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Opening Arguments

Famous last words

Oh, yeah, sure, I believe that:

"I want to say also that this may be the last day I'm ever involved in a campaign of this kind," the former president told Clinton supporters in South Dakota, ABC and NBC reported on their news websites.

I believed Richard Nixon, too, when he said we wouldn't have him to kick around anymore.


Bob G.
Wed, 06/04/2008 - 1:54pm

Hey, I STILL have my"IMPEACH NIXON" and "RE-ELECT THE DIKE BOMBER?" buttons...

Even back THEN, my faith was severely shaken (not stirred) by politics .
I've not waivered since.


Harl Delos
Wed, 06/04/2008 - 3:07pm

Maybe I've just forgotten it, but I don't recall ever seeing a "Re-elect the Dike Bomber" button or bumper sticker. I just now googled, and found out what it was all about. I thought it might have something to do with manly lesbians.

There's one of the bumperstickers in the Swathmore College Peace Collection,

Although I supported GOP candidates in local and state races, I detested Nixon. He killed more US soldiers getting us out of Vietnam than LBJ had killed getting us in. He also poisoned marijuana fields so that drug users would get sick. A lot of what Nixon did was highly commendable, but his price freeze was very stupid, and his disregard for the lives and health of Americans was utterly reprehensible.

I keep muttering that what this country could use is a good Republican president, and my wife keeps telling me that's an oxymoron - even though she was a Reagan Democrat. She also likes Arlen "Magic Bullet" Spector, but she insists he is really a Democrat, even though he currently runs as a Republican. He did start out as a Democrat when he was a prosecutor in Philadelphia.

Leo Morris
Wed, 06/04/2008 - 3:56pm

Not to quibble, but it was Eisenhower who got us into Vietnam and JFK who escalated things. Johnson may have been the one who turned it into a "real" war, but the groundwork had been laid. And I have no special interest in defending Nixon, but more than 36,000 Americans had died before he took office in 1969. That's more than 60 percent.

Harl Delos
Thu, 06/05/2008 - 4:44am

No need to apologize, Leo; it's a pretty good quibble. I appreciate it when people make me smarter. (And as I devolve into Senile Dementia, it gets easier and easier to do.)

According to the US Archives (Combat Area Casualty File of 11/93), there were 30,844 killed in action through 12/31/68, and 58,169 US forces KIA in total. That's 53%, a little less than the "more than 60%" you came up with, but it'd have to be less than 50% to support my (now amended) belief.

By "LBJ getting us in", I start with Operation Flaming Dart and Operation Rolling Thunder, because that's when Johnson switched from his Akron University position of "not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles to do what Asian boys should be doing for themselves" to a pro-war stance. When it came to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, the administration lied, and people died. (Have I heard that refrain recently?)

There were 28980 KIAs in 1966, 1967, and 1968. If you add in 1961-1965, that's another 1864 KIA.

The ratio of "non-hostile deaths" to KIAs rose during the war. There was 0.21 NHD per KIA in 1966, for instance, but it had risen to 0.70 in 1971 and 0.87 in 1972. The number of MIAs (virtually all of which were deaths) to KIAs rose, too; in 1966, it was 0.01218 but it almost doubled by 1970 to 0.02393.

My statement was wrong when I said "more than". If you count the non-hostile deaths (which ARE a cost of war) and MIAs, it comes close to the 50% line. If one counts the soldiers who died later due to the war (including Agent Orange cancers and PTSD suicides), which also are a cost of war, it might even be stretched into "more than", but that's Hillary Mathematics. I'd rather admit I'm wrong than lie about it.

Leo Morris
Thu, 06/05/2008 - 8:23am

I was going by the year-to-year-breakdown of the 58,178 names on the wall ( http://thewall-usa.com/summary.asp ). Those deaths include ALL in the war zone, both hostile and non-hostile. Maybe that's enough quibbling. Dead is dead.