Richard Nixon was a busy guy in the Fall of 1968. Although he had no official position with the government, the former California Congressman, Senator, and Eisenhower's Vice-President was campaigning for President against Hubert Humphrey. Taking no chances, Nixon opened up a back channel to the Saigon government through some far-right supporters to encourage the South Vietnamese military dictatorship to back away from talks with North Vietnam that were sponsored by President Johnson. The result made it impossible to achieve any hope of an effective cease-fire in the war. This was a key in my view to propel Nixon to a narrow victory in the November elections.
For a non-government official to attempt to circumvent negotiations with a allied nation in time of war is disloyal at best and treasonous at worst. So we can add one more crime to the list for Richard M. Nixon's march to power. The only thing that saved Tricky Dick from exposure apparently was that the information was gathered by unauthorized wiretaps ordered by President Johnson against Nixon. To reveal the sources would have tarnished LBJ's reputation, but it does not excuse Nixon's meddling or his underhanded attempts to prolong the fighting in 1968 to get what he wanted most of all--victory at the cost of more of his fellow Americans' blood.
To many who would say, "well both these men were devious", I say, well, yes. But by 1968 Johnson was agonized over the human costs of the war and the losses incurred as a result of the endless firefights and the sieges of Khe Sahn and the Tet Offensive. Perhaps if all
Nixon would go on in 1969 to broaden the war into Cambodia, begin a slow-motion draw down on troops, and stepping up the massive B-52 bombing campaigns over North Vietnam, all part of his "secret plan" to end the war. It was a plan that only came into effect after late 1972, when he was re-elected. The plan he got to withdraw American troops, according to Nixon biographer Stephen Ambrose, was no better than what he could have achieved years earlier. And perhaps no better would would assume than Johnson was already negotiating in the three-power talks in October of 1968.
Some plan, Dick.
So how many soldiers, Marines, etc died because of Nixon's power play? Try 15,000, not including the countless Vietnamese.