Today at the Editor’s glance: On a day in 1972 when 101 people died and 75 survived the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crash of an L-1011 in the Florida Everglades, Nixon finally calls off one of America’s major war crimes–“a public relations mass murder from the sky,” as Christopher Hitchens described it–the Christmas bombing on and around Hanoi in North Vietnam. “Beginning on December 18, American B-52s and fighter-bombers dropped over 20,000 tons of bombs on the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong. The United States lost 15 of its giant B-52s and 11 other aircraft during the attacks. North Vietnam claimed that over 1,600 civilians were killed,” history.com writes. “The bombings continued until December 29, at which time the North Vietnamese agreed to resume the talks.” The BBC notes that “some claim the assault may have helped bring about the deal signed a month later that led to an end to US involvement in the war,” though as the Pentagon papers proved, the military knew the war was lost in the mid-1960s, when hawks from LBJ to Ronald Reagan were fantasizing about na different outcome, and the terms of peace finally signed in 1973 were identical to those LBJ was ready to sign in 1968, before Nixon torpedoed the plan. In a 1965 speech, Reagan said: “It’s silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas.” When Henry Kissinger called up Saturday Night Live to get tickets for his son, Al Franken grabbed the phone and yelled, “You know, if it hadn’t been for the Christmas bombing in Cambodia, you could’ve had your fucking tickets!” (Franken’s geography was a bit off, but not nearly as off as Reagan’s morals. And the crime of the American bombing of Cambodia was as immoral as the Hanoi bombings.)
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