Walter Cronkite on the Vietnam War

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Many people spoke out against the Vietnam War before Walter Cronkite, but when the CBS anchor, having just returned from Vietnam, gave his own assessment on February 27, 1968, it carried the weight of a man America trusted. His words were: "We have been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders, both in Vietnam and Washington, to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds….To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion….It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could. This is Walter Cronkite. Good night." Despite Cronkite's warning, U.S. troops would remain in Vietnam for another seven years.