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[beeping, music] Good evening, I'm Robert MacNeil in New York. - I'm Jim Lehrer in Washington and after a summary of the news this Wednesday, we have coverage of the day's Waco and Whitewater hearings, five historians and authors discuss the reality and the legacy of the Korean War, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault conducts another conversation about cyberspace. - Major funding for the MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour has been provided by the Archer Daniels Midland Company: ADM, supermarket to the world. By New York Life, yet another example of the wise investment philosophy New York Life has been following for the last 150 years, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
and by the annual financial support from viewers like you. - The Senate today defied repeated appeals from President Clinton and voted to lift the arms embargo on the Bosnian Muslims. The vote was 69 to 29. The bill received bipartisan support. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was a key sponsor of the legislation. He and the Democratic Senate leader Tom Daschle spoke on the Senate floor before the vote. - People have a right to defend themselves and if we stand in their way and if more are killed and more are raped and more little boys are taken off to camps 12 years old and more hanged in trees and more throats are cut because we impose our will on this little country, "You can't do this because we don't want you to do this." It's their country, their lives, their blood. I think it's time for change in policy.
- A unilateral lift means in large measure unilateral responsibility. A unilateral lift means accelerated deployment of U.S. forces and on that there can be no question. We lift, they leave. We lift, we help them leave. We lift, we're there and the action spreads. - President Clinton has threatened to veto the bill but the margin of today's Senate vote would be sufficient to override him. The president commented on the Senate action at a White House event this afternoon. - I do not believe the strong course for the United States and the strong course for the people of Bosnia is to unilaterally lift the arms embargo, collapse the UN mission and increase the chances of injecting American troops there. I don't believe that. I think the strong course is to have a powerful use of air power and to support the rapid reaction force that the French and the British are putting on the ground that they have
proved will attack back if they're attacked. U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Ghali gave up his veto power over NATO air strikes in Bosnia today. He delegated the power to the military commander of the U.N. protection forces there. Last night, NATO officials strengthened their promise to protect the U.N. safe haven of Goražde. They threatened a strike if the Serbs began military preparations which appeared to be a direct threat to Goražde. Thousands of refugees from the conquered town of Žepa made their way towards government-held territory in central Bosnia today. We have a report from Nik Gowing of Independent Television News. - Early this morning, a convoy of buses and UN vehicles crossed the confrontation lines and arrived in Sarajevo with 150 of the wounded from Žepa. On board, men with injuries from the three-year siege of Žepa along with women and children. Like Srebrenica, they brought distressing accounts of their town's destruction, then how it was abandoned as the Bosnian army retreated into the forested hills.
The group were taken to Sarajevo's main hospital, already under great pressure from the city's own ordeal, another two dead and ten seriously wounded by more shelling in the city today. Meanwhile, further north, some one and a half thousand people from Žepa have so far reached the Bosnian government town of Kladanj. Most of them, mainly women, children and elderly men, had walked through the night across the confrontation line. The Bosnian Serbs had earlier bussed them out of Žepa. The United Nations wants to control this exodus in two ways, by giving the refugees much needed food and shelter. More crucially, they are compiling passenger lists to avoid, in their words, any repetition of the reported abductions and attacks that followed the evacuation of Srebrenica. - About 8,000 Muslim refugees are on the run from heavy fighting in Bihać, another U.N. safe zone. A coalition of Bosnian and Croatian Serbs, allied with rebel Muslims, is fighting the Bosnian government for control of that city.
- The death toll in the Paris subway bombing rose to seven today. The explosion occurred yesterday on an express train in the Saint Michel Metro station near Notre Dame Cathedral, more than 80 people were injured. Authorities issued a nationwide security alert today, and offered a $200,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. Hundreds of French police patroled subways, train stations and airports across France. Border patrols were also bolstered. French interior minister, Jean-Louis Debré, today urged citizens to rally to fight terrorism. - South Korean President Kim Young-sam thanked the United States today for its support during and after the Korean War. He addressed a joint session of Congress. He's in Washington for the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorial tomorrow, the 42nd anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the conflict. We'll have more about the Korean War later in the program. - There was apparently conflicting testimony today by two witnesses at the Senate Whitewater
hearings. A Secret Service officer said he saw the first lady's chief of staff, Maggie Williams, carrying files away from the Office of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster following his 1993 suicide. Williams later testified that she took nothing from Foster's office. At the Waco hearings, federal agents contradicted yesterday's testimony by lawyers for the Branch Davidian cult. Those lawyers said cult leader David Koresh was prepared to surrender before the federal raid. But an FBI negotiator said today that authorities were convinced Koresh would never give up. We'll have extended excerpts from both hearings later in the program. - Researchers at Rockefeller University have identified a protein that regulates body weight. Their study will be published this week in the journal Science. They found that injecting a protein called leptin reduced fat in mice by 30 percent after two weeks of treatment. A nearly identical protein is found in humans. It is believed to control weight by forcing the body to burn excess fat.
Researchers said more studies are required to determine if the protein is safe and effective for humans. - Former Michigan governor George Romney died today at his home near Detroit. The 88-year-old Republican collapsed while exercising on a treadmill. The medical examiner said he died of natural causes. Romney was elected governor three times in the 1960s and made an unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968. He later served as president Nixon's Housing Secretary. - And that's it for the news summary tonight. Now it's on to the Waco and Whitewater hearings, the Korean War, and cyberspace. - Now, the two big hearings continuing on Capitol Hill. First Waco. Witnesses today included agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who had been at the Branch Davidian compound. Betty Ann Bowser reports.
- Special agent Jim Cavanaugh contradicted the testimony of two Branch Davidian attorneys, who yesterday told the oversight panel the ATF fired first. When the February 28th raid took place, Cavanaugh was watching from an observation post nearby. - I had 75 agents stretched down in front of me. I had a box seat. And when we drove up, the Davidians opened fire. And I'm sickened by any other assertion, I sat there and I watched it. And the gunfire came through those double white doors. I watched it. It pushed the doors against their jambs out toward the agents. And in fact, two agents were shot there. And anybody else who says anything different, they shot first. And if I thought that an ATF agent would drive up in front of a structure and shoot, I'd
throw my badge in the garbage. It didn't happen. But anyway, we were taking an awful beating, and they were throwing everything at us, and their gunned sounded like cannons, and our guns sounded like popguns. - Cavanaugh is a trained negotiator, but the first time he ever used those skills was that day when he negotiated a ceasefire over the telephone with David Koresh's chief lieutenant, Steve Schneider. - And I said, well, there's a wounded agent. We had already tried to get our wounded agent who was trapped in an alcove back there next to the tower agent Kenny King. We tried to move a team to get him... [crying] but they just opened up on us. We couldn't get him. - Then Cavanaugh began to talk to Kuresh for the first time. - It was very difficult, and I'm sorry to get a little sad about it, but I had a radio mic in one ear with an agent pleading for his life, and I had this guy on the phone
who thought he was God. And if you can picture yourself in that situation, I just think it was unbelievable. And if I couldn't negotiate it, how was I going to get this guy out? And how many agents was I going to send to get him? How many people would die? I mean, I felt like a ship's captain. How many people are going to get in the boat? So I put all my energy into negotiating it, because if I didn't, this guy in my ear, my friend was going to die. - Even though the FBI took over, Cavanaugh continued to talk to Koresh because negotiators felt Koresh trusted him. And on Tuesday, March the 2nd, three days after the raid, there appeared to be a breakthrough. - I believe that was our last best chance to get him to ever come out. I don't believe that he, once he didn't come out on that Tuesday, the reasons I say that he was fatigued, he had been in a gun battle on Sunday.
I shared the feelings. I was in the same gun battle. He was fatigued, he was wounded, he was hurt, we'd been working on him for three days. This was our chance, I thought, to get him out. But at the very last moment, he couldn't do it. When he lined up with all the children and the women in the hallway, and they all came by to kiss his ring, and that's detailed in that transcript, ad nauseam, that he couldn't leave this place where he was God with unlimited sexual favors, unlimited being the Messiah and walk out to a cold jail cell. He couldn't do it at the last minute. I believe that was the case. - Negotiations dragged on into late March. The man in charge, special agent Jeffrey Jamar, submitted a plan to tear gas the compound to his superiors in Washington. The FBI allowed Davidian attorneys Dick DeGuerin and Jack Zimmerman to talk to their clients. And on April 14th, they told Jamar they had a deal.
If Koresh was allowed to complete a religious manuscript, he would come out. - He sent a letter out saying it was time to write the seals, and he was ready to do that. It was open-ended as to when that might occur. - But that he might at some time come out voluntarily? - I think that was about the fourth time he had promised that, yes. - And did you have any reason not to believe that he would actually do that? - From his conduct, from February 28th until April 19th, I'd have every reason to believe he would not do that, yes. - What do you mean, can you elaborate on that? - He constantly would make promises he did not keep. I think the efforts of the negotiators in seven weeks of discussion, I think an analysis of those tapes, will indicate how manipulative and how devious he was in his ability to control events. He would put us on one edge and duck us down to the other constantly. That was his stock in trade. - Did you have any reason to believe that this last offer was any more credible than any of
the others that he had made? - I remained as hopeful as I always was. I didn't bite as hard as I did on March 2nd. But we listened, we pushed and pushed and pushed. "What's the progress on the manuscripts? Tell us, tell us, tell us." And all we got was stall. - And for that reason, Jamar said, he rejected the idea and never informed top Justice Department officials about it. While all of this was going on in Waco, in Washington, Attorney General Janet Reno was considering Jamar's tear gas plan. - The premise of the delivery of the gas first was to the corner of the compound. And the idea was, gas is in your compound, we're going to make your compound uninhabitable, and then we're going to back away. We expect some to come out immediately. We expect it would take us 48 hours to contaminate the whole place if they didn't respond to us. If they would have said, stop, we want to come out, I'd have been the end of the gassing right there.
- On April 17th, Attorney General Reno approved the tear gas plan. - Tell me, what would have been lost by waiting another 10, 20 or 60 days to do the execution of the tunnel clean? - The fear we had all along was a breakout. And the thing is, as time passed, it was going to get to the point where, by his actual 19th, I think, removes any doubt in my mind about this, that he would decide when it would happen. And how would we stop him? What we could do to stop him from doing either a mass suicide inside, by poise and whatever you're going to do, shooting people, a fire, a breakout with a child, whatever that might have been, he would dictate when that occurred. And how would we stop him? What could we do, not only without gunning everybody down or entering the place and killing a bunch of people to stop him? Well, it's gas, CS gas. So what we wanted to do was do it on our schedule as best we can. - So you waited 51 days and had you waited another 20 or 60 days that you think in your mind there's a good possibility he would have tried to break out.
Well, the possibility was out. My point to you is that the ending was going to be the same. He was going to have that ending no matter what. Now, could we have gotten a few more people out if they became ill or he wanted to expel them or negotiate them out? That's a possibility. I don't think there's any question about that. But the end, he was going to have that end in one manner or another. I'm firmly, I'm firmly believe that. - Jamar also said he would not have supported the use of tear gas if he thought it would harm children. Tomorrow the committee will hear from former Justice Department officials who approved the plan. - Now the other big hearing today, Whitewater, Kwame Holman reports. - Today's hearing kept up the committee's two-week focus on the people who entered Vincent Foster's office on the night of July 20, 1993. Committee Republicans suggest they may have removed Whitewater documents. One of them was Margaret Williams, First Lady Hillary Clinton's top assistant. Secret Service officer Henry O'Neill was on duty that July night of the Foster suicide. And today he testified he was about to lock Foster's office, but backed out when he saw
former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum inside. Out in the hallway O'Neill said he saw Margaret Williams. - Did she walk right by you? - Yes she did. - And was she carrying anything? - Yes she was. - What was she carrying? - She was carrying what I would describe in her arms and hands as folders. She had them down in front of her as she walked down to her in a direction of where I was standing. - And where did she go? - She walked past me and she continued on down the hallway. It's only about 20 feet at the most. And she started to enter her office. And she had to brace the folders in her arms on a cabinet. And then she entered the office and came out within a few more seconds and locked the door.
- Committee Democrats immediately challenged O'Neill who was the only one among a half dozen witnesses who recall seeing Margaret Williams carrying files that night. - And in effect, the goings on in and out are your business, are they not? - I would think so, yes. - But it's fair to say that your memory of that evening is really not that clear, isn't it? - In many regards, sure. - You never told anyone in the Secret Service of the specific observations about Ms. Williams, Mr. Nussbaum, that you've related in your depositions into the committee, did you? - No, sir. - And it wasn't until after things had been written in the newspapers and you'd read about them that in effect, you were finally deposed and made a record of what you had observed that evening. Is that correct? - Not that I recall, sir. - Well, you didn't. - Oh, I understand there was a Whitewater panel supposedly coming in the summer. I may have read that, but I'd never read anything about anyone taking any files out of
any office. - Democrat Paul Simon suggested officer O'Neill might be mistaken about what he saw that night. - You say you saw Miss Williams come out of the chief counsel's suite. You did not see Miss Williams carry anything out of Mr. Foster's office, is that correct? - That is correct. So that it is possible that Miss Williams, who has sworn that she took nothing out of Mr. Foster's suite and has passed a lie detector test on that, it is possible that she left Mr. Foster's suite and picked up something either Mr. Nussbaum's suite or in the reception area that was marked for the First Lady. Maybe for the next trip the First Lady was going to be taking some background information or something like that. Is that possible? - Yes, sir.
- Early this afternoon, Margaret Williams herself was sworn in. - I was in Vince's office for a very brief time. Bernie and I left at approximately the same time. I took nothing from Vince's office. I didn't go into Foster's office with anything in mind concerning any documents that might be in his office. I did not look at, inspect, or remove any documents. At no time was I instructed by anyone, nor was there any suggestion from anyone that I go into Vince's office on the evening of July 20th. I disturbed nothing while I was there. - Some Republicans have theorized that first lady Hillary Clinton's friend Susan Thomases may have tried to conceal Whitewater documents. Williams was asked about calls she received from Thomases. Susan Thomases is not just anybody. She doesn't call on a whim. She doesn't call on a, she calls on important matters. She's a thoughtful, powerful person, a good friend of the First Lady. - I would encourage you not to be so certain that there's something sinister going on here.
I would encourage you. You don't believe it. You weren't there. I'm sorry, you don't believe it. You would make life a lot easier if you did. But everything that happened was not some big plot. If I look back on it, now I wish there really was. You could win. It would be worth being here. - Testimony before the Senate Whitewater Committee continues tomorrow. - Still ahead, Korea, the forgotten war, and our futures in cyberspace. - Now a look at the Korean War, which ended on July 27, 1953. The 42-year-old anniversary will be marked tomorrow by the dedication of a Washington memorial to the more than 54,000 Americans who died in that war, often called America's Forgotten War. 5.7 million Americans served in the military during the Korean War years.
More than 8,000 are still listed as unaccounted for. The war began on June 25, 1950, after Communist North Korea sent troops across the 38th parallel into South Korea. It was the first war fought under the United Nations banner, with the United States in 21 other nations sending troops to South Korea. Communist China sent soldiers to help North Korea. We look back at the war and its legacy with three of our regular panel of historians and writers. Presidential historians, Doris Kearns Goodman and Michael Beschloss, journalist author Haynes Johnson. They are joined tonight by historian Bruce Cummings and author-journalist David Frum. Doris, if World War II was a good war, Vietnam was a bad war, what was Korea? - Well, I think Korea started out as a pretty good war in the sense that there was a clear aggressor in North Korea. They went over that 38th parallel.
And it was a dramatic example of Truman's containment policy and had as you suggest UN approval and legitimacy. But once MacArthur with Truman's approval went north of the 38th parallel and tried to liberate the entire country of Korea, bringing in the Chinese and forcing us back to that original, more limited goal, it ended with frustration and weariness and anger and bitterness that in many ways ended Truman's presidency and led to many of the problems that produced the so-called bad war in Vietnam. - You agree with that summary, Michael? - I sure do. And I think another thing that really was a forerunner of the last 50 years is the fact that, or I should say, 45 years, is the fact that President Truman did this war without a declaration of war from Congress as required by the Constitution. Being in Congress at the time this war began were John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, the three later presidents who conducted the war in Vietnam once again without a congressional declaration of war, and this turned out to be almost a template for presidential military action during the Cold War, leading all the way up to the Persian Gulf War when George
Bush did not ask Congress for a declaration, but got a resolution of support for what he was doing. Bill Clinton and Haiti, last year, did not ask Congress either for a resolution or a declaration of war. And I think one of the interesting things is going to be now that there is a change in the balance between presidency and Congress now that the Cold War is over, whether this is going to change as well. - That's a very important role in the Korean War played in history, presidential history and wars. - It really did. And it really began this whole notion that you could fight a limited war in an age of nuclear weapons. That's what later presidents after Truman tried to do. - Mr. Frum, how would you characterize this war? - It was a war that at the time caused, as you say, immense frustration, but it looks better and better in retrospect. It was a war that taught the United States that it could not demobilize during the Cold War as it had tried to do after World War II.
It was a war that left America's guarantee more meaningful, than it probably has been ever since. That in 1953, in the aftermath of 1953, you knew that if the United States said it would come help you, it would come help, and it would stay until the job was done. - And that the United States did not have to be invaded like Pearl Harbor for that to happen is what you mean. - Exactly. But that commitment, the value of America's word, I think, has never stood higher than it did in the years between the end of the Korean War and the beginning of the Vietnam War. It's, I think, a good war in one other way, which is, at the time, Korea, although it was important if if you were Japanese, seemed like a very remote place to Americans. But in retrospect, we can see that the victory in Korea opened up. In many ways, a new epoch in certainly an economic history, and maybe perhaps, in the history of civilization, the epoch in which the North Pacific and the Pacific Rim joined the developed world. That would not have happened without the victory in Korea. And the immense volume of trade that the United States now does across the Pacific greater than the volume it does across the Atlantic. That immense volume of trade is, I think, in many ways, a direct result of the victory.
- You used the word victory rather than frustration and whatever. Why do you use the word? - The United States entered the war to guarantee the independence of South Korea. Last time I checked, South Korea was still independent. The United States won. - Professor Cummings, what do you think of this war? What do you think there ought to be called? - I don't think it should be called a victory. I think it was clearly a stalemate. Korea was divided before the war began, it's divided still today. And in effect, you still have a war going on in Korea, with only an armistice holding the peace. A year ago, we came very close to war with North Korea over the nuclear issue, perhaps some closer than most people understand. Korea has been both a victory in the Cold War and also a kind of running sore for 40 years now, where we got in and found it very difficult to extract ourselves. I think that's a fundamental lesson of the Korean War. A much more important lesson, I think, though, and this goes to why the Korean War is often called the Forgotten War, is that people, particularly in the 1950s, didn't know how
to remember it. It's rather hard to remember something that you've already forgotten and that was buried under a partisan verdict. The bipartisan support that the Cold War garnered in 1947 did not exist in Asia in 1950, and it didn't exist when the war was over. Essentially, the Democratic or Truman liberal argued that the war was a success, but for conservatives and the Douglas MacArthur lineage, it was a defeat. It was a war where there was a substitute for victory and the first American defeat in our history. - North Korea and China did not surrender as the Japanese and the Germans had, is what you mean. - Not only did they not surrender, they gave the United States the most punishing defeat that it suffered in the post-war period. Several hundred thousand Chinese came into the war in late 1950 and caused an enormous crisis in Washington.
We have Cabinet meeting minutes from that period that show the palpable sense of danger, the idea that World War III might be on the doorstep, and basically this scared the hell out of national security elites and put a limit on containment thereafter. In other words, containment would be the policy whether we had Republicans or Democrats in office and rollback was off limits. I think that fundamentally shaped the Vietnam War and made it impossible for Lyndon Johnson to invade North Vietnam because he thought he might get several hundred thousand Chinese down his throat, but more important, a tremendous political crisis in Washington such as that of the Truman/MacArthur controversy. - Haynes, pick one of these theories to agree with or add another one of your own. - Let me add a little different take on it. I think what David said was very interesting. It may be if we were writing a hundred years from now you would say this was the war that opened the global markets of Asia and so forth. I think that's a very persuasive case to make. My view of the Korean War, maybe because I was in three years in the Army in the Korean
War during that period, not valorous in combat, but I was in the Army, was that this was beginning of something more ominous in the country, when we began to lose doubt about our leaders, about our purposes, about we began turning on ourselves, and what you saw I would draw a straight line from a career right on through up into Vietnam, the doubt and purposes, the way it ended, the total frustration, it was where we started on the 38th parallel. If we went there tonight, we would be on the 38th parallel where it all began, and you can say it did contain the North Vietnamese, that certainly happened, but at a terrible price and a sense in the American psyche, I guess. We up until that point, I would argue that we believed that we were winners, that whether we were cowboys in the West or we were, our wars, we fought them, and yes, our wars were good wars, too, and that's a naive thing, our wars aren't good, obviously, never were, and there are always mistakes, there are always failures of policy, but in this case, up until that point, if America committed itself, it was going to come out clearly
a victor, and that was not the case in Korea, and was not seen as the case in Korea. It may well be historically that the other point is true, but I would argue this beginnings of the pervasive doubts we began to sow at that time, and about Truman, it cost him his election for sure, crime, career, corruption, that was Harry Truman, one forgets how popular he is today, at that point, he was seeking like this, and so you would agree with Professor Cummings that when the war was also politically divided, I mean, the parties were divided or whether this was a good war, I'm going to look after the came home, no substitute for victory, he says, and goes off to West Point with that, so look, we all soldiers never die, and so forth, but there was no final conclusion in the American mind at that time. It may have had, I don't disagree with your consequences economically, but I think psychically it did something else. What do you think about it? Psychically Doris. What do you think of it?
What do you think of Haynes theory there, about the doubts this planted... are, are they still there? Did they begin there? - Oh, I think Haynes is absolutely right. I mean, if we hadn't escalated the goals in the middle of the war, we might have felt more comfortable with the result being containment, but because there was a moment when we thought we could do much more, we could liberate the whole country, we were left with a sense, our leadership didn't work, lots of American boys died, and for what? We couldn't quite answer it then, even if we might answer it 50 years from now. And there's no question I also agree that there's a direct line between the way we prosecuted the war in Vietnam and what happened in Korea, because I know from my personal experience of talking to President Johnson that he was terrified that there were some secret treaties between the Chinese and the North Vietnamese that would be triggered if he bombed a certain point, above a certain point in North Vietnam, just as happened in Korea. And he said every afternoon when he picked those targets, he had that in mind. And every night when he went to sleep, he would wake up with a nightmare that one of his pilots had by mistake gone through one of the targets that he didn't want and had bombed an area that was going to bring the Chinese in.
And all over again, he'd have this massive Chinese invasion that caused the frustration in Korea, what happened to him in Vietnam, and he'd have to get his flashlight, get out of bed, go down to the situation room, and assure himself that everything was all right. So the legacy just went on and on and on. - You've been nodding your head, Michael? Yes. And I think it also, Korea released two other poisons into the American bloodstream very specifically. One was it gave a lot of intensity to the McCarthy period of the early 1950s that probably would not have been there. - Explain. - Well, Americans were very puzzled. Five years earlier, in 1945, we had won this great unconditional surrender from Germany in Japan. We were behemoths, we Americans around the world. And suddenly, only five or six years later, here we are in Korea with this enormous frustration fighting against North Koreans being stalemated, America's new enemy... - A whole new enemy! - Whole new enemy, and not a very impressive one compared to the Germans and the Japanese. And why were we not succeeding?
And so Americans began to look for answers. They felt very insecure. One answer that some of them came up with was its domestic communism, there are people within the United States, society, and government who are betraying us, and that this is one reason for what has happened in Korea. The other thing that I think really was longer lasting and also really ran on a straight line to Vietnam was the sense that because Truman did not achieve rollback because he did not unite and liberate Korea, the Democrats were somehow soft on communism. This is something that was absolutely burned into John Kennedy, burned into Lyndon Johnson, had a lot to do with their ferocity on Vietnam. - David Frum, first of all, what do you think about the McCarthyism tie? - Well, I think it's overplayed. One reason that Americans thought there were people in government who were betraying the United States is because there really were people in government betraying the United States. There really was an atomic spy ring, and we now see, all these years later, that some of the wildest allegations of that period actually turned out to be right, that there really
was a spy ring operating at the highest levels of the Manhattan Project. - And the North Koreans symbolized the communist, that communist enemy. - And maybe if the United States hadn't been at peace, people would have been a little less upset about it than they actually were. But I can't imagine them being an awful lot less upset about it. I think, I agree with Mrs. Goodwin, that certainly it's true that Korea had an immense impact on the way that the Vietnam War was prosecuted in the reasons for its failure. The classic example of generals fighting the last war, that it never occurred to anybody in 1965, or I don't know, at least it doesn't seem to have occurred to President Johnson, that a China in the middle of a civil war, with fighting a war across the mountains and more than a thousand miles away from its industrial heartland, was not in a position to pour the hundreds of thousands of troops that had done into North Korea, from Manchuria, into a Vietnam War. - Just a huge blind spot, you mean? - Well, I think the irony is that one of the saddest consequences of Korea is if that war
had not happened the way it was, I don't think anyone would have doubted that the obvious solution to the Vietnam War was to invade North Vietnam. And I think had that been done, that war might have ended a lot more profitably for the United States than it did. - Doris, based on your knowledge of Lyndon Johnson, does that make sense to you? - I think so. I mean, I think Johnson was always afraid of making this war more than a limited war. He always had the prospect of World War III in front of him. And he somehow had this imagining that the Chinese leaders had sat down behind secret tables with the North Vietnamese and worked out this secret set of treaties. And I think he was afraid that the military was going to go beyond him, and he had to always restrain. He thought he was a restraining force. And to the extent that some analysts claim that the war being conducted as a limited war led to its ultimate frustration and ultimate failure, then that's correct. There are other people who would argue it was never going to be winnable anyway, given that it was a civil war. But that's the debate that's gone on for the last 30 years. Professor Cummings on the Korean War specifically, there are, as we sit here tonight, 8,000 Americans still missing from that war.
There are somewhat over, some number over 2,000 missing from Vietnam. We never hear about the 8,000 about Korea. Didn't hear about it right after the war. We're still hearing about Vietnam. Tell me the difference. Explain the difference. - Well, I think a key difference is that the Korean War ended with an enormous scandal, when about 21 Americans chose to stay on the communist side. And this created an entire 1950s discourse in genre about brainwashing. And this controversy, which was immense and dominating at the end of the war, and a shock to the American people in the way that this war was in general, I think, in terms of its outcome as a stalemate, it tended to hide the fact that thousands of American POWs were still missing. It may be that some of them actually were taken to the Soviet Union. I mean, there have been some documents that have appeared that have suggested this.
I think also our lack of contact with North Korea over decades. It's really only in the 1990s that we've had contact with them, except at the military troop side, which was always a belligerent kind of contact. I think that made it very difficult to find out what happened to American soldiers. In recent years, the North Koreans have been, for them, reasonably forthcoming about identifying remains and turning them over. Hundreds of remains have come back. But there still are thousands of soldiers unaccounted for. Of course, some of them were simply so blown to smithereens that they evaporated. In effect, it isn't the case that 8,000 people are missing in the sense that North Korea still holds them. I'd like to say one other thing about the war, and its legacy that hasn't come out yet, as Michael Beschloss suggested, the war went on under the cloud of McCarthyism and under the censorship, and never really was a well-known war. But it was a terribly important war.
It was the occasion for the United States to establish a global base structure, more than a hundred military bases, but within the first six months of the Korean War, defense spending nearly quadrupled. The U.S. in effect got a permanent army and permanent positions all over the world. We got a military-industrial complex at home, a national security state. All of it erected during the Korean War, not really because of the Korean War, but because it was a crisis that came along that finally provided Truman and his Secretary of State Acheson with the wherewithal to fight the Cold War on a global scale. Much of that structure is still with us after the end of the Cold War, and as all of you know, it's causing problems in terms of winding down defense industries, losing jobs, defense spending that continues to be at Cold War levels and so on. But the Korean War will be remembered in history, I think, ultimately and most importantly for its role in pushing through these policies symbolized by NSC-68, which was the great document of that era.
- You read it the same way, Hank? Absolutely. And I think I'd even more strongly, I think you can make a case that in the Korean War started the entire movement for the next 45 years of defense spending and all of these things. That was because of the Korean War, it's when the Cold War turned hot. And from that moment on, it was no longer the legacy of World War II. We were engaged in the Cold War. - There could be another Korea any moment. Or... In fact, there was. [crosstalk] - ...Vietnam Or the use of the Bomb. But one other thing I just want to make one point we haven't talked about. It seems to me looking back on it, One of the great legacies was the reassertion of the primacy of the President in civilian control over the military. When Harry Truman fired Douglas MacArthur, that was a signal event. I mean, it really took place at a very difficult time for the President, in a time of disillusionment. - He wasn't in a good shape, politically. - Absolutely not. - Douglas MacArthur was a huge hero. - He was a god-like figure coming out of, you know, with his corn cob pipe and hat and all those braids. And there he came down from Mount Olympus in this great, huge... and he got fired! And then the country took it.
And they actually said, yes, we rather like that little Missouri guy. Even though we don't want him as President, he took the big chief and he canned him. That's an important thing, isn't it, David? - Except there was a price to be paid, which was 25 years of mediocre generals afterwards. That one of the things that the MacArthur episode symbolized, one of the reasons that it was so difficult to fire MacArthur was because he was the greatest fighting general of the United States, at least north of the Mason-Dixon line, ever had. Yeah, it was tough to fire him. It was tough to fire him. - Some people in the Marine Corps would disagree with you. But go right ahead. - There's a personal comment on that. - I think there's another element in MacArthur's firing, though. And that is the effect on the Democratic Party. Dean Acheson in his memoirs talks about the war for containment, in the South is a great success, the finest hour of the Truman presidency. And then describes the war in the North as having demolished the Truman presidency. Harry Truman decided not to run for office, even though he could have again. He could have had a second term if he had won. And I could make a long argument that we don't have time for that this really began a long
period of single-term democratic presidents perceived as getting us into wars and not knowing how to get us out of them. - Doris, you agree? - Well, what's interesting is to realize that after the Korean War, when I came in, he was not willing to say that 20 percent of the GNP should go for the military budget. There was a lessening of tensions, which allowed him to do that. But there's a speech he makes that's amazing in '53 where he said, if we keep building this military armament the way we are to fight this Cold War and keep containment alive, we're going to be taking as a thief from our people who are hungry, our people who need to be clothed. And we just can't keep doing it. So he went to massive retaliation and a hope that you wouldn't have to put so much money in. You could use limited atomic warfare. So you do have that shift of Republican-Democrat that's different from today. - Back to you, Haynes, just on a personal level. Do you recall how you and others who returned from the military during the Korean years were received by your family, your colleagues, the people on the street? - My family loved me. [laughter]
- Okay. And were glad I was home, but in a serious way, the Vietnam experience, the embittering sense when people came home in uniform for Vietnam and were jeered and deprecated and spat upon and so forth, the Korean War was invisible in that sense, it was just like you had nothing. Nothing. I was trying to think back today myself: of parades as a result... I don't remember any. - No, I don't remember any. And there were World War II parades, not in Korea. Because of the way it ended, too, or it didn't end. I mean, it was there we were and what was it all for? - But there was one other difference, which is the troops who came home from Korea came home to take part in the beginning of the greatest economic boom in American history. The troops who came home from Vietnam had the economy done as well between 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1993. I don't think you would have heard as much in the Vietnam veterans either because they would have been, as the Korean War veterans were, busy participating in one of the happiest periods in American life. - Professor Cummings did you go to any Korean War parades when it was over? - I was something like 10 years old when it was over, so I wasn't going to any parades.
But I think it's true that Korean War veterans came home not to parades and not to jeers, but basically to silence. And to silence that the soldier feels and being unable to communicate the reality, the battlefield even to his own family, which is universal, was matched by general silence in this country. - Very few movies were made about Korea. Very few novels were written about Korea. - Well, there are 12 or 14 movies about Korea, but they tend to run it as World War II, so the Bridges of Toko-Ri, which is the best known film, might as well be in another war or in World War II. I think it's another reason really why the Korean War is forgotten is that people look back on the 1950s with great nostalgia. That was true of the Reagan administration. We've had Newt Gingrich now recommend 1955 as the high point of American history. And that kind of nostalgia blots out the early '50s, which are really pretty dark period in this country.
- We're going to have to darken this and block this one out. I enjoyed this very much. Thank you all five very much. Thank you. - Now, the third in a series of conversations on the new world of cyberspace. Tonight, Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks with Gina Smith, a technology columnist and author of the Book "101 Computer Answers You Need to Know." Ms. Smith hosts a weekly syndicated radio talk show and is managing editor of the new media division at Ziff Davis Publishing Company. - Gina Smith, thank you for joining us. - It's great to be here. - How do you define cyberspace? - You know, it's such a vacuous term in a way because there's really no one place in cyberspace. And when you think about it, it really is just the place where people meet one another online using their computers and their modems. And that's it. It's not any kind of magical phenomenon the way the newspapers portray it, certainly. - Are you saying there's a lot of hype about it? - All of the hype is just so deep. You can't pick up a newspaper, a magazine, watch TV
without hearing these words. I mean, you hear it on Oprah. But I think the vast majority of America has yet to much less boot up a computer than get on the internet. It's still not a real wide phenomenon. - It is yet to be proven that any of this will actually happen. - I mean, it's a very funny thing. People talk about commerce online and how will I'll be shopping and buying groceries. But currently, under 1% of the people on the internet have the courage to buy anything at all online. And the fear is that hackers will get your credit card number. - You say that it's a big if that this world of cyberspace is really going to open up in a big way. I'm saying if it does, how long will it take? I mean, how long will before we know how viable it is as a quote-unquote technological revolution? - Well, I think we're already seeing real signs of it. I mean, we need full motion video on the internet. It needs to look as good as TV. It's got to sound as good as your stereo. That's what the American public is going to want. I think it's about three or four years before that's technologically possible. - And then in that time, we will be seeing what?
Well, I mean, what we're seeing now, the most really exciting technological innovation is going on right now, our live audio and live video on the web. And that sounds so techy. But all we're talking about is literally, just as you would turn on a radio and hear a broadcast, you could click on an icon on your computer and actually hear a radio broadcast. The big difference is interactivity with your radio, what do you do? You just turn it on and listen. With the internet, you could go on and hear exactly the things you want to hear when you want to hear it, stop it when you want to come back to it. It's really more about people being able to control it. I mean, the best example of this, for instance, is if you were buying a car, I mean, what could you do? You could ask your friends, you could watch some car ads. If this happens on the internet, you could go on there and say, I want to see every video of every car between 15 and $25,000, I want to see a comparative rate with the dealer paid, what I should pay. I want to hear audio from people who've driven it and what they think of it. That's the kind of power information on demand that this promises. That's the exciting thing about it.
- Is that a good thing? - I think it's very empowering. I mean, when you have that kind of information, literally, when you can find out about anything, I mean, a good example is travel on the internet. I mean, currently, if you want to go to a trip, you don't know, really, the travel agency might tell you this is a good hotel, but you don't really know if you haven't met anybody that stayed there, what the amenities really like. What the internet and the web allow you to do is actually go on and talk to people. - How would you find that out if I were going, say, to Nice? And I wanted to know about the hotels there, and I wanted it from credible sources. - Right now you could do this. This is actually one of the biggest areas, the biggest draws online. But there are travel areas where you could literally post a message and say, hey, I'm going to Nice. Does anyone have any good recommendations? And you might get 100 or 200 messages. People should definitely stay here. Definitely stop at this cafe. - And then how do you know whom to believe? Well, is that one of the parts I just put in to start that? - That's just life, right? You never know who to believe.
But I mean, you can actually get a lot of information that people don't want to do that in the future. - I mean, because part of having these services is that the people are lazy, I mean, some people, let's say. - This is the big missing issue, I think. When you talk about this, they talk about, you know, 65 or 600 channels and being able to do all this. When you get home from work, you're lucky if you have the energy to pour glass of coffee or wine. And much less sit there and interact. And making this information so useful that people will want to go do it is one of the biggest challenges. And believe me, there are a lot of minds thinking about that right now. - How to make this compelling? - It's quite addictive. I mean, the feeling of going on there and being able to talk to it and the anonymity. I mean, the most interesting phenomenon online, I think, is the whole phenomenon of online transvestites, of men who pretend to be women. There's a whole group of people like that. Do you have a personal example of that? - There is actually a story of a man and woman who met online. I believe it was a 31-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man who corresponded for a year and a half, both were very shy, they didn't want to meet in person, they finally did.
They were actually a 13-year-old boy and a 70-year-old man, and they never knew. The anonymity online is one of its biggest, really, benefits, but also one of its scariest things because you really never know who you're dealing with. - Well, that's why I find it hard, you know, to understand the argument that this is really going to promote community because it is such an anonymous thing that you never really know who you're talking to, you might think you're talking to Mary and you're actually talking to Sam, or you may think you're talking to an older person, you're actually talking to a younger person. - But what's so fascinating is, I mean, that's true, you could be talking to Mary and really it's Sam, but you're still talking to that person and it's still their words and it's still them. - And are there going to be disparities in, you know, in terms of who's online, because I know, for example, you've talked a lot about women. I mean, is there a gender issue here? There are women online yet, and those numbers are improving. But right now, it's, I'd say it's well over 85 percent male, and mostly 20-year-old college students and 40-year-old men who have been working on computers for years.
- Why is that, if it's...? - Yeah, I mean, it is. There are a lot of people who would say, oh, well, you know, women can't figure it out or whatever. And that's a terrible way to paint it. There was a really interesting study recently, I thought this was so good, where they found out that men, when they view their computers, look at them more as toys and tools. It's fun to tinker with them. It's, it's fun to figure out how to set up the printer as it is to, you know, write a memo or go online. Women don't think of them as toys. They just want to do, have it do what they want it to do, and turn it off and go home. And until very recently, the internet was at the point where you had to think of it as a toy in order to be sane and live with it, because it was so difficult. - But you've referred to women as second-class cyberspace citizens. I mean, is that, but you think that's going to change in the future that women will get involved? - I think is the internet and online services, like everything else, become more useful as tools for mainstream America and not just a limited, techie demographic of males. Oh, absolutely. - You spoke a few moments ago about a dark side.
What do you see as the dark side? - We were speaking about the dark side of the commercialism. I think there's big privacy fears. I mean, really, when we all leave electronic shadows, currently. I mean, just through your Visa card and your MasterCard, and if I were a good detective, I could find out a great deal about you. I could find out every purchase you've ever made, and really know a lot about you. When it's on a computer, that power becomes multiplied, and a lot of people are very worried about the effects of privacy. And you will see a lot of laws in the next few years coming up trying to regulate this. What can they find out about you? What can they sell about you? What can they use? And I think the American public will resist a lot of this. I mean, you don't want people to know this kind of stuff about you. - What's going to happen to books, the great books, novels, poems, things that you read, and as someone referred to them as a tradition of our culture, the things that have perpetuated our culture for all the, you mentioned even the encyclopedia. - Sure.
There's a lot of talk that the computer technology will obviate the traditional book or magazine, but I will tell you there will never be anything that's portable or with as good resolution as a book or a magazine. Computer technology is long, long away from the point where it would actually replace the kind of portability and ease that you have with the publication. - How do you see this whole thing affecting the quality of life, quality of life issues? I mean, what do you see happening down the line? - Well, this is the big cultural fear that you're going to be reading a lot about. More and more certainly is this becomes more and more predominant. And that is, as people who are in the demographic that they can afford the $2,000 purchase of the computer and the modem and the internet, they become more and more isolated doing all their, say, shopping and traveling online, as there's a whole another demographic, that can't afford that. And as crime increases, you have just a big separation of the people who have information and computers and those who don't. - As crime increases? - Well, I think the fear is that the people become so isolated with their computers and don't leave the house.
And the fear is that people, as they become aware that you can do everything on your computer, you can travel, you can shop, you never have to leave your house, you can work, you can telecommute. The difference between them and going out in the street becomes very, very great. And they worry about a big separation of the people who have computers and those who don't. But I don't think necessarily that will happen. - And what are your greatest hopes for the future of this technology? - Certainly one of the biggest promises of this, and we keep talking about this, is the society of it, is the ability to talk to people from people that you would never talk to if you were just in your house, in your little town, going to your 9-5 job every day, people with different viewpoints, different cultures, I mean, one of the biggest reasons for hatred or any war, any of the big problems in our societies, because people don't talk to others and they don't really understand them. And one thing you can do online is you can talk to anybody you want to and people are doing that. And that is a very big deal. - Well, Gina Smith, thank you for joining us. It was great to be here.
- Again, the major story of this Wednesday, the Senate voted to lift the arms embargo on the Bosnian Muslims, President Clinton opposes the measure, and has threatened to veto it. Today's vote was large enough to override a veto, and NATO officials strengthened their promise to protect the UN safe haven of Goražde with massive air strikes. Good night, Robin. - Good night, Jim. That's the NewsHour for tonight, and we'll see you again tomorrow night. I'm Robert MacNeil. Good night. - Major funding for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, has been provided by the Archer Daniels Midland company: ADM, supermarket to the world. And by New York Life, yet another example of the wise investment philosophy New York Life has been following for the last 150 years, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, by the annual financial support from viewers like you. Locustets of the McNeil Lair and NewsHour are available from PBS Video, call 1-800-328-PBS-1.
The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
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This episode's headline: Unanswered Questions; Forgotten War; CyberFuture. The guests include DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, Presidential Historian; MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian; DAVID FRUM, Author; BRUCE CUMINGS, Historian; HAYNES JOHNSON, Journalist; GINA SMITH, Technology Writer; CORRESPONDENTS: BETTY ANN BOWSER; CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT;. Byline: In New York: ROBERT MAC NEIL; In Washington: JAMES LEHRER
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War and Conflict
Military Forces and Armaments
Politics and Government
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Chicago: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” 1995-07-26, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
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