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Context of 'Between 1969 and 1974: Nixon Expresses Disregard for Civilian Casualties in Vietnam'

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In a conversation with National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger about civilian casualties in Vietnam, US President Richard Nixon says, “I don’t give a damn. I don’t care.” (CBS News 2/28/2003)

Two National Security Council assistants, Richard Moose and Richard Sneider, are wiretapped by the FBI as part of President Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s attempt to seal media leaks (see May 1969). (Reeves 2001, pp. 86)

Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Nixon aides H.R. Haldeman and Charles Colson celebrate a breakthrough in the US-Soviet SALT II disarmament talks by taking a dinner cruise on the presidential yacht “Sequoia.” The conversation turns to the subject of press leaks, and Nixon vows: “One day we will get them—we’ll get them on the ground where we want them. And we’ll stick our heels in, step on them hard and twist—right, Chuck, right? Henry knows what I mean—just like you do in negotiating, Henry—get them on the floor and step on them, crush them, show no mercy.” (Werth 2006, pp. 346)


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