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The Disaster of Richard Nixon | The New York Review of Books

I was reading just yesterday about how Nixon prolonged the Vietnam war for no other reason than political calculations: he was looking for a way to get out with honor so that he wouldn’t suffer the political fall out. Perhaps something to consider before casting a vote this fall for a pro-war President like Clinton or Trump.

Here’s a snippet from my reading:

Toward the end of 1970, his frustrations again mounting, Nixon considered simply announcing the total withdrawal of American troops by the end of the following year. On December 15, 1970, Haldeman recorded a memorable conversation with Kissinger:

He [Kissinger] thinks that any pullout next year would be a serious mistake, because the adverse reaction to it could set in well before the ’72 elections. He favors instead a continued winding-down and then a pullout right at the fall of ’72 so that if any bad results follow, they’ll be too late to affect the election.7

Kissinger, the diplomatic expert, had here become a political adviser giving guidance to Nixon on his reelection campaign. Whether because of Kissinger’s advice or his own calculations, Nixon did not pursue the idea of getting out in 1971.

Prolonging the war was an expensive choice. More than 21,000 Americans died in Vietnam after Nixon became president, more than a third of our total losses in the war. Tens of thousands more were wounded. But Americans suffered the least; hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives were lost after 1969. The bombing of Cambodia, and then Nixon’s 1970 invasion in search of a target that never really existed, the “Central Office for South Vietnam,” COSVN, which US intelligence thought was a field headquarters for the Vietcong, contributed to the destabilization of Cambodia.

Robert G. Kaiser –

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Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy; I pass the winters in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. I'm working on a memoir-based nonfiction book on the American Dream. I blog, quite frequently, and I also have a novel in process, set in Alaska.

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate, in an open-ended sort of way, so please share your...whatever it is that's on your mind: thoughts, ideas, greetings, angst/irritation, inspiration, confusion, query, rant, salutation, data/research, meme, epigram, exposition or epiphany -- because I'm all about the synergy and solidarity. ~ JE

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