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Cohen writes: "With the benefit of hindsight, Nixon has one of the most remarkable political legacies of any figure in modern American history."

Cohen: 'This week saw the 100th birthday of America's 37th president, Richard Milhous Nixon.' (photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Cohen: 'This week saw the 100th birthday of America's 37th president, Richard Milhous Nixon.' (photo: AFP/Getty Images)


Nixon: Not Just Criminal, But Treasonous Too

By Michael A Cohen, Guardian UK

11 January 13

 

If the passage of time ever tempts us to soften our view of Tricky Dick, just recall the treason that helped swing the 1968 election

his week saw the 100th birthday of America's 37th president, Richard Milhous Nixon.

With the benefit of hindsight, Nixon has one of the most remarkable political legacies of any figure in modern American history – winner of four national elections (as president and vice-presidential), on a presidential ballot every year but one from 1952 to 1972, and one of the most dominating political personalities of the second half of the 20th century.

Here was the man who "went to China", spurred détente with the Soviets, signed into law the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), took America off the gold standard and ended the Vietnam war.

Of course, on the flip side, he also prolonged the Vietnam war, obstructed justice from the Oval Office, used the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to go after his political enemies, launched an illegal war in Cambodia, waged a dirty tricks campaign against his opponents, placed Spiro Agnew a heartbeat from the presidency, kept an "enemies list", was recorded in the Oval Office describing Jews as "aggressive, abrasive and obnoxious" and Italians as not having their "heads screwed on tight", ended the Vietnam war with neither peace nor honor, was impeached by Congress, resigned the presidency and left a permanent stain on American democracy … and those are just some of this greatest hits.

Oh, and also, he committed treason.

Now, that is not my description; rather, it reflects the view of President Lyndon B Johnson, who, in the final days of the 1968 presidential election, became convinced that Richard Nixon (who eventually won the race) and his campaign associates were working surreptitiously with the South Vietnamese government to obstruct peace talks between the US and North Vietnam. It is one of the most duplicitous and pernicious moments in Nixon's political career – which, considering his larger crimes, is really saying something.

To provide a bit of context to the charge, it's necessary to step back to the 1968 election. After tumultuous violence and a "police riot" at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Nixon entered the fall campaign with a double-digit lead over his Democratic opponent, Hubert Humphrey, and third party candidate George Wallace. Battered over the war in Vietnam and the anti-war sentiment within the party, Humphrey looked like a political dead man walking.

Few at the time believed that Nixon could lose, so insurmountable did his lead appear. But in late September, Vice-President Humphrey broke with Johnson at a speech in Salt Lake City when he called for a conditional bombing halt in Vietnam. At the same time, Humphrey's old union allies launched a massive effort to discredit the surging Wallace and convince their members to pull the lever once again for the Democrats.

Practically overnight, Humphrey's fortunes shifted. His campaign crowds got larger, anti-war hecklers who had bedeviled him for weeks disappeared, fundraising improved and his poll numbers steadily began to improve. With a week to go before election day, an election that had once seemed like a foregone conclusion was now suddenly a contest.

And then came the "October surprise": a potential breakthrough with the North Vietnamese that held the promise of peace talks in Paris and a hope for an end to the war. On 31 October, Johnson announced an eagerly-awaited bombing halt over North Vietnam. The prospects of "peace at hand", many believed, would represent the final piece of the puzzle for the greatest political comeback since Truman in 1948.

But it was not to be – and in no small part because of Richard Nixon.

The final wrinkle in the negotiations with North Vietnam was the inclusion of the South Vietnamese government at the Paris talks. For obvious reasons, the South Vietnamese leadership was fearful of where such talks might lead – a US withdrawal could spell the end of their government and their nation. But refusing to attend negotiations in Paris would risk the ire of their US allies.

Luckily for them, they had another ally: the Nixon campaign, which was desperately trying to convince South Vietnam's President Thieu to skip the talks and hold out for a better deal if Nixon was to become president.

Enter the most fascinating figure in this tale of intrigue: Anna Chennault, the Chinese-born widow of General Claire Chennault, commander of the legendary Flying Tigers that ran missions in Burma and China during the second world war. She was a woman for whom the cold war was less a geopolitical and ideological struggle, and more a vocation.

As strident anti-Communist who had long been involved in Republican politics, Chennault served as a back channel for the Nixon campaign to South Vietnam's ambassador to the United States, Bui Diem. Released FBI intercepts show that Chennault was passing messages to Diem urging him to tell the government in Saigon to refuse to attend talks in Paris. Moreover, she was at the same time communicating with Nixon's campaign manager, John Mitchell, who told her he was "speaking on behalf of Mr Nixon. It's very important that our Vietnamese friends understand our Republican position and I hope you have made that clear to them."

It was one of many contacts between the two – contacts that continued even after the 31 October bombing halt speech. In fact, Chennault told Diem to tell Saigon that her "boss" wanted to tell "Diem's boss", to "hold on, we are gonna win." As for who this shadowy "boss" was – well, he had just called her from New Mexico, said Chennault. By sheer coincidence, Spiro Agnew happened to be in Albuquerque that day.

By even less coincidence, Thieu went before a joint session of the South Vietnamese national assembly several days after Johnson's 31 October announcement and said that his government would be not going to Paris, effectively torpedoing the talks and dealing a blow to Humphrey's election chances.

Clark Clifford, who was secretary of defense at the time, offers in his memoirs one of the most authoritative takes on the Chennault incident – and perhaps its most damning indictment:

"What was conveyed to Thieu through the Chennault channel may never fully be known, but there was no doubt that she conveyed a simple and authoritative message from the Nixon camp that was probably decisive in convincing President Thieu to defy President Johnson – thus delaying the negotiations and prolonging the war."

Now, it should be said that there is a real question of whether the South Vietnamese would have participated in talks even without Nixon's intervention; and of course, there's no guarantee that the war would have ended sooner if they had come to Paris. In addition, it's far from clear that Humphrey would have won the 1968 election if Thieu had not refused to attend the talks. But certainly, it is very possible that the war might have ended sooner, and countless lives might have been saved – if Nixon had not muddied the waters with the South Vietnamese.

We, of course, know about the incident now with hindsight. What can definitely be said about it was that Nixon and his associates were integrally involved in an effort to derail a US diplomatic initiative to end the war in Vietnam – and for the most appalling of purposes: to win Richard Nixon a presidential election.

While much of this history has been known for years, it is oddly one of the most forgotten elements of Nixon's odious record in the public spotlight. On some level, though, it is the greatest possible metaphor for Nixon's legacy: that he would without scruple place personal aggrandizement ahead of the national interest.

It's a worthwhile reminder that if one were ever moved to give Richard Nixon the benefit of the doubt, the urge must be resisted.

 

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+139 # Barbara K 2013-01-11 13:57
Looks like the GOP crooks go back a long way. I thought so anyway. They are still blatant crooks, cheats, and liars, now even terrorists, just to get their own way.
 
 
+102 # maddave 2013-01-11 18:02
Brings to mind the 1980 Reagan-Bush Iranian hostage chicanery that delayed their release and unseated Jimmy Carter.
 
 
+61 # Rick Levy 2013-01-11 21:12
Republicans can't help committing treason to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals by any means necessary. It's in their blood.
 
 
+18 # jmac9 2013-01-12 11:36
that's right Barbara: the last 5 Republican presidents in a row have been overt criminals.
Though the fraud of drug prohibition was begun in 1930s...Nixon expanded it with the fraudulent "war on drugs" which has cost taxpayers over $1 Trillion and is a complete failure.
 
 
+4 # RLF 2013-01-14 10:06
and they have never been prosecuted by a complicit Democratic party. They are all what they are...corrupt.
 
 
+10 # doneasley 2013-01-12 16:47
Quoting Barbara K:
Looks like the GOP crooks go back a long way. I thought so anyway. They are still blatant crooks, cheats, and liars, now even terrorists, just to get their own way.


You're so right, Barb. EVERY GOP administration from Nixon to "W" Bush was involved in a conspiracy - and the the Nixon regime was the only one in history to have both president and VP forced to leave office. Of course, if the Democrats weren't such "good guys", EVERY GOP administration since Nixon would have been forced to leave office - Reagan, Daddy Bush, and "W" included.

REAL EVIL - and we continue to look it squarely in the face today.
 
 
+3 # Barbara K 2013-01-13 16:51
doneasley: Do you remember hearing that Bush was signing Pardons for all his crooks in office? Cheney on down, even signed one for himself. I don't see how they can be legal. One cannot be pardoned before being charged with a crime.

.
 
 
+1 # hkatzman 2013-01-15 14:13
Quoting Barbara K:
I don't see how they can be legal. One cannot be pardoned before being charged with a crime.
.

Remember, Ford pardoned Nixon before he was indicted, never mind being charged. Obviously, this precedent has been allowed to stand.
 
 
+4 # MainStreetMentor 2013-01-14 06:38
Nancy Pelosi had the authority and opportunity to bring both Bush and Cheney before the American People on charges when she was the Speaker – and didn’t do her job. We now face the potential of having the punish-less repeat of a similar future disaster of another kakistocracy by the RepubTeacans. We have become a nation favoring political image over reality; reputation over fact; protocol over substance. We don’t want or honor the truth anymore – we prefer fabricated, veiled politically acceptable correctness – wikileaks proved that, i.e., shoot the messenger and ignore the message.
 
 
+2 # politicfix 2013-01-14 17:19
If the foundation isn't built on truth it crumbles.
 
 
+67 # DaveM 2013-01-11 14:23
We forget all too easily why Nixon was removed from office (he resigned before he could be impeached). His misconduct was trivial compared to what goes on every day in Washington now. Why do we tolerate it?

Each day we trudge one step closer to something resembling a monarchy or dictatorship. And each day it seems more and more than we march uncaringly in lockstep.
 
 
+59 # Barbara K 2013-01-11 16:08
DaveM: I never forgot. I still remember him looking into the camera and stating "I am not a crook"; when he was a really big crook. His cronies broke into the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, and he tried to cover it up. Yep, he resigned before he could be impeached; and Ford pardoned Nixon, just to get on with governing. Just think how different it may be if Nixon had gone to jail? Maybe it would have let them know way back then that they couldn't get away with the crookedness they were doing. Think so?
 
 
+20 # Merschrod 2013-01-11 18:17
Now that you mention it Barb, "looking ahead" and forgetting the crimes of earlier criminals seems to have infected Obama too. It is not that I am anti-Obama - I'm ojective!
 
 
-12 # KittatinyHawk 2013-01-11 18:23
I do not know if I would so mildly give him Crook that belittles Captain H, Robin Hood and the likes He was a Criminal, if totally on his own...he still allowed it. I do believe he was used and others today to stupid to see the writing on the Wall "WE WILL HANG YOU OUT TO DRY TO IF YOU DO NOT DO WHAT WE SAY!"

This being the reason to rid our Country of the Treasonous Bastards. If the idiots in the Hurricane, Gulf, and other demeaned States still do not see the Picture We have two years to paint in the blanks.
We will not forget Nixon, that is neither here nor there. I do not believe in giving any more credence to his term but I do thank him for the Environmental things he did, and ending the WAR...We did not belong there ... have Dems to blame for signing our Troops to go.
 
 
+3 # DaveM 2013-01-14 13:31
Yes, Gerald Ford becoming President was part of a deal which involved Nixon being pardoned. Had that not happened, we might we have seen Nixon on trial.

I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, I can ALMOST accept Gerald Ford's rationale that the nation needed to put the business behind them. On the other, we would be a stronger nation if we had had a powerful object lesson in one of the cornerstones of Americanism: that no one is above the law.
 
 
+40 # GGmaw 2013-01-11 16:42
No -- there was nothing trivial about what Nixon did. Even in comparison with what is happending now.
 
 
+25 # ghostperson 2013-01-11 22:34
Isn't it amazing how jaded we have become?

The level of corruption in this country has grown to such epic proportions that Nixon's high crimes seem pale by comparison to what is dished out today as our daily fare.

We have a dead economy for 90% of the population.

Health care is unaffordable to ordinary people.

Big Energy is allowed to poison our water resources and air and land if Keystone goes through.

We have no valid reason to be fighting unwinnable wars with fanatics. (They would be winnable is we actually used all the weapons we buy as part of our bloated defense budget.)

Our plutocrats and zealots have killed education.

Why do we need a government if all it does is join cause with interests that do nothing but harm us?

It's amazing to think that we actually pay people to screw us.

I think public campaigns of shaming would be a good idea, not that it would work, but it would at least give citizens a method of venting.
 
 
+10 # tomtom 2013-01-12 11:57
Quoting DaveM:
We forget all too easily why Nixon was removed from office (he resigned before he could be impeached). His misconduct was trivial compared to what goes on every day in Washington now. Why do we tolerate it?

Each day we trudge one step closer to something resembling a monarchy or dictatorship. And each day it seems more and more than we march uncaringly in lockstep.


Agreed. We have a Dept. Of War, not one planning and implementing any of the infinite, peaceful solutions. Our "Leaders" are more dangerous than during the Viet Nam War. The world mobilized against attaching Iraq, before March 20th, 2003, and we've still been murdering, hundreds of thousands, of innocents, without pause or shame. What is it about children's body parts do we not get?
 
 
+16 # NanFan 2013-01-12 12:02
Quoting DaveM:
We forget all too easily why Nixon was removed from office (he resigned before he could be impeached).


True...I caught that, too, in the article: Nixon never was impeached. He was too chicken and paranoid even to stand up to the scrutiny and possibility of impeachment. They had him dead-to-right, as they say.

It was, however, the best good riddance moment ever, aside from George W leaving office with the stickiest, ugliest mud on him that could possibly happen to a president.

Nixon was left to lead his life in some sort of peace, as were the Georgie's, Cheney, and Reagan, truly heinous excuses for human beings, let alone presidents and vice presidents.

What is wrong with us??? Don't we know that we really do NOT have freedom??? That we live in reaction to EVERYTHING while these people go on to live their lives in pure luxury???

American democracy is an illusion. It does not exist, and all We, the People, do is merely "exist" within the warped system we can't unknot enough to truly live.

It was true then, we learned nothing as the years passed, and it got more and more deadly and terrifying to the everyday American.

I don't know...I simply don't know...

N.
 
 
-5 # Smiley 2013-01-13 02:06
That's right! Nixon was a lightweight compared to W Bush or Obama.
 
 
+74 # tm7devils 2013-01-11 14:34
I'm sorry!...Tricky Dick was a piker compared to Bush and Cheney between 2000 and 2008(it's too bad that they didn't resign in...2001 - think of the lives that would have been saved!), and SCOTUS(at least 5/9th's of it)in 2000(Bush v Gore) and 2010(Citizens United).
I'd reinstate Nixon in a minute - compared to this group...
What Nixon did (or didn't do) is conjecture...wh at Bush and Cheney did is FACT!
 
 
+8 # Merschrod 2013-01-11 18:19
True TM, and now we have Obama putting Lew in the treasury - just as bad as Halliburton in the V. presidency.
 
 
+16 # pbbrodie 2013-01-12 07:32
Not to diminish in any way the severity of the criminal actions of Cheney and Bush, but you are wrong. Tricky Dick was no piker, compared to any crook.
Where you get that Nixon's actions are conjecture is totally mind boggling. It is a part of the Congressional record and very easy to find and read. I suggest you do so.
 
 
+10 # AndreM5 2013-01-12 12:35
NOT CONJECTURE! The audio tapes are now released in thee LBJ library!
 
 
+67 # JoelSimpson 2013-01-11 14:36
Of course, nowadays, placing personal or party political fortunes ahead of the national interest has become commonplace, especially among Republicans.
 
 
+33 # grouchy 2013-01-11 14:37
That urge must be resisted in behalf of all the Americans who died as a result of this sabotage!
 
 
+79 # fbacher 2013-01-11 14:39
It looks like Reagan got a lot of ideas from Nixon. Ever wonder why the hostages were let go the moment Reagan was sworn in? It couldn't possibly have been tied with that "arms for hostages" deal, now could it?
 
 
+6 # Barbara K 2013-01-13 13:18
Actually the hostages could have been released earlier, but Reagan had made a pact with Iran to hold them until after the election. Too bad the hostages had to suffer so that SOB could win an election.

.
 
 
+98 # NanFan 2013-01-11 14:41
I do not know anyone who lived during the Nixon scourge that would ever for one minute think about giving this heinous person the benefit of any doubt whatsoever! The man was a very sick pariah who cared nothing for the people he swore to protect and serve with honor. Hell, the word "honor" was not even in his lexicon.

The other presidents who must never, ever be given the benefit of the doubt are Reagan and the oldest living president, George H.W. Bush. These men also never, ever did anything that remotely helped the people of the United States! Indeed, they committed acts that went ultimately unchecked for their criminality and inhumanity that led to George W. Bush's even worse, treacherous reign.

And we let them go...we let them be honored...even after their falls from grace.

Do not go back to sleep, America, for in the haze of the duskiest moments of our lives when we cannot see as clearly, oppression lurks. And if we snooze, if we do not look through that haze with great vigilance and act against any sign of oppression, we will be pulled into the great darkness of ignorance that put Nixon, Reagan, and the Bushes into the highest office.

I will not go quiet into any good night with that on my conscience.

I want to pull out the stops. Fight against injustices. Be able to say "I tried" because "I cared."

Nixon didn't and so he couldn't. Reagan and the Bushes followed suit.

Not me.

N.
 
 
+36 # Barbara K 2013-01-11 16:12
NanFran: I'm with you. Remember it all, and would not for a second think it is conjecture. We lived it.
 
 
+8 # jazzman633 2013-01-12 13:20
As did I, Barbara. I remember the "Checkers" speech. I remember, as a kid, being fully aware of Nixon's devious, say-or-do-anyth ing-to-win mentality. I fully sympathized with Abbie Hoffman, who wanted to drive a stake into his heart to make sure he was relly dead.
 
 
+38 # GGmaw 2013-01-11 16:45
You are right - all these Rethuglican presidents have hurt this beautiful country of ours - all were about MONEY!!
 
 
+2 # bigkahuna671 2013-01-13 12:45
Well, we're back on the same page again, Nan. You've got to wonder when people are just realizing how criminal Nixon was. I remember as a child when he first ran for VP, my mother told me how much he was lying to us in that he WASN'T a war hero and that he was a bought and paid for crook...and that was in 1952! I voted against him in '68, and against Reagan when he ran for gov. of CA in '66, the first year I had the privilege of voting as a proud Dem. There hasn't been a truly honest Repub in my lifetime in the WH other than maybe Ike, although there were a few in Congress like Sen. Tom Kuchel. I think it has so much to do with their culture (?) in that greed and prevarication are in their DNA and living a truly Christian life (something they all claim they are) isn't. Demands for Ronnie RayGun to be honored at Rushmore should be ignored and, instead, we should have a monument to Tricky Dick, Ronnie, and Dubya carved in some southern state, preferably Texas, that honors (?) their contributions to America. Don't know about Bush 41 'cause he never really got to govern, not after the RayGun debacle. And, of course, there will be room for the next Republifascist liar to be blasted out of granite for all time!!!
 
 
+1 # maddave 2013-01-14 16:03
NanFan - I wish I'd written this comment. In the most sincere form of flattery, I WILL use it elsewhere, however. Thank you.

Check Oliver Stone's series, "History of the American People" on Showtime. Last episode is tonight, but it'll still be "on demand".
 
 
+52 # Emmanuel Goldstein 2013-01-11 14:48
I recall long ago reading about this conspiracy. Henry Kissinger was at the center of it, having first worked for the Humphrey campaign and then switching over to the Nixon campaign, bringing inside information with him. I find it therefore odd that Kissinger's name never appears in this latest account.

Btw, I was a spectator at those Paris negotiations in 1968!
 
 
+45 # Dumbledorf 2013-01-11 15:06
There's little question that had Hubert Humphrey defeated Richard Nixon in 1968, our country would be a very different place to live in today! Ronald Reagan would probably have gone back to the Democratic party and There would have been no Watergate, no Kent State massacre, and a U. S. Supreme Court loyal to the Constitution.
There would have been no Iran/Contra/coc aine/mena arkansas "war on drugs.". No Bush 41 & 43 to ruin our country lead it further down the road to totalitarianism . No Waco Teaxas mass murders, et al.

Obama had better heade the warnings of history as he is trodding in the footsteps of those tyrants who have gone before. NO MORE DRONE KILLINGS!!! NO PRESIDENTIAL KILL LISTS EVER!! NO MORE NDAA INDEFINITE DETENTIONS.

Mr. Obama, how much worse do you now appear in the eyes of history than Nixon???
 
 
+57 # aaheart 2013-01-11 15:11
Nixon's treason is very comparable to that of George H.W. Bush in delaying the release of the US hostages in Iran so that he could celebrate their freedom with his inaugural ball as Reagan's VP.
 
 
-44 # JohnBoanerges 2013-01-11 15:21
LBJ knew a lot about criminality having stolen his senate election, been involved with the murder of a golf pro and, of course, JFK and disgusting advances on Jackie before the blood was dry. A FINE human being. ALL politicians are at least indirect murderers but few class with Lincoln and Wilson and FDR.
 
 
+4 # Hey There 2013-01-12 22:08
How do you know that?
 
 
+25 # warkovision 2013-01-11 15:30
It was a different time wasn't it? Would the same thing happen today given the current relationship between the Republican and Democratic parties? Below is a link to the tape and transcript of LBJ letting Everett Dirksen know that he's aware of what the Nixon campaign is up to, that it's a bad thing, and that he's leaving up to Dirksen to deal with it.

http://www.hark.com/clips/nlkchrfcqr-dirksen-lbj-vn68
 
 
+20 # winter4735 2013-01-11 15:42
This story does not even mention his greatest sellout. That would be when he sold Russia the top secret ball bearing tech that allowed the Russians to MIRV their nuclear warheads. Thanks for so little Dick.
 
 
+45 # rye 2013-01-11 15:43
As a young attorney, I lived through the Nixon years..afraid with every step that I'd get arrested. The horrors of those years make today's state of war (with essentially the same enemy, the far right),
almost bearable..
It's the same war, without the hair, with the same enemy. They're better financed, better organized, and they have a much more efficient propaganda machine, which, as we see every day, makes them a much bigger threat to America.
 
 
+60 # Bear3440 2013-01-11 15:44
Reagon also committed Treason!!! He made a deal with Iran, to hold the hostages until after the election, then he would sell Military Parts to them. All their Planes, Tanks Etc. were American made. Afterward he sold them spare parts, in the Iran-Contra affair, DOUBLE TREASON!!!
 
 
+34 # historyguy 2013-01-11 15:59
Vietnam's Vice President, Nguyen Cao Ky, confirmed to me the incident; that Nixon had sent Mrs. Chennault to tell the government to stall the peace talks and when he won the election Nixon would give the South Vietnamese government all it needed to win the war. You can read Ky's autobiography for confirmation of this treachery. Nixon was willing to prolong war for his own political aspirations. BTW: when Ford pardoned Nixon for all crimes "known and unknown" he committed while president, this t
 
 
+42 # Smokey 2013-01-11 16:03
NIXON: He brought the big American corporations and the Chinese Communists together.... Result? The American corporations got access to cheap labor, for manufacturing cheap products, and they got access to the Chinese market.

The Communists gained American technology and opportunities to buy American bonds. Nice deal for the Reds and for Nixon and his supporters.

REAGAN: His adminstration sold military hardware to our enemies in Iran to raise money to support a secret invasion of Central America.

The Republicans still boast that Nixon and Reagan were "great patriots." In reality, Nixon and Reagan abused America and caused many of the political and economic problems that have weakened America. The American middle-class was betrayed.
 
 
+14 # ghostperson 2013-01-11 22:18
In the Benedict Arnold sense I presume. Nixon was a crook and Reagan has Alzheimers while in office, Iran-Contra was his baby. Guess it doesn't matter if Republicans violate the constitution, they get "great patriot" accolades from being upright and mobile apparently.
 
 
+2 # bigkahuna671 2013-01-13 17:12
And the GOP will always say Obama's a failure because he doesn't pass their litmus test - he's black!!!
 
 
+26 # HarryP 2013-01-11 16:05
The astonishing thing was that after dragging out the war for at least another four years - during which he assaulted Cambodia and another 20,000 troops dying along with at least another million Vietnamese - Nixon believed he should have been the 1973 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The other point is that his so-called "peace with honor" was a botched affair the granted Hanoi what both he and Johnson vowed they would never do: withdraw without reciprocity by the North Vietnamese. They could have had that deal in 1965.
 
 
+27 # corey 2013-01-11 16:10
The people in the Bush administration Republican party were are all left overs from when Nixon was President, but when he got caught illegally spying, he didn't get laws passed that made it legal, retroactively.. ...however, his cohorts made sure this happened eventually....w hen they worked in the GW Bush admin, for example; Rummy, Cheney, Ashcroft, etc. If the Democrats had actually IMPEACHED Nixon, the Republicans wouldn't have wasted MILLIONS of taxpayer's money to try and impeach Clinton or what they are doing to the Obama administration now, wasting even MORE millions of dollars.
 
 
+25 # Midwestgeezer 2013-01-11 16:12
My late father used to say of "Tricky Dick" Nixon that: "He'd tell a lie when the truth would do just fine."
 
 
+23 # chuckw38 2013-01-11 16:19
I will ALWAYS remember Nixon raising his waving hand and saying:"I am NOT a CROOK!!!"
Yeah, right!!! Neither are the rest of the GOP "righteous"
Congress-pukes!!!
 
 
+19 # DikBala 2013-01-11 16:43
As the author says, hard to say what would have happened IF... but it's clear that the actions, if indeed they happened, must amount to a kind of treason. Only posterity can say for sure whether Nixon's detente with China—a huge break in the fortunes of the world—is atonement enough.

As a matter of record, however, Nixon was never impeached. The possibility was so imminent, however, that he saw the writing on the wall and resigned before it could happen.
 
 
+3 # AndreM5 2013-01-12 12:44
IF they happened??? It is trivial to verify it in US records released last year. Give it a try yourself. IF! Sheesh.
 
 
+34 # NAVYVET 2013-01-11 17:44
I graduated from Navy OCS in 1957 & my first duty station was a Naval Air Station. When Nixon, V-P, was to visit, all officers were ordered by the Exec to come to the tarmac and be Nixon's "sideboys". The day before his plane landed we had a mini-mutiny when the Senior Medical Officer, a Capt, refused to attend, wouldn't send his doctors or nurses, & rumors of more refusals began to spread throug the base! I showed up, being a 21-year-old Ensign & a clueless twerp. Very few older officers did. WWII officers who had served with Nixon, who'd been a Naval Observer in the Pacific, detested him. They said he faked a medal, cheated at poker, had a foul mouth that would make a Master-at-Arms blush, and campaigned for Congress after the war wearing his uniform (illegal). Women officers who'd met him said he was a sexist pig. It took years for the nation to learn about his expletives deleted and that he abused his wife. Probably very little of the other stuff ever got out to the public. In the Navy everyone I knew, including Republicans (I was one, too), for Kennedy, who had a WWII reputation as a real mensch. In the Cold War he wasn't so good for America either, as we learned in October 1962.
 
 
+18 # Merschrod 2013-01-11 18:22
Thank you Navy. The history books will never carry those gems.
 
 
+1 # AndreM5 2013-01-12 12:50
Pacific?? Are you sure?? Nixon was stationed in Ottumwa, Iowa in WWII. That's a long way from the Pacific. Recall he was raised a Quaker so he was given non-combat duties, regardless of the fact that he didn't observe Quaker pacifism or other precepts. A true stain on humanity.
 
 
+2 # NAVYVET 2013-01-12 20:59
I heard he was definitely in the Pacific, toward the end of the war, and a Naval Observer was "noncombatant." Maybe he was on T.A.D. (temporary additional duty). Nixon was a very un-devout Quaker and although that faith has no excommunication , I know plenty of Friends who regretted that and wished they could have. I've heard rumors that a few Meetings tried to ban him, but it was just gossip and I have no proof. Does any member of the Friends have a comment on that?
 
 
+3 # Midwestgeezer 2013-01-13 08:41
I believe that Nixon was in the Pacific (Hawaii is "in the Pacific") at a supply depot on some behind the lines island. He claimed that he made enough $ playing poker to finance his first congressional race against Helen Gahagan Douglas. Google that race for a look at the nascent crook Nixon.
 
 
-15 # cordleycoit 2013-01-11 18:08
The trickster was a real trip. He did what Obama does, talk one game and play another, under cover . He like Obama likes taking civil rights away from the people turning citizens into subjects.
 
 
+20 # BKnowswhitt 2013-01-11 19:02
Dave M is right. Nixon is now left of the Tea Party Agenda on many issues - Tea Party senators are the faction in the House that are so far right. Nixon said the rich should pay their fair share, he did as stated in the article on the positive side. But that's when government service was more responsible for the working class & not the new 'phoney rich' of America created since the Reagan Era. Why phoney? Because they are so arrogant about how it was obtained and once via big degreg the new superwealth got created they don't have the social conscience to understand how they obtained their money and the expense of whom and how many. This is the big issue today. Tricky Dick's dirtiest deed was illegally bombing Cambodia when it was understood that war was no longer winnable (sp) and he and Henry Kissinger did it covertly and killed millions of innocents in Cambodia. Though their rationale was correct that's where the supplies were kept for the North for the war - they did it without consulting Congress and no one knew - at least not many. Interestingly enough, Kissinger Associates was the consulting firm whom
 
 
+15 # BKnowswhitt 2013-01-11 19:04
Part II: Paul Bremer put forth 'The Bremer Orders' which were the laws put in place post Bush 'W's invasion of Iraq in 2003. Kissinger is still considered a war criminal outside USA as are both Bush W and Cheney for illegal slaughter in Iraq based on lies. It continues today with Obama and Hillary calling Iran a terrorist state - but notice the us media just pukes forth whatever they say. Now don't get me wrong. You can't really bargain with terrorists but Hussein had nothing to do with Al Quida and neither does Iran. Look back further to Eisenhour and Standard Oil of California - to see why they covertly killed Iranian leader in 1956 - he wanted to nationalize the oil to the people. And Commie paranoid Reagan also was rejected by the Congress to get involved in S.American .. so he allowed a covert war there where hundreds of thousands died in the 1980s and afterwards those same so called socialist leaders got elected fair and square by the people there. Kennedy did not want war with S.Vietnam - the Hawks of his day over Eisenhour and then him wanted him to invade. He said that the chances of winning a war against a group that was up in arms from decades of French run colonialism would not be winnable under Ho Chi Mihn. Lyndon Johnson is who committed those troops 6 months after K' assassination ... Now how exactly is Iran a terrorist? Because they supported the PLO and Palestine that's why they are opposed to Israels arrogant policies in the region. That's Why.
 
 
+12 # BKnowswhitt 2013-01-11 19:11
Good ole usa has a great and long history of telling lies about foreign policy with regard to reasons. Terrorism is defined to be more generally those who refuse to Kowtow to us policies. Now 9/11 changed it and Bush got a free go to war for any reason you like card. So he got to complete the final phase of outing Hussein and putting usa in fore front in the middle east. Now Obama et al doing the same with Afghan and Iran - it's all about oil, power, and us hegemony in the region nothing more and nothing less. It's the very same rationale used when us wiped out the american indians here at home a long time ago. Savages they are. Same in Iraq same now in Iran .. same in S. American under Reagan .. same as any culture - granted they are backwards - i'm not supporting any real acts of terrorism that is the real deal and problem going forward .. but the USA started a lot of this in it's storied past .. i apologize for wordy .. but to make my point .. in three comments .. i'm done .. Thanks ..
 
 
+20 # bigkahuna671 2013-01-11 19:22
Sorry, but I wrote all of this in my master's thesis back in 1972 including Anna Chennault's involvement. This information was available to anyone who had the wherewithal to research all the odd sources. I said then that Nixon was a crook and time has proven him to be one, as well as a traitor. I'm glad this was written as my thesis never got much distribution, ha!
 
 
+7 # BKnowswhitt 2013-01-11 19:24
Navy vet sir. I do respect your service and all who serve. Our military goes whenever they are called even if we at home disagree. And suppose we had a war cause that we agreed with like getting Bin Laden early on right after 9/11. However, i must say Kennedy and PT 109 were real. The man was in constant back pain. (ONe reason i think he went for the sex - they had him on pain killers and if the info about is true and believe me it's in many arena's best interest to cook Kennedy today. If you saw the stuff released this year he was only a smidge away from setting off the nuclear war if K didn't back down. He was no pussy. And these hacks today who use K as bait to attack liberals arent' even close to understanding what a real man was in that era .. and which they most certainly in today's whining crybaby era are not even close to being themselves .. so i respectfully dissent sir on your view on K in that regard ..
 
 
+11 # AnastasiaP 2013-01-11 19:51
I will never forget the day Nixon died. I was at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference in Bloomington, Indiana with the editor of the paper I worked for at the time. That evening we were in our hotel room with the TV on, while world leaders like Clinton effusively praised Tricky Dick. My editor was sitting on her bed yelling back at the TV, "He was a crook! You KNOW he was a crook! Why are you saying nice things about him!"
 
 
+6 # BKnowswhitt 2013-01-11 20:09
O.k. no one else eh. Proof in the pudding is with Karzai usa approved plant in Afghan. Like the Bremer orders. They show it all on usa tv about the savages and their lack of rights to women etc. Karzai is a decent man dont' get me wrong i'm for all human rights issues. But USA plays that as their created outcome and hope the sheep at home go along with it all. So that's why we invaded? Heheh. The truth telling is in Karzai's statements of late that the continued USA presence and meddling there to get the outcome USA wants (protection of the pipelines) and prevention of Al Quida attacking the west (which is real) - that the continued occupation is creating a new problem all it's own. One of the occupying power on the country they want to change but incapable of understanding. So now the question is where do we go from here? Did we have a right to do what we did there ( i personally dont' think so with regards to Iraq and now Iran. Maybe in Afghan but we need to get out. US paid armed contractors will remain for another decade or so like the 16,000 who still now via our tax dollars remain in iraq. It was a big big price to pay here at home .. only history will tell the outcome ..
 
 
+17 # Supergirl 2013-01-11 20:15
@Warkovision, thanks for putting the LBJ tape stating he knew exactly the duplicity of what Nixon and his slimmy coherts were up too. That evil slithering snake pulled the same crap 4 yrs. later with Watergate when he feared he would also lose that election. I never bought that respected senior statesman crap that everyone referred to him as in his later years. He was always an evil duplicitious snake..but his crimes were child's play compared with Bush, Cheney and Karl Rove's complete subversion of the constitution and this democracy, to deliberately wage a war on a country for their own greedy, oil, money vetting agenda. The Far right Tea Party continues their deceptions today..if we let them. Hopefully their days are soon over. Not the country I grew up in..but Nixon was the start of it all..
 
 
+9 # futhark 2013-01-11 23:01
Yes, Supergirl, Nixon's crimes pale by comparison to the shenanigans that went on in the Bush II White House, with Dick Cheney and his top secret Energy Task Force probably planning for ways to introduce the American military into the Middle East. And, look! Tthey succeeded! The Cheney-chaired Energy Task Force of 2001, held by public officials on public property using public facilities, is still too sensitive a national security event to allow the minutes of the meetings to be disclosed. However, we have been watching the results of those meetings since September 11, 2001.
 
 
+8 # ghostperson 2013-01-11 22:14
For those of us who are long in the tooth, this is old news. It was even more reprehensible at the time because the government, no doubt due to tumultuous and at times violent protests nationwide, had started declaring war casualties as low, medium and high rather than giving actual death numbers.

Prolonging the war for personal, political gain and to line the pockets of the military industrial complex was incendiary to a population fed up with fighting a war half way around the world in a place where we had no business being.

My mother born in the 1920s made an announcement in 1971 at the Thanksgiving dinner table that it was a good think she didn't have any sons. We asked why? Her anwer was, "Because we would all be living in Canada."

As this incident demonstrates, even WWI and WWII era people were irate abut the Viet Nam war. Their wars were for a purpose, the country could understand. No one understood why we were in Viet Nam much less why we stayed there.

Afghanistan was understandable because that was where bin Laden was hiding, initially. Iraq was about oil. We have accomplished nothing in Afghanistan except briefly squelch the Taliban. As soon as we leave they will be back in full force and Al Quaeda will be there with them.

The wars have bankrupt this country.

If we develop clean energy domestically we can get off this need to be Big Oil's guardian and protector world-wide.
 
 
+2 # BKnowswhitt 2013-01-11 22:14
Supergirl. To be fair you have to look at Nixon in relation to the history of that time. He was a middle road paranoid but he did have scruples if you see his policies. The problem lies in the fact that the president of USA is by default also the commander in chief. He or She (god help us in the case of Hilbillery) is also the commander of the people. So that's a fundamental part of the Republic. This is a big faux paux in this countries origin and could well lead to it's downfall. Nixon and Obama only follow the rules of the game that's laid out. I fear one day that this country will suffer the consequences of vaporizing the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima when it wasn't really necessary to kill that many civilians. We won't be on top forever. Look at France and England. If you believe I mean really believe in the Law of Karma ... it's all o.k. long as you look at only once side then it gets complicated .. Amen .......
 
 
+2 # BKnowswhitt 2013-01-11 22:25
The US Contitution was good for it's time. Always subject to subjectivity however! One good example is the gun lobby saying it's 2nd ammendment right. Yeah in the historical context of the time it was written it was meant to take up arms to protect against invaders. Not to arm yourself against a government you disagree with. So the Holy Grail of USA Constitution is always subjective interpretation and application unless you look at the historical sociology of that time in history that it was created .... F' the NRA .... and their horseshit hiding behind the 2nd ammendment to gain their own ends ........
 
 
+2 # BKnowswhitt 2013-01-11 22:31
My point is both the Left and now mostly the Right argue about 'The Constitution' like it's some kind of Holy Grail. That's a bunch of crap. Humans are all flawed and so is their perception of right and wrong it's all and always 'Relative' to something else ..... agenda's both overt and covert ..... to gain their own ends .. the human condition my friends ....
 
 
+7 # futhark 2013-01-11 22:55
Was it not treason that Nixon had a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War in 1968, but refused to disclose it contingent on his election? If holding the lives of thousands of people hostage to being elected to public office isn't treason, then it ought to be a crime of equal magnitude.
 
 
+8 # kalpal 2013-01-12 08:27
The Nixon/Agnew administration clearly demonstrated to the GOP that being a felon is no bar to high public office. Every subsequent Republican administration has been filled with felons, most of whom were never indicted, tried or convicted but they were most definitely there and if the GOP ever regains the White House it will be filled with right wing felons again. (Some decades ago I read that it was Henry K. who passed along the word that Ann C. was to obstruct the Paris talks. I found it credible then and I still do.)
 
 
+1 # ericlipps 2013-01-12 13:35
Quote:
Of course, on the flip side, he also prolonged the Vietnam war, obstructed justice from the Oval Office, used the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to go after his political enemies, launched an illegal war in Cambodia, waged a dirty tricks campaign against his opponents, placed Spiro Agnew a heartbeat from the presidency, kept an "enemies list", was recorded in the Oval Office describing Jews as "aggressive, abrasive and obnoxious" and Italians as not having their "heads screwed on tight", ended the Vietnam war with neither peace nor honor, was impeached by Congress, resigned the presidency and left a permanent stain on American democracy … and those are just some of this greatest hits.
Actually, Nixon was not (quite) impeached. He resigned when it became apparent thaaat an impeachment vote would be held in the full House, that it would go agaainst him and--crucially- -that he was likely to be convicted by an overwhelming margin (as of his resignation Nixon xould xount on just 15 senators, out of 100, to vote for acquittal).
 
 
-10 # fhunter 2013-01-12 15:39
Dear Barbara and all the rest of the MORONS. You were not there, and you did not know that the real issue was a nuclear holocaust. Everyone in Europe know this, while you here were engaged in your petty issues. NIXON stopped the nuclear danger with the help of Kissinger. Without them you would have been long EVAPORATED.
 
 
+6 # reiverpacific 2013-01-12 19:10
Quoting fhunter:
Dear Barbara and all the rest of the MORONS. You were not there, and you did not know that the real issue was a nuclear holocaust. Everyone in Europe know this, while you here were engaged in your petty issues. NIXON stopped the nuclear danger with the help of Kissinger. Without them you would have been long EVAPORATED.

Read "No peace, no Honor. Nixon and Kissinger and betrayal in Vietnam" by Larry Berman if you can handle it. that should "evaporate" your views if you have a whit of comprehension about you. So watch whom you are yelling "MORONS" at -it's gonna bite you where the sun don' shine and the facts are covered in mire.
On top of which, don't forget Kissinger's directive to murder Allende in Chile. Such sweetness.
He's a still-living mockery of the Nobel Peace prize.
 
 
-4 # fhunter 2013-01-12 16:14
I was on Nixon's enemies list and audited every year till 1979. But that was insignificant in comparison to Nixon's achievement to remove the nuclear treat. Without him Mr. Cohen would have long evaporated, and that would have been really "odious".
 
 
+2 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-12 16:49
Nixon ended the Vietnam War?

I thought it was all those new Democrats in the House & Senate who replaced all those old bipartisan warmongers who allowed Nixon to keep the war going and going and going.... But maybe elections are not part of reality.

As repugnant as RMN & his goons were, and they were plenty repugnant, why did LBJ not have the CIA snoops on the RMN snoops who were throttling the peace talks?

Sounds to me like LBJ botched the election of Humphry & gave it to Nixon.
 
 
+1 # PGreen 2013-01-12 19:29
"...his campaign associates were working surreptitiously with the South Vietnamese government to obstruct peace talks between the US and North Vietnam."
A bit like Reagan whose handlers reportedly prolonged the hostage crisis so as to hurt the Carter campaign. Regans's acts were almost as bad as Nixons-- Iran Contra, El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc. He left the presidency a battered and humiliated man who even compromised his own adamant policy for not raising taxes. Yet he has been resurrected as the grandfather hero of the Right.
Reagan's saving grace in the eyes of the American people may be that he didn't know what was going on, whereas Nixon certainly did.
But Nixon is allowed to be seen as a traitor by the oligarchy because he committed acts against his peers (the Democrats) in the political system that both sides deemed unacceptable. If Watergate was bugging the US Socialist Party, it would never have made the news. Nixon was hung out to dry because he crossed THEIR line-- not ours.
 
 
+2 # nightwolfboy 2013-01-12 22:02
Let's all hear more about the history and honor of being on Nixon's enemies list!!!
How and what did fhunter do to qualify? How did you learn that you in particular were named on that list? This could open some historical doors.
 
 
+5 # Edwina 2013-01-13 10:57
The Watergate hearings that resulted from Pres. Nixon's criminal activities provided hope that democracy was alive and well in America. The hearings when Pres. Reagan was thought to have known about the Iran-Contra deal (trading drugs for guns), a more serious offense, was a sham, and no one suggested he be impeached. The impeachment charges brought against Pres. Clinton seemed frivolous by comparison -- more politically motivated than substantive. And there was very little outrage from the Congress or the mainstream media when evidence surfaced that Pres. Bush & Co. had fabricated "intelligence" to get us into a war in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, mostly non-combatants, millions displaced, and thousands of U.S. soldiers dead and wounded. Not to mention the trillions of dollars spent. We need to look at ourselves -- our political system -- when ever greater crimes get less and less attention.
 
 
+2 # logical1 2013-01-14 00:29
Factually Nixon was not impeached as he made another deal. He resigned. The only President to do so. His trickery and deceit were well under way even under Eisenhower.
It is a shame that the effort to get to the truth of Nixon complicity in the Watergate hearings laid the foundation for Republicans frivolous chase and impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Kane Hoffman
 
 
-2 # moafu@yahoo.com 2013-01-14 08:15
HUH?

The paragraph with six....not one certain "if", but with six "if's" on world and political conditions shows that all of them had to happen -- before Nixon could be treasonous.

Treasonous?? Like the O. campaign accepting foreign donations? Like O. begging the Russians to be patient until he had more "flexibility"? Like abandoning a U.S. ambassador who was murdered, and hiding the truth until an election is over? Like lying to the American voters that a dinky little film about Islam caused the killing of that Ambassador?

Let's face it.....both sides of the aisle are treasonous for the purpose of re-election and pushing their agendas !

The real danger lies with the Am voter who disapproved of Congress by over 80% and of the President's performance and the re-elected him and re-elected over 94% of the existing Congress of whom they had disapproval. To say the USA is 'in trouble' is putting it mildly !

May Heaven help us.
 
 
+2 # Bowie 2013-01-14 09:00
This reminds me of what Republicans did in 1980 when one or more prominent Republicans is believed to have met in Madrid with representatives of the Iranian government to sabotage negotiations which might have led to the release of embassy hostages before the 1980 election. This led to the release only as Reagann was coming into office and may have been tied to what I consider the clearest example of "high crimes and misdemeanors" known as the Iran-Contra" scandal.
 
 
0 # Innocent Victim 2013-01-14 11:31
Michael Cohen is a bit careless: Nixon was not impeached; he resigned and the House did not choose to impeach him thereafter. A federal officer may be impeached even after leaving office. Such an impeachment would dishonor him, deny him benefits of service, and prevent his holding federal office ever again.
 
 
-2 # Innocent Victim 2013-01-14 11:42
Compared with Barack Obama's, Richard Nixon's high crimes and misdemeanors were of a lesser degree. The break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg's doctor is felony, but Obama's violations of the 4th amendment are far more inclusive and sweeping. Nixon bombed Laos and Cambodia, but Obama has continued the aggressions against Afghanistan and Iraq begun by George W. Bush. Nixon never asserted a presidential right to assassinate US citizens nor to kidnap and detain indefinitely persons at home or abroad without due process of law. Nixon may have been a "crook", which he denied, but he did not give away the Treasury to crooked banks. Obama's foreign policy has been destructive to the prestige and honor of the US and against the interests of the ordinary citizen. Nixon's foreign policy promoted peace with China and detente with the USSR. Nixon was, compared with Obama, a blessing!
 
 
0 # FreedomSky 2013-01-14 18:07
Nixon is dishonorable. President Obama promised to get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and he has proven that he is a man of his word. The republicans wish to continue the wars begun by George W. Bush. George W. Bush created the presidential right to assasinate US citizens, and the right to override Congress. President Obama is the president who upholds democracy. Obama's foreign policy has regained allies we had lost and gained new allies. Nixon kept the pointless Vietnam war going to slaughter our US soldiers and to keep him as president. George W. Bush is the biggest traitor to the US in US history as far as I am conscerned. I spit on the ground to both of them. As evil as the bought off replubican congress is by oil corporations I am thankful we do not have a puppet republican president. I would never call Nixon a blessing, ever. President Barack Obama is an honorable president, and I for one am thankful for him. I think you are racist, because people can't be that blind.
 
 
+1 # FreedomSky 2013-01-14 19:56
Nixon, a shameful black eye to Americans and American exceptionalism ethics.
 

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