Hate-mongering against alleged "leftist 1960s terrorists" now fills the days of anti-Obama rage for the Rovian bloviator battalion.
Bill Ayers and the Weathermen, the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, Baby Boom professors, social workers , etc, are front and center for the hateful blatherings of the usual GOP flunkies all cowering at the prospect of an African-American president.
But there were, indeed, three 1960s terrorists whose murderous, planet-killing rampage continues to poison this nation. They tower above all others. Their names: William Westmoreland, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon.
This unholy trinity killed outright more than 55,000 Americans and several million southeast Asians---most of them innocent civilians---while bombing, strafing and spewing horrific toxic chemicals onto countless of square miles of previously pristine jungle. Their Agent Orange caused tens of thousands of deaths and deformities that still carry through the generations.
No single terror act in the history of the United States even remotely compares to the lethal psychosis that created and was then furthered by the Vietnam War.
As Commander In Chief of US forces in Southeast Asia, Westmoreland dragged the US into the Vietnam quagmire. He repeatedly assured Lyndon Johnson that Vietnam's north-south civil war was "winnable".
In the 1980s I debated Westmoreland on two campuses (the University of Florida and Juneata College) and heard him tell me directly that "we never lost the war in Vietnam." According to the man who lit the fuse, the US spent all those lives and dollars "successfully protecting" Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines from Communist dictatorships. Never mind that Suharto (Indonesia), Lee Kwan Yew (Singapore), and Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines) were among history's most violent and authoritarian kleptocrats. In Westmoreland's world, all that death, destruction and expenditure were worth it to keep these torturers in office while they stacked billions of public dollars in their private bank accounts.
Lyndon Johnson bought Westmoreland's lies. With Defense Secretary Robert McNamara explaining the war in terms of "kill ratios," Johnson used a fake non-attack by alleged North Vietnamese gunboats to get a blank check from Congress and impose wholesale slaughter on both the US and Vietnam.'
Johnson's March, 1965, decision to escalate the war is arguably the turning point from which America's moral standing and quality of life took their definitive downward plunge.
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While he crumbled from the psychological and spiritual strain, LBJ sent 550,000 Americans to Vietnam to perpetrate a human and ecological slaughter on a scale unique in the modern annals of gratuitous terror.
Richard Nixon followed with still more. After winning the presidency based on a "Secret Plan" to end the war, he escalated air attacks on an innocent nation that exceeded all the explosive tonnage dropped during World War 2. Nixon illegally expanded the war into Cambodia, where three million civilians eventually died in wholesale slaughter.
At home, Nixon's close friend, Governor James A. Rhodes, furnished the Ohio National Guard with the live ammunition they used to kill four unarmed students. Two more died soon thereafter in an official attack on a college dormitory at Mississippi's Jackson State.
A clearly deranged psychotic, Nixon's resignation journey should have taken him straight to prison, rather than to a presidential retreat alongside the Pacific.
None of these horrific terrorists was ever prosecuted or imprisoned. But their ungodly assault drove America's economy, currency, health care and educational systems, moral and military standing, and much, much more, into a deep decline from which we have yet to recover.
None of those bilious corporate bloviators ever mention these highest-ranking terrorists in their rants against all things sixties.
But when it comes to an American axis of evil perpetrating useless, gratuitous and totally unredeemed mass destruction of people and the planet, this is the 1960s trio that overshadows all others.
Harvey Wasserman's History of the United States is at www.harveywasserman.com, along with Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth.
This article first appeared at http://www.freepress.org.