YOUR NIGHTLY VIDEO: As Bush Readies Iraq Speech — An Amazing TV Clip on Vietnam War and Protest, 1969

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By: Greg Mitchell

It was once fashionable to mock those who, back in 2003, warned that the mission was not yet accomplished in Iraq and that the war there could drag on for years, much like Vietnam. Unfortunately, those warnings have turned out to be on the mark, and then some.

Now, as the war nears its fourth year, President Bush will be taking to the air on Wednesday to announce — it is reported — not the beginning of U.S. disengagement (a la Nixon and Vietnam in 1969) but a decison to commit at least 20,000 more troops to Iraq. So it seems appropriate to take a break from our usual musical and comedic offerings in our video feature, and take a look back at a key moment in Vietnam era politics with this remarkable clip from ABC’s nightly news broadcast on Oct. 16, 1969.

It’s the day after the massive antiwar “moratorium” protests. In four minutes, the ABC segment covers the White House reaction to the protests, congressional approval for a draft lottery and, if that isn’t enough, what happened that day at the Chicago conspiracy trial.

Note the White House stating that the war will soon turn around because the enemy is in “disarray.” The U.S. will be able to wrap it up in “two or three years” — but not because of a U.S. build up but due to U.S. withdrawals. Publicly, Nixon’s people say the protests have no effect, but privately they indicate that now they know they must speak more openly and frankly to Americans about their plans.

If the ABC anchor, Howard K. Smith, seems decidely unfriendly to the antiwar side, keep in mind that Smith was then known as the most hawkish of the leading newsmen.

Click here to watch.

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Previous: Alec Baldwin and Tony Bennett do “Phony Bennett” on SNL:

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The meeting of two giants, sax fiend Sonny Rollins and poet/singer Leonard Cohen.

Click here to watch.

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As Gerald R. Ford is laid to rest, Stephen Colbert roasts Chevy Chase:

Click here to watch.

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Richard and son Teddy Thompson sing a rarity, “Persuasion”:

Click here to watch.

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