01 February 2005

Time Warp: War Propaganda

This is an example of what I would call "same shit, different asshole..."


U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and
heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's
presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to
disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million
registered voters cast their ballots yesterday.  Many of them risked
reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to
destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a
preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete
returns reaching here.

Pending more detailed reports, neither the State Department nor the
White House would comment on the balloting or the victory of the
military candidates, Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, who was running
for president, and Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, the candidate for vice
A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President
Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional
processes in South Vietnam.  The election was the culmination of a
constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which
President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky
and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon
Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays
since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by
a military junta.

Few members of that junta are still around, most having been ousted
or exiled in subsequent shifts of power.

Significance Not Diminished

The fact that the backing of the electorate has gone to the generals
who have been ruling South Vietnam for the last two years does not,
in the Administration's view, diminish the significance of the
constitutional step that has been taken.

The hope here is that the new government will be able to maneuver
with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese
politics.  That hope could have been dashed either by a small
turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in
constitutional development, or by the Vietcong's disruption of the

American officials had hoped for an 80 per cent turnout.  That was
the figure in the election in September for the Constituent
Assembly.  Seventy-eight per cent of the registered voters went to
the polls in elections for local officials last spring.

Before the results of the presidential election started to come in,
the American officials warned that the turnout might be less than 80
per cent because the polling place would be open for two or three
hours less than in the election a year ago.  The turnout  of 83 per
cent was a welcome surprise.  The turnout in the 1964 United States
Presidential election was 62 per cent.

Captured documents and interrogations indicated in the last week a
serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be
required to render the election meaningless.  This effort has not
succeeded, judging from the reports from Saigon.

NYT. 9/4/1967: p. 2.


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