The fuse often comes in ways that are unpredictable. The big fuse which stopped the Vietnam War was the inability of the United States to win that war -- the fact that it was suffering defeats on the battleground, and the body-bag factor. Sometimes when I'm arguing with hard-core fundamentalists, Islamic ones, I [ask] what threatened the Pentagon more: a few idiots throwing bombs on it, a building which can be repaired within two weeks? Well, I think that did not threaten anyone. It's just an act of stupidity, foolishness, politically. Compare that to the seventies when you had a quarter of a million GIs who had fought in the war -- veterans on their crutches, with their medals, marching outside the Pentagon and chanting that they wanted the Vietnamese to win. What affects them more? Obviously, the latter, because that shows that the core of that state apparatus is infected with ideas which challenge the empire. Ultimately, that has got to be the route.
I've been reading about this lately, that when the United States occupied the Philippines at the end of the nineteenth century, a group of intellectuals led by Mark Twain, and Henry James, and William James, and Thomas Dewy, and the cream of the American intelligentsia, organized the Anti-Imperialist League. There was a massive gathering in Chicago in 1898 or '99, and within a year and a half, it had a quarter of a million members. So, that's necessary for educational purposes.
What is necessary for what you are asking is a political party, because if these movements, whether it's the Anti-Imperialist League or anything like it, are not reflected on the level of politics, then they will be ineffective, in my opinion. What is very noticeable is that this giant antiwar movement which erupted before the war in Iraq, which is unprecedented in world history, wasn't reflected on the level of politics. The anti- Vietnam War movement was. I remember vividly the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under William Fulbright putting pressure to get the truth, and a whole wave of politicians, Democratic politicians, challenging the official view. Since 9/11, it's been the silence of the lambs. They've given up, the Democrats, you feel. And sooner or later, if they can't do it, something will have to emerge in this country which does reflect the view of a sizable section of the people. Unless that happens, I think we're doomed. We have to find ways of doing that.
Tracing the origin of Fulbrights antiwar views reveals an intriguing ancestry for Clintons views. Fulbright had not initially opposed the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which was originally viewed as a measured, flexible alternative to full-scale escalation in Vietnam. But after a major increase in US ground deployment in summer 1965, and after Fulbrights relationship with President Johnson became strained over Dominican Republic policy that September, he began questioning Johnsons Vietnam policy.
At this point Fulbright began researching Asia intensely. He read a number of books about the Far East over a trip to Australia that December. He came back complaining about the history of British imperialism in China and declaring there would be hearings on Vietnam. He opened hearings the next month. He subsequently began sending his assistants James G. Lowenstein and Richard M. Moose to Southeast Asia for regular fact-finding missions that formed the basis of periodic Senate reports. (In 1969 Fulbright, Lowenstein, Moose, and Fulbrights assistants Carl Marcy and Norvill Jones would begin advising former Pentagon employee Daniel Ellsberg on how to go about leaking the Pentagon Papers, a set of classified military documents on the Kennedy-Johnson administrations Vietnam policy.)