05/15/07 - encouraging the enemy

In today's excerpt - Muhammad Ali, Howard Cosell, and General William Westmoreland:

"By April 1967, thirteen thousand Americans had been killed in Vietnam. Thirty thousand men a month were drafted. On the morning of April 28, in Houston, at 701 Jacinto Avenue, [Muhammad] Ali left a taxi and hurried toward a federal building and the U.S. Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station.

"From behind, Ali heard that familiar voice.
" 'Are you going to take the step, Muhammad?'
"It was [Howard] Cosell, microphone raised.
"Again. 'Are you going—to take—the step?'
"Ali smiled. 'Howard Cosell—why don't you take the step?'
"Cosell said 'I did. In 1942.'

"The morning Ali and Cosell did their act on the federal building steps, a general of the army told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 'American forces will prevail in Vietnam over the Communist aggressor.' The day before, that same general, William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, complained that protesters and 'unpatriotic acts at home' encouraged the enemy to keep fighting. The general did not mention the truth that the Vietnamese, led by Ho Chi Minh, needed no encouragement. By then they had been waging guerrilla war against assorted opponents for almost twenty years. Ho had defined the nature and accurately predicted the outcome of an earlier conflict with France's colonial forces: 'If ever the tiger [his army] pauses, the Elephant [France] will impale him on his mighty tusks. But the tiger will not pause, and the elephant will die of exhaustion and loss of blood.' "


Dave Kindred


Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship


Free Press a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.


Copyright 2006 by Dave Kindred


barns and noble booksellers
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.


Sign in or create an account to comment