Still don’t know much about history: III

National security adviser Walt Rostow poring over a map of Vietnam with President Lyndon Johnson. (National Archives Photo)

In 1968, Republican operatives working on behalf of Richard Nixon persuaded the South Vietnamese delegation at the Paris Peace Talks to turn their backs on an otherwise acceptable peace offer in October. The goal was to deny the Democrats a chance to claim a peace settlement in the war prior to the election.  Nixon went on to win an electoral victory of less than .7% of the electorate

We know about the Republicans’ sabotage of the talks now because the LBJ presidential library declassified the documents ahead of schedule (originally, they were not to be released until 50 years after Johnson’s demise). The documents include a 1973 cover letter by  Walter W. Rostow, who had been national security adviser during the worst parts of the Vietnam War.  Rostow had seen the documents (including NSA reports about contact between party officials and the South Vietnamese government).  Johnson had amassed all these records. And Rostow was typing up his cover letter in May of 1973, as the information about Watergate was beginning to gain momentum.

This is all detailed in a long article by Robert Parry, a journalist who covers politics and recent history. His article contains numerous links to NSA documents and other source material. Johnson was apparently threatened by the Nixon White House should he ever decide to come forward with what he knew, but he had the goods on Nixon early on. Don’t count on me for the details–I’m merely reporting on something that Parry has written, and though I’ve looked at the information links, it’s Parry who did the real journalism here.

After Inauguration Day 1969, another 21,000 American young men died in the pointless crusade of Vietnam. That doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands killed in Asia, including the tens of thousands dead from our incursion into Cambodia and Laos.

Again–we can argue about whether Nixon thought he was acting in the best interests of the country. We can argue whether we should have still been in Vietnam after the giant Tet Offensive, which proved that the Vietcong had the capacity to mount huge, coordinated attacks that could throw off  the mightiest, most technologically advanced army in the world at the time. But there’s this word that keeps coming up–the word is ‘Treason’.

If we’re going to besmirch a President’s legacy over a blowjob, what is there to say about a president who conspires to keep a country at war? What can you call a president who sabotages peace plans in order to win an election? When do we get to go to Texas and demand the textbooks be changed?

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