The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on July 28, 1969 · Page 14
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July 28, 1969

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 14

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Monday, July 28, 1969
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14 M«n., July 21, IW ite£ lem^ler An Independent Newspaper GARDNER COIH.ES, President JOHN COIVLES, Chairman of the Board KENNETH MACDONALD, Editor and Publisher DAVID KnuTDENtra, General Manager A. EDWARD HEINS, Managing Editor LACBBN SOTH, Editorial Page Editor Louis H. Nofaus, Business Manager SNAFU Still Present In World War II the Gls used to say, "There's a right way to do things, and then there's the Army way (or Navy way)." The huge costs incurred and the mistakes made recently in military matters reminded us of that expression. Many people see the "military industrial complex" as a wicked conspiracy. Bui we agree with James Reslon of the New York Times that the facts seem rather to fit a picture of clumsiness. For example: that business of losing the Pueblo spy ship and all its crew, who \vere A imprisoned for a year by the North Koreans; the ordering of ships into the Gulf of Tonkin in August, 1964, where they were fired on by the North Vietnamese; the storing of nerve gas on Okinawa, risking alienation of our strongest ally in Asia; the foulup of the poison gas experiments in Utah that killed 5,000 sheep; the participation in training exercises on putting down rebellion in Franco's Spain; the Army proposal to transport surplus chemical warfare agents across the country to dump In the ocean; the fiasco of the military intervention at the Bay of Pigs (mainly a CIA operation, but the generals were involved); the many assurances of victory in Vietnam, followed by new and stronger attacks on the cities by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops; the fantastically heavy bombing of both North and South Vietnam with little effect except to make the North Vietnamese more determined to fight on; the mishandling of nunferous contracts for purchase of new arms at enormous cost to the taxpayers; and so on. We doubt that the generals plotted to get us into worse trouble with North Korea, North Vietnam or Japan. They were just careless and thoughtless. As we used to say during World War II, the situation is normal, all fouled up (SNAFU). We have a theory about this, based on our own military experience and what we have seen from the vantage point of newspaper coverage of military matters: The military tend to become slipshod, arrogant and unmindful of whom they are working for in a time of huge military spending and in time of war. Congress has been giving the military a blank check for a good many years, because we all have been scared about the military threat of Russia. Few questions are asked, and the military doesn't deign to answer them, hiding behind the comfortable screen of military secrecy, or behind the screen of "a civilian could not possibly understand." There is something about a high degree of professionalism in any field that blinds the experts to consideration of other, broader factors outside their field. It is a disease of the military. The free rein to the military is being drawn up a bit now, fortunately. Congress is beginning to take its responsibilities for control of military Spending more seriously. The voice of the generals in military councils is not regarded as indisputable gospel. * * * The country must have a strong military establishment, modern, capable of meeting a wide variety of military threats. But the country can't have this by leaving it all up to the professional military men. This is a continuing theme in human affairs. After seeing the Russian movie version of Tolstoy's War and Peace, we went back to re-read sections of this great novel. The foul-up of military leadership, the inability of to* generals to understand what the political problem is, the failures of communications and of strategical judgment — they are all the same now as they were for Kutuzov and Napoleon in 1812. Preventive Detention The Nixon Administration has proposed a "preventive detention" plan for the District of Columbia and federal court system. If this plan is approved by Congress, state legislatures almost certainly would follow the lead of Congress and adopt a similar procedure in state criminal courts. The purpose of the proposed federal preventive detention law is to "assure the safety of the community" from persons charged with crimes who are released pending trials. Judges would be empowered to deny bail and keep potentially dangerous persons locked up for a maximum of 60 days. If the trial does not begin before then, the accused would have to be released from preventive detention. The authority to deny pre-trial release would apply in cases where detention is considered necessary to safeguard the community and there exists "a substantial probability that the person committed the offense with which he was charged." Preventive detention could be ordered for the following: • Those charged with crimes Involving "high risk of additional public danger," Including robbery, rape, arson, burglary and sale of narcotics. • Those who have been convicted or are already on bail for a crime of violence who are charged with a second violent crime, including all of the above offenses or murder, mayhem, kidnapping, assault with a weapon or assault with the intent of committing any felony. • Those charged with a crime who have threatened witnesses or jurors. • Those charged with a crime of violence who are narcotics addicts. Preventive detention would not be automatic in the above cases. The court would have to be satisfied that other al- ternatives, including release in the custody of others, the setting of a curfew or other conditions would not "assure the safety of the comniUhity." Preventive detention is intended to be a last resort imposed only after a formal court hearing. * * * Many judges now impose a form of preventive detention by setting high money bail. The judge knows the accused can't raise the bail and this effectively keeps him behind bars until trial. The Justice Department believes its preventive detention proposal is a more forthright way of dealing with the problem and contains more safeguards for the accused. The widespread abuse by judges of their discretion in bail-setting gives us doubts about the preventive detention plan. The history of bail is a history of arbitrary and capricious judicial acts. Though the purpose of bail is only to assure the presence of the accused at trial, most judges have automatically required bail no matter how slight the risk of flight. If judicial performance on bail-setting is a guide to performance on preventive detention, there is serious risk that judges will "play it safe" and use the power to order detention routinely instead of selectively as a last resort. Judges are not equipped with extrasensory powers that enable them to predict the commission of new crimes by an accused. A more desirable way to safeguard the community, it seems to us, is through speedy trial to minimize the time an accused is out on pre-trial release. This, coupled with the imposition and enforcement of stringent conditions for release when the facts warrant it, seems to us a more desirable way to protect both the community and the rights of the accused. National Population Policy Having set and achieved a national goal in space, President Nixon has proposed that Americans set a new target for the pountry — "the provision of family planning services within the next five years to all those who want them but cannot afford them." This would require a significant expansion of the part played by the federal government in birth control. Only about 800,000 women have been aided by existing government programs, financed chiefly by the Office of Economic Opportunity and Department of Health, Education and Welfare. An estimated 5.4 million low-income women are in need of family planning assistance. The Nixon Administration figures that all women needing help would receive it if federal spending increased $30 million a year in each of the next five years to a total of $150 million. The miniscule federal effort to bring birth control services to the poor is reflected in Iowa. Only $150,000 is available to Iowa in federal birth control grants this year. The biggest share of the load is being carried by Planned Parenthood of Iowa, which spends $250,000 a year for birth control services in a dozen Iowa communities. These funds are raised from private contributions without United Campaign assistance. The total effort results in only about 10,000 Iowa women receiving assistance out of an estimated 82.000 worn-' en who need subsidized birth control care. Decisions on family sue are matters of personal choice. But there is no free Choice when individuals lack access to Information and to birth control supplies. The federal government has a clear interest in providing such access, both to make free choice a reality and to cope with the problems associated with a rising population tide. The U.S. is much more capable of accommodating an expanding population than most countries, but its capacity is not unlimited. The prospect now is for a 100-million population increase in just the next 30 years. The President reminds, us that providing for the increase would be the equivalent of building a new city of 250,000 persons each month from now until the end of the century. The U.S. did not acquire its first 100 million persons until 1917. It took just 50 more years to add the next 100 million. The third 100 million will take less time still. President Nixon's assertion that many of our social problems are the consequence of a shorter time to absorb population increases is borne out by the country's increasingly unmanageable pollution, urban sprawl and myriad related conditions. The President's national goal of bringing family planning services to everyone who wants them in the next five years contains none of the drama of President Kennedy's announced goal eight years, ago of sending men to the moon and back. Attainment of-the latest national goal may nevertheless well have greater impact on the lives of Americans than the much heralded moon flight. Think positive. There are more than 222 million phones in the world so with a little practice almost anybody can get a wrong number. — George Eyer, Daily Oklahoman. A French View of U.S. Withdrawal in Vietnam TREND TOWARD SPECIALIZATION- Press, TV-Radio Changing As Mass Audience Shrinks By Richard Worsnop WASHINGTON, D.C. - The explosion of information that is engulfing the world has been accompanied by a revo- 1 u t i o n in communications t e c h n ology. The present clear dist i n c t i o n between the printed mass media (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media (radio and television) is beginning to blur and may eventually disappear as hybrid or RICHARD u entirely new forms of WORSNOP communication are developed. Harry S. Ashmore, a former newspaper editor, has written: "It is not easy to take a detached view of the communications system and to consider its several parts. We have become enveloped in something like a seamless web of sight, sound, and print, and the media have trouble locating their own places in the endless expanse of words and images." The problem of media identity can only grow more difficult as time'goes on because "almost every day new means of communication become available as communication becomes the major activity of civilization." Future developments in mass communication may include radio-TV .sets that could be worn on the wrist; devices to record, store and play back television programs on home receivers; and facsimile newspapers transmitted into the home by television signal. Individuality, Not Conformity The trend in communications is toward greater media diversity. Moreover, the concomitant increase of knowledge and education will afford greater opportunties than at present to direct specialized information to relatively small audiences. The success of such varied communications ventures as city magazines, all-news radio stations, and the underground press already has shown that this approach can be profitable. The media of the future probably will not produce conformity, as has been feared in some quarters, but rather will encourage and oater to individuality. It is generally accepted that the impact and absorption of information depend to a large extent on the particular medium through which the information is transmitted. Marshall McLuhan, former director of the University of Toronto's Center for Culture and Technology, goes so far as to assert that "societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication." Each communications medium has distinct characteristics. Printed media are passive and invite introspection. The reader may scan, skip, or plod, as he pleases; he has full control of the material. Radi6 .and television, in contrast, are aggressive in that they control both the information heard and/or seen and the pace at which it is transmitted. Clear Areas Radio has great power of suggestion. This was demonstrated in spectacular fashion when the 1938 Orson Welles broadcast of "The War of the Worlds," a fictional account of an invasion from Mars, caused hundreds of persons in the New York City area to flee their homes. Television and the printed media have clearly defined areas of competence in news reporting. When it comes to recording large-s c a 1 e or foreseeable news' 3 events, such as President Kennedy's funeral or a presidential news conference, television has no peer. On the other'hand, investigative reporting is, or should be, virtually a newspaper-magazine monopoly. Richard C. Wald, vice- president of NBC News, explains: "You can't take surreptitious pictures with half a ton of movie equipment, lights and sound machinery, and you can't do investigative work with a brass band." Change has been the dominant theme of mass media history to date. It has come despite the tendency to believe that the dominant medium at any given time represented the pinnacle of communications achievement. Thus, James Gordon Bennett declared, shortly after launching the New York Herald in 1835: "Books have had their day — the theaters have had their day — the temple of religion has had its day. A newspaper can be made to take the lead of all these in the great movements of human thought and of human civilization. A newspaper can send more souls to Heaven, and save more from Hell, than all the churches and chapels in New York — besides making money at the same time." From Mass to Specialization But newspapers were overshadowed by radio in the 1920s, and radio was outweighed by television in the 1950s. And television, in its turn, seems destined to undergo changes that will make it a very different medium from what it is today. Cable television, which originally served only small, remote communities, poses the most immediate threat to network television. Besides providing clear, sharp pictures, cable television can offer the subscriber many more channels than he.would otherwise be able to receive — as many as 75. With this embarrassment of television riches at hand, cable TV could serve a great variety of minority interests. Programs could be directed not only to residents of a community but to residents of a neighborhood. Mass communications media will continue to be massive in their coverage, but they may find that the concept of a mass audience no longer is valid. Radio has changed from a mass medium to one which appeals to specialized audiences. It seems likely that newspapers, magazines and television will be obliged to follow suit. <S> •ditorid RMMrch Rttortt An editorial in U Monde, influential French newspaper. T710URTEEN years after the first I 1 American military advisers were sent to aid the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem, American troops have begun their withdrawal from South Vietnam. Only S14 men were involved in the first symbolic departure on July 8, but they will be followed by 25,000 more In the next two months, and further troop withdrawals may be announced shortly by President Niton. The commitment originally undertaken by Dwight Eisenhower and pursued and broadened by John F. Kennedy was greatly accelerated by Lyndon Johnson. The United States was pledged to "defeating Communism" and to "halting Northern aggression against the South." What this policy amounted to at the time was an attempt to defeat the National Liberation Front. For when the South Vietnamese army was on the brink of collapse at the end of 1M4, the guerrillas were receiving little real aid from Hanoi. Substantial reinforcements and arms shipments from the North came only later. The confusion arose from the American refusal to recognize that the Viet Cong had taken up arms against an extremely unpopular foreign-backed regime. Untenable Situation But Washington was finally forced to acknowledge that • military victory in South Vietnam was impossible. The White House now appears to be seeking a way out of an untenable situation. The present death toll of 38,000 is considered heavy enough and President Nixon seems to be finding the Saigon government as difficult to deal with as his recognized adversaries, the Viet Cong. To justify the first American troop withdrawals, he announced that the South Vietnamese army was capable of controlling the military situation itself, although he may have only half believed it. The argument is consistent, if not well-founded, for officially the American troops play only a supporting role In the fighting. Fought Atone r Actually, it is obvious to everyone that the Saigon government would soon collapse were it not for American aid. For reasons which remain unclear, the Viet Cong recently lifted their siege of Ben Het, leading some observers to conclude that the South Vietnamese troops had proved their combat readiness. It should not be forgotten, however, that they Calls for Optional Retirement By Sydney Harris CHICAQO, ILL. — When we arbitrarily force men to "retire" at 65 — as we do more and more in our closely geared- society — we are offering some of them a blessing, arid] others a curse. It seems to me that, just as we require candidates for serious jobs to take application tests, we ought to provide the same individual scale for candidates for retirement, and not banish so many men by some generalized ruling that is grossly unfair. In the arts and sciences, for instance, where activity can flourish without the heavy hand of the payroll department on its windpipe, the history of achievement includes some of the greatest masterpieces of all time. If Tintoretto had been put on the shelf at 70, he never would have painted his magnificent "Paradise," a canvas extending 75 feet by 30, which he com- pleted at age 74. And Verdi at the same ripe age, composed his most profound opera, "Otello". Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote his most charming and pungent book, "Over the Teacups," when he was 79. And, most remarkably of all, Titian painted his priceless "Battle of Lepanto" at 96. Now, there is no reason to believe that men in the arts and sciences retain (or even augment) their talents more than men in other fields. The distributional curve of abilities must be pretty much the same along the age-scale in any occupation not needing physical exertion. Some men, it is true, may become senile in their 70s; others may already have been senile in their 40s, but nobody knew it; while still others may retain their keenness, and improve their judgment, as Goethe did. A man who wants to retire should certainly be given the opportunity; but the one who wants to carry on deserves the same consideration, if in the- opinion of his peers and colleagues, he is capable of doing so. We rob ourselves of much talent by rejection for age alone. were dependent on the Americans to provide them with the means to fight. In addition to the "advisers," the pro. visions, weapons and ammunition were supplied by the United States, quit* apart from the artillery and air support from outside. The attackers, while armed with Russian or Chinese rockets, fought alone, without foreign advisers and planes. No socialist country parachuted them supplies or sent In helicopters to evacuate their wounded. The problem again is not how to "Vietnamlze" the conflict, but rttber how to "de-Americanize" South Vietnam. Secretary of State William Rogers'* recent acknowledgment of a reduction in Infiltration from the North as well as the notable lull In the fighting may be taken as a hopeful sign. Break With Present Allies Since the American leaders have repeatedly stated that they are not "married" to any particular regime, they would do well to take advantage of the •m R*m Crossing the Potomac present, relatively favorable situation! to step up "de-escalation" of the war, jas Senator George Md<5bv*rn suggested. Above all else, they must bring all their weight to bear on the "allied" government which seems to have a marked preference for throwing its opponents In jail rather than seeking a peaceful settlement. Mr. Nixon will necessarily have to follow this line of action if he seriously intends to withdraw his troops. Unable to win the war, sooner or later he will have to "win the peace," in keeping with his electoral promises. This implies not only an accommodation with his adversaries, but an eventual break with his present allies if they can-. not bring themselves to accept a new situation. Mao's Thought Credited With Successful Tumor Surgery From an article in tot Peking Review. /I UIDED by Chairman Mao's prole- \J tarian line in medical work, a simple hospital for road builders successfully removed a huge pelvic tumor from a poor peasant woman. This marks another great victory for Mao Tse-tung Thought. On Jan. 9, 25-year-old Chang Hsiu- hsiu, on the brink of death, was carried to the hospital. She had been bedridden for many days, taking neither food nor drink and unable to relieve herself. Her condition was critical. Examination showed that a tumor in her pelvis was heavily pressing on her urethra and colon and an operation was imperative. This small worksite hospital had no gynecologist. It had only one surgeon. Some among the staff were afraid they couldn't handle such a major operation. To ease their misgivings, the revolutionary leading group of the hospital organized the staff to restudy Chairman Mao's great teaching to "heal the wounded, rescue the dying, practice revolutionary humanitarianlsm." They criticized the crimes of Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line in medical and health work, which did not serve the poor and lower- middle peasants. Duty To Mao The whole hospital came to understand that whether they admitted Chang Hsiu-hsiu and whether they treated the poor peasants were important tests of whether they carried out Chairman Mao's revolutionary line. After careful examination the tumor proved to be benign, but its great size and deep location presented many difficulties. While a few of the medical workers were uneasy about undertaking such an operation, some others completely ignored the difficulties and were overconfident of easy victory. The patient was very worried. The revolutionary leading group went to the patient's home village to make investigations. They found that u a result of the counter-revolutionary revisionist line pushed by Liu Shao-chi,fjhe Tungkoumen brigade had very poor medical service. Chang Hsiu-hsiu'i tu- mor had grown to its present state due to lack of treatment. Using these facts as living teaching material, the leading group took the medical personnel Into the ward, where they joined Chang Hsiu-hsiu in studying Chairman Mao's instructions. Increased Hatred As a result, they greatly increased their hatred for Liu Shao-chi's counterrevolutionary revisionist line in medical and health work and deepened their love for Chairman Mao's revolutionary line. The medical workers organized five fighting groups. Lacking the regular apparatus, they improvised an anesthetic device. They used .dry-cell battery light since they did not 'have a special lamp for inspecting the abdominal cavity. Since the hospital had no blood bank, more than 200 road builders on the nearby construction site hurried to the hospital, each offering to be a donor. They said: "To defend Chairman Mao's revolutionary line and to save the life of a poor peasant-class sister, we will give all the blood needed." Before the operation began, the revolutionary leading group led the staff in restudying our great leader Chairman Mao's teaching: "Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty." Recited Teaching- The first difficulty they faced after the abdomen had been opened was that it was very hard to distinguish between the tumor and the surrounding tissue because there were many adhesions. Then the political agitation group led the others in reciting Chairman Mao's teaching: "This army has an indomitable spirit and is determined to vanquish all enemies and never to yield." The doctors felt fresh strength and encouraged each other with these words: "Surmount every difficulty to win victory!" The medical workers had been In the operating room for nearly 10 hours. Only a tiny fragment of the tumor remained to be separated. But it was deep in the abdomen and attached to an artery. Some of the doctors and nurses hesitated. If this bit was left untouched, they thought, it might grow again. But if they removed it, violent bleeding might result and the operation, already nearing success; would all be in vain. What kind of thinking should they rely on to win complete victory? At this moment, the political agitation group passed on to them this inspiring teaching of Chairman Mao's "Our duty is to hold ourselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people's interests." Having studied this supreme directive, the medical workers worked with redoubled care. At last they overcame this last obstacle and were successful. Thirty-eight days after the operation, Chang Hsiu-hsiu left the hospital. Now she looks a picture of health and can take part in ordinary manual labor. She says to everybody she meets: "The revolutionary line of Chairman Mao has saved my life."

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