"Tax Cuts," Tucson, Arizona, November 22, 1970

[Handwritten notes at top:
Put in 69 File
Put in youth stuff - Wilson, etc.
Put in Vietnam]


1. On a big question of priorities I should point out that the house decision to add another $3 billion in tax cuts means that the decision on priorities has already been made. And that the first priority in the country is more consumer spending.

2. This could be tied in with Galbraith's argument about having one year from now thirty five billion dollars worth of additional wealth and production. How do we use this? What part should go to more consumer goods? What part to military? And what part to the problems of the environment, etc?

3. On Vietnam, the "let's win or get out" argument should be responded to like this: A win in Vietnam is really not feasible unless a) we are willing to invade the north or b) drop the H-bomb. Those who talk about invading the north didn't talk about the increased taxes, the casualties and whether Americans and Arizonans would really accept these. On the other hand if you're talking about a military victory without an invasion or without atomic weapons, then can anyone really find a General who will assure us that on those conventional terms within any reasonable time, say two years, we could win a victory. Will Barry Goldwater tell us this?

4. If Morton uses the 60 Day Moratorium argument on criticism this can be ridiculed by asking whom we are trying to fool if Fulbright, McGovern and Ted Kennedy all shutup for 60 days are the people in Hanoi so stupid they will believe that these men are now in favor of the War and solidly behind Nixon? During that 60 days shall we forbid the publication of any Gallup-polls?

5. The 2 1/2 war concept is based on a 1952 study which isolated 16 possible major contingencies and then boiled them down to the assumption that they all might occur at once. A good analogy is the ______ on the size of a house one might need and the number of bedrooms. In making this decision, one assumes that on the same day every thing that can possibly happen in terms of space will occur. That is, your daughter will get smallpox and have to have an isolated bedroom, all of your family will come to visit at the same time, all of your wife's family, your wife's new baby instead of a baby will be triplets and your daughter comes home from college with two friends, etc. What rational man would plan a house on this kind of contingency plan?

6. Re Vietnam. One might ponder the fact that the North Koreans have desperately tried for several years to start an indigenous home based subversion in South Korea. They have had utter and complete failure.

7. Over the next ten years great instability is likely in SE Asia whether we get in or whether we get out of Vietnam. Our getting out would probably increase the instability but this is inevitable. There will be governments which are violently changed and some may become Communist although outside of Vietnam or Laos this is unlikely. No overthrow of any government really poses any serious threat to the security of the U.S.

8. The tragedy of Vietnam is that the American dream has always really meant something in Eastern Europe. Many people have ties there to immigrants who found something special in this country. What Lincoln and Wilson stood for and talked about really has a deep hold there. Much of this is reflected in the events of Czechoslovakia, a belief that man can control an effective destiny, that he is not simply the hopeless tool of parents or kings as so many Europeans have always been. Part of the tragedy of Vietnam is not only that our own youth, but that youth in Europe including those trying to argue with the Communists, no longer feel that the American dream is quite what it was. American young people seem to have lost faith that the government cares, that their actions can change the conditions of their lives, etc. Another part of the cynicism in this country is the ruination of our environment and the fact that manufacturers, business, Chamber of Commerce don't really seem to care about it or be willing to do the things that have to be done.

9. We ought to get some things straight about Vietnam;

  1. There is no easy painless honorable way out of this conflict. It will be messy and unpleasant and painful.
  2. Everyone is going to get a little bit hurt in the process, reputations of political parties and presidents, and Congressman, but we can't really put this country back on the track until we get it over with and get on with it.
  3. The latest poll shows that the largest group in the American public is one that wants to win and get out, not or, but and get out. This is simply wishful thinking and should be faced rudely and candidly.
  4. No one is really for the present policy. I even think that Richard Nixon is against it
  5. Our extrication will be messy. People will get killed. There will be some minimum kind of blood bath, although N. Vietnam's record elsewhere is not quite that bad. But what are the alternatives? Many people will get killed if we don't get out and if the War goes on. Thousands of civilians, thousands of Vietnamese, thousands of Americans have been killed and will be killed every year this war goes on. There are probably 200,000 young Americans who are crippled, amputees, etc. as a result of this war. But we insist in order to save someone's face that there be another 100,000. We ought to be more interested in saving lives and limbs than in saving someone's face. I might recall my trip to the Tucson Veteran's Hospital and the amputee I talked with there.


Last update: December 22, 1998
URL: http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/branches/spc/udall/taxcuts_htm.html