself down the road and smashing windows and rowdism and every time a person attempts to speak, to drown him out. we believe very strongly in the right to dissent. if i have done a good job of anything since i have been president, it is to ensure there are plenty of dissenters. [laughter] >> i am trying to preserve my right to give the other side, i don't think one side ought to dominate the whole picture. let us realize we are in the midst of a war, and that 500,000 of our boys are giving their lives to win that war. let's ask ourselves what it is
we can do to help. if you think that you can make a contribution to helping them by expressing your opinion and dissenting, do it. if the secretary of state starts to explain his viewpoint, don't send out instructions all over the country and say when he rap youro talk, feet. we know most people's intentions are good. we do not question their motives. they have said ugly things about us. people that live in glass houses should not be anxious to throw stones. >> governor wallace, speaking in akron, ohio last month, gave his views on the limitations of dissent. >> those who speak and call for communism in the name of academic freedom support aiding
and abetting the enemy. if i was the president, the first thing i would do is have my attorney general drag some of these professors before a grand jury and indict them for what they are, traitors. [applause] >> because they are traitors. [applause] >> i am not talking about honest dissent. many of these people in these is audience, probably. you love our country. maybe you think we should not be there because it is not in our interest and you are honest in it. many members of the congress feel the same way. there is a difference between honest dissent and treason. >> how has the supreme court ruled on the limits of dissent in wartime? bob clark talked to a yale law school professor. >> what are the chief legal precedents in past wars?
>> there were several cases that rose out of the first world war. the leading case was the shank case. shank was the general secretary of the socialist party and he issued a pamphlet which denounced conscription, as they called it at that time. he urged people to assert their rights in opposition to the draft. he was indicted for obstructing recruitment in the armed services. he was convicted. on appeal, the supreme court's decision was written by justice holmes, who started off by saying that the first amendment cannot possibly protect all speech. it would not protect the person falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater, and therefore there must be some limitation. he devised the limitation of the
clear and present danger test and upheld the conviction. >> how about the more recent court cases directly involving the vietnam war? >> there's only one directly involves the war. that was the case of julian bond who had been refused his seat in the georgia legislature because of certain statements he had made. the question was whether those statements were protected under the first amendment. the main statement was one in which they had said, we are in sympathy with and support the men in this country who are unwilling to respond to the military draft. the supreme court held that that statement was protected by the
first amendment. i would say that is the basis suggestion that the shank case would not be followed today. the court also held that that statement does not violate the selective service act. it was too ambiguous and not specific enough. that poses the question that would be before the court. in some cases, which may reach them later. >> john will return with a final comment in one minute. >> each of those we have heard on this program, from the governor wallace to one end, to jerry rubin on the other agreed s on the value and importance of dissent. each has his own idea of where the line should be drawn between what is permissible and what is not. at the risk of stealing one more opinion, let me tell you what i think.
i think we should not only tolerate but listen to the voices of dissent. much of the outcry against the vietnam war comes from the young who are genuinely troubled, caught between the demands of society and the dictates of their own conscience. if they believe the war is illegal and immoral, they have a right to protest, provided they stay within the legal frameworks of the society whose comforts and protections they otherwise accept. when they resort to overt acts, ,uch as blocking a center clicking draft cards or abusing --:selves to be drafted, acting draft cards or refusing themselves to be drafted -- collecting draft cards or refusing themselves to be drafted, they are on very
dangerous grounds. they are not only violating the rights of others but they are challenging the existence of an orderly society. if you feel so strongly and the rightness of your cause that you are ready to pay the penalty the law imposes if convicted, you deserve sympathy and respect. if you resort to violence and illegal acts then seek to escape the consequences, you are saying our society is not worth saving and you are contributing to anarchy. the late justice holmes defined the limits of dissent by saying my right to waive my arm ends where your nose begins. to me, that means you can say what you please, but doing what you please is something else again. this is john scali in washington. ♪ >> this has been abc scope, "the vietnam war: how much dissent?" join us again next week, when we will present a program on the state of the republican party, 10 months before the election.
♪ >> this has been a presentation of abc news. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ >> we are live at the national archives in washington dc, where they just opened up an exhibit on the vietnam war. we are here with edmund hughes, a former helicopter pilot. tell us how you ended up in vietnam? >> in 1968i had finished my second year of college and received word that i was going to be drafted. i went down, signed up, joined the army. -- i did aogram program where i went to flight school, and in 1917i was en
route to vietnam. in -- can you tell us about your time in a helicopter? >> this was being used to haul combat troops in and out of the field. this was set up as a medevac aircraft. it has three litters were three patients -- 43 patients, or something if we are trying to pick out a patient in the woods, we can drop that jungle penetrator down 200 feet, strapped the patient in, and taken to a hospital. of twold have a crew medics, two chiefs, and two pilots. combatbeing used to haul troops or cargo, all of this internal equipment would be gone ,nd you could have 12 people two crew members, to crew chiefs, and four combat loaded troops.
they probably have 100 plus pounds of cargo on their backs. the aircraft itself had a ,aximum weight of 9500 pounds designed to cruise at 90 knots. >> what would it be like when you are transporting cargo or troops into an area in the field? groundg were you on the usually, and did you often come under fire? >> we would get our visions every morning when we went into operations. if we were doing cargo, we would working for a unit, specifically the supply people in that unit, and it could be anything from hauling ammunition to see rations, hot meals, occasionally, and if it was a holiday week would be taking them turkey for thanksgiving day or whatever. we loaded the aircraft, and we did not usually use charts, we just loaded the aircraft. ,e would take it to the field
and for that type of resupply they had a landing zone. we would land, kick it all off, and take another load to somebody else. if it was a hot landing zone, they would push it out as fast as we can, because it makes a pretty good target to get into a hot lz. were yo -- >> were you frequently shot at? >> frequently. we took a lot of rounds, but flying his hours and hours of boredom interspersed with a few seconds of stark, raving terror. i was shot at a lot, but it did not become every day, every mission. >> you said there are two pilots? >> yes, with a single pilot aircraft only one was required, but in combat you had two pilots in case somebody got hurt. the other pilot to fly the aircraft. we all trade our crew to use -- crew chiefs to fly the aircraft,
so if we got hurt they could at least land it and get us to a medevac unit. >> how long did you serve for 12? >> i was there months, july to july in 70--- in 1970 from 71. >> i stated the army for 24 years. >> and did you continue to fly? >> i flew helicopters for 15 years out of 24, was actively flying. >> how have you found communicating to the public has been on display here? >> very easy, and it has been a great experience. we talk to people about 13 different countries of people that have common here, plus -- come in here, plus the americans. >> the war was very controversial. have you had anyone approach you these past few days with criticism about the war? >> not at all.
>> and the last helicopter we were in front of was an assault helicopter. it had the words would a maker emblazoned -- widow-maker emblazoned on the side. can you tell us why some have names on the side and what that is all about? >> the aircraft is referred to and it wasaircraft, nicknamed the widow-maker. it was to eliminate the ebony and make widows out of their spouses. if her units had different policies. the one i was in, all of our platoons had hornets on the noses. we had read with the gunships, yellow was the second platoon, white was first platoon, and we all had names. my craft was named spirit in the sky.
these of sir, we got a new name. that is what the ringtone is on my phone. >> thank you very much for talking with us. >> thank you very much. >> good morning. this is american history tv on c-span3. we are live on this veterans day from the vietnam veterans are moral -- memorial in washington dc. we are looking back 50 years to the vietnam war live coverage, , and first-person accounts from vietnam war veterans and antiwar protesters. coming up at 1:00 p.m. eastern here in the vietnam veterans memorial, you can watch a ceremony with former defense secretary and vietnam veteran chuck hagel. also speaking will be myelin, ya lin, the-- ma
designer of the wall inscribed with the names of men who died during the war or remain missing. join us for a live program with mark atwood lawrence from the university of texas at austin, and a professor from columbia university. it will take your calls and tweets about the state of the war in 1967. for the next few minutes, we will bring you sights and sounds from the vietnam that are in for memorial -- veterans memorial. >> this is the first of two cbs news special reports -- where we stand and be in on. -- in vietnam.