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Quakers Whitewash Nixon

by George Fox Friday, Dec. 12, 2003 at 12:04 AM

Critique of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) of the Religious Society of Friends' brief biography of Richard M. Nixon.

The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's short biography of Richard Nixon is appalling in its dishonesty by omission. An opportunity for humility, perhaps, was turned into a shameful whitewash of the "Quaker" presidency of Nixon. While American deaths in Southeast Asia did decline during the Nixon presidency, he secretly (though it was no secret to the residents of those countries) and illegally expanded the war into Laos and Cambodia. The decline in US casualties was, in no small part, the result of his decision to make greater, arguably criminal, use of high-altitude bombing resulting in a tremendous increase in non-US civilian casualties in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

It is highly debatable whether Nixon should get much credit for the eventual 1973 pullout from SE Asia or for ending the draft. The credit is due mostly to the same anti-war movement that helped bring down his predecessor, LBJ, and, in the case of the American war, ultimately, the determined resistance of the Vietnamese people through expel the foreign invaders.

The statement "Native Americans consider Nixon to be one of America's finest Presidents" is, at a minimum, overbroad. Consider Nixon's handling of the Wounded Knee occupation of 1973. In its aftermath, Nixon broke his promises for meetings with American Indian Movement (AIM) and scores of deaths followed on the Pine Ridge reservation as "goons" and Bureau of Indian Affairs police retaliated against AIM supporters and members, all with the complicity of the Nixon administration. Furthermore, AIM was virtually destroyed by FBI COINTELPRO operations during Nixon's adminstration.

Finally, the failure to discuss the nature of the Watergate scandal which led to Nixon's resignation is really unbelievable.

Nixon should get credit where credit is due but your dishonest witness of the overwhelming unsavoriness of his presidency is shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the Friends. I hope the PYM will honestly confront this matter and move to present a more complete and honest view of Nixon. The whole (Internet connected) world has access to this site and, frankly, the Nixon page is arguably akin to a Hitler page that highlights him as a vegetarian or a pagan and then proceeds to mention only the "good" things he did.

Link: http://www.pym.org/exhibit/p1112.html
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