Clear and a tad on the warm side this early Tuesday on California’s north coast with another sunny and “hot” day scheduled for us — of course, the word, “hot,” being relative.
We get warm real, real easy here on the shore.
War in itself is horror personified, but yesterday something even worse, as five US soldiers were killed by apparent “friendly fire” in Afghanistan — the worse case of such incidents in the 14-year war, one without a true end.
A NATO air strike hit the wrong bunch: “The casualties occurred during a security operation when their unit came into contact with enemy forces. Tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved. The incident is under investigation. Our thoughts are with the families of those killed during this difficult time,” the coalition said in an announcement.
Illustration found here
According to the Washington Post:
A team of Afghan and U.S. troops had been patrolling Arghandab District in an effort to provide a secure environment for the upcoming vote, provincial police chief Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanai said in an interview.
As the troops were getting ready to leave the area by helicopter, they came under attack from militants firing rockets and small arms, the police chief said.
Seeking to beat back the assault, the U.S. troops on the ground called in an airstrike.
A munition dropped from a bomber aircraft appears to have killed the Americans, according to one official briefed on the preliminary investigation who was not allowed to speak on the record.
In the so-called fog of war, this terrible shit does happen. Seemingly a normal course in the frantic terror of combat.
Yet what is it called when it’s done for political, nasty self-serving ways?
It’s sometimes called a ‘Nixonian ploy,’ that’s what.
In 1968, Richard Nixon was on the verge of the greatest comeback in US political history, but Vietnam was a thorn. Due to being senseless crazy, Nixon sabtoged the peace talks and pull off the election — but was Tricky Dick that shitty?
Absolutely, says Tom Charles Huston, the author of a comprehensive, still-secret report he prepared as a White House aide to Nixon.
In one of 10 oral histories conducted by the National Archives and opened last week, Huston says “there is no question” that Nixon campaign aides sent a message to the South Vietnamese government, promising better terms if it obstructed the talks, and helped Nixon get elected.
Nixon’s campaign manager, John Mitchell, “was directly involved,” Huston tells interviewer Timothy Naftali.
And while “there is no evidence that I found” that Nixon participated, it is “inconceivable to me,” says Huston, that Mitchell “acted on his own initiative.”
Like many of Nixon’s actions, this particular transgression was born of paranoia.
As the 1968 election approached, Nixon and his aides feared that Johnson would try to help the Democratic nominee — Vice President Hubert Humphrey — by staging an October surprise.
When LBJ announced to the nation, just days before the balloting, that he was calling a halt in the bombing of North Vietnam to help fuel progress in ongoing peace talks, the Republicans thought their fears were realized.
Anna Chennault, a Republican activist with ties to the South Vietnamese government, sent word to Saigon that it would get better terms if Humphrey lost and Nixon took office, the FBI would discover.
The South Vietnamese dragged their feet, infuriating LBJ who, in a taped conversation released by the Johnson presidential library several years ago, can be heard denouncing Nixon for “treason.”
LBJ ordered the FBI to put Chennault under surveillance and, according to documents at the Johnson library, tracked the machinations of the “Dragon Lady”(as Nixon called her) via intercepted communications at the South Vietnamese embassy.
After Nixon won, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told the new president that Johnson had ordered Nixon’s campaign planes bugged as well.
Once in office, Nixon ordered his staff to investigate the bombing halt and the allegation his campaign had been bugged.
Huston, a dedicated and resourceful young conservative who had worked on the 1968 campaign before joining the White House as a presidential aide, was given the job.
But his investigation, and the report he delivered to White House chief of staff H. R. Haldeman in 1970, found that both presidents had cause for embarrassment: LBJ for the surveillance of a presidential candidate from the other party, and Nixon for the role that his campaign played in derailing the peace talks.
And ain’t that some shit from revered American history.