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View Diary: Nixon: more liberal than Obama? (182 comments)

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  •  secret wars... (0+ / 0-)
    See when you make statements like the one above it makes me weep for the American educational system.

    We didn't really discuss the Vietnam war in school. It was too recent (in the late 80's and early 90's) to receive much attention. As history classes tended to start in the past and move forward the most recent events tended to be short changed in any history class. Further, many of our parents had first hand experience in the war and thus it was still controversial (and thus probably more difficult to teach about).

    There was, in the Pentagon's view, a legitimate military reason to assault Cambodia directly. Tens of thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers had established bases and supply depots there and were using the sanctuaries as jumping-off points for ground battles in South Vietnam, just across the border. Somewhere in that area, too, was the Communist headquarters for the guerrilla war in South Vietnam, known as the Central Office for South Vietnam, or COSVN. The Cambodian sanctuaries had been made necessary in part by the heavy bombings inside South Vietnam.

    also from the article:

    Like most senior military men, and like Henry Kissinger, Haig was a believer in military force-especially in Vietnam-and saw the war as vital to American credibility and world stability. He quickly expressed his views to his fellow National Security Council staff members. Sometimes things got unpleasant.

    I conclude the following:

    1) The rational for war (in Vietnam) was made clear to the people. The administration genuinely believed that winning or securing a good peace was important to the nation as a whole and to the stability of the world in general.

    2) They engaged in an operation that was ethically questionable  in order to further above goals.

    To me this seems like a case of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. (As opposed to our invasion of Iraq which appears to be doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons).

    At least while I think the trend has been towards more corruption and misrepresentation  of intentions and rational for decisions, there has also been a decline in trust in our leaders. I think that in the current world it would be very difficult to get away with a secret set of operations as above without drawing attention and demands for an explanation. What may have been marginally acceptable to some a few decades ago in the pursuit of a positive aim would now be seen as totally unacceptable.

    •  You don't understand yet, but listen up (1+ / 0-)
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      scotths

      because DK has lots of old timers who can fill you in on the history.

      The Nixon administration did some good things which remain significant after four decades and deserve to be recognized.  But always for wrong reasons: to gain political advantage or undercut those they saw as their enemies.  If they genuinely believed in anything besides their own power and privilege, it was the Cold War and making the world safe for capitalism.  

      Nixon and his stooges were in Dick Cheney's neighborhood on the scale of malevolent evil... The difference is that Cheney cared only about raw power and thought nothing of political calculus or electoral advantage, and saw no profit in tossing a bone to the left as Nixon sometimes did.

      Still I think the diarist is correct: Obama, by his actions, seems well to the right of Nixon-minus-his-evil.

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