Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day and Bobby Kennedy

Next week, June 4, it will be 39 years since former Attorney General, Senator and Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot. (he died on June 6). By the way, BOBBY, is a great movie.

This is part of a television interview with Bobby Kennedy on the Vietnam War

It sounds like some of what he might say today.

I think the course that we are following is in error. But, I am saying that as a United States Senator and want to have what I say analyzed on that basis. I've always said unless it is clear that its their war and we are over there to help them that we can't win.

Now they have had corruption and lack of land reform, They failed to put in the democratic procedures that we should have and the democratic processes.

Unless they change,unless there is a drastic change, the people of South Vietnam are not going to feel the loyalty to them to Saigon -rather to the Vietcong and feel that its worth while- they're making the sacrifice -they're making the effort.

I think they should do it. They should carry the burden. Now if they are going to do more of that and the North Vietnamese will not escalate which I expect they will. And the Russians can send them far more sophisticated weapons than they have already. If both of those things come true, I think we will be well on our way to winning the war.

I think there has to be a one hundred and eighty degree turn on the part of the South Vietnamese and there has to be a complete change of policy in North Vietnam.I haven't seen any indications of this up to the present time,

I would to see the South Vietnamese do more. I would to see them carry this burden I would like to see them doing the fighting and not just Americans. Because I don't think there is any alternative to that. We are not going to win unless the South Vietnamese do more, and make more of an effort. It shouldn't be just the United States and Americans doing it.

First we were making the effort there so that people had their own right to decide their own future and select their own form of government. And it wasn't going to be imposed on them by North Vietnam. We had the support of the people of South Vietnam . I think that's why we were involved in that struggle. That's certainly the way I looked at it when I was in President Kennedy's administration and in President Johnson's.

Now we turned. When we found that the South Vietnamese haven't given the support and are not making the effort. Now we are saying we are going to fight there so we don't have to fight in Thailand . So we don't have to fight on the west coast of the United States, so they won't move across the Rockies.

Our whole moral position, it seems to me changes tremendously. One we are in there- We are helping people. We are working with them. We're fighting for their Independence.

Second, we're killing the enemy and we are also killing many civilians. But we are doing it because they want it.

Now we changed, we switched. Maybe they don't want it but we want it. We are going in there, we're killing South Vietnamese, we're killing children, we're killing women, we're killing innocent people. Because we don't want to have war fought on American soil. Or because they are twelve thousand miles away and they might get to be eleven thousand miles away.

Our whole moral position changes it seems to me.

Do we have the right here in the United States to say we are going to kill tens of thousands of people, make millions of people as we have refuges, kill women and children as we have.

There is thirty-five thousand people without limbs in South and fifty thousand civilian casualties every year. Thousands of children are killed because of our efforts.

Do we have that right, here in the United States to perform these acts, because we want to protect ourselves so it is not a greater problem for us in the United States.

I very seriously question whether we have that right. And I think other people are fighting it, other people are carrying the burden. But this is also our war. Those of us who stay here in the United States.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit