The GOP’s Iran Sabotage Recalls Nixon’s Vietnam Treason
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
Last time, they committed treason to prolong a war.
This time, they’re apparently trying to start one....
The backstabbing letter sent by 47 Republican members of Congress warning Iran off a possible nuclear weapons treaty is a haunting re-run of what Richard Nixon did to Vietnam peace talks in 1968.
Back then, Nixon was in a close race for the presidency with Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey was Lyndon Johnson’s Vice President, both of them neck-deep in the catastrophic assault on Vietnam.
By fall 1968 the war had just about undone the Democrats. Draft card burnings, huge demonstrations at the Pentagon and around the US, and a deep malaise of anger and betrayal gripped the country. On March 31, Johnson announced he wouldn’t seek re-election. Four days later, Martin Luther King was murdered. Robert F. Kennedy was killed in June. In August the Democratic Convention in Chicago was torn to pieces.
By October, Nixon seemed a shoo-in. Touting a “secret plan” to end the war, he seemed the only port in an abysmal storm. (Daniel Ellsberg, then a top military consultant, says Nixon’s “plan” was to use nuclear weapons. He also says Nixon was ultimately deterred from doing so by the power of the peace movement).
As Election Day drew near, rumors of peace strengthened Humphrey’s hand. Polls tightened as it became clear the Administration was trying to broker a cease-fire that might actually bring the war to a close.
The rumors were true. LBJ furiously sought to halt hostilities before Election Day. He wasn’t personally close to Humphrey, but certainly preferred to be followed in office by a fellow Democrat.
But among his foreign policy advisors was none other than Henry Kissinger. With inside knowledge, Kissinger secretly told Nixon about the negotiations.
Nixon then violated the Logan Act, and committed what amounted to treason.
Passed during the 1790s administration of John Adams, the Logan Act outlaws private party interference into official negotiations between the US and another government.
Undeterred, Nixon ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to our “allies” in South Vietnam, to tell them not to sign a peace treaty. Instead, she informed them that if the war would drag on through Election Day, Nixon would win....and he’d then give them a “better deal.”
Johnson suspected as much, and called Nixon into the White House for an explanation. Tricky Dick denied it all.
LBJ later got direct confirmation that Nixon had, in fact, committed treason. But he never went public with it.
The war dragged on another seven years. More than 20,000 additional Americans died, as did hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese.
Today Nixon’s successor Republicans are following in his foul footsteps. Protected by untold billions from the likes of the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson, the GOP now apparently feels it can do in public what Nixon only dared do in secret.
It’s no coincidence this has all coincided with yet another close election---this one in Israel.
By aggressively sabotaging a potential treaty with Iran on nuclear weapons, the GOP is deliberately undermining an avenue to peace with a dominant power in the Middle East. Should negotiations collapse and Iran ultimately get atomic bombs, the death toll could dwarf what we saw in Vietnam.
All this seems once again fine with the Grand Old Party. At 91, they recently hosted Kissinger at the Capitol.
And somewhere in his Luciferian fire pit, Richard Nixon must be laughing.