Written by Seeger in 1967, when the U.S. was about neck-deep in Vietnam, the song was censored by CBS when Seeger first performed it on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in September, 1967, but the network reversed itself, and Seeger would ultimately perform Waist Deep on the show in February 1968.
Seeger noted in May 1983,
Now the Smothers Brothers did a clever thing. They took their argument to the newspapers and they got lots of free publicity. They said, "CBS censors our best jokes, they censored Seeger's best song. It ain't fair." Finally in the month of January, 1968, the word came from New York, "O.K., O.K., you can sing the song if you want."
On 48 hours' notice I flew out to California, taped the song, and this time 7 million people saw it and even got some extra newspaper publicity. Only one station, I think, in Detroit, scissored the last verse out of the tape.
Did the song do any good? No one can prove a damned thing. It took tens of millions of people speaking out, before the Vietnam War was over. A defeat for the Pentagon, but a victory for the American people.