Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Nixon: I'm going to destroy the expletive country

Ok, class, here's your chance to shine. Read the selections below and in an essay of 500, 1,000 or 10,000 words compare and contrast the attitudes of Nixon and Bush and Cheney and their conduct of the wars they oversaw. Feel free to imagine that uncensored tapes of 21st century Oval Office conversations are available.

In your essay be sure to include a discussion of Brezhnev's phrase (see below) : "a deliberate effort to destroy a country and kill off thousands, millions of innocent people."



The New York Times
Quagmire Fatigue
Cozying Up to the Enemy’s Friend, in Hope of Ending a Frustrating War

The Oval Office, April 19, 1972: Mr. Kissinger is about to begin a secret trip to Moscow. President Nixon is intensifying the bombing of Vietnam after an Easter offensive by Hanoi.

Nixon: I’m the last president... I’m the only president... who had the guts to do what we’re doing.... Reagan never could make president to begin with, and he couldn’t handle it.... I’m going to destroy the [expletive] country, believe me, I mean destroy it if necessary.... We will bomb the living [expletive] out of North Vietnam. ...

Nixon and Brezhnev met in the Kremlin for the first of a week of talks on May 22, 1972. When the subject of Vietnam arose, “camaraderie vanished,” Mr. Kissinger wrote in his memoirs. It came up on May 24 at Brezhnev’s dacha.

Brezhnev: You say you want to end this war and quite calmly put forward the idea. But this is at a time when you are carrying out ... a deliberate effort to destroy a country and kill off thousands, millions of innocent people. For what sake is this, by what right is this being done? It would certainly be interesting to hear for the sake of what the U.S. invaded Vietnam.... I don’t want to hurl more epithets on you. There have been quite enough epithets heaped on you as it is. But how can the methods you use now be called a method of ending the war in Vietnam?

Nixon: ...This is just a small war. But it has cost the U.S. 50,000 dead and 200,000 wounded. ...We are not trying to impose a settlement, government, on anybody. We are trying by a simple cease-fire to end the war — in other words, to impose a peace.

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