Walter Cronkite the former CBS News anchor attracted a lot of attention at the Winter TV Press Tour 2006 according to Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post. Cronkite who is now 89 years old and hasn’t sat in the anchor chair since retiring 25 years ago still draws reporters like bees to honey.
Cronkite who has spoken out against the war in Iraq before was asked about his proudest moment in television and said it was the editorial he delivered on the Vietnam War 38 years ago that has been credited with hastening our pullout from Vietnam. Here is the editorial as quoted in today’s Post.
“To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. . . . It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy and did the best they could.”
This editorial along with much of the reporting at the time did our troops a tremendous disservice. They reported that we were losing when we were winning and they actually believed that the Communists would reunite the North and the South and everyone would in essence live happily ever after. Why didn’t some ask “Uncle” Walter if he thinks that in light of the genocide of 1.7 million people in Cambodia from 1975-1979 if his position on the war was wrong? How about all the Vietnamese boat people that swarmed into this country to escape Communist rule? Asking questions like this would be politically incorrect of the elder statesman of the news business.
Asked about the current war Cronkite responded by saying, “We’ve done everything we can. We’re going to have to leave it with [the Iraqis] someday, and it is my belief that we should get out now.” That’s about an informed opinion as he had 38 years ago which led to a disastrous conclusion.
Maybe CBS should embed Cronkite so he can learn the truth for once.