2004-08-08 21:30:05 (UTC)

A Rare Political Rant

From an AP story published in today's newspaper.

"Three months before the 1972 presidential election, Richard
Nixon and Henry Kissinger huddled together in the Oval
Office to discuss when and how to get out of Vietnam.
Despite a massive bombing campaign during the spring and
summer in the north, the Republican president had concluded
that U.S.-backed 'South Vietnam probably can never even
survive anyway'."
"The conversation, recorded by Nixon's voice-activated
taping system, was transcribed by the University of Virginia
Miller Center of Public Affairs to be released today, the
30th anniversary of Nixon's resignation. Some historians,
including biographer Jeffery Kimball, consider it evidence
that Nixon sacrificed American forces in his quest for a
second term, keeping them engaged to ensure that the South
Vietnamese government wouldn't collapse before the election.
"It's clear" said Kimball. "You can read from the
transcripts--the election plays a part in their timing."

Well, duh. I'd figured that out a very long ago and I
certainly wasn't the only one. Of course, I had a personal
stake in what was going on in late 1972--my husband of less
than a year was fighting in Vietnam and I was expecting his
child. I knew all about the "massive bombing campaign during
the spring and summer in the north" they spoke about--Steven
was in DaNang, less than 100 miles from the border with
North Vietnam.

On the other hand, I am more than a little irritated with
John F. Kerry referring to Vietnam as "Nixon's war". Well,
Mr. Kerry, before it was Nixon's war it was LBJ's war and
before him, it was your hero's, John F. Kennedy's, war. It
was JFK's father who got us into that mess to begin with so
while you're playing your war hero/war protester two faced
role remember it was Democrats, not Republicans who got us
in there to begin with. And yes, it was a Republican,
Nixon, who got us out. But he did it not out of a sense of
honor or because he felt the war was a mistake or even
because he wanted peace but because he saw that we couldn't
win it and he might as well use getting out to his best
political advantage. And that's exactly what he did.

See "Stages", my April 19, 2004 entry for my opinion of
Henry Kissinger's book "Ending the Vietnam War: A History of
America's Involvement in and Extrication From the Vietnam War"