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Nixon's treason in 1968 prevented peace with Vietnam


seabhcan

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A very interesting story on the BBC which is based on newly declassified white house recordings from 1968. It seems that the framework for a peace deal in Vietnam was lined up before the 1968 election. On the day it was to be announced, South Vietnam pulled out, extending the war for another 5 years.

It turns out that Nixon, fearing a pre-election peace would sink his chance to be president, secretly and illegally contacted the South Vietnamese and told them to withdraw, promising them a better deal if he was elected.

LBJ knew because the FBI had bugged Nixon, but believing they would win the election anyway, said nothing publically. Nixon won by 1%.

BBC News - The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon's 'treason'

How history could have been different...
 

Eoin Coir

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This has been known for some time. Much the same happened here in 1997, when FF conspired with IRA not to restore the ceasefire until after the June election. It was restored in July despite nothing changing, apart from election of FF !
 

edwin

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This has been known for some time. Much the same happened here in 1997, when FF conspired with IRA not to restore the ceasefire until after the June election. It was restored in July despite nothing changing, apart from election of FF !
You clearly win top prize for most idiotic post of the month. Your two brain cells must be lonely.
 

dresden8

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Meh. Iranian hostage crisis ensures Reagan's election. Hostages are subsequently released.

Reagan sells weapons to Iran.

Nothing to see here.
 

Eoin Coir

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a deal was within grasp in 1968, scuttled by Nixon who settled for much the same years later, but after 22, 000 US soldiers were killed, along with thousands of civilians.

Shades of Sunningdale , slow learners etc.
 

Mitsui2

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a deal was within grasp in 1968, scuttled by Nixon who settled for much the same years later, but after 22, 000 US soldiers were killed, along with thousands of civilians.
Indeed. "Nothing to see" would not be a view shared by those tens of thousands of US families - though the Vietnamese would hardly be dismayed at one more American lie.

Still, old news, old wounds, those who'd be angriest mainly dead, &c &c &c.
 

Cruimh

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A very interesting story on the BBC which is based on newly declassified white house recordings from 1968. It seems that the framework for a peace deal in Vietnam was lined up before the 1968 election. On the day it was to be announced, South Vietnam pulled out, extending the war for another 5 years.

It turns out that Nixon, fearing a pre-election peace would sink his chance to be president, secretly and illegally contacted the South Vietnamese and told them to withdraw, promising them a better deal if he was elected.

LBJ knew because the FBI had bugged Nixon, but believing they would win the election anyway, said nothing publically. Nixon won by 1%.

BBC News - The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon's 'treason'

How history could have been different...
When Quakers go wrong .......
 

Hewson

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Remember when they were arguing over the shape of the table at the peace talks in Paris?
 

Catalpast

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A very interesting story on the BBC which is based on newly declassified white house recordings from 1968. It seems that the framework for a peace deal in Vietnam was lined up before the 1968 election. On the day it was to be announced, South Vietnam pulled out, extending the war for another 5 years.

It turns out that Nixon, fearing a pre-election peace would sink his chance to be president, secretly and illegally contacted the South Vietnamese and told them to withdraw, promising them a better deal if he was elected.

LBJ knew because the FBI had bugged Nixon, but believing they would win the election anyway, said nothing publically. Nixon won by 1%.

BBC News - The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon's 'treason'

How history could have been different...
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.

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.

Well that's not true anyway - the US did not lose another 22,000 KIA after Nixon took over - circa 15,000 more like

Anyway surely the South Vietnamese would have realised that there was no point signing a deal until after the new POTUS was elected?

This line of argument also presumes that Hanoi was ready to sign a deal in '68

- that was to America's advantage :shock:
 

seabhcan

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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.

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.

Well that's not true anyway - the US did not lose another 22,000 KIA after Nixon took over - circa 15,000 more like

Anyway surely the South Vietnamese would have realised that there was no point signing a deal until after the new POTUS was elected?

This line of argument also presumes that Hanoi was ready to sign a deal in '68

- that was to America's advantage :shock:
About 2 million people died in the Vietnam war. People are still dying today from the chemical weapons used by the US. 42,000 people have died due to old bombs going off since the war ended.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/03/vietname-war-bomb-explodes_n_2229727.html

Whether 22,000 or 15,000 of the aggressor army died is beside the point.

How exactly did the US take advantage of the situation? They were ultimately defeated both politically and militarily. It was a total loss for the US.
 

Catalpast

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About 2 million people died in the Vietnam war. People are still dying today from the chemical weapons used by the US. 42,000 people have died due to old bombs going off since the war ended.

Vietnam War Bomb Explodes Killing Four Children

Whether 22,000 or 15,000 of the aggressor army died is beside the point.

How exactly did the US take advantage of the situation? They were ultimately defeated both politically and militarily. It was a total loss for the US.
No body knows how many people died in the 'Vietnam War' - though it could be as high as two million all right esp if you throw in Cambodia and Laos

How exactly did the US take advantage of the situation?

I never said they did Chuck
 

NewGoldDream

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This has been known for some time. Much the same happened here in 1997, when FF conspired with IRA not to restore the ceasefire until after the June election. It was restored in July despite nothing changing, apart from election of FF !
Nothing changed?

We got rid of the party whose leader announced that he was f€&@€&@ sick of the Peace Process. Everything had changed.
 

redneck

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Without a doubt, the VC were almost totally defeated in '68. So the USA had a chance to push a peace deal through.But I thought that Bobbie Kennnedy was going to be the Democratic candidate. It was neck and neck before Nixon defeated Humphrey.
Personally I think a 68 ceasefire would have broken down sooner rather than later. That said any chance of a USA North Vietnam peace deal died with Bobby Kennedy imho.
Nixon was caught out later with Watergate, and his treason there did'nt go unpunished. It was still a tragedy for every one that the Vietnam war went on until '75.
 

Catalpast

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Without a doubt, the VC were almost totally defeated in '68. So the USA had a chance to push a peace deal through.But I thought that Bobbie Kennnedy was going to be the Democratic candidate. It was neck and neck before Nixon defeated Humphrey.
Personally I think a 68 ceasefire would have broken down sooner rather than later. That said any chance of a USA North Vietnam peace deal died with Bobby Kennedy imho.
Nixon was caught out later with Watergate, and his treason there did'nt go unpunished. It was still a tragedy for every one that the Vietnam war went on until '75.
There may possibly gave been the chance of a Ceasefire in 1968 but not a Peace Agreement

Sure the VC took the brunt of the Communist Casualties during Tet - but Hanoi was able to make up those losses by sennding more troops down the Ho Chi Minh Trail

- while all the time denying to the World there were any North Vietnamese regulars in South Vietnam at all ! :cool:
 

redneck

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There may possibly gave been the chance of a Ceasefire in 1968 but not a Peace Agreement

Sure the VC took the brunt of the Communist Casualties during Tet - but Hanoi was able to make up those losses by sennding more troops down the Ho Chi Minh Trail

- while all the time denying to the World there were any North Vietnamese regulars in South Vietnam at all ! :cool:
The US had effectively won a draw in '68. Without doubt they had a chance to secure a cease fire and eventually a peace deal. Something along the lines of the Korean deal, maybe keeping a base in Saigon. Once that chance had gone- Nixon and the US had promised to withdraw- so the War was basically over in '69 and 70. Instead of total collapse and defeat for South Vietnam as had happened in May 1975, any chance was blown in the years 1968 and 1969. By the sounds of it by Nixon himself.
 

Hitch 22

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Without a doubt, the VC were almost totally defeated in '68. So the USA had a chance to push a peace deal through.But I thought that Bobbie Kennnedy was going to be the Democratic candidate. It was neck and neck before Nixon defeated Humphrey.
Personally I think a 68 ceasefire would have broken down sooner rather than later. That said any chance of a USA North Vietnam peace deal died with Bobby Kennedy imho.
Nixon was caught out later with Watergate, and his treason there did'nt go unpunished. It was still a tragedy for every one that the Vietnam war went on until '75.
The Viet Cong were smashed during the Tet Offensive but the fact remained that the hopelessly corrupt South Vietnamese government and military were simply incapable of fighting the North Vietnamese Army who were constantly threatening the northern border not to mention sending an endless supply of troops through Laos and Cambodia to launch attacks south of the border. The military victory of US forces during the Tet offensive came at a heavy price in American lives and wrecked much of the country. The Americans were horrified at the carnage and support just ebbed away.

Nixon introduced the Vietnamization policy similar to the policy later used in Iraq and Afghanistan where by American combat troops would be gradually withdrawn and replaced by trained up local forces who would be equipped and supplied by the US. Nixon stepped up the bombing of North Vietnam and Cambodia to try and create breathing space for this change over. The combat performance of Vietnamese or Marvins units was woeful and it became clear that Vietnamization would fail and once all American troops were withdrawn according to the Nixon timeframe that the NVA would triumph when they launched new offensives.

While US forces never lost a major battle in the entire war and inflict vast casualties on the Communists, the birth rate of the Vietnamese was so high that any losses were soon replaced. Most NVA troops were issued with a cloth pith helmet, two sets of khaki shirts and trousers and sandals made from rubber tyres, a few pounds of rice and an AK-47. Thousands of them perished from disease during their jungle trek to South Vietnam and when they got there they died like flies under bombs, napalm, artillery fire and in firefights with better equipped and trained US forces. In a typical battle the Americans would lose hundreds of men during a siege but they would leave the landscape around their position looking like the surface of the moon from the firepower dropped on the Vietnamese attackers who would die in their thousands. The Communists saw themselves as expendable while ever American death was considered a price to high for the American public.

After the Americans pulled out in 1973 and the South Vietnamese continued to fight, American funding was progressively cut until most artillery guns used to shell the advancing Communists were only firing a few rounds a day and jets and helicopters, trucks and jeeps did not have enough fuel. While the Americans were drastically scaling back their support for the South Vietnamese, the Chinese and Russians poured new supplies and new weapons and gave modern training to the North Vietnamese who finally swept all before them in the final advance on Saigon in 1975.

The South Vietnamese were ultimately betrayed and abandon to their fate. Millions ended up in Communist concentration camps and millions more fled by boat and uncounted numbers perished from storms and disease. The cap it all many countries refused to take in the refugees. The savagery inflict and mass murder of the South Vietnamese at the hands of the Communists eclipsed any of the brutality they suffered at any time during the American occupation.

The leftists and college kids and draft dodgers who had protested the American involvement in Vietnam before the US withdrawal in 1973 were nowhere to be found in 1975. The anti-war movement was less about the war in Vietnam and more to do with comfortable living standards making kids reluctant to make sacrifices comparable to those of their grandparents and parents in World War 1 and World War 2. On average a combat soldier in Vietnam saw far more combat that a typical soldier in World War 2. The nature of counter insurgency warfare and the fighting in the jungles meant victory was not measured by territory taken but by body counts of enemy soldiers. Often the same ground was fought over again and again each time it was again taken over by Vietnamese troops when US troops had withdrawn. While US troops consistently defeated everything thrown at them their morale just bleed away. To keep men fighting they were given beach parties and ice cream when they were on R n R. By the end of the war body counts were being falsified because withdrawal became inevitable and most troops were not interested in dying.

Today Vietnamese workers manufacture cheap goods for the American market after communist economic experiments failed and famines devastated the country for years after 1975. When America and Vietnam let by gones be by gones in the 1990s during the Clinton administration it was because Vietnam desperately needed foreign investment and multinationals to save it from collapse.

So all the sacrifices on both sides were ultimately for nothing. Perhaps the rest of Asia was prevented from turning communist perhaps not.
 
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redneck

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fact remains any chance of a secure peace deal for South Vietnam vanished really in '68. I suppose Nixon himself might have tried to stop the Communist's in 75 had he not lost the presidency.
Johnson started the whole thing really. He sent the US army into a "swamp" and did'nt really have any plan to win.
Why do all US presidents and UK prime ministers send the troops in to battle and they will not do it themselves?
Maybe if back in the early years eg 1966 Johnson or one of his kin, was sent into the Vietnam Jungle for a few months the war would never have happened.
 

rockofcashel

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You clearly win top prize for most idiotic post of the month. Your two brain cells must be lonely.
He is dead right..

SF preferred dealing with FF rather than John Bruton, and did not want to give the Government at the time any kudos around "the effing Peace Process"... so the IRA ceasefire waited..

I mean, the IRA owed FF one in any case, given who armed them in 69 in the first place
 

carlovian

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Remember when they were arguing over the shape of the table at the peace talks in Paris?
I had the same standoff with my wife.

Terrible terrible times.
 
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