May 9, 1972 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE
THE SITUATION IN VIETNAM
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I
would call to the attention of my colleagues
that the first amendment to the
Constitution of the United States, which
we are sworn to uphold, still is in existence.
Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
of speech, ...
By that I mean, if I may interpolate,
to express our views as we honestly and
conscientiously feel them. I continue to
read from the first amendment:
... or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition
the Government for a redress of grievances.
Mr. President, the statement has been
made that there are additional measures
which could still be taken. I really do not
know what they are, because it appears
to me that we have sent an armada of
B-52's to Vietnam and Indochina.
Last weekend, if my memory serves me
correctly, we sent an additional 75 fighter
planes to an airfield in Thailand. We
have the biggest sea flotilla ever assembled
in that area, in the South China Sea,
as well a;; some additional units in the
Gulf of Thailand blockading Cambodia.
I would express the hope that when we
talk about additional measures, we do
not go too far, because it would be an
easy way to win and, in winning, an easy
way to lose.
I would call to the attention of my colleagues
the latest total casualty figures
beginning on January 1, 1961, through
the 29th of April 1972, more than 11
years, and more than 358,918 American
Now we are mining the harbors of
North Vietnam. We were told about it after
the fact, not before. And there is
always the possibility that this will br!ng
about the possibility of' a conflict with
other nations if they do not obey our dictum
and the law that we law down, if
they do not move out within a 3-day period
from the 3-mile zone or the 12-mile
zone. And it appears to me, Mr. President,
that what we are witnessing is not
a shortening of the war-although I hope
devoutly that that is what it turns out
to be-but rather a lengthening of it,
an expanding of it, perhaps a placing of
the SALT talks in jeopardy, and perhaps
a bringing about of a cancellation
or, at the least, a postponement of the
Moscow conference, making it more difficult
to release our prisoners of war and
recoverable missing in action, and very
likely increasing the total of the POW's.
So. I would hope that we would look
at this somberly and soberly and recognize
all the implications involved. I
would expect also that no one would be
criticized who happens to express a different
point of view, because every Senator
in this body has sworn to uphold
the Constitution. Every Member of this
body is entitled to the use of free speech
and the exercise of his conscience. As far
as I am concerned personally, the sooner
this horrible, tragic war is brought to a
close and every American is brought
home, the better off I will feel, because to
me 358,918 U.S. casualties in a 12-year
pei;od is 358,918 too many in a war in
which we have no business and which is
not vital to the security of this Nation,
a war which, in my opinion, is the greatest
tragedy which has ever befallen this
Mr. President. it does no great nation
any harm to admit that a mistake has
been made. And sometimes when nations
and men will do so, they will be the bigger
and the better for it.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore.
Is there further morning business?
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 48, Folder 16, Mansfield Libary, University of Montana
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