Thursday, June 02, 2005

My letter to Ben Stein

I didn't get to watch the cable news shows last night, went to see the new Star Wars movie instead. I would have like to, though, because the whole Deep Throat thing has me fascinated. I did read on some news sites this morning comments from folks like Pat Buchanan and Ben Stein, people who were in the Nixon White House, things to the effect of "if it hadn't been for Watergate, Nixon never would have allowed South Vietnam to fall to the communists, nor would he have allowed the Khmer Rouge to come to power in Cambodia".

I found this confusing. From what I know (admittedly little), Nixon's Vietnam policy was pretty much set in motion before Watergate. Now, as I mentioned in my first post, I'm perfectly willing to be proven wrong. Maybe there was something to this. Or maybe it was Revisionist History being written before our very eyes.

I truly want to know. To that end, I sent Ben Stein the following email. I hope he responds.

Question about Nixon, Watergate and Vietnam

Dear Mr. Stein,

I have a question for you. I didn't get to see your recent appearances on the cable news shows, but I read some transcripts and it raised some questions for me. I saw quotes attributed to both yourself and Pat Buchanan saying that had it not been for Watergate that Nixon never would have allowed South Vietnam to fall to the North, nor allow the Khmer Rouge to come to power and commit the atrocities in Cambodia.

My question relates to the timing of these events. Hadn't Nixon been engaged in Vietnamization and Peace Talks before Watergate? Wasn't the US well on its way to losing in VN before Watergate?

I don't mean at all to sound like a smart ass. I really don't understand the history of it all, and you seem like a very good first person source. I have always been a fan of your work, and especially of your intellect. I may disagree with some of your politics, but I try to maintain an healthy respect for people like yourself who put forth clear, consistent, honest views. I enjoy a good debate, but don't care for screaming matches. My only credo is to be willing to let go of any idea I may hold. Goodness knows there's more that I don't know than that I do know, I could be totally wrong. I would like to better understand the part that Watergate played in our eventual defeat in Vietnam.

I do, however, approach this subject with a healthy dose of skepticism. Could it be that there's some revisionist history being written here now that Deep Throat has been outed? A good opportunity to "clear" Nixon, improve his legacy and the legacy of his administration? (Mind you, I have always maintained that Nixon was the most effective President of my lifetime, until Clinton. I have always thought that Reagan got too much credit for world events falling into place under his watch. Nixon was the first President that I was aware of as a young boy, and I have always had great respect for the man. His flaws were forced into the open at a time when we weren't used to seeing our leaders as flawed). I of course understand that Nixon inherited Vietnam, and that it was an impossible situation. Or perhaps it wasn't? Watergate is to blame?

I hope that find the time to answer this, as I am truly interested and would love to learn what you have to offer on this topic.

I bow to the Buddha nature in you.

The next post will be about music, honest. Unless Ben responds by then.


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