Headline July 18, 2015/ "' DAVID HALBERSTAM ''' : AMERICA'S GREAT SON



[WITH PAKISTAN AS THE FIRST HOST   -The World Students Society, !WOW!- Computers-Internet-Wireless, sends the whole world, a very Happy Eid wishes and prays for the dignity, for honour, of every human].

The young men were shipped across in thousands, among them David Halberstam, covering the conflict for the New York Times.

He went as believer, seeing the war as a test of two political systems that America was bound to win. He found cynicism, anger and pervasive lying about how things were going.

America could destroy,  with its lumbering bombers, as much as it pleased; the Vietcong had political superiority, and would win in the end. David Halberstam's truth-telling about the Vietnam war caused such anguish to officialdom that President Kennedy tried to get him fired 

YOUNG JOURNALISTS, he said, should be like him : curious, ethical and honest fortified with  "inner toughness",  fearlessly out to change society.

No other life  "would make me feel  better  about myself".  He had held this belief ever since, at the age of eight, he had made his first newspaper with a purple pen on gelatin sheets, recording  {truthfully, for posterity}  the number of fish he had caught in the creek.

Blessed with this high calling, he reckoned he had never made a false move. Straight out of Harvard, he went to the tiniest newspaper in Mississippi in 1955, just as the civil-rights movement was beginning to break.

A year later he joined the Tennessean in Nashville, again covering civil rights, in the thick of things and ahead of the game. Already, the traits of his journalism were forming:

He would talk not to officials but the man in the street, just as in Vietnam he would talk not to lying commanders but to the  "pissed off"  soldier on the ground. He was a soldier too, with  "Halberstam  New York Times" stamped on his fatigues : a fighter for truth.

When, in the 1970s, he shifted to writing books on recent history, a certain holy order hovered around what he did. Hundreds of interviews were recorded in long hand, typed up in single spacing and arranged in piles. His notes, he said, were the most meticulous that colleagues had ever seen.

He laid down set hours for writing in which only the foolhardy would telephone or knock on his door. The spring was his researching season, the summer his time to type beside the deferential sea in Nantucket.

The school of literature he belonged to was quintessentially American. He produced, for the most part, very big books on very wide themes: the media and politics in  "The Powers That Be" [1979], foreign policy in "War in a Time of Peace" [2001]- Past and future ages in "The fifties" (1993)  and  "The Next Century"  {1991}.

A Halberstam  paragraph usually filled a page, unfolding portentously towards some great quotation that glimmered in the final line. 

As Mr Halberstam died, suddenly in car crash near San Francisco, Congress was voting to cut off money for the Iraq war. Interviewers had often tried to sound him out on that war; he was surprisingly reticent. But then all that needed to be said had been written already, in 1972, at the end of  "The Best and the Brightest":

'Time was  on the side of enemy, and we were in a position of not being able to win, not being able to get out........only being able to lash out......And so the war went on, tearing at this country.

A sense of numbness seemed replace an earlier anger. There was, Americans were finding, no light at the end of the tunnel, only greater darkness. 

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the United States of America. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Loyalty As History '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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