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Forum Post: So who was the biggest traitor and directly responsible for more American deaths? shrub or dick?

Posted 11 years ago on March 19, 2013, 5:33 p.m. EST by bensdad (8977)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Newly declassified tapes of President Lyndon Johnson's telephone calls provide a fresh insight into his world - LBJ caught Richard Nixon sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks.

The final batch of tapes released by the LBJ library covers 1968, and allows us to hear Johnson's private conversations as his Democratic Party tore itself apart over the question of Vietnam. The 1968 convention, held in Chicago, was a complete shambles.
Tens of thousands of anti-war protesters clashed with Mayor Richard Daley's police, determined to force the party to reject Johnson's Vietnam war strategy.
As they taunted the police with cries of "The whole world is watching!" one man in particular was watching very closely. Lyndon Baines Johnson was at his ranch in Texas, having announced five months earlier that he wouldn't seek a second term.

The president was appalled at the violence and although many of his staff sided with the students, and told the president the police were responsible for "disgusting abuse of police power," Johnson picked up the phone, ordered the dictabelt machine to start recording and congratulated Mayor Daley for his handling of the protest. They also shed light on a scandal that, if it had been known at the time, would have sunk the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee, Richard Nixon.

By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks - or, as LBJ put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had "blood on his hands".

The BBC's former Washington correspondent Charles Wheeler learned of this in 1994 and conducted a series of interviews with key Johnson staff, such as defence secretary Clark Clifford, and national security adviser Walt Rostow.

We now know...

After the Viet Cong's Tet offensive, White House doves persuaded Johnson to end the war Johnson loathed Senator Bobby Kennedy but the tapes show he was genuinely devastated by his assassination He feared vice-president Hubert Humphrey would go soft on Vietnam if elected president In 1971 Nixon made huge efforts to find a file containing everything Johnson knew in 1968 about Nixon's skullduggery.

Now, for the first time, the whole story can be told.

It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew peace would derail his campaign.
Nixon therefore set up a clandestine back-channel involving Anna Chennault, a senior campaign adviser. At a July meeting in Nixon's New York apartment, the South Vietnamese ambassador was told Chennault represented Nixon and spoke for the campaign. If any message needed to be passed to the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, it would come via Chennault.
In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris - concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared.
The Paris peace talks may have ended years earlier, if it had not been for Nixon's treasonous subterfuge.

Nixon’s Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal.

So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out. He was also told why. The FBI had bugged the ambassador's phone and a transcripts of Anna Chennault's calls were sent to the White House. In one conversation she tells the ambassador to "just hang on through election".

Johnson was told by Defence Secretary Clifford that the interference was illegal, treasonous and threatened the chance for peace. Nixon went on to become president and eventually signed a Vietnam peace deal in 1973

In a series of remarkable White House recordings we can hear Johnson's reaction to the news.
In one call to Senator Richard Russell he says: "We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources. Mrs Chennault is warning the South Vietnamese not to get pulled into this Johnson move."

He orders the Nixon campaign to be placed under FBI surveillance and demands to know if Nixon is personally involved. When he became convinced it was being orchestrated by the Nixon, the president called Senator Everett Dirksen, the Republican leader in the Senate to get a message to Nixon - LBJ knew what was going on, Nixon should back off and the subterfuge amounted to treason.

Publicly Nixon was suggesting he had no idea why the South Vietnamese withdrew from the talks. He even offered to travel to Saigon to get them back to the negotiating table.

Johnson felt it was the ultimate expression of political hypocrisy but in calls recorded with Clifford they express the fear that going public would require revealing the FBI were bugging the ambassador's phone and the National Security Agency (NSA) was intercepting his communications with Saigon. So they decided to say nothing.

The president did let Humphrey know and gave him enough information to sink his opponent. But by then, a few days from the election, Humphrey had been told he had closed the gap with Nixon and would win the presidency. So Humphrey decided it would be too disruptive to the country to accuse the Republicans of treason, if the Democrats were going to win anyway.

Nixon ended his campaign by suggesting the administration war policy was in shambles. They couldn't even get the South Vietnamese to the negotiating table.

Nixon won by less than 1% of the popular vote.

Once in office he escalated the war into Laos and Cambodia, with the loss of an additional 22,000 American lives, before finally settling for a peace agreement in 1973 that was within grasp in 1968.



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[-] 1 points by mideast (506) 11 years ago

It really is amazing how the R - alec trolls can't answer a simple question. shrub? or dick?

[-] 1 points by Shule (2638) 11 years ago

Funny how these government politicians, from either party, get appalled by anti-war demonstrators making all that "violence." Yet, they ignore the fact it is often the police first exciting it, not even to mention all the bombs they're dropping, and other people killing things they are getting our soldiers to do in foreign countries (as if that all is not violence.)

Then they take away common people's livelihoods, throw families out of homes, and ruin whatever savings people had by trashing the economy. Like if that is not violence?

Violence we'd like to avoid, but it is already upon us.

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

Dick Nixon. his carpet bombing in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is estimated to have killed as much as 3 million people mostly civilians

[-] -3 points by fanya11 (-35) 11 years ago

Kennedy (democrat) STARTED the vietnam war...Johnson another democrat, made it the mess it was. Nixon..got us out ofg the war.

A bit foggy on history asshole?.

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

I believe Eisenhower sent the 1st troops, and JFK was about to withdraw the troops when the repubs shot him no?

[+] -4 points by fanya11 (-35) 11 years ago

900 troops in vietnam when Eisenhower left office (all advisers..no combat)

16,000 in Vietnam when Kennedy left office. Or are you going to blame BUSH for that one too. Funny how when democrats become president., like the village idiot Obama..they are never responsible for anything. Kennedy and Johnson...BOTH dems... responsible for 90% of vietnam deaths

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 11 years ago

Prescott Bush was clearly the main force behind the entry into vietnam.

Everyone knows that George W Bush was the village idiot.

But the real slaughter in Vietnam took place when Nixon and Kissenger (ve vill bomb zem) started the carpet bombing of north and south vietnam, Cambodia, & Laos. They slaughtered 2 million + human beings

And I give the credit ending the Vietnam war to the years of anti war protesters, not tricky dick.

Read a book, idiot.

[+] -5 points by eteller (-132) 11 years ago

Too many facts for ows people to grasp. "they" have their own" facts "and they're sticking to them.

[+] -4 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

Sabotage peace talks? Sounds about right. I wouldn't put it past em. Similar to Karzai claiming we are sabotaging efforts there in order to keep going.

You really need to get off your partisan stool and see the big picture.