Historical notes show Nixon sabotaged Vietnam peace talks in 68

Saint_Ward

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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/o...nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

This is pretty screwed up.

Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.

.....

Haldeman’s notes return us to the dark side. Amid the reappraisals, we must now weigh apparently criminal behavior that, given the human lives at stake and the decade of carnage that followed in Southeast Asia, may be more reprehensible than anything Nixon did in Watergate.

Nixon had entered the fall campaign with a lead over Humphrey, but the gap was closing that October. Henry A. Kissinger, then an outside Republican adviser, had called, alerting Nixon that a deal was in the works: If Johnson would halt all bombing of North Vietnam, the Soviets pledged to have Hanoi engage in constructive talks to end a war that had already claimed 30,000 American lives.

But Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia.

“! Keep Anna Chennault working on” South Vietnam, Haldeman scrawled, recording Nixon’s orders. “Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do.”

Nixon told Haldeman to have Rose Mary Woods, the candidate’s personal secretary, contact another nationalist Chinese figure — the businessman Louis Kung — and have him press Thieu as well. “Tell him hold firm,” Nixon said.


Nixon had cause to lie. His actions appear to violate federal law, which prohibits private citizens from trying to “defeat the measures of the United States.” His lawyers fought throughout Nixon’s life to keep the records of the 1968 campaign private. The broad outline of “the Chennault affair” would dribble out over the years. But the lack of evidence of Nixon’s direct involvement gave pause to historians and afforded his loyalists a defense.

Time has yielded Nixon’s secrets. Haldeman’s notes were opened quietly at the presidential library in 2007, where I came upon them in my research for a biography of the former president. They contain other gems, like Haldeman’s notations of a promise, made by Nixon to Southern Republicans, that he would retreat on civil rights and “lay off pro-Negro crap” if elected president. There are notes from Nixon’s 1962 California gubernatorial campaign, in which he and his aides discuss the need to wiretap political foes.

......

In a conversation with the Republican senator Everett Dirksen, the minority leader, Johnson lashed out at Nixon. “I’m reading their hand, Everett,” Johnson told his old friend. “This is treason.”

“I know,” Dirksen said mournfully.

Johnson’s closest aides urged him to unmask Nixon’s actions. But on a Nov. 4 conference call, they concluded that they could not go public because, among other factors, they lacked the “absolute proof,” as Defense Secretary Clark Clifford put it, of Nixon’s direct involvement.

Nixon was elected president the next day.

Nixon had to be, by far, the worst president of modern times.
 

saintmdterps

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Saint_Ward

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The fun thing about this is he'd be too moderate for today's GOP

I see it less about political identity and more about him just being the worst kind of sleazeball. Basically he just played to everyone's worst ambitions.

I don't really want this to be a conversation about Trump. I want this to be more of a conversation about Nixon and his rightful place near or at the bottom of the presidential list. History has had time to judge him adequately.

How many people lost friends, family, peers in Vietnam between 68 and 75. That's potentially 7 years of war that possibly could have not continued.

Almost 17,000 US troops died in 68, almost 12,000 in 1969, 6,000 in 1970, 2,400 in 1971, And 759 in 1972, after that it trailed down to very few a year.

At the least, you're talking 20,000-21,000 troops (from 69 on) that may not have had to die. Not even counting the tens of thousands wounded.

You can combine both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and we only had 4424 casualties (and over 30k wounded).

The man did this to help him win the presidency.
 

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The argument has been made that among the many ancillary ills coming from the Nixon White House is the broken relationship between govt and the public
But even more so, how the press took it in themselves to be the moral police bc they didn't want to be caught pants down by another Nixon
So presidential private lives became much more of a focus than ever before - so moral pea cocking became much more important that any actual accomplishments
 

mt15

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He was undoubtedly a man who let personal ambition justify, in his mind, most anything that needed to be done. He was famously paranoid about his "enemies". It's going to be hard to have a conversation about Nixon, though, without at least acknowledging the parallels between Nixon and Trump. They are striking, and discomfiting.

He saw politics as a way to get power; only cared about himself and his agenda.
 
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The argument has been made that among the many ancillary ills coming from the Nixon White House is the broken relationship between govt and the public
But even more so, how the press took it in themselves to be the moral police bc they didn't want to be caught pants down by another Nixon
So presidential private lives became much more of a focus than ever before - so moral pea cocking became much more important that any actual accomplishments

Yes, which sadly turns into fake persona's.
 

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he did it domestically, too

Ehrlichman admitted that he deliberately sought to target blacks and hippies in the war on drugs:

Report: Nixon aide says war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies - CNNPolitics.com
"You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities," Ehrlichman said. "We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

and his reasons:
Ehrlichman's comment is the first time the war on drugs has been plainly characterized as a political assault designed to help Nixon win, and keep, the White House.

all he cared about was keeping his position - he didn't care how disposably he had to treat American lives.

Vietnam. Drug war. Healthcare.

I'd say we are still having to clean up this mess but the reality is that, in a lot of ways, legislators have just been adding to it. They want to propagate the war machine. They want to keep locking up people for drug offenses with discriminatory laws. They want to move backwards on healthcare.

I mean, see the North Carolina thread as one example. American lives mean less than a politician keeping his/her position and power.

I won't extend my comments to Trump's advisors as per Ward's request, but I think there's a real discussion to be had there.
 
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he did it domestically, too

Ehrlichman admitted that he deliberately sought to target blacks and hippies in the war on drugs:

Report: Nixon aide says war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies - CNNPolitics.com


and his reasons:


all he cared about was keeping his position - he didn't care how disposably he had to treat American lives.

Vietnam. Drug war. Healthcare.

I'd say we are still having to clean up this mess but the reality is that, in a lot of ways, legislators have just been adding to it. They want to propagate the war machine. They want to keep locking up people for drug offenses with discriminatory laws. They want to move backwards on healthcare.

I mean, see the North Carolina thread as one example. American lives mean less than a politician keeping his/her position and power.

I won't extend my comments to Trump's advisors as per Ward's request, but I think there's a real discussion to be had there.

I apologize for seemingly wanting to sanitize the conversation. I do agree that there are parallels to be drawn. That being said, he's not even in office yet. So, at what point is it fear, vs proof. His rhetoric, if you actually take it verbatim is scary, but he talks out of his arse so much, it's hard to tell what will actually happen.

It just gets into a tired argument, and brings out an element/response that is predictable, derailing, and childish that I'd rather not also deal with.
 

saintmdterps

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he did it domestically, too

Ehrlichman admitted that he deliberately sought to target blacks and hippies in the war on drugs:

Report: Nixon aide says war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies - CNNPolitics.com


and his reasons:


all he cared about was keeping his position - he didn't care how disposably he had to treat American lives.

Vietnam. Drug war. Healthcare.

I'd say we are still having to clean up this mess but the reality is that, in a lot of ways, legislators have just been adding to it. They want to propagate the war machine. They want to keep locking up people for drug offenses with discriminatory laws. They want to move backwards on healthcare.

I mean, see the North Carolina thread as one example. American lives mean less than a politician keeping his/her position and power.

I won't extend my comments to Trump's advisors as per Ward's request, but I think there's a real discussion to be had there.
Really just kind of makes me even more disgusted with politics and politicians who reduce human lives to the status of commodities in order to further their own agenda and their pathological need for power.
 

simeon58

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I see it less about political identity and more about him just being the worst kind of sleazeball. Basically he just played to everyone's worst ambitions.

I don't really want this to be a conversation about Trump. I want this to be more of a conversation about Nixon and his rightful place near or at the bottom of the presidential list. History has had time to judge him adequately.

How many people lost friends, family, peers in Vietnam between 68 and 75. That's potentially 7 years of war that possibly could have not continued.

Almost 17,000 US troops died in 68, almost 12,000 in 1969, 6,000 in 1970, 2,400 in 1971, And 759 in 1972, after that it trailed down to very few a year.

At the least, you're talking 20,000-21,000 troops (from 69 on) that may not have had to die. Not even counting the tens of thousands wounded.

You can combine both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and we only had 4424 casualties (and over 30k wounded).

The man did this to help him win the presidency.

It's interesting that there is no mention of the Vietnamese loss of life in this summary. Part of the reason is that we don't know how many we killed because we don't care about our victims. We know, down to the last man, how many US soldiers were killed, but no attention is paid to the costs of the Vietnamese.

It shouldn't be surprising to us that people in power want to retain it. I don't think this instance would qualify him as the worst president "by far" in modern times.
 

CountWhoDat

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Nixon was not only a truly awful president, but as Guido said, he did permanent harm to the idea of our political commonwealth. His scheming and cynicism set forth in motion the mainstreaming of the idea that government is an enemy to be combated rather than an element of ourselves that needed to be nurtured and tweaked as time went on, to reflect the needs of the future.

This indirectly led to Reagan's successful campaigns attacking the government, Clinton's copycat act to appeal to "moderates", and the utter contempt our own citizens showed for a self-governing republic when they elected Donald Trump 2 months ago.

Nixon's stain will reverberate for a long time.
 
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Saint_Ward

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It's interesting that there is no mention of the Vietnamese loss of life in this summary. Part of the reason is that we don't know how many we killed because we don't care about our victims. We know, down to the last man, how many US soldiers were killed, but no attention is paid to the costs of the Vietnamese.

It shouldn't be surprising to us that people in power want to retain it. I don't think this instance would qualify him as the worst president "by far" in modern times.

As commander in chief of the US military, and the President of the American public, their duty is to the country and the citizens of the country. And yes, it's far easier to get the numbers of our own troops lost, because we know exactly how many were sent over and did or didn't come back.

Of course its not surprising what people will do to attain or retain power. But what he did was criminal. Tens of thousands of Americans died, potentially due to his desires for power. How many other presidents extended or created a war that killed that many for only their political ambition?
 

RussTKD

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As commander in chief of the US military, and the President of the American public, their duty is to the country and the citizens of the country. And yes, it's far easier to get the numbers of our own troops lost, because we know exactly how many were sent over and did or didn't come back.

Of course its not surprising what people will do to attain or retain power. But what he did was criminal. Tens of thousands of Americans died, potentially due to his desires for power. How many other presidents extended or created a war that killed that many for only their political ambition?

If body armor wasn't as good as it is nowadays....
 

CountWhoDat

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Also important in the discussion of "worst" presidents is the balancing between incompetence vs. malice.

I honestly believe that GWB was a well-intentioned guy who just wasn't qualified to be president. Decisions had to be made soon after he took office that were well beyond his capabilities as a leader so he blindly trusted the people that he placed in power to make these decisions for him. Obviously, the results speak for themselves. He's still accountable for appointing those people though.

Nixon, on the other hand, was a ruthless and effective politician, and he had it in his mind how he would rat**** every aspect of governance even before he became president, as evidenced by this very thread. He simply used his appointees in furtherance of his malignant schemes, which I personally believe is worse.

In the end, the results of a president's malpractice, whether intentional or accidental, are what really matters. But to have an amoral black-hearted dude as the so-called "Leader of the Free World" is frankly much more terrifying to me. An example like this belies the notion that Nixon had America's best interests at heart either.
 

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