The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 04, 1970, Page PAGE 7, Image 7

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Sou of Credibility Gap
When Richard Nixon took
office, his aides, including
particularly his com
munications director Herbert
Klein, made it dear that the
new President regarded the
major legacy left him by his
predecessor as "the credibility
Air. Nixon set out to restore
the confidence of Americans la
the truth of what their officials
told them, particularly about
the war. For a while he
seemed to be making progress,
but after last week's exercise
in deception and coun
terdeception, we appear to be
right back where we started.
It all began with something
called "protective reaction
strikes" that is to say,
bombing. The American people
understood that we had agreed
not to bomb North Vietnam,
and when the news of the
Our man hoppe
Word that President Nixon's
welfare reform bill has been
deathly ill in the Senate was
slow in reaching Appalachia
That veteran poverty fighter,
Jud Joad, who's been fighting
poverty man and boy for nigh
on to 60 years, heard it down at
the feed store from Owly
Peterman, who keeps up on
such things.
After buying a penny licorice
for his wife, Maude, Jud head
ed slowly back up the muddy
road to break the news to
"Dont look like you'll be
getting them gingham curtains
soon, Maude," he said, scrap
ing his boots on the ramshackle
"More bad tidings, Jud?
"I RECKON. You know how
the President finally figured
out what us poor folks need to
lick poverty?"
"You told me, Jud. Money.
Of all the ideas our Presidents
have thought up over the years
to help us out, I still think
that's the soundest Dont tell
me he's changed his mind
about giving us some.'
"Oh, he still wants to. But a
lot of Senators don't want to let
"How come they're mad at
us, Jud?"
"They alnt mad at us,
Maude. They're doing It for our
own cood."
"SET YOU DOWN a spell In
tln rocker by me, Jud, and ex
plain all about It"
"Well, it's like this. The
Senators figure lfn the Presi
dent gives us money, I wont
want to go out and work."
"But, Jud, honey, you alnt
forked since back last
"Now, hold on, Maude, I alnt
worked cause I been fighting
"protective reaction strikes"
was announced by the Defense
Department last week, officials
hastened to deny that we had
bombed above the 19th
But in Paris, Hanoi's
spokesman insisted that we
had. They even identified the
missiles we used. When our
representatives dutifully
asserted that the enemy was
confusing our bombing with
their own missiles falling to
earth, Hanoi's men asked
scornfully, "Where would we
get Shrikes?" It was only a
day or so later that the
Defense Department revealed
that, indeed, we had bombed
above the 19th parallel and
indeed we had fired Shrike
That admission came about
because the President told
some of the servicemen he
invited to Thanksgiving dinner
that there had been bombing
in connection with the abortive
Jud joad's soul
inflation. Like I told you when
Old Man Morgan laid me off.
Them economist fellows up in
Washington figure we got to
have more unemployment to
lick inflation. See, if 'n I'd gone
on working, I'd of bought you
them gingham curtains youre
always wanting and the price
of gingham curtains would go
sky-high to where we couldn't
afford them."
"But I'd of had my gingham
"We got to think of others
less fortunate. By not working,
I'm keeping the price of
gingham curtains down to
where we could afford them,
if n we had any money."
H'n the Government don't want
you to work so's you'll fight
inflation, how come the
Senators are worried you wont
Jud frowned. "I reckon it's
my immortal soul they're wor
ried about lfn they give me
money, I wouldn't keep on
looking for a Job I cant find
nohow. I'd destroy my get up
and go."
Well, I dont know, Jud. If'n
you had a job, we wouldn't be
needing the money. And ifn we
had the money, you wouldn't be
needing a job. Seems like
they're just aiming to keep us
"That alnt so. Maude You
womenfolk dont understand
these things."
"They wont give you the
money 'cause you wouldnt get
a job you cant get and they
dont want you to have nohow
which, if'n you got, would mean
you wouldnt need the money in
the first place. It dont make
sense to me."
LOOK AT IT this way,
Maude. The economists is
worried about the prices we
cant afford, the President's
4, 1970
raid on the prison. The an
nouncement that we had made
an abortive raid on a prison
was in turn as a Defense
Department spokesman
remarked made necessary
by the enemy's announcement
that bombs had been dropped.
"Our credibility was at stake,"
said the Defense Depart
ment. Indeed it was. And still is.
What, for example, 13 a
"purposeful crash landing" of
a helicopter? Helicopters are
not crash-landed, even in
prison courtyards. They either
land, or they crash. Surely a
people who can be told of the
failure of a mission can be
told of the crashing of a
What seems to be at work
here is that the crashed
helicopter was the Shrike of
Sontay that is, the enemy
had film of it, so something
had to be said about it.
And what about the
worried about the money we
ain't got, and the Senate's
worried about our spiritual
He reached across and
President's statement that all
the men who participated la
the raid on the prison had
volunteered for the mission. It
turned out that indeed they had
volunteered, but were not
aware of what the mission
would be. It would not have
diminished their heroism one
bit if the President had spoken
about their heroism with ex
actness. And as for the bombing
which took place south of the
19th parallel, and- which was
all Mr. Nixon's countrymen
were told when the week
began, it was explained as
"retaliation" for a breach by
the enemy of an "un
derstanding" that it would not
shoot down unarmed recon
naissance planes. But those
officials who negotiated the
bombing halt say there never
was such an "understanding."
"We knew better than to ask
for it," one explained recently.
is saved
squeezed her arm. "Now dont
you feel a sight better knowing
everybody up there in
Washington's deep down con
cerned about our welfare?"
Good-bye, Old Paint
"No nation which calls itself
sovereign could ever agree to
permit free access to recon
naissance planes."
Finally, there is Defense
Secretary M e 1 v 1 n Laird's
statement that the North
Vietnamese have violated the
Geneva Convention in respect
to prisoners of war. To the
horror of civilization, they
have. But so to the equal
civilized world which gets its
information about the war
from other sources than .Mr.
Laird have we. We not only
don't keep prisoners, we turn
them over to the South Viet
namese for "interrogation" as
well as incarceration.
Sen. J. William Fulbright (D
Ark.) lamented those lapses
from truth the other day,
recalling the statement of
President Kennedy's Pentagon
that the government had "the
right to lie." An unpopular war
seems to have forced the Nixon
Administration to concur.
"If I had my druthers," said
Maude, rocking slowly, her
hands folded in her lap, "I'd
druther have a set of gingham