Campaign Boogeyman William Ayers Talks to ‘GMA’

November 14 2008

By Mark Mooney

William Ayers, the 1960s radical whose violent history became a focal point in the 2008 presidential election, said today that the Republicans unfairly “demonized” him in an attempt to damage the campaign of President-elect Obama.

Ayers defended his bomb-throwing past and repeated a statement that has infuriated his critics: “I don’t think we did enough.”

The college professor also argued to “Good Morning America’s” Chris Cuomo today that the bombing campaign by the Weather Underground, the group he helped found, was not terrorism.

The Weather Underground bombed the Capitol, the Pentagon and the New York City Police Department in protest of the Vietnam War.

“It’s not terrorism because it doesn’t target people, to kill or injure,” Ayers said.

Ayers became a boogeyman for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, who demanded to know more about Obama’s relationship with his Chicago neighbor. Palin accused Obama of “palling around … with a terrorist.”

Breaking his silence today, Ayers said that the GOP attack was a “dishonest narrative … to demonize me.”

“I don’t buy the idea that guilt by association should have any part of our politics,” he said.

Ayers scoffed at the Republican effort to make his ties to Obama appear suspicious.

“This idea that we need to know more, like there’s some dark, hidden secret, some secret link,” Ayers said. “It’s a myth thrown up by people who want to exploit the politics of fear.”

But he was unapologetic about his militant actions during the Vietnam War.

“What you call the violent past, that was a time when thousands of people were being murdered every month by our own government. … We were on the right side,” he told “GMA.”

The co-founder of the Weather Underground was, as McCain has claimed, unrepentant about the the bombings his group committed during the 1960s.

“The content of the Vietnam protest is that there were despicable acts going on, but the despicable acts were being done by our government. … I never hurt or killed anyone,” Ayers said.

“Frankly, I don’t think we did enough, just as today I don’t think we’ve done enough to stop these wars,” he said.

Ayers softened his stand on violence during the “GMA” interview.

Bill Ayers

(ABC/AP Photo )

“We knew it was wrong. We knew it was illegal. We knew it was immoral,” he said, but the group’s members felt they “had to do more” to stop the Vietnam War.

He urged people today “to participate in resistance, in nonviolent, direct action” to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ayers, 63, currently a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, became a political pinata for McCain and Palin during the presidential campaign.

Despite Obama’s attempt to portray their relationship as a distant one, Ayers, in a new afterward to his book “Fugitive Days,” describes Obama as a “neighbor and family friend.”

On “GMA,” Ayers again downplayed any close ties to Obama despite the reference to”family friend.”

“I’m talking there about the fact that I became an issue, unwillingly and unwittingly,” he said. “It was a profoundly dishonest narrative. … I’m describing there how the blogosphere characterized the relationship.”

“I would say, really, that we knew each other in a professional way on the same level of, say, thousands of other people,” he said.

He added, echoing a phrase that Obama used to describe Ayers, “I am a guy around the neighborhood.”

Ayers acknowledged that he held a reception in his home when Obama began his political run for state office.

“He was probably in 20 homes that day,” Ayers said.

During the campaign, Obama tried to defuse the Ayers issue by condemning Ayers’ past actions as “detestable.”

“The notion that … me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense,” Obama said.

Ayers remained silent during the presidential race, but his proximity to Obama was highlighted on Election Day when the two men nearly ran into each other in the same polling place. As recently as Wednesday, Palin was still raising the Ayers’ issue, telling NBC that she was still concerned about Obama’s relationship to the former radical. Palin was the fiercest critic of the Obama-Ayers tie, accusing Obama of “palling around with a domestic terrorist.” While he was a fugitive, he married Bernardine Dorhn, another member of the Weather Underground.

Obama and Ayers have several connections. The two men have also served on boards together, including the Woods Fund of Chicago and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

Source

In Vietnam

Time line
North Vietnam

According to the Vietnamese government, 1,100,000 North Vietnamese Army and National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam military personnel died in the conflict. (Technically, some of these dead were South Vietnamese members of the NLF, but it would be impossible to separate their constituency from the total.) Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52,000 to 182,000.

Complete statistics for the 1972 bombings are unavailable. Overall figures for North Vietnamese civilian dead range from 50,000 to “several million.”

South Vietnam

The Army of the Republic of Vietnam ARVN lost approximately 184,000 servicemen during the war with some estimates as high as a quarter of a million. Because it was the country most devastated by the war, South Vietnam suffered the bulk of the estimated 500,000 to 2,000,000 civilian deaths sustained by the entire Vietnamese population during the conflict; out of a possible median of 1,200,000 dead for the whole country, considering the above figures for North Vietnamese losses, in South Vietnam itself about one million civilians likely died.

Source

Winter Soldier Investigation

Testimony given in Detroit, Michigan, on January 31, 1971, February 1 and 2, 1971

Sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Inc.

Maybe if you read this it will give a much clearer picture of the truth.

It is heart breaking and very detailed. Bless their dear hearts for coming forward with their stories.

We should all know the truth.

Many became homeless.

Many suffer from mental illness.

Many suffer from injuries.

Many of the Vietnam soldiers have since died from Agent Orange or other war related injuries.

Those who remain, are left with the horrifying memories.

Country Branch of service Number served Killed Wounded Missing
USA[2] Army 4,368,000 38,218 96,802 617 {A}
Marines 794,000 14,840 51,392 242{B}
Navy 1,842,000 2,565 4,178 401{C}
Air Force 1,740,000 2,587 1,021 649 {D}
Coast Guard 7 59 0 {E}
Civilians 38 {F}
Total 8,744,000 58,217 153,452 1,947

War is a cruel and deadly creature.

The Vietnam war should never have happened.

The war in Iraq should never have happened.

There are no winners when it comes to war.

William Ayers and many others were trying with all their hearts be it right or wrong to stop the war. Some died for the cause as those who died at Kent State.  May they be remembered for their sacrifice.

Like the Protests of today against the Iraq war, the government did everything imaginable to shut them up. Death was part of it.

Those who protest against war are demonized.

To understand the true nature of war is to know the face of death and sorrow.

There is no glory in war. There are no winners.

Those who profit from war should hang their heads in shame.

“We knew it was wrong. We knew it was illegal. We knew it was immoral,” he said, but the group’s members felt they “had to do more” to stop the Vietnam War.

“We know it is wrong. We know it is illegal. We know it is immoral,”  we “have to do more” to stop the Iraq War.

Over a million have died in Iraq, how many must perish before we say NO MORE?


We must never Forget. What war really means.

In memory those who gave their lives

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 10:16 pm  Comments Off on Campaign Boogeyman William Ayers Talks to ‘GMA’  
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