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Air Force General Posthumously Pulled From Under The Bus

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  • Air Force General Posthumously Pulled From Under The Bus

    Back in 1972, President Richard M. Nixon threw decorated Air Force Lieutenant General John D. Lavelle under the bus. He felt bad about it, as White House recordings discovered by two biographers confirm. “Frankly, Henry,” Nixon said to his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, “I don’t feel right about our pushing him into this and then, and then giving him a bad rap. I don’t want to hurt an innocent man.”

    The issue was whether secret bombing missions against North Vietnam had been authorized or had been ordered by Lavelle on his own, and it was a hot issue at the time. Lavelle insisted in hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had acted under orders, but was unable to prove his claim. The result was that Lavelle was relieved of command, demoted to major general, and forced to retire in disgrace.

    So Nixon didn’t “feel right” about flushing Lavelle’s career and reputation down the toilet, but his feelings didn’t inform his acts. When asked directly about the air strikes at a press conference, Nixon replied, “It wasn’t authorized. It was proper for him to be relieved and retired.”

    Biographers uncovered declassified Defense Department communications as well as transcripts of the Nixon conversations in 2007 which confirmed that Lavelle acted on orders which originated with Nixon himself. They then began the process of getting Lavelle’s rank restored posthumously. Sen James Webb (D.-VA), himself a Vietnam veteran., pushed for the review as well, and last Wednesday President Obama asked the Senate to ...




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