No Peace No Honor

 Nixon has been one of the most maligned characters in history and yet, I've heard some Republicans say he was a good president. What's that all about?

Larry Berman's book, NO PEACE, NO HONOR details Nixon's dealings with Vietnam (both North and South) - it's based on newly released government documents and tells quite a different story from what we've been told.

In the USA just before the Nixon-McGovern election, the climate was very anti war.  The media hawked what a dirty useless war it was and how terrible our soldiers were acting (a character who would become very familiar in the 2004 election, John Kerry, testified before Congress that those who fought in Vietnam were "war criminals" who decapitated women).

In the 1980's National Geographic, a magazine which generally does not get involved in politics, in their issue on Vietnam, remarked that after our soldiers pulled out of Vietnam, the North Vietnamese slaughtered 4.5 million, an event which apparently the media was silent on.  "If these had been Europeans would we have heard about this in the mainstream media?" Geographic asked.

Article "Genocide kills more than war"

excerpt (written in 1986)

*** Overall, the best estimate of those killed after the Vietnam War by the victorious communists in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia is 2,270,000. Now totaling almost twice as many as died in the Vietnam War, this communist killing still continues. ***

It was then that some of us realized that our fight in Vietnam was to protect the South from this type of mass slaughter but what happened?  Why did we pull out?

A typical mass slaughter - why we were asked to help the South Vietnamese

Berman's book attempts to fill in the gaps.

Nixon faced the following situations:

  • possible anarchy in the USA from anti war protestors
  • negative public opinion about the war in Vietnam
  • Congress withdrawing all funding from protecting Vietnam

So he and Henry Kissinger concocted a secret plan.  He would withdraw the troops but protect the South Vietnamese using air power (he knew that the Vietcong would violate any kind of treaty they signed).  This strategy had worked well with Korea so it was a good shot for Vietnam.

Unfortunately, everyone ran interference.  The Democrats launched Watergate. The president of South Vietnam had no trust for Nixon despite many meetings and his trust was totally blown when one of his men found a copy of the proposed treaty in the barracks of captured North Vietnamese. He went public accusing Nixon of foul play.

Nixon's plan required secrecy.  He couldn't reveal his plan because that would ruin the backup protection plan for Vietnam - the North would never sign the treaty knowing the US plan.   Nixon was impeached and being more honorable than Clinton, he stepped down from the Presidency rather than reveal what the Watergate break-in had been all about.  Nixon's vice President was unable to continue the plan, Congress stopped all funding for the war and our troops pulled out WITHOUT providing the protection from air power.  And the Vietcong slaughtered 4.5 million of the South Vietnamese.

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