Tuesday, March 19, 2013

1968: Richard Nixon's "Secret" Deals With Saigon --Before He was President!

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.


  1. Hi Doug..............just wanted you to know I do try to read your posts, although I've been off line for a few weeks so maybe not the most recent ones. Think its sad the way its so difficult to get commentry going here and I visit, I read, but I'm not alweays knowledgable enough about American politic to comment.
    Also...........only recently realised its possible to get email alerts for blogger posts and I'm trying to get most of the blogs I follow on email alert, hopefully it will make it easier to keep up with people.

  2. That's great Loretta. Thanks.

    It is sometimes rather slow to get comments for some reason. I'm trying to mix topics up a bit but I seem to be in a something of a political rut. I know what you mean about political affairs abroad--it is hard enough to keep up with the good, not-so good and the flat-out chicanery in my own country much less offer anything much to another land.
    I trying to do more postings on different subjects. It does seem to be harder to generate a lot of commentary. I'll be checking my e-mail as well. Congratulations on your retirement by the way and hope all is well with your health.

    best wishes,


  3. Doug I still don't see your 'email alert' thingie.............am I missing something?? you find the option in layout under gadget

  4. Yes, I didn't find it. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Disloyalty or even treason?...So who is better than any of the others here I wonder Doug?... Whose illegal wire taps are more heinous than the others and therefore the villain of the piece?
    It seems to me that every tricky move that results in the loss of human life on a massive scale plus the despoliation of the ecology is of equally lamentable proportion to the offence commited. On that scale which post-war US president has overseen the greatest loss of life on his watch and as a direct result of his political intervention? I think the league table would be very interesting, the 'kill rate' of any particular US president on a global scale. Tricky Dicky was everything it says on the can, but maybe he is also the most transparent of presidents, whilst at the same time being the most easily wrong-footed? Just a thought.

    It is slow on here for me too Doug, but I have been out of the game for a few weeks of frenzied activity in the 'real world' and bad weather here to boot.

    There are no alerts to posts like on Yahoo so you never know when people post or visit your posts. I think that is what Loretta is referring to Looking at it on the cheerful side now Multiply is no more, it may be slow but it is still going forward Doug. Thanks for posting this interesting insight into US politics in historical context, something has to change I think, same thning here of course...I suppose the same all over really, but that change is already happening I think.

    1. When it comes to the Vietnam Era, or any loss of life for a "greater cause", I agree with you AA. Wars are crimes unto themselves and anyone trying to find the blackest ace of hearts in the packs of cards used in that "great game" has a plethora of choices. The Second Iran War--for which we have recently had a 10 year observance and some media hand wringing-- proved that the Pentagon Gang and the White House worked pretty much the same in 2003 as they did from 1963 onto 1973---filling our heads with lies and appealing to patriotism at home while mistakenly believing blood and thunder would defeat a people in their own country. It didn't work for King George III in the 1770s in America. It didn't work for the Japanese, or the French.
      So why did anybody think we could win a land war in SouthEast Asia? Blasted exceptionalism! It was clear to all but the die hards in the bunch bunch that our Armed Forces couldn't do more than hold the inevitable, no matter how brave and resourceful were some military leaders on the ground. Also clear is that the Generals and the CIA killed thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, whatever, by air and land and by assassination from the Phoenix Program, et al., and achieved...what? Maybe achieved the notion that LBJ or Nixon could be as caviler with human life as any totalitarian leader.

      Even Kennedy/Johnson/and Nixon learned what every empire learns sooner or later--one people cannot run the business of another nation halfway around the world. Or even her neighbors. Even the people at home seemed smarter than our leaders--at least the forty-fifty percent who saw the war was lost long before more than a handful would admit it.

      Anybody at the State Department at the time who bothered to read Vietnamese history would tell you the majority of Vietnamese were as fiercely independent from us (or the French or the Chinese) as we (The Continental Army and the Minute Men) were of King George's Hessian mercenaries and his over confident, scarlet-coated officer core?

      I hear the weather has been bad your way and I hope Spring arrives soon there.

      I feel relived that Multiply is gone. Not sure why but it seems I need to turn pages every now and then in this life lest things get too staid. I'm enjoying your musical selections her and wish you the best in your professional and volunteer campaign works.

  6. I removed above message to deal with typos, probably missed a few but anyway that's the deleted post

    1. Thanks for the message AA. This system is not a friendly one for editing.