Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Underground Newspapers? If you really think about them, they say: “You’re being propagandized. Read this: What’s really happening: the truth.” Now truth is a pretty elusive thing. Everyone who’s ever put ink to newspaper has set about to write the “truth.” How can I (a student) try to tell you the truth about a wrong war? If you don’t the truth by now, one truth or the other, my opinions aren’t going to swing you. Rather than rap (polemicize, prpagandize) about the myths behind our Vietnam mess, let’s start with some “facts” we can all agree on. The Criminal Intelligence Division has infiltrated the Saigon press corps in order to find those ugly leaks and plug them. A Spec 5 (Robert Lawrence) gripes that the brAss was censoring his news broadcast and he gets a court-martial for not shining his shoes. Some big-city newspapers plea for an immediate withdrawal and Spiro T. Flatfoot calls them Commie-Sympathizer Eggheads. An efficiency expert in pentagon exposes wastage in the Air Force (involving the C5-A) and gets fired as an economy move. The Black Panther Party sends a speaker to Heidelberg and Capt. Steba (Patton) threatens his men: they dare not hear. At Turley Kaserne in Mannheim underground newspapers were “wind-distributed” during a demonstration for peace, and the MPs and Lifers take them all away from the GIs. One man in the pentagon, John C. Broger, dictates AFN policy with respect to the truth. Tolstoy is banned in Greece, and, yes, they’ve even managed a small hassle because of Graffitti.
I hate people who give you the “answers,” so I’ll try a few questions: First, what is it that they don’t want you to know? Can it be that our Armed Forces waste money? Can you and I have killed all those civilians and beautiful children in My Lai? Why should Tolstoy (admittedly a Russian, but...) be such a threat to “democracy--Greek Style’ Why does the Army bother with censorship? And what’s wrong with our Graffitti (What’s right with Graffitti is a tougher question.)
Well, so there seem to be two sides--two truths. One tells you about peace through war, freedom through Military Dictatorship, Honor through Persistency. The other says Peace by stopping fighting, Freedom by self-determination for this war-torn people, and Honor by Justice. But these are my conclusions, I ask you to draw your own by thinking about the facts above. Generally when one side is terrified of the other side’s truth it’s a natural reaction to try to suppress this other side...When one side is glad to logically present it’s truth opposite the other, it has no fear. Which side seems more reliable to you? Graffitti is not afraid of The Stars and Stripes. But I’ve been trying to bring Graffitti to soldiers for months now, and I can assure you the Army is afraid of underground newspapers. I’ve watched America laugh off it’s protesting students. I’ve come a long way since the days of ROTC to an understanding that it’s our GIs who are in the best position to bring down this awful war. And GIs don’t like this war. And they write underground. And they read these papers--almost 50 of them. And the Army hates these papers. Now what exactly is it that the Army fears? Truth?
The Graffitti, no. 4