Far too much ink has been spilled blaming the entire tragedy surrounding the Vietnam War on the United States…. a closer look at the historical record reveals otherwise– simply put, North Vietnam was never interested in ending the war.
Consider Nixon’s good faith appeal to Ho Chi Mihn in 1969… Nixon sincerely wanted to find a conclusion to the conflict and was more than prepared to offer concessions to the Communists.
Dear Mr. President:
I realize that it is difficult to communicate meaningfully across the gulf of four years of war. But precisely because of this gulf, I wanted to take this opportunity to reaffirm in all solemnity my desire to work for a just peace. I deeply believe that the war in Vietnam has gone on too long and delay in bringing it to an end can benefit no one–least of all the people of Vietnam. My speech on May 14 laid out a proposal which I believe is fair to all parties. Other proposals have been made which attempt to give the people of South Vietnam an opportunity to choose their own future. These proposals take into account the reasonable conditions of all sides. But we stand ready to discuss other programs as well, specifically the 10-point program of the NLF.
As I have said repeatedly, there is nothing to be gained by waiting. Delay can only increase the dangers and multiply the suffering.
The time has come to move forward at the conference table toward an early resolution of this tragic war. You will find us forthcoming and open-minded in a common effort to bring the blessings of peace to the brave people of Vietnam. Let history record that at this critical juncture, both sides turned their face toward peace rather than toward conflict and war.
Ho Chi Minh’s woefully inept response was nothing more than Marxist blather disguised as patriotism… Nixon offered a way out. Ho could have saved the lives of millions of his people just by agreeing to talk. North Vietnam wanted the war to continue to satisfy a suicidal need to be considered heroic by the increasingly anti-American global community.
Mein Kampf is again a bestseller in Germany… first publication in 70 years sells out initial run
Coal fire may have helped doom Titanic… journalist suggests the smoldering fire contributed to the sinking
Nixon personally directed interference in Vietnam peace talks… documents show effort to impact public opinion before 1968 election
Armies continue looting historical sites in Middle East… academics warn of the loss of priceless antiquities
Irish Potato Blight originated in South America… genetic link found in pathogen that killed millions in Europe and Ireland
Always Tricky Dick
Nixon apologists were hoping the new renovations to his Presidential library… would shift the historical discourse about his presidency. In the best case, a new appreciation of Nixon’s foreign policy record would counter the voluminous accounts of his abuse of power and deceit.
Keeping copious notes
New revelations from the handwritten notes of long-time Nixon aide HR Haldeman… expose Nixon’s nefarious political character before he gained the power of the Presidency.
“Of course I didn’t”
Texans again threaten to secede… poll supports secession if Clinton elected
Nixon library gets historical make-over…. historians seek to balance a “failed presidency”
Vanderbilt University purges word “Confederate”… school forced to break ties with influential donor
King family settles dispute over MLK’s Nobel medal… two sons looked to sell the medal: terms undisclosed
Civil War trust preserves Perryville battlefield... group secures 70 acres of Kentucky battlefield
Presidents long viewed as below average… or failures tend to be associated with significant historical events. Actions taken during these events can be overlooked due to hindsight; historians possess the benefit of knowing the paths actually traveled. Ineffective policy is easily tossed aside in historical assessments because hindsight provides the student of history with an alternate and possibly more effective course. Executive action is also overlooked in the context of significant history. Events that change the course of history are often analyzed with little thought afforded the actions of the President. Take these examples….
A tax and spend Liberal? According to John Nance Garner, YES !
Herbert Hoover did nothing about the Great Depression… The Great Depression was a transformative historical event and Hoover’s attempts to stem the coming flood have been long overlooked. His policies did not prevent the deepening of the Depression, so they are discarded so historians can prepare students for the coming of the New Deal. Hoover often misspoke about the state of the economy, like encouraging Americans to “work harder” when work was more difficult to find.
- Hoover signed bills creating the National Finance Corporation and the Emergency Relief Act. These two laws gave huge government building contracts to select businesses around the country. The laws pumped $4 Billion dollars to American economy.
- Hoover signed two tax increases that raised the top marginal rate from 24% -63% and the corporate rate from 11%-18%. These were the first tax hikes in over 20 years.
- Hoover was lambasted by the Roosevelt campaign in 1932 for taxing and spending the country into socialism. New Deal Democrats later admitted that many of their programs were simply boosts to bills signed by Hoover.
How do you say ‘hippie’ in French?
Richard Nixon was a war criminal… The Vietnam war changed America in countless ways. The New Left school of historic thought dominated the scholarship about Vietnam with anti-government rhetoric and a firm belief that grass-roots activism trumped strategic policy. Nixon’s decision to attack NVA bases in Cambodia put him near the top of their list of villains.
Consider the policies enacted by these two Presidents… in terms of the issues that faced the American people. Should they be considered failures?
Filed under Ephemera, News
Alger Hiss was a Soviet agent… a spy, spook, traitor- all the same. Hiss’s story was never frustrating, but the academics who defended him provided more than enough consternation over the decades. Academia saw a victim, a noble man wronged by the excesses of McCarthyism and the ambition of Richard Nixon. In many ways, it was the perfect script for Hiss- people never stopped talking about him. He could have gone down as just another middling diplomat who briefly served at the UN– get in line, professor; but no, Hiss wanted it both ways. He wanted the recognition, but on his terms- history be damned.
Clearly beneath him
Even as the evidence mounted against him… Alger Hiss refused to surrender to the facts. He was a hero in the minds of many, the case against him had to be an elaborate plot. Poor Whitaker Chambers first warned the State Dept. of Hiss in 1938, ten years before the infamous HUAC encounter. Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko confirmed the bulk of Chambers’ accusations, but still the Hiss charade soldiered on. Hiss’s popularity carried over the generations as Hollywood made certain the public couldn’t forget the poor American communists victimized by the Red Scare. Even the appearance of Hiss in decrypted Soviet messages weren’t enough- he may have been ALES, but to the American left, he was a martyr.
Liberal historian, Allen Weinstein… wanted to write the definitive work vindicating Hiss in 1977. His exhaustive research provided just the opposite- the evidence, even in 1977, definitively proved Hiss had lied. Alger Hiss died in 1996 as thousands of left-leaning academics continued to proclaim his innocence. And another crime emerges- Hiss let it happen, he lived a lie and allowed his followers to ruin their reputations- all for his vanity.
Filed under Ephemera, News