Strike to End the War
The following editorial is endorsed by these newspapers The Crimson. The B.U. News, The B.U. Free Press, The Boston College Heights, The Berkeley Beacon, The Simmons Janus, The Tufts Observer, The Michigan Daily, The Stanford Daily, The Daily Californian, The Wisconsin Daily Cardinal, The Williams Record Advocate Newton 885, The University of California at Davis Aggic, and The Wesleyan Argus
THE LATEST Nixon escalation of the War in Southeast Asia--the bombing of Haiphong and Hanoi--renews the U.S. commitment to defend the threatened Thieu government at any cost. The new escalation is open-ended and runs the clear risk of catastrophic confrontation with the Soviet Union. The war will not go away: Nixon remains committed to military victory. It must be resisted by the American public.
Two years ago, in an escalation of similar magnitude. American ground troops invaded Cambodia. Antiwar feeling on American campuses coalesced into a national student strike. That strike, joined in a moment of crisis, delivered an ultimatum to the American government: you cannot expand the war in Asia without risking massive disruption at home. The ultimatum was successful: the invading force withdrew. American students catalyzed a national movement that helped to save the lives of Americans. Vietnamese, and Cambodians. The ever-rising trajectory of the war began to turn downward.
The Cambodia precedent denied the use of American ground troops in the 1971 invasion of Laos. In many other moments, the antiwar movement has had similar success. We have given crucial support to those public leaders and Congressmen who spoke out on the war. We have brought thousands of Americans to public demonstrations of opposition. And we have managed to set the terms of debate on the war, because our position--total and immediate U.S. withdrawal--has been firm over the years. Despite the intricate turns in government policy and phraseology, we have stuck by an uncompromising demand that the policy of escalation by reversed and dismantled.
A low profile war had up to recently left the front page. Now it is back. The current North Vietnamese National Liberation Front offensive has reduced the war to its essential components. The Thieu government is mortally threatened. North and South Vietnamese have united in a fierce final struggle to free their country from colonialism and neo-colonialism.
THE FAILED logic of Nixon's Vietnamization policy can now be measured by his newest campaigns against North Vietnam. If the Thieu government had the legitimacy or the strength to repel the offensive, these campaigns would not be necessary. How far will the United States now go to maintain a regime that cannot stand on its own?
The bombings of Hanoi and Haiphong suggest that there are no limits. Strategic options left to the U.S. government include further bombing of population centers: mining or closing by naval embargo the access to Haiphong harbor: bombing the North Vietnamese dike system causing broad destruction and the likelihood of mass starvation: invading North Vietnam: and use of tactical nuclear weapons. Nixon has said, "All of our options are open." We say: "All options except withdrawal are abhorrent."
A memorandum prepared by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and released last week by Rep. Michael Harrington (D-Mass.) clarifies our importance as students opposed to the war. If the United States were released from "domestic restraints," notes the memorandum, it might undertake amphibious operations against the North or bombing of the irrigation ditches in the quest for victory. Clearly, Nixon is not deterred any longer by the risks of confrontation with the Soviet Union. The likelihood of bombing Soviet ships had forestalled the bombing of Haiphong in the past. That risk is now a reality. The only remaining restraint is that imposed by the American people. And it is our task as students, who have come this way before, to make sure that domestic restraints remain firm. The bombing of North Vietnam and the cancellation of the Paris Peace Talks return the war to its pre-1968 character.
The ghastly history of the war converges on this moment. Joining with 14 other college newspapers, we condemn the escalation of the War against the Vietnamese and support immediate demonstrations of protest this week. It is sad to find ourselves once again in a position where a student strike seems to be the only recourse at home to protest American policies in Southeast Asia. But we must, in union with 14 others, call for an immediate national student strike. To implement this, a strike meeting at Harvard should be held as soon as possible. The strike is called not against the University, but against the War, and is proposed to offer students an opportunity to work against the War in these critical days by campaigning for antiwar candidates, leafletting in communities and factories, lobbying Washington, and joining in antiwar demonstrations such as those in New York and Los Angeles this weekend.
The Crimson urges students to do everything in their power to end the war no matter what the sacrifice. But although we urge students to put anti-war work before all else, we do not feel effort should be expended picketing classes or trying to coerce professors to call them off. United States escalation of the war calls for massive student response: this response should not be wasted in an attempt to shut down the University. The national student strike should proceed regardless of the University until mass mobilization forces the Nixon Administration to end its escalation and stop the war.
The Crimson also loins with The Yale Daily News, The Columbia Spectator, The Brown Daily Herald, The Cornell Daily Sun, The Dartmouth Daily, The Daily Pennsylvanian and The Daily Pennsylvanian endorsing the following editorial.
The latest escalation of the war in Southeast Asia--the bombing of Haiphong and Hanoi--once again underscores the determination of the Nixon Administration to defend the Thieu regime at almost any cost.
The massive raids that have been ordered into North Vietnam, the first such systematic and large-scale bombing attacks since April 1968, open the door to an increased, and possibly lasting. U.S. military involvement.
Not since American ground troops invaded Cambodia two years ago, has the Nixon Administration perpetrated such a violent military initiative. Nonetheless, even as American soldiers have been brought all too slowly back home. Nixon's Administration has subtly changed the war from one fought by people to one fought by machines. American ground forces have been supplanted by B-52s, rifles by bombs.
While the death toll of Americans has subsided, the senseless slaughter of Indochinese continues. In its stubborn insistence in maintaining a strongly anti-communist government in Saigon, the Nixon Administration has leveled villages, wiped out entire crops and defoliated the Vietnamese countryside.
Without American military and financial support, the Thieu regime, which is opposed by its own people, could not long survive.
In the United States, the war has soaked up billions of dollars which could have rebuilt cities, fed the hungry and cured disease. The war has also destroyed the confidence of the American people in their own government.
Not since the Cambodian invasion has the Nixon government's aggression in Asia so urgently demanded protest from the American people. The antiwar feeling that coalesced into a national student strike two years ago delivered an ultimatum to the Nixon Administration: You cannot expand the war in Asia without risking massive disruptions at home. This ultimatum was instrumental in foreign the American invading force to withdraw and in precluding the use of American ground troops in Laos.
In response to the present crisis, the eight Ivy League newspapers join in calling for a one-day moratorium on business as usual Friday. We urge our presidents to suspend university activities on that day, and we encourage all students and faculty to help shape further actions at general campus meetings.
We call upon all Americans to join in massive demonstrations of protest in New York. Los Angeles and San Francisco this Saturday or to engage in some other effective form of protest.
It is time once again for the American people to voice their outrage with the Nixon Administration's continuation of the war. Student demonstrations should not be directed against our universities but rather against the government.
Nixon has said, "All our options are open." We say: "Our only option is to withdraw all U.S. support from the Thieu regime and to cease all American military activity in Indochina."