Nixon wanted to destroy North Vietnam

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London, Dec 4 : Newly released memos and tape recordings from President Richard Nixon's archives show that he wanted to "decimate" North Vietnam and viewed university professors as "enemies".

The tapes were recorded between November and December 1972, shortly after his re-election and just as the Watergate scandal began to unfold.

The newly declassified discussions with close aides such as Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig also reveal the president's contempt for colleagues and his vitriol for critics, The Telegraph reported.

"Never forget, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy," he told Kissinger, his national security adviser, in Dec 1972.

"Professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it," he repeated.

A few days later, Haig, then the deputy assistant for National Security Affairs, told Nixon that his vice president, Spiro Agnew, disagreed with Kissinger on Vietnam, the paper reported.

Nixon replied that his VP "is a goddamned fool" who "doesn't know a goddamned thing. He bores the hell out of me. Christ... I'll have to have him come in here."

Within days, in one of the most controversial US acts of the war, it had carried out a series of intense air attacks on North Vietnam aimed at forcing the country to come to the table for peace talks.

"We're going to bomb them. We'll take the heat right over the Christmas period, then on January 3, it's Christmas withdrawal," the President told Kissinger and Haig. He called the North Vietnamese communists "filthy bastards."

Although Nixon sought reassurance from aides that the US was "punishing the hell out of the enemy," he stressed his forces were trying to avoid civilian casualties.

When an adviser said Americans wanted reassurance that the bombing was simply an attempt to "decimate" the North Vietnamese, Nixon snapped: "It's too damned bad we aren't decimating the country... with all the screaming about civilians, believe me: If we were trying, the goddamned place would be levelled.

The tapes include a conversation Nixon had with Anatoly Dobrynin, the Soviet Ambassador, at a time when the president wanted Moscow to put pressure on the Vietnamese to negotiate, The Telegraph reported.

The new documents also show that his closest advisers shared Nixon's siege mentality.

ANI

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