MURRAY, THE ICONOCLASTIC HERO of A Thousand Clowns, delivers a soliliquy near the end of the film complaining about a new habit his son has acquired. "The kid used to be all right, but now he insists on making lists--lists of the rocks in his collection, the number of marbles he won, many other things." Murray is tremendously upset by this new development. "Where have I gone wrong?" he asks plaintively.
The man in the Oval Office must be asking himself similar questions these days. John W. Dean III told the Ervin Committee that some of Nixon's top aides, himself included, amused themselves by making lists of the White House's "political enemies" with an eye toward "screwing" the hapless listees. Dean released the lists, accompanied in some cases with brief annotations describing the sinister characteristics of the persons listed -- 'a real enemy', 'ties with the Muskie camp', and so on.
With the possible exception of Joe Namath, the lists read like a social register of American liberalism. Predictably, many of the enemies listed dashed to their typewriters to put their outrage before the public. All of this was good and just, but a sense of who the real enemies are somehow got lost in the fray.
One argument that cropped up in several quarters, in fact, held that there are no real enemies in America, only friendly adversaries. This assessment may hold when John Kenneth Galbraith and William F. Buckley get together and try to match vocabularies, but surely a decade of genocide overseas accompanied by rebellion and oppression at home indicates that someone is not playing the game by the rules of genteel civility.
THE FOLLOWING is a tenative attempt to catalogue the top 20 real enemies of the world's people. The crimes of the people listed extend far beyond anything so benign as threats to the tenure of an incumbent president: the list includes murderers, torturers and other oppressors.
1) Richard M. Nixon, president of the United States. No comments needed here.
2) Henry A. Kissinger '50, Nixon's national security adviser. Kissinger has advised and assisted in implementing a foreign policy that has meant four years of death and destruction to the people of Indochina. The murderous bombing of Cambodia, for which he and Nixon are alone directly responsible, continues to the present day.
3) Henry Ford II, chairman of the board of the Ford Motor Company. The corporation Ford runs is only America's fourth largest, but it perhaps best epitomizes the deadening and exploitative assembly line conditions under which America's work force labors. Ford's political views -- he is an active Democrat -- are also interesting. The party of the little man, it seems, is not quite what it's cracked up to be.
4) Harold S. Geneen, chairman of the board of ITT, perhaps the most imperialist of U.S. corporations. Aside from trying to topple the socialist government of Chilean President Salvador Allende, Geneen, via Dita Beard, seems to have bedded down comfortably with the Nixon Administration. ITT's rise to industrial preeminence was accompanied by all sorts of shadiness, even beyond what one has come to expect from American big business.
5) LEONID I. BREZHNEV, general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union during Lenin's era was a revolutionary beacon for the rest of the world, but all that promise was lost someplace between the Purge Trials and the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and nudged Russia backwards until it stands today as the world's Number Two imperialist power. Soviet internal repression is greater than in this country, but it is less imperialist outside its borders, perhaps because it lacks the American capacity for aggrandizement. It was altogether fitting that World Enemy Numbers 1, 2 and 5 met at San Clemente two weeks ago, apparently to continue dividing up the spoils.
6) George Meany, the president of the AFL-CIO. Once upon a time, the American labor movement was viewed as the force which would help transform America into a society of humanity and justice. This vision lingers on only in the memoirs of Reds from the Thirties. Meany, who makes $95,000 a year and has never led a strike, has presided over the metamorphosis of the labor movement into a conservative, often racist force that has pursued Cold War imperialism as aggressively as its ostensible opponents in big business.
7) William Colby, a top CIA official who will probably be the Agency's next director. Colby, who formerly headed the CIA's dirty tricks division, has been subjected to intense questioning before Congressional committees for his role in a CIA operation in South Vietnam in which over 20,000 "Vietcong" were killed by CIA-sponsored assassination teams. Colby claims that only those resisting arrest were killed in "Operation Phoenix," but the immensity of the death toll and a couple of contrary witnesses make his testimony suspect. At any rate, the CIA has participated in enough extra-legal overthrows of Third World governments to merit placing its leader on the list.
8) Nguyen Van Thieu, the president of South Vietnam. Like oil rising to the top of a sewer, Thieu floated to the top of the U.S. client regime in South Vietnam during a series of coups in the middle sixties. Upon reaching power, he consolidated his control, streamlining the repressive apparatus of the old Diem regime. Backed by the American government, Thieu has tossed tens of thousands of political prisoners into his teeming jails and done everything possible to subvert the January peace agreements.
9) NELSON A. ROCKEFELLER, governor of New York. Rocky and his four brothers together are worth $8 billion, which means that quite a few other people below the poverty line are trying to make ends meet. The Rockefeller wealth is enough to put Rocky on the list someplace, but then there is the matter of Attica, which gives a big boost to his rating. Rockefeller sent state police storming into the prison in 1971, armed with helicopters and heavy weapons. Forty inmates were murdered. All the 'hey fella' greetings Rocky scares up during election campaigns can never erase his criminal past.
10) Marcello Caetano, dictator of Portugal. Freedom fighters in the three African colonies of Portugal have been struggling for over a decade to rid the continent of the last vestiges of nineteenth-century-style imperialism. Caetano's government has used napalm and anti-personnel weapons against the revolutionaries. He seems to have learned some lessons from Number 1.