The situation in the United States is too serious for mere indulgence in pessimism. Whoever reads these lines will, I assume, have shared our feelings of anger and intense dismay over the Nixon policy in Cambodia and the killings at Kent State and Jackson. The last thing, however, that our readers need is another outpouring of rhetoric. Let’s see, instead, if we can sort out where we are.
Precisely why the Nixon administration decided to invade Cambodia remains a matter for analysis and speculation. My own premise is that such decisions are likely to be made as open-ended policies. Some portions of the administration must have seen the Cambodian policy as the minor protective thrust it was later said to be; others hoped perhaps that it would lead to a major intensification of the war, with that famous chimera of “victory” again hovering into sight. The military argument can’t be dismissed entirely, though, having heard so many versions of it in the past, we have every reason for skepticism. As far back as 1968 General Creighton Abrams, U.S. Commander in South Vietnam, is quoted as having “shrugged off the notion of a cross-border mop-up. `They’ll just move back a few miles,’ he t...
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