37 Years Since Nixon Left Office

Tuesday 09 August, 2011 at 4:53 am Ken 1

It’s worth remembering on the anniversary of Richard Nixon’s departure from office that he got away with his worst crimes.

No one died at Watergate (as the old bumper sticker put it) but thousands died because Nixon was unwilling to admit publicly what he recognized in private–that South Vietnam wouldn’t survive without American ground troops fighting and dying in its defense.

His advisers–military, diplomatic and intelligence–told him this in his first year in office, yet he maintained the public pretense that he would withdraw the last American troops only when they had trained the South to stand on its own. “This withdrawal will be made from strength and not from weakness. As South Vietnamese forces become stronger, the rate of American withdrawal can become greater.”

Yet he resolved in secrecy to time his withdrawal to the 1972 election, keeping American soldiers in harm’s way long enough to ensure that the South wouldn’t fall before Election Day. Propping up the South for political purposes cost thousands of American lives. Publicly he claimed it took four years before his training program for the host government’s forces worked. Privately he recognized it hadn’t.

I look at the tide of history out there, South Vietnam probably is never gonna survive anyway,” the President told his national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, a few months before his landslide reelection. “I’m just being perfectly candid.” Never with the voters.

Some said that Nixon’s resignation undid the 1972 election. Not unless it raised the dead.

For years Nixon’s defenders said that they hoped his voluminous White House tapes, recorded secretly on a voice-activated system wired to microphones hidden in the Oval Office on the President’s orders, would reveal the statesman. They said that the Watergate tapes, coming out first and getting played in court and printed in the newspapers, showed us Nixon at his worst. The rest, they argued, would correct this distorted portrait.

They did. For one thing, they reveal that Watergate was Nixon’s lesser offense.

If people ask you why Nixon fought until his death to keep the American people from hearing his tapes, show them this.



Leave a Reply

  • Millie says:

    I would really like to thank you a lot for your job you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same effective work by you later on as well.

  • 1 comment

    1. Millie Comment:August 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm

      I would really like to thank you a lot for your job you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same effective work by you later on as well.


    You must be logged in to post a comment.