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Cambodia, Kent State, Nixon: Storm Over The White House – May 12, 1970

In lieu of the middle finger - righteousness.
Nixon and Cambodia: In lieu of the middle finger – righteousness.

– NET – Newsfront – May 12, 1970 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

With the U.S. excursion into Cambodia, and the repercussions from that move still fresh in the minds of Americans on this May 12th in 1970, President Nixon made the announcement that the U.S. invasion of Cambodia was a success and that U.S. casualties were minimal, and that it looked like troops would be withdrawing soon.

That upbeat assessment from the President didn’t dissuade people from asking why he did it in the first place. Advisers close to Nixon weren’t aware of the move or any of the details. Apparently only Key Presidential Adviser Henry Kissinger was aware of the move and he came under considerable criticism from associates for not relaying those plans to crucial members on Capitol Hill.

And the resulting protests, the deaths at Kent and Jackson State, the renewed violence on campuses all over the country and the deaths that came with them were a surprise to the White House. But this move spoke to a bigger potential problem between the White House and Capitol Hill. Rumors of Imperial Presidency were bandied around – that Nixon had suddenly become above the law and that whatever campaign promises he had made in 1968 were falling by the wayside, if they were ever intended to be acted on in the first place.

And so, a discussion between two Harvard Professors; associates of Henry Kissinger, and moderator Mitchell Krauss from this episode of the NET series Newsfront offer some insights and a picture of the growing dissatisfaction with the way our Vietnam Policy was going. Despite Nixon’s claims of a successful excursion into Cambodia, the colleagues voiced their doubts this would be the last of such moves.

Also on the program is an interview with Dr. Christiaan Barnard, who performed the first successful human heart transplant in South Africa in 1967, and had performed several subsequent successful transplants in the meantime. He is interviewed regarding that first transplant, but how science and medicine have progressed since then.

Cambodia, Kent State and Nixon, along with other news of the day for this May 12, 1970 as reported on the NET Program Newsfront.

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