by Max Brantley
Belatedly, I note that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has again tried to dress up its boilerplate recitation of 1957 school crisis history to try to force the facts into executive editor Griffin Smith's view of events. Still wrong.
The recitation today includes this sentence:
On Sept. 20, complying with the order of a federal judge, Faubus removed the guardsmen.
Federal Judge Ronald Davies issued no such order, either from the bench on Sept. 20 or in his written order Sept. 21. We'll gladly supply transcripts of the hearing and order to any who doubt us. The Justice Department said at the hearing it had no objection to the National Guard being present to keep the peace. It said only that they should not be used to block desegregation. Davies so ordered on Sept. 20 and wrote in his order Sept. 21, 1957:
"No claim was made that he could not use the Arkansas National Guard to preserve law and order. His right to do so was expressly recognized by the district court."
Despite clear approval of the use of the Guard, Faubus withdrew them and never returned the troops. He could have returned them for peacekeeping long before trouble broke out Sept. 23. But Faubus chose not to do so, though he was never ordered to remove the troops in the first place. Those are the facts, so elusive to the Democrat-Gazette and other revisionist historians. But the point in the D-G is to echo the Faubusian excuse of blaming the feds for disorder in Little Rock.