Monday, October 11, 2010

Nixon's Nuclear Option

Last week I watching a documentary on PBS about the "Pentagon Papers" episode that took place in the 1970's.

The whole documentary was really interesting. There are many parallels that can be drawn to political issues & policy debates going on today regarding military action. One piece of tape they played that blew my mind was of President Nixon casually advocating dropping nuclear bombs on Vietnam. Even Henry Kissinger apparently had enough of a moral compass to realize the gravity of such an option:

To hear the logic, or lack thereof, that has gone into such important matters is unsettling. Nixon's cavalier attitude toward nuking a country shows just how crazy you have to be to be a political leader, and especially a head of state. You are often faced with impossible decisions that require you to cast aside your humanistic tendencies for the "greater good". It's no wonder that so many of the world's leaders have been nuts.

Coincidentally, the other day in the basement of the place I live I found a couple of magazines from the 70's. One was a Time issue from 1971 w/ Nixon on the cover, running for re-election.

I actually read the articles & cover story about the campaigns of Nixon & McGovern. I'm familiar with political trends in recent history, but it's still crazy to see all the same ideological divisions & arguments that are still going on today.

It's even crazier to read about the Nixon Administration's grand plans for a 2nd term - before the Watergate Scandal rocked the nation & the Nixon Presidency.

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