The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

December 27, 2008


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 21:26:52 -0500
From: moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG
To: PORTSIDE@LISTS.PORTSIDE.ORG
Subject: Kissinger's Christmas: 'We Can Bomb the Bejesus Out of Them'

"We can bomb the bejesus out of them all over North
Vietnam."

Archive Publishes Treasure Trove of Kissinger Telephone
Conversations

Comprehensive Collection of Kissinger "Telcons"
Provides Inside View of Government Decision-Making;
Reveals Candid talks with Presidents, Foreign Leaders,
Journalists, and Power-brokers during Nixon-Ford Years

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No.
263 - Part 1

Edited by William Burr
Posted - December 23, 2008
<http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB263/index.htm>

Washington, D.C., December 23, 2008 - Amidst a massive
bombing campaign over North Vietnam, Henry Kissinger
and Richard Nixon candidly shared their evident
satisfaction at the "shock treatment" of American B
52s, according to a declassified transcript of their
telephone conversation published for the first time
today by the National Security Archive. "They dropped a
million pounds of bombs," Kissinger briefed Nixon. "A
million pounds of bombs," Nixon exclaimed. "Goddamn,
that must have been a good strike." The conversation,
secretly recorded by both Kissinger and Nixon without
the other's knowledge, reveals that the President and
his national security advisor shared a belief in 1972
that the war could still be won.  "That shock treatment
[is] cracking them," Nixon declared. "I tell you the
thing to do is pour it in there every place we can.just
bomb the hell out of them." Kissinger optimistically
predicted that, if the South Vietnamese government
didn't collapse, the U.S. would eventually prevail: "I
mean if as a country we keep our nerves, we are going
to make it."

The transcript of the April 15, 1972, phone
conversation is one of over 15,500 documents in a
unique, comprehensively-indexed set of the telephone
conversations (telcons) of Henry A. Kissinger-perhaps
the most famous and controversial U.S. official of the
second half of the 20th century. Unbeknownst to the
rest of the U.S. government, Kissinger secretly taped
his incoming and outgoing phone conversations and had
his secretary transcribe them. After destroying the
tapes, Kissinger took the transcripts with him when he
left office in January 1977, claiming they were
"private papers." In 2001, the National Security
Archive initiated legal proceedings to force the
government to recover the telcons, and used the freedom
of information act to obtain the declassification of
most of them.  After a three year project to catalogue
and index the transcripts, which total over 30,000
pages, this on-line collection was published by the
Digital National Security Archive (ProQuest) this week.

Kissinger never intended these papers to be made
public, according to William Burr, senior analyst at
the National Security Archive, who edited the
collection, Kissinger Telephone Conversations: A
Verbatim Record of U.S. Diplomacy, 1969-1977.
"Kissinger's conversations with the most influential
personalities of the world rank right up there with the
Nixon tapes as the most candid, revealing and valuable
trove of records on the exercise of executive power in
Washington," Burr stated. For reporters, scholars, and
students, Burr noted, "Kissinger created a gift to
history that will be a tremendous primary source for
generations to come." He called on the State Department
to declassify over 800 additional telcons that it
continues to withhold on the grounds of executive
privilege.

The documents shed light on every aspect of Nixon-Ford
diplomacy, including U.S.-Soviet d├ętente, the wars in
Southeast Asia, the 1969 Biafra crisis, the 1971 South
Asian crisis, the October 1973 Middle East War, and the
1974 Cyprus Crisis, among many other developments.
Kissinger's dozens of interlocutors include political
and policy figures, such as Presidents Nixon and Ford,
Secretary of State William Rogers, Governor Nelson
Rockefeller, Robert S. McNamara, and Soviet Ambassador
Anatoli Dobrynin; journalists and publishers, such as
Ted Koppel, James Reston, and Katherine Graham; and
such show business friends as Frank Sinatra. Besides
the telcons, the Kissinger Telephone Conversations: A
Verbatim Record of U.S. Diplomacy, 1969-1977 includes
audio tape of Kissinger's telephone conversations with
Richard Nixon that were recorded automatically by the
secret White House taping system, some of which
Kissinger's aides were unable to transcribe.

A series of unforgettable moments are captured in the
transcripts, not least involving Kissinger's complex
and difficult relationship with Richard Nixon.
Repeatedly, the national security adviser used his
skills in flattery and connivance to help build up the
president's image and stay in his good graces. During
the Jordan crisis in September 1970, Kissinger told the
media that he had awakened the President to brief him
on King Hussein's military actions against Palestinian
guerillas.  But a transcript of his call to the
President the next day recorded him as informing Nixon:
"in light of the fact that there was nothing you could
do, we thought it best not to waken you."

The telcons also illustrate other Kissinger's efforts
to spin the media, monitor and control the process of
decision-making, disparage rivals, keep important
associates, such as his patron Nelson Rockefeller, in
the loop, and win over critics:

*  After Gerald Ford shuffled his cabinet in November
    1975, removing Kissinger as national security
    adviser and shifting Donald Rumsfeld from his chief-
    of-staff position to be Secretary of Defense,
    Kissinger spoke to Secretary of the Treasury William
    Simon.  "The guy who cut me up inside this building
    isn't going to cut me up any less in Defense," he
    noted.

*  In an August 13, 1974, conversation with Elliott
    Richardson after Nixon resigned, Kissinger
    disparaged George H.W. Bush as a candidate to
    replace Gerald Ford as Vice President. "I am not as
    high on George Bush, as some others are, partly
    because of his lack of experience."

*  In a conversation with President Nixon on the
    illegal wiretap scandal in June 1973, Nixon
    threatened to go to political war with Democrats if
    they pressed the issue. "Lets get away from the
    bullshit," Nixon stated angrily. "Bobby Kennedy was
    the greatest tapper." The President even suspected[
    his own phone had been wiretapped in the early
    1960s. "[J.Edgar Hoover] said Bobby Kennedy had [the
    FBI] tapping everybody. I think that even I'm on
    that list," President Nixon told Kissinger. When
    Nixon noted that the wiretap scandal would "catch
    some of your friends," Kissinger responded: "Well, I
    wouldn't be a bit unhappy."

*  In a bizarre conversation with anti-war
    activist/poet Alan Ginsburg on April 23, 1971,
    Kissinger discussed meeting with ardent opponents of
    the Nixon administration. Ginsburg suggested the
    meeting, joking that "It would be even more useful
    if we could do it naked on television. "I gather you
    don't know how to get out of the war," Ginsburg is
    recorded as stating. "I thought we did," Kissinger
    responded, "but we are always interested in hearing
    other views."

In the April 15, 1972, conversation about bombing North
Vietnam, Nixon recalled that bombing had failed to
defeat Ho Chi Mhin's forces in the past.

    Nixon: "Of course, you want to remember that Johnson
    bombed them for years and it didn't do any good."

    Kissinger: But Mr. President, Johnson never had a
    strategy; he was sort of picking away at them. He
    would go in with 50 planes; 20 planes; I bet you we
    will have had more planes over there in one day than
    Johnson had in a month.

    Nixon: Really?

    Kissinger: Yeah.

[For 29 annotated Kissinger telephone conversations
with Richard Nixon, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Colson,
John Kenneth Galbraith, Donald Rumsfeld, James Reston,
David Rockefeller, Pat Moynihan, Anatoli Dobrynin,
Barry Goldwater and others, go to:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB263/index.htm
-- moderator]

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a new push on an object grouping that continued almost indefinitely

into a sky that was hardly drawn, that flowed from the memory of drawing.
it took so long to return to earth, i.e. to level 0 of the virtual world.
here we are extending into a problematic of the push.
falter, yes, failure, yes, fall, yes, flight, yes, but the originary
moment of the push, that decision to extend uselessly.
for there is nothing above and what is below is at an inconceivable
distance.
which means a large difference between, say, 4000 and 5 in terms of what
appears as verticality.
there is a particular _speed_ involved, the speed of flight and, perhaps
later the speed of falling.
the speed neither increases nor decreases; the speed is a constant, as are
the piped-in sounds of the wind.
of course all of this is nothing more than a _calculation,_ as I have
repeatedly stressed.
but these particular pushes carry a resonance all their own - the loneli-
ness of the isolated universe or wheel, the inability to garner community
as someone somewhere moves a mouse, operates a keyboard, wears whatever
gear she might find necessary, and then he is there, preposterous, nowhere
at all, but with the implication of _above._
and continued almost indefinitely? or with the boundary conditions set
somewhere before _now,_ perhaps the length of a number of hours: she
sleeps.

http://www.alansondheim.org/push1.jpg
http://www.alansondheim.org/push2.jpg
http://www.alansondheim.org/push3.jpg
http://www.alansondheim.org/push4.jpg
http://www.alansondheim.org/push5.jpg



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