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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

LBJ Knew Nixon Sabatoged End of Vietnam War

He was a crook. And a traitor? Image from The Atlantic
There have long been stories about the 1980 presidential election, and how Ronald Reagan engineered the release of the long-held Iranian hostages, but only after the election. The motive was that Jimmy Carter would be much less likely to win the election if the hostages were still held captive and/or that he'd get a boost if they were rescued. As it turned out, the hostages were freed immediately after Reagan was sworn in. I still remember the fuss made about it, though it was probably all kind of a setup.

As bad as that sounds, it would seem to be fairly small potatoes compared to what seems to have happened in 1968. Because preventing the end of a war, just to get elected sounds much worse than the nickname "Tricky Dick" is famous for. The Vietnam War went on for seven more years after that. Richard Nixon claimed to know how to end the war, but in truth seems to have deliberately sabotaged the early end of it when there was a chance. Lyndon Johnson thought Nixon's behavior was treasonous, but was restricted from saying anything due to the way the knowledge was obtained. Here's the big question: will history reflect this new knowledge? Or is it too unpleasant? And if Reagan and Nixon both pulled a fast one in order to get power, who else has?
Image from LibertyRoulette

[Excerpt]

Newly Released Secret Tapes Reveal LBJ Knew but Never Spoke Out About Nixon's 'Treason'Rumors and whispers of Richard Nixon's 'treason' -- sabotaging Vietnam peace talks to help his Presidential campaign -- have floated around for years, but newly released tapes from Lyndon Johnson's Presidency confirm that LBJ knew about Nixon's behaviour and didn't bother to report it.. .

Read more at: The Atlantic

And now, a purely ponderous sidebar: Aside from the lives that would have been saved, and everything else that would have been spared as a result of a much shorter war, consider the following. The sixties were a time of great upheaval, and an amazing amount of cultural and pop cultural change. Though much of that change came from the "British Invasion" in pop culture, and the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, Vietnam was a huge motivating factor. If the war had abruptly ended in 1968, what would be different about our history? Without protests, would the counter-culture and hippies have died out? How would the soundtrack of the war, the evolution of music have changed? If Nixon had lost, what would the entire 1970s have looked like? Without the post-Watergate years, and the following Carter malaise, would there have been a need for Reagan's "morning in America?"

I think it would make a great novel, the diverging path of history at that moment in 1968. Especially if it was written by someone who was really knowledgeable of not just the history but of politics at the time, and what really might have been. The only thing I'm sure of is that I'd have seen some of it, since I was born in 1966!

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