A Return to Protest
The U.S. air war against Indochina ranks as one of this century's most horrible atrocities. More explosive power was rained upon the Vietnamese countryside than was used in all of World War II; anti-personnel weapons were designed solely for their ability to maim; carcinogenic, fetus-deforming chemical defoliants blanketed half of Vietnam's arable land.
This concentrated, unrelenting application of mass terror by the United States was not the product of a temporary moral lapse--a theory which appears to be in vogue. On the contrary, it was a calculated effort to crush a decades-old struggle against colonialism, an attempt to keep Asia safe for imperialist plunder. Fortunately for the Vietnamese, it was not successful.
This semester, Samuel P. Huntington, one of the principal apologists and theorists for the vicious air war against the villages of Vietnam is returning to the Government Department. An ad hoc committee of students has been formed by the Spartacus Youth League to protest Huntington's return to Harvard. We urge all students, faculty members and campus workers to join us.
In the late 1960s, Huntington headed the Council on Vietnamese studies of the South East Asia Development Advisory Group, a body that helped to develop State Department policy.
While much of the work of this committee was cloaked in secrecy, there is strong evidence of its repugnant nature. At the May 1969 meeting, for example, Huntington presented a paper entitled "Getting Ready for Political Competition in Vietnam." In this document, he advocated electoral manipulation, control of the media and "inducements and coercions."
Huntington's preferred strategy for "political competition" was much more direct. In the July 1968 issue of Foreign Affairs, he wrote:
If the "direct application of mechanical and conventional power" takes place on such a massive scale as to produce a massive migration from countryside to city, the basic assumptions underlying the Maoist doctrine of revolutionary warfare no longer operate...
In an absent-minded way the United States may well have stumbled upon the answer to "wars of national liberation." The effective response lies neither in the quest for conventional military victory nor in the esoteric doctrines of counter-insurgency warfare. It is instead forced-draft urbanization and modernization which rapidly bring the country in question out of the phase in which a rural revolutionary movement can hope to generate sufficient strength to come to power.
The antiseptic pedantry of Huntington's prose is almost numbing, but its meaning is anything but benign. Earlier in the article, he maintains that "...the Viet Cong will remain a powerful force...so long as [its] constituency continues to exist."
Thus, in order to deprive the National Liberation Front of its rural base, Huntington is arguing that the U.S. must make the Vietnamese countryside uninhabitable by reducing it to embers and rubble. "Urbanization and modernization" meant napalm and fragmentation bombs, plague-ridden, overcrowded cities, and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands.
For the last two years, Huntington has served the Carter administration as director of national security planning on the National Security Council. In this position, he has played a principal role in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy.
That an unabashed apologist for the air war has occupied a key position in an administration allegedly devoted to "human rights" is not accidental. The "human rights" facade of the Carter White House is merely an attempt to refurbish the Vietnam-tattered moral authority of U.S. imperialism, in order to build support for future Christmas bombings.
Proof of the reactionary role of the United States in world affairs is certainly not needed. This country is essential to the survival of virtually every right-wing dictatorial regime on the face of the earth--from Johannesburg to Teheran. Yet when confronted with the grotesque pieties emanating from the "born-again" White House, it is useful to remember that behind current U.S. policy are the former advocates of genocide in Vietnam.
Huntington is so strident in his anti-communism, in fact, that within the administration he was reportedly known as "Mad Dog." It was Huntington who drafted the main Carter strategic assessment last year, Presidential Review Memorandum-10, which heralded the passing of "detente" and mandated a new generation of weapons of destruction.
Huntington's return to the Harvard faculty exposes the hypocrisy behind Derek Bok's recent protest against covert CIA recruitment on campus. The Corporation's only apparent request of terror-bombers and assassins is that they function openly at Harvard.
A protest directed against the return of a faculty member is almost certain to raise the familiar issue of academic freedom. But academic freedom is not the point. We do not single out Huntington for his thoughts, but for his deeds.
While it is true that at such universities as Harvard, which exist to provide the bourgeoisie with its managerial and technical elite, there is no shortage of professors connected with government policy, Huntington is a special case. His central role in the oppression of millions demands justice.
Ideally, Huntington should be sent to Vietnam to be tried by his victims. At the very least, he must not be allowed to wrap himself in the robes of academic respectability.
Jeff Mayersohn '73 and Allan Mui, a special student at Harvard, are supporters of the Spartacus Youth League (SYL), a revolutionary Trotskyist organization. The SYL has formed a group of students and others that plans a protest at 9:45 a.m. today outside Huntington's class at Sever Hall.