Last Days in Vietnam

It should be no surprise in all of my reading focusing on The Vietnam War that I would of course take full advantage of PBS’s offer to watch a free stream of the broadcast of Last Days in Vietnam. This was a 2015 Emmy nominated documentary that did not win last night.
Last Days in VietnamAmerica made a generational investment in both Vietnam and Southeast Asia. We today reflect and measure that commitment in blood and money. It is still difficult to watch two democracies struggled to fight a dedicated communist enemy.

I hope anyone can appreciate the difficult position American soldiers and staff at the US Embassy faced in the days of the war. Their interviews about the experience they faced in light of our Ambassador’s delusion that the south could establish an outcome similar to a South Korean truce two years after US troops departed.
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Nixon’s final act of treason revealed

The Atlantic has picked up an article from the BBC who released audio tapes of President Johnson regarding GOP candidate Richard Nixon’s sabotage of the October 1968 Peace talks in Paris regarding Johnson’s bid to end the US involvement in the Vietnam war.

Nixon Johnson
Johnson ordered FBI wiretaps on the GOP’s candidate that actually caught Nixon manipulating the South Vietnamese Government to boost his own Presidential aspirations in coming the November Presidential election.  Those wiretaps caught Nixon dispatching a GOP supporter Anna Chennault to meet with South Vietnamese President Thieu to promise Nixon would offer the South a better deal if he rejected Johnson’s invite to Paris.

The LBJ tapes were initially released in November 2008. History shows us (again) that Nixon was committing treason against the United States.  This release was even picked up by Slate’s Political Gabfest, but gained no real traction in the media.  Simply put – Nixon is dead.
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Robert Bork’s Saturday Night Massacre

Robert Bork died this week. While many recall his failed US Supreme Court nomination I will always remember his actions as Nixon’s hatchman during the infamous Saturday Night MassacrePlease jump to the 4:43 mark of this video:

At the time Nixon’s Watergate affair was spinning out of control. Archibald Cox, appointed as the Watergate Special Prosecutor demanded access to newly revealed White House tapes after Alexander Butterfield, the President’s Deputy Assistant acknowledged a taping system was installed by Nixon.

Nixon refused to comply with a court ruling that indeed he turn over his tapes and then ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and was fired. Nixon then ordered Richardson’s Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox but he also refused and was also fired by Nixon. Next in line was Robert Bork, then Solicitor General. He did comply with Nixon’s order and fired Cox.  Within hours Nixon ordered the FBI to seal off the offices of the Special Prosecutor, The Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General.

It was a clear and last act the Imperial President and it was a watershed moment in our constitutional.  The next day tens of thousands of Western Union telegrams flooded Congress by the American public insisting on impeaching Nixon.

Bork’s role in the Massacre, firing Cox sealed his fate fourteen years later when President Reagan nominated him for the Supreme Court.

Watergate’s Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson died Saturday. I think he will be remember more for his post Watergate actions than the Un-American acts he managed in Nixon’s White House. Regrettably today’s short attention span media will focus on the last years of his life rather than painfully share again with America the lessons of those in control of power in the beltway.

Chuck was a member of the Watergate Seven and will be forever tied to the illegal actions of breaking into the private offices of psychiatrist Dr. Lewis Fielding and stealing files relating to patient Dan Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon Papers. We should not look past his role of authoring Nixon’s Enemies List and his role in the Vietnamization of the war in SouthEast Asia.

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Pentagon Papers Marine combat units to Da Nang

Reaching page 1,758 of the Pentagon Papers (Part IV-C4 Evolution of the War Marine Combat Units Go to Da Nang, March 1965) provides a growing stream of reports and studies that the war in South Vietnam was “lost” as early as 1960.  Yet both Kennedy and Johnson decided to ignore those studies and marched America into Vietnam.

Pentagon PapersAs Part IV-C.4. reveals research, studies & politics all concluded that South Vietnamese armed forces were on the brink of collapse against the Viet Cong.  The document provides the data that should have not only questioned the decision to deploy US forces but the questioned the role of the US in Vietnam vs Laos.

It was just one terrible decision by the White House after 20 years of continued support for the South Vietnamese.  The “no surprise at the time of deployment” was an existing 20,000 American force of military and policy advisers supporting the South Vietnamese air force and government.
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