President Richard Nixon was born on January 9, 1913. He was president when I was born. His death in 1994 was the first post-presidential death I really remember and one of the few I actually had an opinion on. I remember being irked that people commented on the Watergate thing. It was rude to speak ill of the dead; let him rest in peace.
It turns out I was wrong about that.
Richard M. Nixon was, beyond contestation, a traitor who traded American lives for the Oval Office. He was guilty of “sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks … Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps.” Henry Kissinger was serving under President Johnson at the time and gave Nixon a heads-up that peace was imminent. If there was a truce, Nixon would probably lose the presidential race to Herbert Humphrey. Thus, Nixon went behind the scenes to convince South Vietnamese to boycott the peace talks. Nixon subsequently won the election and rewarded Kissinger by making him the national security advisor … in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.”
Nixon’s traitorous acts indisputably resulted in the death of tens of thousands of US troops: “In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.” All those people dead just to help Tricky Dick Nixon win an election.
Ironically, his traitorous action to win the Presidency was the underlying cause of his leaving the office humiliated and in disgrace: “ Nixon feared public disclosure of his role in sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks … Nixon established a “plumbers unit” to stop potential leaks of information that might damage him, including documentation he believed was held by the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank. The Plumbers’ later break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down.”
For more information on this too-little-know-and-decried crime, I recommend the book Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate by Ken Hughes.