"Hold on; we're winning"

George Will reports on Ken Hughes's theories about what Nixon was really asking his "plumbers" to cover up:
On Nov. 2 at 8:34 p.m., a teleprinter at Johnson’s ranch delivered an FBI report on the embassy wiretap: [unofficial Nixon agent] Chennault had told South Vietnam’s ambassador “she had received a message from her boss (not further identified). . . . She said the message was that the ambassador is to ‘hold on, we are gonna win.’ ” The Logan Act of 1799 makes it a crime for a private U.S. citizen, which Nixon then was, to interfere with U.S. government diplomatic negotiations.
Setting aside the Logan Act violation for a moment, should we see this as an act of treason? Something along the lines of "I'll have more flexibility after the election"?   Some will argue that Nixon deliberately prolonged the Viet Nam War for the purpose of positioning himself politically as the only man who could end it.  I wouldn't put it past him, but I wonder if it isn't more fair to imagine that he believed that the war must be ended justly if at all, and that he was trying to send a message of encouragement to some desperately besieged fighters to have courage in the knowledge that reinforcements were on the way.  Whether he was right or wrong in this conviction, it's not clear to me that he was sacrificing lives in war for petty personal political gain.

Is it really "private diplomacy," let alone treason, to send a clear message about what you'll do if you're elected president in a few months?  I objected to Obama's "flexibility" statement, not because it was secret or improper diplomacy (and of course he wasn't a private citizen at the time, either), but because the message I got was "I'll be in a better position to compromise my own country's best interests in a few months, when I have this pesky domestic political competition out of the way."

1 comment:

Ymar Sakar said...

People who believe in the Left's propaganda of history, have no idea what really happened back then.