I hate to say it, but it's time to kick old Walter Cronkite around.
Cronkite is 89 so he should be getting a free pass for everything, but his statement this weekend that it's time to get out of Iraq deserves a little attention.
Cronkite is famous, of course, for saying it was time to get out of Vietnam and Lyndon Johnson said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost the country."
I remember it well. Everybody watched Cronkite back then. I saw him say it live.
This time Cronkite's momentous statement about the Iraq war comes with an asterisk — namely, it wasn't the only thing he said in the same interview.
According to Associated Press TV writer David Bauder, Cronkite not only said it was time to get out of Iraq but also that it was a bad decision to quit the "CBS Evening News" anchor chair 25 years ago:
"Twenty four hours after I told CBS News that I was stepping down at my 65 birthday, I was already regretting it and I've regretted it everyday since. It's too good a job for me to have given it up the way I did."
Many of us in TV news subscribe to the notion that if you're Uncle Walter you make them come with the security guards to get you out of the anchor chair. You don't just quit.
So Cronkite says he was wrong to quit CBS.
But he also says we should quit Iraq.
Is he right about both or neither?
I say neither.
He should have quit. He may joke about it, but it was time. His successor, Dan Rather, lasted another quarter century.
And I think he's wrong about Iraq. He says we should say our hearts are with you and now we've got to go.
Even people opposed to the invasion thinks that's a bad idea.
Ahhh, the glory years for Walter Cronkite were great.
But they are gone. Long gone.
That's My Word.
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