NO MORE VIETNAMS by Richard Nixon
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            After The Real War and Real Peace:  the real Nixon.  Couched as a manual – how to meet the Soviet challenge in the Third World without the soft-hearts interfering – this is actually Nixon’s diatribe against the antiwar movement, academics, the media, and everyone else he thinks lost Vietnam.  Vietnam was a morally correct war for the United States, Nixon argues, since we were trying to save a country from communist tyranny.  Virtually alone except for the far right, he still claims that Vietnam was not a civil war; that the 1954 Geneva accords set up what everyone present understood to be two countries.  The Diem government was a reasonably decent one by Asian standards, he argues; the Kennedy administration, with its penchant for covert action, blundered in initiating the coup that ousted him.  (That blunder he attributes to media misrepresentation of Diem as a persecutor of the Buddhists – who were themselves political manipulators with communist leadership.)  For his part, Ho Chi Minh was a murderer and charlatan who “flim-flam-med” the “pathetically gullible O.S.S. officers” he met (during and after WWII) into believing that he was a nationalist.  Nixon recites a long string of North Vietnamese atrocities and abuses, complaining that My Lai got disproportionate attention.  He cites no sources here or elsewhere, however, and regularly turns isolated incidents into generalizations.  Of the post-1969 antiwar movement, he writes:  “students shot at firemen and policemen, held college administrators hostage at knifepoint, stormed university buildings with shotguns in hand, burned buildings, smashed windows, trashed offices, and bombed classrooms.”  At Kent State, “someone started shooting”; the antiwar movement aided the enemy; and Nixon implies that the blood of Cambodia is on the protesters’ hands, not his.  Nixon may have timed his self-defense to Reagan’s aggressive foreign policy and the decline of the Vietnam syndrome, expecting a more sympathetic hearing.  Instead, he will undoubtedly reignite a lot of fires that burned out long ago.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1985
ISBN: 0877956685
Publisher: Borders Group
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1985


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