Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Drew, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

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    The Congress must, I presume, deal with Ashbrook's nomination before beginning impeachment proceedings. None the less, I hope that they quickly impeach and remove Agnew from office! Also, Nixon goes on trial? I don't think that that would be a good thing for the presidency or for the nation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  2. Historico Member

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    Wow, this startling piece of work created out of a through knowledge of Constitutional is definatley a political Rollercoaster. So we do know have Zero Spiro as the 38th President of the United Sates, who can still be impeached according to the Constitution? I wonder who Speaker Albert had in mind, when they were talking about possible replacements for his office? Will Agnew be able to push Ashbrook through the confirmation hearings? Or will the Impeachment proceedings be pushed into the backburner....But the longer they wait, the longer Angew has tio seriously fuck things up lol...Keep it comming drew:D
     
    Johannes Parisiensis likes this.
  3. Nicomacheus Member, Sociedad Thrasybulo

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    We should be through with issues like this. Only the election of the President is given special order of precedence by the Constitution. Nomination of an officer, even for the vice-presidency, probably woudn't legally pre-empt impeachment proceedings. What's more, if the Leadership is so adamant to impeach Agnew, then they can also pretty easily block his nominee for the VP.

    I wonder if Albert might be thinking about having a preferred candidate to replace Agnew elected as Speaker of the House before Agnew is convicted of his impeachment by the Senate. This isn't too dissimilar from his OTL concern about being put in power and over-turning the results of the '72 elections. TTL I would imagine he may be deferring to the GOP to win enough votes to get Agnew out of office.

    Also, I agree with Hart 100%.
     
  4. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

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    Through with it? Maybe as far as the leaders of Congress are concerned. However, we have a generally popular (outside of Congress) President who is (as far as the public is azware) attempting faithfully do his job on behalf the country, and who wishes Congress to do its duty and confirm his choice for VP. The public knows nothing about Agnew's views and visions regarding nukes or his inability to grasp the complexities of geo-politics, and would be slow to believe it. All that John & Jane Q. Public would see at first (unless convining and incontrovertible evidence is clearly and quickly laid before them) would be a Congess attempting to overthrow the President of the United States after just putting him into office.
     
  5. Drew Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the feedback.

    RB - I sense your impatience; however these things have to be done right; any half assed attempt could seriously backfire. Gary Hart simply refocused everyone's thinking.

    Note that the poll in the spring gave him only 38% on the economy, and that won't have improved much. One major screw-up in Vietnam and those borderline 50% numbers will begin to fall fast (note how they fall off when a committment of any length is brought into it).

    Yes, impeachment will seem like a usurpation - but it will also focus on Agnew's public corruption (Rodino correctly identifies the breaking of the Congressional resolutions over Laos and Cambodia as the wrong issues to pick a fight over) and it may be possible to get that climbing debt in there as well. This will begin to change the public perception of Agnew. The public narrative for Congress is one of a question of integrity, which will play aganist a national public airing of Agnew's criminal behavior (including accepting a bribe in the White House) and will have as a backdrop Nixon's on-going troubles.

    No one in his right mind will want Agnew's private views on the use of nuclear force to become public while he is in office; to do that would probably scare the crap out of the Soviets who would not be inclined to simply let it happen. Everyone else would be seriously shaken-up if they heard about this while the man still had his finger on the button. The people who know may share this information with wavering Republican Senators when they need their vote to remove, but under no circumstances will any responsible leader want this to become part of the public impeachment proceedings.

    Arguably, impeachment takes precedence over the installation of a Vice President only because the President in question is clearly corrupt and what's at stake is the integrity of the Presidency and the entire system of democratic government. Never lose sight of two significant points ITTL: Spiro Agnew elected himself and he was fundamentally (here and IOTL) corrupt long before he arrived in Washington.

    Nixon trial: IOTL Gerald Ford said it was the best thing he could do for the nation and some have praised him for his integrity in the face of political opposition. However, ITTL the concept of a pardon has been somewhat tainted by Agnew's self pardon. Another argument is that Nixon should be tried (because Agnew can't be) to prove the rule-of-law is in fact the first consideration: and then have his sentence commutted afterward. If you like religous metaphors, it falls to Richard to be crucified for the sins of the political system as an act of cleansing and re-newal.

    IOTL Carl Albert was concerned with having a Democrat replace a Republican who won the election by a landslide - here that is not an issue. However, the part about Albert not wanting to be President is true to OTL as well; he viewed the idea of becoming President with a great deal of personal reluctance. ITTL Albert has to seriously consider that it must not appear as though he is leading an impeachment in order to grab the Presidency; that is why he will bring in a figure of stature outside of politics as the president-in-waiting.
     
  6. John Farson The Good Man

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    A figure of stature, huh? I wonder who it'll be? It would have to be someone who was respected by both sides of the aisle. Don't tell me its Elvis.:D

    How will the Vietnam War develop? With the U.S. and ARVN now occupying part of North Vietnam and Laos the war has been taken to a whole new level. I suppose there won't be a siege of Hanoi in the style of the Battle of Berlin, though. Right?

    <Has images of American troops violating Uncle Ho's corpse as Hanoi burns all around them.>

    Right?!!:eek:
     
  7. RogueBeaver Globalist

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    Montréal
    Drew: sorry about the impatience :)o), but I'm eager to see what happens next. Like Historico, I deeply admire your thorough grasp of the legal complexities involved. :cool:
     
  8. Drew Well-Known Member

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    Aww, you guessed. No I was thinking more like Don Rickles. :)
     
  9. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

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    Michigan USA
    Much appreciated, thanks.

    Perhaps Tim Conway?:)
     
  10. Drew Well-Known Member

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    Fear, Loathing and Crisis '73

    September 6, 1973

    The official rate of inflation according to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board is 9.1%, while the prime interest rate climbs to 12.5%. The unemployment rate is given as 8.2% and rising. (The highest rates on each of these since 1947; in the case of the prime rate it represents a 6% rise in the space of nine months).

    These numbers cause uneasiness in the market, and further erode consumer confidence. Ominously, foreclosures on consumer mortgages are at 5.1%, a post-war high in the United States. The Agnew Administration’s poll approval ratings on economic matters now hover around 30%. Only on the issue of Vietnam does President Agnew still sustain numbers above 50%. His overall approval rating is at 43%. A major cause in a drop from pre-Labor Day polling is the release of additional casualty figures from Vietnam.

    At the end of the contingent election, Congress has an approval rating of approximately 40%. Only 46% of respondents agree with the outcome of the contingent election; however only 38% of respondents agree that another presidential election should be held prior to 1976. 63% of respondents agree that Richard Nixon should not have been re-elected, given the information now available about the Watergate activity. This figure can be broken down as 48% of Republicans who agree, versus 81% of Democrats who agree that President Nixon should not have been re-elected.


    Chile: President Allende announces that bread supplies will run out in approximately three days, and blames obstruction to his land re-distribution measures for the shortfall in supplies. In fact, the large farms that he has seized and collectivized are unable to produce sufficient staples due to incompetent management by pro-Allende officials and sabotage by disgruntled landowners. Chile now appears to be on verge of a Civil War. Inflation, which was running at 19% when Allende took office in November 1970 is now estimated at around 163%. The Chilean currency is considered worthless. A final decision is made by the military to remove Allende by force.


    Egypt: The Egyptians receive a shipment of SAM-6 anti-aircraft missiles from the Soviet Union. These are moved up to the Egyptian-Israeli frontier along the Suez Canal. At about the same time President Anwar Sadat and his General Staff receive the latest Soviet satellite intelligence showing the disposition of Israeli Defense Forces in the Sinai. Similar satellite images of Northeastern Israel and the Golan Heights are delivered to the Syrian General Staff in Damascus.


    September 8 - 10, 1973

    Rep. Peter Rodino (D-NJ) introduces an motion to draw up articles of impeachment against President Sprio T. Agnew on the charges of accepting bribes, corruption, tax evasion and bringing the office of the Presidency into disrepute. A number of Republicans on the floor of the House heckle Rodino when he introduces his motion.

    After an initial floor debate the motion is sent to Rodino’s Judiciary Committee for review and recommendation.

    Peter Rodino: We have every right to ask ourselves if this President has, by his actions, proven himself unfit to hold the office of President. He is a President who was elected to his office by virtue of one vote in the Senate – his own – and when his criminal actions (boos from the floor) his proven criminal actions came to light, he used the most sacred trust of the Presidency – the power of the pardon – to excuse himself from investigation and prosecution. (more heckling) A man who does this does not deserve to serve as our President.

    Rep. Ron Dellums (D-CA): The man’s a crook and a coward. He has abused the power of his office and he no longer deserves that office, or our respect.

    Rep. John Ashbrook (R-OH): Shame! Shame! At a time when our great President is commanding troops in the field, when American soldiers are bleeding and dying to defend our freedom, they do this? This is the stab in the back; this is nothing but a sucker punch against America.

    Rep. Don Clancy (R-OH): (Crying): I never thought – I never thought – I would see a day like this. September 9, 1973 – a date which will live on in infamy, the day a cowardly, craven – traitorous pack of curs masquerading as law makers moved by selfish, low, political cynicism decided to destroy this country. Behold – the murderers of America! May God damn each and everyone of you!

    House hearings for the confirmation of Rep. John Ashbrook as Vice President are tabled, pending the outcome of the Judiciary Committee hearings on Presidential impeachment. The Senate Judiciary Committee elects to begin hearings on the confirmation of Ashbrook.

    Spiro Agnew: They hate me, and they hate America. Let the American people judge what kind of people these are by their low, despicable actions.

    Tom Brokaw (NBC News): But aren’t the charges true, Mr. President? I mean, you did accept bribes while in office in Maryland.

    Spiro Agnew: I was a damn good governor, and I never took my eye off the public interest. Never in my tenure as governor, and as chief executive of Baltimore County, did anyone receive a contract who was not the best qualified to do the job? Absolutely not! All the firms chosen were highly qualified. Look into my record, you’ll see, they were all qualified to do the work.

    Pat Buchanan had Tom Brokaw banned from the White House after that press conference.


    September 9, 1973

    Battle of Dong Hoi II Roughly 56,000 NVA troops with auxiliaries attack the US-ARVN beach head at Dong Hoi (45,000 US and ARVN forces). The battle begins on September 9 with artillery barrages and air strikes by the North Vietnamese air force that are quickly repelled by US aircraft. US reconnaissance aircraft spot the location of attacking artillery and draw in naval gunfire along with ground based artillery and low level airstrikes in support. US naval vessels and aircraft also fend off an attack from North Vietnamese attack boats. On September 10 the NVA attempt a two pronged assault, coming at Dong Hoi from the North and the West. US Army and Marine units, together with ARVN troops successfully defend Dong Hoi from September 11 - 13. The NVA attack draws their forces out into the open, which leaves them vulnerable to attack from the air by US aircraft. After failing to take Dong Hoi and suffering an estimated 21,000 casualties (dead and wounded) the NVA forces withdraw on September 13.

    US casualties are 842 dead, 3,114 seriously wounded; ARVN casualties are 1,610 dead, 4,820 seriously wounded.

    MACV has banned US reporters in the forward area, however film is made of the two days of fighting in Dong Hoi and smuggled out of Vietnam. It appears on American television on September 17, 1973. On September 18, 1973 the US Defense Department officially releases casualty numbers from Dong Hoi II, Tchepone II and enemy action in South Vietnam.


    September 10, 1973

    Battle of Tchepone II Simultaneous to the attack on Dong Hoi, a force of 19,000 NVA supported by auxiliaries and Pathet Lao guerrilla forces attempt to dislodge the US-ARVN force at Tchepone, Laos. This battle lasts three days (Sept. 10 - 13) and involves heavy artillery barrages by the NVA, countered by intensive air strikes from US planes. The NVA and Pathet Lao are driven off with 288 US dead, 1,175 seriously wounded; ARVN dead 2,048, 3,612 seriously wounded. NVA and Pathet Lao casualties estimated at over 6,000.


    South Vietnam: In co-ordination with the attacks on Dong Hoi and Tchepone, NVA units in the South (estimate strength at around 165,000, although not all these troops are operationally capable) stage a series of hit-and-run attacks on American forces. This leads to retaliatory strikes by US aircraft and US and ARVN ground forces. US and ARVN ground forces cross into Cambodia in pursuit of NVA units over the week between September 10 and 17, inflicting an estimated 21,000 casualties on the enemy. US losses are 2,585 killed, 4,288 seriously wounded. ARVN dead 3,601 dead, 5,200 seriously wounded.

    In a serious friendly fire incident, the 38th Infantry Division (Indiana National Guard) is repeatedly bombed on September 12 by USAF aircraft, which mistake its units for NVA forces. The Indiana Guard suffers 219 killed and 592 seriously wounded in these friendly fire attacks. ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson and a film crew (who have evaded the MACV restrictions on reporters in the forward areas) capture one such air attack on the Indiana Guard on film. Donaldson and his film are seized by South Vietnamese authorities upon his return to Saigon on September 15. ABC immediately protests the detention to both the Departments of State and Defense in Washington, and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saigon.


    September 11, 1973

    Chile: Chile's democratically elected government is overthrown in a military coup after serious instability. President Salvador Allende commits suicide, or is murdered by opposition military forces, during the coup in the presidential palace, and General Augusto Pinochet heads a U.S.-backed military junta that governs Chile with repressive measures, but which begins an opening of the Chilean economy to liberal free market principles.


    September 12 - 18, 1973

    Former Maryland U.S. Attorney George Beall begins three days of televised testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in which he lays out the case developed by his office in their investigation of corruption in the letting of public contracts in Maryland. He focuses in particular on corrupt practices by then Governor Spiro Agnew. Former Special Prosecutor J. Lee Rankin follows Beall, adding what his aborted investigation uncovered after Beall was fired.


    September 15, 1973

    ( from Gerald R. Ford A Time of Crisis)

    At our request, the man had come down to Washington to hear us out. I met with him at his company's Washington offices, together with Speaker Carl Albert, Majority Leader John McFall and our whip Les Arends. I understood that the Secretary of State had already gone to Boston to have a quiet word with the General; he and the Bush family had some past connections. The date of our meeting was Saturday, September 15.

    I must say that when Carl Albert first proposed the idea, it had floored me. Bringing in an outsider to be in effect the Presidential successor was unprecedented. Carl had made clear that he had no desire to become President, and I didn't think it was a good idea to force the issue upon him. The subject of letting it pass to Senator James Eastland, the President pro-tempore of the Senate, had come-up in our conversations as he was the next in line. Carl made a persuasive argument about that, quite apart from anything to do with Senator Eastland personally.

    Essentially, Carl argued that either he or Eastland, as Democrats and as the two men who would guide the impeachment through the House and Senate, could not be seen to profit from Agnew's resignation or removal. That could only sink the image of the Presidency even lower. They rejected letting it pass to Secretary of State Bush for quite a similar reason: as a member of the Cabinet he too could be considered suspect, especially if word came out that he had had a hand in moving the process to the forefront of our thinking. (Working in Washington for any time will acquaint anyone with the hard truth that most secrets do eventually come out, and not always in a way that reflects well on the people involved). Carl added that a Cabinet officer should not be considered because none of them were elected: their individual Senate confirmations had never been made with the idea that they might actually succeed to the Presidency, except in a dire national emergency when there was no alternative. Here, we had one. Upon reflection, I agreed with his thinking.

    The man we had in mind was a retired Army General, a decorated hero of World War II, who had been Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army. He had retired from the Army and become chief executive officer of Arthur D. Little, a management consulting firm based out of Boston, and associated with MIT, which he had taken from a $10 million domestic company and grown it to a $ 70 million international concern. Once outside the Army he had developed a reputation as a reasoned critic of the Pentagon, publishing several works critical of Defense procurement and research process, some of which had become the basis for later reforms. In the mid-1960's he had opposed the war in Vietnam for strategic and tactical reasons, and written two books on the subject. He had not joined the anti-war movement, but had been a very early proponent of a strategy in Vietnam which was later adopted by President Nixon. Apart from the Army, the General also had government experience as our Ambassador to France, where he was credited with significantly improving our relationship with the prickly President DeGaulle during the Kennedy administration. He had also acted as an advisor when President Kennedy first set-up the Peace Corps.

    Despite his links to Democrats, the General had also endorsed Governor Romney's candidacy in 1968, and then Richard Nixon's, and supported Governor Volpe in Massachusetts. While this might not satisfy some on the right wing of our party, I agreed with Carl that this gave him a non-partisan appeal which would be critical for winning public acceptance should be place him into the Presidency. We were mindful that he would not be an elected President (but, no candidate to replace President Agnew would be at this point), and the business in Chile made us nervous about placing a military man into the Presidency. However, General Gavin's record spoke to public service, his knowledge of public issues, and his integrity. Above all, with former President Nixon under a serious cloud, and President Agnew's integrity so open to question, we needed a figure of integrity to restore public confidence in the Presidency.

    Carl and I had also spoken briefly of scheduling a Presidential election in 1974 or 1975; however we had dismissed the option as too disruptive at a time when our political system was already being torn apart. Leaving the next election as scheduled in 1976 would give the nation time to heal. We did not expect that General Gavin would run for another term, rather that he would act as a caretaker over the next three years. This was essentially the case we made to him.

    General Gavin was understandably taken aback by the approach. Secretary Bush had prepared him by speaking of his candid assessment of President Agnew's capability to handle foreign affairs, especially at so crucial a time. All of us agreed that this could not be made public; I only write of it here because it did come out - fortunately not until after Spiro Agnew's presidency ended. Publicly, we were taking this approach as a question of Presidential integrity, and the need to restore public confidence in the Presidency. General Gavin agreed in principle, although he did make allusion to a three-day old Boston Globe he carried with him which featured a front page headline about the coup in Chile.

    'I'm concerned that what you propose looks too much like this,' General Gavin said, 'although I recognize that no violence will be involved and that it will all come about Constitutionally, unlike this. But still, that could erode confidence in the Presidency.'

    'We believe, General' I said, assuming the spokesman's role for our group, 'that anything less will also seem like a coup, in this case of the Democratic Party against a Republican President. That, above all, we need to avoid, to allow the political system to heal. That's why we have come to you, as a distinguished outsider. Being outside politics, and personally removed from the impeachment, your Presidency could allow a time for renewal.'

    He sat back, looking at us through hard, brown eyes. 'How could I become Speaker of the House? I'm not a member of Congress.'

    'The Constitution specifies that we can choose our Speaker and officers as we decide. There is no qualification that the Speaker be a member of the House.'

    'You would be elected Speaker,' Les Arends added, 'though you would have no vote on the floor, nor a right to speak in the House chamber. If anything, your position would be like that of the Speaker of the British parliament, strictly ceremonial and neutral. We will elect a Deputy Speaker from among our own membership to conduct all of the political functions of the office for the period that you are Speaker.'

    'The virtue in doing it this way,' Carl Albert said, 'Is that when - if - you succeed to the Presidency, you will at least have been elected by one House of Congress - the one with the most elected members, which is a better position from a public perspective than letting the Presidency pass to an unelected Cabinet officer.'

    'We would prefer President Agnew were to choose you for the Vice Presidency and both Houses could elect you in that way, under the twenty-fifth amendment,' I said. 'But the President is unlikely to co-operate, except if he chooses to resign, but by then it will be too late.'

    'Half a loaf being better than none, Mr. Ford?'

    'Unfortunately, that is the choice we are left with, sir.'

    --------------------------------------------------------------


    ( from James M. Gavin A Call to Duty: A Memoir)


    Meeting with Speaker Albert and Congressmen Ford, Arends and McFall left me with the impression that there was genuine concern, and that all this was more than an attempt to put a good face on partisan manoeuvring. Secretary Bush had alarmed me, but I could not accept the matter on his words alone. The Congressmen made a good case, and in any event if they wished to proceed in removing President Agnew, I was entirely unnecessary to achieving that. It was what came after that that was the issue of concern. I had to agree, and I could not fault them for their foresight on the matter - a quality so often absent in our elected leaders of late.</p>
    President Agnew's pardoning of himself had left a bad taste in my mouth. To my way of thinking he should have resigned once the criminal charges lead to an indictment: he had no business in the office past that point. He was dishonoring the nation. The disturbing revelations about President Nixon's actions while in office looked no better, as by this point a criminal indictment of him seemed likely. This was not a situation which could inspire confidence in our Presidents. I knew little of Representative Ashbrook, save that his chances of confirmation by both Houses of Congress were slim. Secretary Bush did not strike me as a safe choice for the Presidency at so crucial a time either: this was not based on a specific objection, but more a personal impression. The dilemma was clear.

    I had to think long and hard of my role in this, should I go along with their plan, and of the larger ramifications of entering the Presidency through a back-door. The recent golpe in Chile, being fresh in the public mind, was a disturbing shadow over all of this. Several former military men had served the Republic as President, General Eisenhower being the last. However, they had all been elected. For that matter all of our Presidents had been elected to that office, or the office of Vice President (as indeed even Agnew had been in 1968, and in a less satisfactory manner just the past January). Taking this on, I would be the first un-elected President in our history - forget any sophistry about electing me as Speaker of the House first. It was not a Presidential first one would aspire to, and it would be shadow over whoever took on that role. This was a daunting proposition, much less the thought of actually taking on the leadership of our nation amidst one international crisis (very soon to be two) and the strains our Constitutional government had undergone over the past year. There was also the not inconsequential matter of our financial peril, which the Congressman had laid out for me during their presentation. That was a very stark and gloomy forecast. Any reasonable man would have had some hesitation taking on himself all these tasks at once, and being the one asked, I had grave reservations. I was 66, and while I wasn't given to thinking that getting older should slow me down, taking on the Presidency of the United States was not a responsibility I had expected to devout the next, perhaps last, productive years of my life to. It was an awesome responsibility at any age, matched only with leading troops into battle.

    At the time I informed the Congressman that I would think about it, but not to expect a positive answer. To their credit (and consternation) they indicated that my refusal would not end their determination to impeach President Agnew, a sentiment I agreed with. I told them I would consider it, and that in any event, I could not take-up the Speakership until after the impeachment in the House was settled and the matter moved to the Senate. The aura of impartiality they thought I could bring to the office would evaporate if it was seen that I had anything to do, even symbolically, with the President's impeachment.

    They left on the understanding that I would seriously consider the matter, and they left me with some very troubled and anxious thoughts as I considered it.

    One thing which was clear to me though, was that the President's current policy in Vietnam was wrong-headed; in the space of less than a year he had managed to repeat many of the same mistakes of the nineteen sixties, with no advantage to our side. President Nixon's plan had been much better, though it was clear that he was going to have trouble with Congressional support in sustaining it. Nixon had come within an inch of ending the war in Vietnam; Agnew had destroyed all that - and it was our troops that were paying for that reckless judgment.

    --------------------------------------------------------------


    September 18, 1973

    The Department of Defense releases U.S. casualty figures for the past two weeks of fighting in Vietnam. Official counts are 3,716 Americans killed, 8,578 seriously wounded. This number does not include the casualty figures from the mistaken air strike on the Indiana National Guard units.


    September 19, 1973

    Indiana Governor Dr. Otis R. Bowen (R) delivers a protest speech over the friendly fire attack on the Indiana National Guard on the steps of the State Capital in Indianapolis. He is joined at the podium by the entire Indiana Congressional delegations, including Sen. Birch Bayh (D) and Sen Vance Hartkle (D). The eleven member House delegation is composed of 9 Republicans and 2 Democrats. Gov. Bowen calls for an investigation of how this could have happened.


    September 20, 1973

    Senators Bayh and Hartkle introduce a resolution in the Senate demanding a full, independent investigation of the air attacks on the Indiana Guard units. In the House Rep. Ray J. Madden (D) and Rep. Earl F. Langrebe (R) introduce a similar measure.


    September 22, 1973

    The largest peace demonstration on record (for Indianapolis) takes place in the Indiana State capital. Observers note that the majority of protestors are not typical anti-war protestor types, but 'middle class', conservative and many are friends and relatives of National Guard soldiers currently deployed in Vietnam.


    September 24 - 27, 1973

    Governor Bowen completes a three day visit to South Vietnam, including a visit to the survivors of the air attack. In Saigon he obtains the release of ABC correspondent Donaldson and his film crew from President Thieu. Donaldson's recounting of the attack is broadcast to the United States on the evening of September 27. The film his crew shot has mysteriously disappeared while he and his crew were in South Vietnamese custody. Donaldson bears visible signs of torture on his face and body, including a black eye and other bruises.


    September 25, 1973

    The Bayh-Hartkle resolution passes the Senate by a vote of 69 - 30.


    George Bush and Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations, went jogging on a path alongside the Tidal Basin. Both noted the anti-war protesters encamped on Park Service land around the Jefferson Memorial. The main subject of discussion was related.

    'Look, Mr. Secretary,' Admiral Zumwalt said, after pausing out of ear shot of any bystanders. He noted that even Bush's security minders kept their distance. 'Your father was a good friend of the Navy when he was in the Senate, and you served during the War, and helped us in Congress - that gets you some points with me. But, the Secretary of State is not in my chain of command.'

    'I recognize that, Admiral,' Bush said. 'I'm not asking you to do anything untoward. The Soviets have backed off in the Gulf of Tonkin for now, but they could start sending ships into Haiphong at any moment. Our intelligence has noted that they continue to de-mine the harbour there.'

    'Yes, we've noted that. You know it is Soviet technicians, and we suspect Red Navy minesweepers, that have been clearing a ship channel through our mines for them?'

    'It doesn't surprise me,' Bush said. 'And it is understandable, from their point of view. My point is, we can't let this escalate into World War III.'

    'It seems, Mr. Secretary, that's up to the Russians.'

    'Maybe, but we can lessen the chances of it happening,' Bush said.

    'What are you asking me, Mr. Secretary? In so many words?'

    'Give the Russians a wide berth if they re-appear,' Bush replied. 'And if they do, act very slowly on any orders to pressure them. I know that violates the chain of command, but we need to consider that in this instance not everyone in that chain is aware of the long term consequences of provoking the Russians too much.'

    Zumwalt was silent for nearly a minute as he thought over Bush's remarks. 'My ships are spread very thin right now providing support to operations in Vietnam. I've also got assets patrolling Hainan Island waters, in case the Chinese step back into it. I suppose it might be possible to miss a merchant ship or two. But warships, those I can't ignore. Nor am I inclined to disregard a direct order from the President either.'

    'I understand, Admiral. You may just have given me what I need.'


    September 26, 1973

    The Madden-Langrebe resolution passes the House by a vote of 301 - 134. The Senate and House resolutions are then quickly reconciled and re-passed through both Houses of Congress as the Bayh-Langrebe Act.


    September 19 - 26, 1973

    The three men whom President Agnew pardoned along with himself – Lester Matz, Jeremy Childs and Jerome Wolff – all offer testimony about their involvement – and Spiro Agnew’s involvement – in corrupt practices in the letting of public works contracts in Maryland.

    Wolff becomes a particular focus of questioning because he kept, and provided to J. Lee Rankin, detailed notes and records of the kickbacks. Wolff is the most prominent of the three because in 1967 Governor Agnew appointed him Supervisor of Roads and Highways in Maryland – he in effect managed a vast kickback and contract-fixing scheme for Agnew from 1967 to 1969. After Agnew became Vice President, Wolff went with him to the White House as an advisor, but was dropped from the staff during Agnew’s transition from the Vice Presidency to the acting Presidency in January 1973.

    Lester Matz provides testimony about his delivery of an envelope full of cash to then Vice President Agnew in the White House in 1969. He also produces a careful accounting of moneys owed to Agnew which he claims he went over with the Vice President at the time. White House Secret Service logs support the fact that he was there when he claims and met with the Vice President.

    Wolff adds another bombshell when he testifies that he personally delivered a second envelope full of cash to Agnew in 1971.


    September 25 - October 12, 1973

    Renewed offensive activity by US forces are aimed at NVA sanctuaries in Cambodia, Laos and in the area around Dong Hoi in North Vietnam. US Casualties climb by another 114 dead, 1,063 seriously wounded.


    September 26, 1973

    Hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of John Ashbrook

    Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA): Mr. Ashbrook, last year you challenged President Nixon, the sitting president of your own party, for the Republican nomination, charging that he had taken too many left turns. In fact your slogan was, no more left turns with this colorful illustration (holds up a left-turn sign with a red circle and horizontal bar drawn over it). What does this translate into if you are confirmed as Vice President?

    Ashbrook: President Agnew and I agree that President Nixon reached too far to the left during his administration, and both of us are dedicated to correcting the course.

    Sen. Birch Bayh (D-IN): Looking at your campaign literature, let me see, you opposed budget deficits, affirmative action, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, wage and price controls, leaving the gold standard, and most of all, improving relations with the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. In fact you have called his policy of détente a fiction. I understand that you also questioned the premise behind the withdrawal of our troops from Vietnam during Mr. Nixon's presidency. In short, Mr. Ashbrook, is there anything in Mr. Nixon's program that you favoured?

    Ashbrook: That is unfair. I supported our President; I just felt he was giving too much away to certain interests.

    Sen. James Eastland (D-MS) (Chairman): Would you agree that governing is the art of reaching a balance, of doing what is possible?

    Ashbrook: That's a left-wing political science definition, Senator. In truth governing is about implementing a vision and having the determination to see it through.

    Eastland: There's a fine line between tenacity and stubbornness, Mr. Ashbrook. You know where that lies?

    Ashbrook: I see no such line, not where issues of principle are involved.

    Eastland: I see.

    Kennedy: Do you support President Agnew's returning our troops to Vietnam?

    Ashbrook: I'm happy to see this President cleaning-up the unfinished business, which has been left to him by twelve years of vacillation and indecision. Had there been a policy this clear in 1961, then we wouldn't have to discuss this issue now.

    Kennedy: What is a favorable outcome for this unfinished business, as far as you are concerned, Mr. Ashbrook?

    Ashbrook: The annihilation of North Vietnam.

    Sen. Hiram Fong (R-HI): Surely you mean their acceptance of U.S. terms for de-escalation and acceptance of South Vietnamese independence? And a commitment to leave their neighbours in peace.

    Ashbrook: Communism is an infestation, Senator. You can only get rid of it by cutting it out. The problem with making deals with Communists - be they in Peking, Moscow or Hanoi - is that they see peaceful relations and talks as weakness, and they use those efforts to co-exist - the so-called détente - as an excuse to plan the next attack. We have to remain forever vigilant. Fortunately, President Agnew sees this very clearly.

    Sen. Roman Hruska (R-NE) (Ranking Minority member): Would you counsel President Agnew to disregard President Nixon's achievements with the Soviet Union and Communist China?

    Ashbrook: The President feels, and I agree, that those policy choices were pre-mature, and that President Nixon adopted them because of the undue influence of a foreign thinker too much influenced by the idea of making a historic name for himself - at the expense of our security and our national values. It's those values we need to re-focus on.

    Kennedy: Containing Communism or rolling it back?

    Ashbrook: Ever try to contain a fire, Mr. Kennedy? You can't. Sooner or later you've got to put it out.


    Pat Buchanan (at a press conference): Of course, Mr. Ashbrook was speaking in metaphors. He is a staunch anti-Communist and feels passionately about his cause. It's no secret that Senator Kennedy is soft on the communist issue. It's no surprise that the Senator's carping got Mr. Ashbrook's dander-up, and perhaps Mr. Ashbrook strayed too far into metaphor. However, the President stands behind his nominee.


    Newspaper headline: WOULD-BE VP ASHBROOK WANTS TO BURN DOWN SOVIET UNION, CHINA.

    CHINESE PREMIER PROTESTS ASHBROOK'S 'WAR-LIKE' STATEMENTS


    Spiro Agnew: Premier Chou Enlai's protest tells me that Mr. Ashbrook hit the nail on the head. I think the good Premier does protest too much. He would do better to improve the freedom of his own people.


    September 27, 1973

    President Agnew vetos the Bayh-Langrebe Act.

    Later that afternoon both Houses of Congress override his veto, 67-32 in the Senate and 292-143 in the House.


    A Harris poll shows support for the war has dropped to 25%; Gallup figures are in a similar range. Poll numbers are a reaction to casualty numbers as well as the Indiana Guard incident. A separate poll in Indiana has support numbers in that conservative, largely rural mid-western state at only 16%. News headlines reflect this:

    AGNEW LOSES MIDDLE AMERICA
    CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE ON THE HOMEFRONT FOR PRESIDENT, PENTAGON
    SILENT MAJORITY SILENT NO LONGER
    AGNEW'S SILENT MAJORITY GIVES PRESIDENT THE RASPBERRY

    Walter Cronkite (CBS): The time has come to ask ourselves if we haven't engaged on a fool's errand, and if so isn't it time we pulled back, before something worse happens?


    September 27 - 29, 1973

    Forensic accountants employed by the House Judiciary Committee offer testimony showing the cash transactions from providers to intermediaries, and trace the cash payments thorough to Spiro Agnew’s personal bank accounts. They also show how Agnew funneled some of his bribe money to the 1968 Rockefeller-for-President and the 1968 Reagan-for-President campaign. The latter contribution was made just days before Richard Nixon selected Spiro Agnew as his running mate.


    Polls: Support for the President, 31%. Support for Agnew’s removal: 42%. 57% of respondents say Agnew should resign for the good of the nation and the Presidency.


    California Governor Ronald Reagan announces he will immediately return the Agnew contribution to the Maryland State Treasurer.

    Egypt: Reserve units are called-up in preparation for the attack on the Sinai.


    September 28, 1973

    A train traveling from Moscow to Vienna with Soviet Jews on board was attacked by Arab terrorists as it crossed the frontier from Czechoslovakia into Austria. The passengers were refugees destined for emigration to Israel. 14 émigrés were killed and 48 taken hostage by the terrorists in a 72-hour stand-off with Austrian police and military. The result was a furor in Israel that focused Israeli public and official attention on Austria at the expense of closer attention to activities in Egypt and Syria.

    Just before leaving for Israel, Ambassador Simcha Dinitz meets with President Agnew and Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the terrorist action in Austria. No mention of Egypt or Syria is made during this meeting.

    Later the same day the President, Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Bush and National Security Advisor William Casey meet with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin who warns that: ‘We could all wake up one day and find that there is a real conflagration in the area.’ The White House largely dismisses this warning as ‘Soviet buster.’


    September 30, 1973

    Responding to a call-up order, the 184th Regiment, 79th infantry Combat Brigade (California National Guard) based in Modesto, CA, suffers a nearly 50% refusal by members to be deployed in Vietnam. While the Army tries to keep this quiet, the story is quickly leaked and becomes a national controversy.


    October 1, 1973

    White House Counsel Robert Bork appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to defend the President's position, engaging in a largely technical argument that the President's pardon precluded the impeachment proceeding and that Burdick, Wilson and Ritter didn't apply because none of those cases had involved a sitting President, who, as the Constitutional head-of-state, is substantially different than any other defendant.

    Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): Are you arguing that there is one standard for the President, and one for everyone else?

    Bork: I'm saying that the Constitution gives the President a special position, and that same Constitution makes the pardon the sole responsibility of the President, and once conferred, it is inviolate.

    Rep. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD): Except in cases of impeachment.

    Bork: You are attempting to try the President for something for which a pardon has been granted. You are violating his fifth amendment rights, just as trying anyone after a pardon is granted represents judicial abuse.

    Conyers: So now the President is like everyone else? But everyone else can't pardon themselves can they, Mr. Bork?

    Rep. Trent Lott (R-MS): Give the man a break. The President is in a special category, and the pardon has been granted. We can't simply ignore that, and especially not for partisan reasons. It'll set a bad example for our country.

    Rep. Peter Rodino (D-NJ) (Chairman): And allowing our President to write a get-out-of-jail-free card for himself doesn't?

    Lott: Now you're trying to trivialize it.

    Rep. Robert McClory (R-IL): At a time like this we should be standing behind our President. I for one find nothing wrong in the President pardoning himself it makes it easier for him to carry out his job, especially in a time of war. This kangaroo court should show us why that is necessary.

    Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-TX): So you are happy to let a felon occupy the highest office in our land? How about you Professor Bork? Doesn't it trouble you that a criminal is sitting the President's office conducting the business of our nation?

    Bork: That is uncalled for! The President has acted legally while he was President, and what came before no longer matters.

    Rodino: Maybe not to the President, but to the rest of us it does. I for one do not accept that the President is above the law, and I doubt the founders intended the pardon clause in our Constitution as an opening for the President to abuse his powers to cover his own backside.

    Bork: Clearly, Mr. Chairman, you were not the star of your Constitutional law class.

    Rodino: Oh? Where were you in yours, Professor? The Constitution I know was written to uphold the rule of law, not get around it.

    Lott: You are deliberately confusing the point.

    Rodino: Let me be specific then. Professor Bork, is the President above the law?

    Bork: That's a complicated question, Mr. Chairman.

    McClory: And a misleading one.

    Rodino: Not really, Professor, yes or no?

    Bork: Well then, for purposes of this hearing, yes he is.

    Rodino: And that answer tells us why we must impeach the man.


    Representatives of the European Trio Group announce that they have negotiated a ceasefire agreement between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. In the agreement the Chinese agree to withdraw all remaining troops from Mongolian territory and to pay reparations to Mongolia (to be partially financed by European grants and credits to Mongolia). The Soviets agree to withdraw their armies into Mongolia, and to allow Mongolian defense forces to act as a buffer force near the border. The Chinese agree to withdraw their forces several miles back from the border as well. Observers from the Nepal Army (subsidized by the British) and some non-aligned league nations are to be placed along the border to oversee the terms of the ceasefire.


    North Vietnam begins the show trial of the six American POWs it had previously charged with war crimes. It quickly becomes apparent to observers that the show trial is a political exercise meant to put the U.S. policy in Vietnam on trial before the whole world. The United States protests that these trials are illegal and that it does not recognize the validity of the proceedings or their outcome. President Agnew says that he will demand the prosecution for war crimes of all the North Vietnamese officials involved with these trials, including North Vietnamese Premier Pham Van Dong and Le Douc Tho, both of whom the President mentions by name.


    October 4, 1973

    The House Judiciary Committee votes to recommend the following articles of impeachment against Spiro T. Agnew, President of the United States:

    1. accepting bribes in the course of his public duties: 29-9 in favor,
    2. corruption in awarding public contracts: 29-9 in favor,
    3. tax evasion (for not paying taxes on the bribes): 29-9 in favor,
    4. two counts of accepting unlawful bribes in a Federal government office: 29-9 in favor,
    5. bringing the offices of the Vice Presidency and Presidency into disrepute: 26-12 in favor,
    6. making unlawful campaign contributions with the proceeds of criminal activity: 24-14 in favor.
    7. conspiracy to abuse the power of his office (for issuing himself a pardon): 23-15 in favor,
    8. obstruction of justice (for issuing pardons to his co-conspirators): 23 – 15 in favor.

    Spiro Agnew: Dig around a little and you’ll find that every one of those who voted to impeach me is guilty of the crimes they accuse me of. What we have seen today is a low point in American democracy; the rule of law has been replaced by the cynicism of the hypocrite.


    Secretary of State George Bush meets with acting Israeli Ambassador, Charge Mordecai Shalev and they discuss the build-up of Egyptian and Syrian forces along the Israeli frontier. Bush dismisses the Arab action as bluster, but warns Charge Shalev that Israel must take no pre-emptive action against the Arab forces. If Israel appears to be the aggressor, then Bush cannot guarantee U.S. assistance. Bush tells Shalev that the Arab world – and the United States – will not allow a repeat of Israel’s pre-emptive war in 1967 to go without response.


    The Soviet Union evacuates all of the dependants of its diplomatic and military personnel stationed in Egypt and Syria. The CIA completely misses this very significant warning that the Soviets believe something serious is about to happen in the region.


    ( from Gerald R. Ford A Time of Crisis)

    Hugh Scott, Bob Dole and I went to the White House on what had to be one of the touchiest missions of my career. Together, after taking a sounding in the party and reading the polls, we had concluded that for the good of the Party, and for his own reputation (what was left of it) Spiro Agnew had to resign. None of us wanted to deliver this message to our President, but it had to be done. The three of us, we hoped, would convey the urgency and the general support behind our position.

    He greeted us in the Oval Office, under the watchful eyes of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Robert Bork. Like a circling flock of vultures that trio watched us with cold, resentful eyes as Hugh and Bob made our case. Support in the party was slipping away very fast. There was very serious concern that if we didn't have time to recover, the Republican party would be in for a route at next year's elections. No fewer than three of our pollsters, working independently, had concluded that if the election were held within the next month we would fare worse than the Republican party had in 1932. None of us were optimistic about impeachment; the Democrats could get articles of impeachment through the House. Both Hugh and Bob tried to persuade him that he couldn't rely on acquittal in the Senate. For the sake of the country, and for his own personal dignity, we asked Spiro Agnew to resign before it was too late.

    'Chicken hearts,' Rumsfeld exploded, along with a few choice curses that were inappropriate in the Oval Office. 'You bunch of cowards want to throw the President overboard at the first sign of trouble. To Hell with you!'

    'That's uncalled for,' Hugh Scott, a man of great personal dignity and a strong sense of courtesy, objected. 'Don't use language like that in this office.'

    'These charges are unfounded,' Bork chimed in. 'The President has pardoned himself, therefore they have no legal basis. Any arguments based on Burdick, Wilson or Ritter are nothing but a direct affront to the President's Constitutional power to pardon anyone he chooses, including himself. If the Senate dares to convict, we'll fight it in court and win. The Senate has nothing to stand on, if you dare to convict.'

    'Why don't you stop quaking like a bunch of old women and make sure the Senate acquits - if it comes to that. That would be your loyal duty to the party. But if you do convict, we won't recognize it. We'll call it an unconstitutional coup with all of you playing the role of Benedict Arnold,' Rumsfeld said.

    If anything could have ruffled Senator Scott more than Rumsfeld's language, his affront to the Constitutional authority of the Senate was it. Even Bob Dole, more sympathetic to Agnew than either I or Hugh Scott, had his dander up at that.

    'You cannot address a United States Senator that way, even if you speak for the President,' Scott shot back.

    'The Senate has the authority to hear this case, and our authority is Constitutional,' Dole growled. 'It would be a mistake to take that lightly.'

    I had agreed to take notes of the meeting for our side, which was a good thing. I could see Cheney scribbling away in a note pad for their side, and I had a bad feeling about how they would try and use our words against us.

    'Look, gentlemen,' the President said from behind his desk, 'I know it's a rough time, and that sometimes breeds nervousness, but we have to weather the storm. I know some of you would prefer to put a general in this office, but that's not going to happen either.'

    The reference to Gavin was lost on Dole, who hadn't been let-in on that. But, the fact that the President brought it up meant that they were aware of what we were doing.

    'It's goddamned disloyalty, that's what it is. Treason!' Rumsfeld remarked, leveling his vicious stare at Hugh Scott and me.

    'I'm appealing to you Mr. President, for the sake of our party, please consider the position you are putting us all in,' Dole pleaded. 'Help us out of this, before...'

    'Before you drive the knife in the President's back? Is that party loyalty?' Rumsfeld countered.

    'Do you fellas know why I joined the Republican Party in the first place?' the President asked. 'In Maryland the Democratic Party was king, and there were thousands - thousands - of seekers for political office under its banner. There was no way I could make it as a Democrat, I'd just be lost in the crowd. So I became a Republican because that way I could stand out, and I did. When I ran for Baltimore County Executive the national Republican party had little use for me. When I ran for Governor they - you Bob Dole, and your ilk, and you Jerry - wrote me off as a no hope. Well, I won in spite of you. And I got here in spite of you...'

    'You got here because Richard Nixon - the leader of our party - chose you for the Vice Presidency,' Bob Dole, still loyal to Nixon, interjected in a forceful growl. 'Don't forget that.'
    Agnew looked at him with a pained expression. For a moment I wondered if Rumsfeld was about to attack him physically. Bork was staring daggers at the RNC Chair. Cheney was busy scribbling away, even as the room fell silent. My mouth was very dry at that moment.

    'Clearly you - gentlemen? - are done with me; so I'm done with you. Just remember that after this is over; you'll have to come back and deal with me, not Carl Albert and not some jumped-up parachute soldier. Now get out of my office.'

    If I had any lingering doubts about what we were doing, they melted away at that moment. The man had no sense of reality. I'd have thought better of Rumsfeld - he wasn't holding a winning hand - but he too seemed to be deceiving himself, like a man clinging to a lifeboat who recognizes he should have got off the ship before now, but now he’s stuck, and he has to make the best of it. What Bork and Cheney thought was beyond me. I think even Bob Dole was shaken out of his doggish loyalty to the Party leader, right or wrong, by this display.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------


    October 5, 1973

    The 38th Infantry, in tandem with the 37th Infantry (Ohio National Guard), are assigned to a mopping-up operation in Bao Loc, Lam Dong Province in central South Vietnam. They suffer another 63 casualties when intelligence underestimates their opposition. This leads to a mutiny among officers and men of the 38th Indiana Guard. Sam Donaldson interviews the spokesman of the mutineers, Lieutenant Dan Quayle.

    Quayle: You have to understand, we're not refusing to fight, this is not a mutiny; we just want command to appreciate that our unit is being mauled - we have one of the highest casualty rates in country right now - and they can't keep sending us into a meat grinder. We've lost confidence in what our commanders are doing.

    Col. Norman Schwartzkopf (MACV): While we understand that the 38th has had a hard time of it, they are not the only unit to suffer losses in this war. I have to warn the leaders of this - protest - that they are risking court martial and prison time for mutiny in the face of the enemy. On the other hand, we are rotating the 38th back for R-and-R and maybe that will resolve this difficulty.

    Secretary Haig: Nothing justifies this activity; it is mutiny pure and simple. I will see to it that everyone of them (referring to both the 38th and the 184th soldiers who refuse to report) is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and when they are convicted we will have every last one of them shot.

    Pat Buchanan: While Secretary Haig's comments are understandable in the face of this insubordination by some of our troops, I think he was speaking from emotion when he said he would have them shot. That is not current policy.

    Secretary Haig: He's right, I was speaking from emotion. But I don't regret it; all of those shirkers and cowards deserve to be put up against the wall.


    New York Times(Over a photo of Secretary of Defense Alexander Haig) AMERICA'S PINOCHET?

    Secretary Haig: The New York Times can go to Hell!

    Senator Edward Kennedy on the Senate floor (holding up the New York Times with the 'AMERICA'S PINOCHET?' headline): Is this what we have become? Have we resorted to brutalizing our own citizens because they have a profound disagreement with how the Agnew Administration is conducting this illegal war? How long before we are herded into stadiums and disappear from the face of the Earth? I say not in America! Never in America! Now is the time for them to go; the President, Haig, the whole bunch. Let's get our troops out of Vietnam for good!

    Spiro Agnew: Senator Kennedy is a hysteric. He's wrong on policy, wrong on the war, wrong on the law governing discipline in the military and I understand that he is a pretty bad driver too.


    Tonight Show host Johnny Carson: The other day they showed a photo of President Agnew in a tank. Is he going to Vietnam? Someone asked. No, he's visiting Congress.


    Comedian George Carlin: So I was looking for the one place Spiro Agnew wouldn't dare set foot in, and the travel agent said to me, that's easy - go to America.


    The Senate Judiciary Committee votes 13 -3 to recommend against the nomination of Rep. John Ashbrook to the office of Vice President of the United States. On a motion of Sen. Roman Hruska (R-NE), the ranking minority member, the question is referred to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.


    ( from Colin Powell My American Journey)

    All of us at MACV headquarters were troubled by the heavy losses we experienced in the month of September. Our losses (3% of our force killed, 7% invalided - we were headed to a 60% loss ratio if this continued for a year, and we expected worse when we invaded the North in force) made it patently obvious that the enemy's operational capacities had not been as seriously downgraded by the bombing as the Bold Eagle planners had expected. Even in the South, where we had effectively cut-off NVA formations and were relentlessly pounding them from the air, we encountered stiff resistance. As we captured enemy strongholds we discovered one of the reasons why. They had improved their underground bunkers; from simple holes dug in the ground they had progressed to deeper structures, some of which had been reinforced with concrete and metal. They had accomplished this despite our bombing, proving that our bombing was not only inaccurate all along, but that the NVA engineers had the resilience to work under fire. It was a demoralizing realization.

    The ARVN were proving to be more professional, first-rate fighters, much better than I recalled in 1968. I recalled my friend Captain Hieu had been in the A Shau Valley back in 1962 (that experience seemed to be from a different lifetime by now) who had been that quality, and the miserable lot of replacements that had come after him. I was hopeful that the South Vietnamese Army had solved its quality and training problems. ARVN units did remarkably well, despite sustaining heavier casualties than our own. I think our return had bolstered their elan for the fight with the North.

    General Emerson spent a lot of time on the phone screaming at Washington for reinforcements, which were very slow to come. As I knew, the Bold Eagle plan had been laid out to use a minimum amount of troops against what was expected to be a flattened enemy. There had been no plan for massive reinforcements because it was expected that around 175,000 troops could do it, using aggressive tactics against a demoralized enemy. Finding our enemy not so nearly degraded or demoralized as they thought, the General saw a need for more bodies on the ground to meet the threat. Washington was giving him a hard time over it, in part because they continued to believe their own estimates from February over what we were experiencing on the ground. That attitude infuriated 'Gunfighter' Emerson into such a froth that he destroyed two telephone head sets that I was aware of, maybe more. Sadly, I came to realize that the Pentagon had failed to learn the lessons of our previous involvement in Southeast Asia. Their graphs and charts still held sway over what we encountered on the ground, an attitude that was certain to lead to disaster if not corrected.

    'The problem is that those jerks at the Pentagon have never actually been close to a battle,' Norm Schwartzkopf said in frustration. 'They've got their heads so far up their asses that all they can count is their own ...numbers.' General Emerson's remarks were even more choice.

    At our headquarters Bold Eagle was acquiring a new nickname - Cooked Goose. The General exploded like a an air dropped bomb hitting the ground when he heard that.

    The mutiny in the 38th Infantry- Indiana National Guard - was very troubling, especially when added to what we were hearing about problems with refusals to report in some of the reinforcement outfits the Pentagon belatedly decided to send out. We were suffering a major morale problem. As it went on, and word of what was happening in the States reached both National Guard and regular units in Vietnam, morale plummeted into the basement and resentment of the Guard units among regular soldiers increased. It was an explosive situation, especially while we were fighting a determined enemy. What was worse the ARVN units were beginning to pick-up on the disaffection on our side, and that affected their willingness to work with us. By the end of September we were in serious peril of losing all we had gained to that point.

    General Emerson was sympathetic to the plight of the Indiana Guard unit that had been hit by the Air Force. He chewed out the commander of air operations in theater, and tried to get the fellow replaced, which met with stiff resistance at the Washington end, throwing yet more gas on General Emerson's already volatile temper. On the other hand the General couldn't sit still for the idea of insubordination, much less a refusal to fight. He wanted every last one of them court-martialled - especially Lieutenant Quayle, who appeared on ABC television as their spokesman. The General ordered Quayle's field promotion revoked, and sent out an arrest order for Sergeant Quayle. Despite his anger over the mutiny, the General did not share Secretary Haig's extreme view of having them all shot. That remark sent a shiver thorough all of us. Norm Schwartzkopf tried to temper the situation, hoping that if we pulled the 38th out of the line we might be able to ease the tension. Norm didn't feel any better about what was going on than the General, but he sensed that a wave of arrests would only cause us more problems back home.

    Events quickly overtook our problems. First Washington's attention was diverted by the impeachment of President Agnew and the outbreak of war in the Middle East. Reinforcements would not be forth coming until that was resolved. At least someone back there had persuaded the Navy to stop harassing the Soviets and Chinese on the high seas, which reduced the risk of conflict escalation. Then the coup in Saigon sent a chill through the ARVN. They were divided by that, and it sent their morale into the basement. By mid-October we were hanging on by a thread.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    October 6, 1973

    At a meeting of the Israeli cabinet at 8:05 am (2:05 am Eastern Time) an imminent attack by the Egyptians and Syrians is discussed. Israel has been warned of the impending attack by numerous sources. Prime Minister Golda Meir orders that no pre-emptive measures be taken, as she does not want Israel to appear to have moved aggressively against Arab armies. She fears that if Israel is seen as the aggressor then they will receive no outside assistance. The situation is, Meir reluctantly concedes to her colleagues ‘what that fancy boy in Washington (Secretary Bush) has warned about’.

    At 2:00 pm (8:00 am Eastern Time) Egyptian and Syrian forces begin an assault on Israel. This is timed to coincide with Yom Kippur, the highest holiday in the Jewish calendar (it is also the first day of Ramadan). Egyptian forces, supported by massive artillery and heavy air strikes, cross the Suze canal and overwhelm Israel’s Bar-Lev defence line (“the Maginot Line in the desert”). Syrian forces attack Israel from the North with the intent on capturing the Golan Heights, and from there moving South into the heartland of Israel. A massive tank and artillery battle ensues on both fronts.


    October 7, 1973

    The Egyptians secure their bridgeheads across the Suez canal and enter the Sinai in force.


    October 8, 1973

    The White House Situation Room

    Before the meeting began Al Haig took George Bush aside.

    'I know you talked to Zumwalt,' Haig said, his blue eyes steely. 'What you did is close to sedition.'

    'I was seeking the Admiral's input on a foreign policy question, nothing more,' Bush replied.

    'Input this, Bush. Mind your own damn business.'


    Secretary of Defense Alexander Haig began the meeting by reading-off a dismal report of the previous two days action in the Middle East which summed-up an overall theme: for the first time in its history Israel was doing very badly against two combined Arab Armies. The possibility of defeat, once unthinkable, now seemed very real.

    The President opens by reading a summary of an Oct 5 intelligence analysis of the build-up of armies along Israel’s border. 'The military preparations that have occurred do not indicate that any party intends to initiate hostilities.' The President threw the piece of paper across the table at CIA Director Nitze. 'So much for intelligence. How could you get this so wrong?'

    Paul Nitze: Intelligence is an inexact science, Mr. President. This sort of bluster is common among Arab leaders and we had no prior warnings that this time Sadat was really serious.

    Donald Rumsfeld: Maybe the evacuation of Soviet dependents should have tipped you off?

    Nitze: In hindsight, maybe it should have, yes.

    Secretary of State George Bush: Hindsight is not going to help us now. We need to make a firm representation to the Russians that the United States will not tolerate outside interference in this thing. We need to keep them out of it. They will try to use this as a door into the Middle East.

    National Security Advisor William Casey: (Inaudible mumble) The Soviets are already there Mr. Bush. They pushed Sadat and Asad into doing this and gave them the arms for it.

    Haig: They're chewing-up those arms at a terrific rate. Preliminary reports indicate that the Arabs have bought their victory at a tremendous cost in men and equipment. They can't keep it up.

    Casey: It's not a victory yet. Don't call it that.

    Rumsfeld: What military moves have we taken?

    Haig: We are moving the Sixth Fleet into the Eastern Med in a show of strength.

    Bush: Can we stop it? Intervene between the parties, I mean.

    Haig: We can try to interpose ourselves between the hostile parties, but the Arabs might read that as an intervention in support of Israel.

    Nitze: We have to be very careful the Arabs don't see us as trying to help Israel in the fight. They'll interpret any overt military moves by us as exactly that.

    Casey: Nonsense. We need to do all we can for Israel. We need to arm them, and tell the Russians in no uncertain terms to keep the Hell out of it.

    Bush: The first positive step will be negotiating a ceasefire.

    President: How could you let this happen on my watch? They'll blame me for letting this happen? Aren't things bad enough without this? Damned Hebs, why didn't they just take the Arabs out, like they did in sixty-seven?

    Bush: We warned them not to.

    President: Why did we do that?

    Bush: If Israel had moved first then the Arabs would have claimed that Israel attacked first, which would have further destabilized the region, and it would have given the Russians an even better opening to come in on the side of their allies defense.

    Nitze: The Arabs are very touchy on this subject. One of our key policy initiatives - has been since 1969 - has been to keep the Israelis from provoking a confrontation which would unite the Arab world and give the Soviets a pretext for involvement. That was our approach here.

    Casey: (Inaudible - possibly 'bull shit!')

    Rumsfeld: You should run that by us first. Things have changed since 1969

    President: What happens if we let Israel go down? I mean, what's it to us if Israel is overrun or forced to surrender to Sadat?

    There is a silence of about a minute.

    Bush: That would be a disaster, Mr. President. We would be selling out our best ally in the Middle East.

    Haig: It would be an extreme strategic setback for us and our allies in the Middle East.

    Nitze: The Soviets would move into the power vacuum such a situation would create. They would have direct access and control of the Suez Canal and the Eastern Med, not to mention the direct threat to the Middle Eastern oil fields. We can never allow that to fall under Soviet control - it would be a strategic disaster.

    Haig: The Israelis will never allow it to happen, Mr. President. They will use nuclear weapons if their nation's existence is threatened.

    Rumsfeld: Might teach the Arabs a lesson.

    Bush: It will mobilize the Arab world against us because we supplied the nukes to the Israelis - not officially, but that's what the Arabs believe. The real danger from that is a cut-off of all oil supplies and the possibility that the Soviets would give similar weapons to their Arab allies, thereby escalating the conflict, and further destabilizing the region.

    Haig: Letting it get to that stage is an unthinkable option from the point-of-view of our national security, Mr. President.

    Casey: Then we need to arm the Israelis so they can reverse this attack, and use the Navy to keep Russian re-supply out, just like we've been doing in Vietnam.

    Bush: The Russians have been standing down in the Gulf of Tonkin lately. They won't sit still if we challenge them on the high seas anywhere else, that will be too much.

    Haig: Sixth fleet can blockade Egyptian and Syrian ports. We can even mine their harbours. Turkey will block transit of goods into Syria and close the Bosporus to Soviet shipping.

    Bush: Don't be too sure. The Turks know that the Russians consider closing the Bosporus as an act of war. That could pull NATO in.

    President: Then we could settle this whole Cold War right here, right now. Make a historic end of it.

    Another silence in the room.

    Nitze: That would be a very bad idea.

    Bush: We don't want to let this get out of hand.

    Haig: I concur. We don't want to blow this out of proportion.

    President: This is a moment of destiny - a historic opportunity - let's not let it slip through our fingers. This could be chance to fix Yalta. Bill, you go find out what the Israelis need; talk to Meir about what they need.

    Casey: To Israel?

    President: Yes, that's where she is. George, you tell Dobrynin to tell Brezhnev to stay out. Make it a clear message, stay out of the area. Al, have the Navy prepare a mining plan for the harbors. We've got them in Vietnam and we'll get them here too and teach them a lesson they'll never forget.

    Bush: Maybe if I go to Moscow, I can ...

    President: No, George. No more Kissinger-type missions to Moscow. Those days are over. They can come to us, let's get it straight who the boss in the relationship is.


    Bush and Haig met in an ante room.

    'I'm beginning to understand why you talked to Zumwalt,' Haig said.

    'We have to hold off doing anything that can't be reversed,' Bush said. 'Al, this could get out of control very quickly if we try to be - historic - about it.'

    'I can't agree with letting the Arabs get away with it,' Haig replied. 'Mining the harbors was a good idea. But, we can't let this start World War III either.'

    'Give me a chance to try and settle this down, Al.' Bush said.

    'Time for the Senate to try him?' Haig asked.

    'I'm not going to dignify that with a response,' Bush said.

    'Work fast, George.'


    October 9, 1973

    Prime Minister Golda Meir gives orders that Israeli Air Force fighters are to be equipped with nuclear weapons payloads, and that planes so equipped are to stand ready for immediate take-off for Arab targets to be determined by Meir and the Israeli General Staff.

    Later in the day Israeli forces manage to stabilize the lines of fighting on both fronts. After their initial victory at the Golan, Syrian forces do not follow-up with an invasion of Israel.

    Three unidentified men fire-bomb the headquarters of the New York City Republican Party in downtown Manhattan. Credit is later claimed by the ‘Student Liberation Anti-War Vanguard’.


    ( from James M. Gavin A Call to Duty: A Memoir)

    Nearly four weeks had passed since my meeting with the House of Representatives leadership and I had heard very little about their astonishing proposition since. Although I, along with the rest of nation, could see that they were moving ahead with the impeachment of President Agnew - on quite correct grounds in my opinion - I thought that perhaps my silence had encouraged them to seek another candidate. As late as October 9, three days after war broke out between Egypt and Israel, I was still ambivalent over the legalities and proprieties of their proposition. Secretary Bush's chilling tale did weigh at the back of my mind, but it still seemed the stuff of fantasy.

    I did find the casualty reports from Vietnam very disheartening, to say the least. Having argued against involving our soldiers in that conflict since its very inception, my heart had been aching for nearly a decade now at casualty reports. As I told Congressman Ford, I had serious doubts about the judgment of those in the current administration - up to and including President Agnew - who would open that bleeding wound again, especially after President Nixon had found a very workable solution. The September casualty reports only reinforced my concerns about the enterprise.

    Given my outspoken opposition on the Vietnam issue, I was very surprised to receive an invitation to the White House, a place where I had not truly been welcome since the earliest days of the Johnson presidency. When I arrived I was taken without ceremony directly into the Oval Office, and there to face - rather like a court martial board - President Spiro Agnew himself and his Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld. Some other fellow whom I didn't know at the time (I later learned that his name was Cheney) sat off to the side taking notes. I had no means to take my own notes, and was offered none, so I must reconstruct the meeting from memory.

    The President thanked me for coming, and then launched right into his point.

    'I understand, General, that you have been meeting with Congressional leaders and with Cabinet members. What for?' he asked.

    'My firm conducts a lot of business with the government,' I replied, evading the question with a truth. 'Many people consult my views on the issues,' I added, hoping to avoid a lie by being as vague as possible.

    'You're against the Vietnam war, aren't you?' Rumsfeld asked with a terrier like snarl.

    'I have been up-front about my opposition to our involvement in a ground war in Asia since 1965,' I said. 'In fact I wrote two books about it, in which I argued the strategy and execution have both been unsound. However, I have not taken part in anti-war demonstrations, or any activity to undermine the morale of our troops fighting in that conflict.'

    'You're a pusillanimous s-o-b you know that, General?' Rumsfeld said.

    I didn't much care to sit there and be insulted and I said so.

    'Do you want to be the President, General?' the President asked me.

    'No,' I replied truthfully.

    'But you'll do it, just to stick it to me, right?'

    'I would only accept the position if I felt it was my duty to the country, but such a situation is very unlikely to occur,' I said.

    'Hog wash!' Rumsfeld barked. 'You've been conspiring with those hacks on the Hill to take over, to sneak in here through the back door. Do you know what that is, General Pinochet? Treason!'

    This time I rose to my full height and used some very colourful language to describe Rumsfeld as something you would scrape off the bottom of your shoe. I then indicated to the President that if all they were going to do was insult me, then I was going to leave.

    'Sit down, General,' the President said gruffly. 'You two- out!'

    Rumsfeld left with some reluctance, taking Cheney with him. I was now alone with the President.

    'Between you and me, that's why they met with you? To make you President after they knocked me off?'

    Like the rest of the country I was aware that his predecessor had taped his Oval Office conversations. I couldn't be sure that President Agnew wasn't doing the same. So I said, 'My consultations with the leaders of the House are confidential. You could ask them about it.'

    The President made a tight face. 'And Bush? Why did you meet with him?'

    I didn't bother to question how he knew; you couldn't keep the movements of a public official a secret, especially not from a President with the FBI at his command. 'I knew Secretary Bush's father, Senator Prescott Bush. He passed away last year. Secretary Bush had some family questions about this father. He also asked for my counsel on the question of his son being a prisoner of war.' I had in fact discussed the last with the Secretary; the rest was untrue (I had known Senator Bush), but at this point I felt a slight untruth was required. 'My advice was of a personal nature.'

    'I see,' the President said, not believing a word of it. 'Don used some rough language, that Pinochet crack in particular. I apologize, but you have to understand how this appears from our end.'

    'Sir, if you're determined to believe the worst of me, then we're not going to get anywhere.'

    'Has this latest crisis in the Middle East changed your mind about sitting in this office?' the President asked.

    'No.'

    'Some men, General - I'm sure you know the type - see a crisis, a war, a constitutional problem, as providence, as an opportunity to make history.'

    'I'm quite aware of that,' I said. 'That can be very dangerous.'

    'You think making history is very dangerous?' the President asked.

    'I think those who look for the chance to make history can be very dangerous,' I replied flatly.

    'That's where we disagree, General. You take this crisis, we have a historic opportunity to end the Cold War. Combined with our operations in Vietnam, we could deal the Soviet Union a blow it will never recover from. What would you say to planning a military operation for us, to insert troops into the Sinai to help our Israeli allies?'

    I would have said it was crazy, if I believed he wasn't testing me. 'You have excellent officers who are more current in the field who can do that for you, Mr. President.'

    'You disappoint me, General.' President Agnew said. 'If you were President, we'd have let Vietnam go red, and I guess you'd just sit back and let the Soviets walk all over us in the Middle East. Would you bargain with Brezhnev for our oil, General?' He got up and went over to one of the Oval Office windows. 'I'm not going to let that happen. That's probably why Generals don't make good Presidents, you're too concerned about shedding blood and strategy. Now I'm a simple, straight forward kind of guy, just an average American, that's me. I say that the troops are there to fight, and our armed forces are there to make the world safe for America. That's what I want to do, make the world safe for America. The military's job is to come-up with the strategy that makes that work.'

    I was very uncomfortable about his remarks about our troops. 'The world will never be safe for America,' I said. 'The best we can do is protect ourselves, and make sure the wars we fight are the right ones.'

    'The right ones? Who's to say which ones those are?' The President commented. 'I understand that President Eisenhower threatened to use the atom bomb to end the Korean War. Do you oppose using the a-bomb, General?'

    'Only as a last resort, and never when other options will do. It is the most horrific weapon we've ever invented.'

    He looked at me with a dark eyed intensity which made me nervous. There was a hurt quality in his expression, almost the anger of a little boy whose parent had forbidden him his favorite toy. In the context of the conversation, I began to recall what Secretary Bush had said about his private thoughts on the use of nuclear weapons.

    'it doesn't matter, General,' he said. 'The Israelis will use one on them, and that'll solve our dilemma.'

    How could that solve a dilemma? 'How do you mean, Mr. President?'

    'Once the Israelis uncork the nuclear genie, we'll have to step in, and take control.'

    I wanted to argue that this thinking was most unwise - that we should make sure matters never reached the point where the Israelis would think of uncorking the nuclear genie, but we were interrupted by Rumsfeld and Cheney, who returned to advise the President that he was needed elsewhere. Cheney escorted the President out, while Rumsfeld ran interference between us.

    'Don't think we'll forget your hand in this treachery, once this is over,' Rumsfeld growled at me. 'The Senate will never convict, not if they know what's good for them.' I was then escorted from the Oval Office by the Secret Service.

    When I returned my hotel room in Washington, I thought to call Speaker Albert, but decided not to, as they might well have put a tap on my phone. Instead I waited until very late, and then drove across the Potomac into Virginia, from where I called the Speaker's home from a payphone.

    The Speaker was very groggy when I first spoke to him; evidently I had roused him from sleep. I asked him if they were still interested in me, and he was most adamant that they were.

    'In that case, Mr. Speaker, I agree to your proposition. I will accept election as Speaker, but only after the impeachment has passed from the House of Representatives to the Senate. It would not be good for me to be seen to have any direct involvement in that.'

    'Yes, you're right,' Albert agreed. 'I'm not sure when we'll be finished, but it should be within the next week.'

    'I suggest you hurry,' I warned him. 'Time could well be running out - for everyone.' I am not given to drama, but the last remark just slipped out; it was a true reflection of how I felt after speaking with President Agnew.

    --------------------------------------------------------------


    October 10, 1973

    Egyptian armor and infantry units suffer heavy losses in the Sinai. President Sadat appeals to Moscow for replacement equipment and Soviet support. The Syrians make a similar demand. This puts Moscow in a bind because much of its excess equipment has been sent to North Vietnam or as reinforcement to the 29th Soviet Army in Mongolia.


    The House of Representatives votes on the articles of impeachment against President Spiro T. Agnew.

    1. accepting bribes in the course of his public duties: 312-123 in favor,
    2. corruption in awarding public contracts: 312-123 in favor,
    3. tax evasion (for not paying taxes on the bribes): 310-125 in favor,
    4. two counts of accepting unlawful bribes in a Federal government office: 309-126 in favor,
    5. bringing the offices of the Vice Presidency and Presidency into disrepute: 291-144 in favor,
    6. making unlawful campaign contributions with the proceeds of criminal activity: 244-191 in favor.
    7. conspiracy to abuse the power of his office (for issuing himself a pardon): 219-216 opposed – the article is not passed,
    8. obstruction of justice (for issuing pardons to his co-conspirators): 219 – 216 opposed - the article is not passed.


    The six articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives are formally presented to the Senate for trial.


    October 11, 1973

    President Agnew from the Oval Office

    My fellow Americans, I come before you today with a heavy heart. I am saddened by the irresponsible action of the United States House of Representatives. At a time when American troops are fighting in the field for our liberty, when this nation faces a Middle East crisis of world import, a body of petty ward politicians has decided to attack the Presidency. They do this knowing that the underlying matter, an alleged crime, has been dealt with legally, and they only consequence of their actions can be to harm our nation, and to drive the dagger deeper into the backs of our troops in the field.

    I am not guilty of the charge of which they allege. It is no more than the desperate concoction of criminals seeking to evade the consequences of their illegal acts by involving a figure of national import in their petty schemes. The American people deserve to know if their President is a crook, well I'm not a crook. I earned every penny I ever made the same way you did, by good old fashioned hard work. Did I solicit campaign contributions from my friends? Of course I did, but so has every other working politician, including the petty ward politicians currently pointing a finger at me. Nothing in this is illegal. I remind those of you who are not residents of Maryland that as chief executive of Baltimore County and Governor of Maryland I was a reformer: I fought the entrenched corruption these men represent. Is it any wonder they wish to bring me down, after I took their source of ill-gotten loot away from them? Who are my accusers: liars, cheats and crooks. The scum of the Earth! Who accuses me? Those who are either so gullible, or so cynical, as to believe these lowlifes. Either way, the members of the House have erred to the detriment of our nation by relying on the word of crooks and liars.

    I will not run, and I shall not hide. I will neither resign, nor retreat to some dark corner to await the end. I will fight this, with the surety that I am right and they are wrong. I will be vindicated by the Senate, and then I will be able to deal with the real crises that this nation confronts. Good night, and God bless America.


    Polls: Support for the President, 26%. Support for Agnew’s removal: 49%. 69% of respondents say Agnew should resign for the good of the nation and the Presidency.


    The U.S. Senate formally rejects the nomination of John Ashbrook for Vice President by a vote of 59-40 against. Although the nomination has not yet been heard by the House, the Senate rejection renders it moot.


    George Bush (Telephone call): Henry, I need you to go to Moscow for me. I can’t leave Washington right now, but someone Brezhnev trusts has to speak with him.

    Henry Kissinger: Yes, of course, Mr. Secretary.

    Bush: I’ll send a plane for you. You’ll come here first for a briefing.


    October 12, 1973


    Speaker of the House Carl Albert formally resigns his post.

    The House votes 391-42-2 to elect Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin (USA-Ret.) as the Speaker of the House.

    The House votes 251 – 182 - 2 to elect Carl Albert (D-OK) as the Deputy Speaker of the House.


    Polls give the election of James Gavin as Speaker of the House – and the designated Presidential successor – an approval of 68%. Most of that 68% see the choice of Gavin as a stabilizing move.


    GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH VIETNAM OVERTHROWN BY MILITARY: PRESIDENT THIEU ASSASSINATED

    (AP) Saigon Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, President of the Republic of (South) Vietnam since 1965, who has long been the face of the South Vietnamese Government to many Americans, has been killed during a violent coup against his government. No details have been made available as to how he died, although unsubstantiated reports in Saigon indicate that President Thieu and his bodyguards were attacked by a unit of (U.S. trained) South Vietnamese Special Forces. Thieu's Constitutional successor is Vice President Tran Van Huong, a former Prime Minister of South Vietnam: his whereabouts are currently unknown.

    The apparent coup includes the imposition of martial law by the Saigon government and a 'temporary' suspension of the Constitution. Three senior military and political figures appear to have formed a temporary junta, or ruling committee, to replace President Thieu. They are Nguyen Cao Ky, a former Vice President and chief of the South Vietnamese Air Force, General Duong Van Minh (popularly known as 'Big Minh’) who lead the South Vietnamese government in 1963 and again in 1964 after similar coups, and General Phan Van Phu, a former commander of the South Vietnam Special Forces. The new ruling committee announced that they had seized the government 'to preserve the state from Communist subversion and government corruption.' None of the coup leaders would elaborate on that statement.

    This coup comes almost ten years after the coup that toppled South Vietnamese President Ngo Dihn Diem on November 2, 1963. That coup, which occurred just three weeks before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, has been seen by historians as a watershed event that lead to greater US military involvement in the Vietnam War. General Duong Van Minh, one of the current coup leaders, briefly lead the South Vietnamese government after that coup. The immediate effect on U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, or on U.S. forces currently stationed in South Vietnam is unclear. The White House, the State Department and the Pentagon had no immediate comment on these developments.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
     
  11. RogueBeaver Globalist

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Location:
    Montréal
    Keep it coming Drew. I like Thieu best of all the SVN politicos. :( The only SVN political general I hate more than that (list of expletives) mercenary Minh is Ky, a true Chavez of the right. On the bright side, looks like that corrupt SOB Agnew is going to spend some well-deserved time in a federal prison. What's going on with Ferdie in Manila? Did he *disappear* Aquino? ;)
     
  12. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    A gripping update Drew!
     
  13. Alikchi Lurker Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2004
    Location:
    Indian Territory
    Loving this, keep it up.
     
  14. Thande We stand on the brink of a new era, if only- Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Doncaster/Sheffield
    This is a very good TL. Not especially familiar with 70s American politics myself but the level of research certainly shows through, and it has the marks of a plausible dystopia in that there seem to be brief rallies only for hope to be quenched again (similar to Statichaos' Disney TL).

    The only part that didn't quite ring true for me was the discussion between Ted Heath, Georges Pompidou and Willy Brandt - I really don't see those three calling each other by their first names...
     
  15. johnjcakos Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    France
    Excellent and original timeline! One detail I disagree with: if Agnew is Acting President, then he cannot take the presidential oath of office - that would make him President. An acting president assumes temporarily the powers and duties of the presidency, not the office of the president.
     
  16. Douglas Restored

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    I have to question the portrayal of Agnew as some kind of real-life General Ripper, especially when the entire timeline is starting to ride hard on Agnew being heavily mentally deficient, rather than just corrupt...which references did you use to put together a picture of his views with respect to foreign policy?

    I'm really starting to lose my suspension of disbelief, but some actual sources for his foreign policy ideas would go a long way towards clearing that up. :)
     
  17. Thande We stand on the brink of a new era, if only- Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Doncaster/Sheffield
    If I can delve into single-issue-wonkery for a moment, I wonder what's happening to the space programme here. In 1972 the Apollo programme was winding up and they were starting to seriously pursue the space shuttle, which was Nixon's baby...if Nixon is out of office and Congress is too busy with all the ballots to worry about NASA budgets, the shuttle project might end up stalling out of lack of momentum and we might end up with limited Apollo applications instead by default when the USA politically stabilises (and Agnew's wars will mean there's less money to spare for building the shuttle from scratch). Probably Saturn II-Apollo to low earth orbit and Skylab II, with the US space programme being more like the Soviet one in OTL.
     
  18. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    It would be/is appropriate to administer the constitutional oath to an Acting President, though it has never been done and is not required or necessary. It's unneccessary to do so when the VP becomes Acting President while the POTUS is in surgery; however, were the situation extreme, such as this one, or in the case of a double vacancy prior to the adoption of the 25th Amendment, administering the oath would be important as a sign of presidential continuity and stability.
     
  19. Historico Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Awesome update, I can't say that I saw the House electing a retired General in James Gavin as Speaker of the House. It looks like the House has done their job and now it's up to the Senate to seal the deal...Keep it comming drew
     
  20. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    Umm... I lived through this period. "Mentally deficient" (if only as refusing to recognize reality) sure seemed appropriate then. I think the TL may be being a touch unfair to Spiro, but its not ASB, it's really not. The guy really was a piece of work.