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Felt, Nixon, Vietnam. (LETTERS TO THE EDITOR).

William Norman Grigg's quasi-puff piece about "Deep Throat" was disappointing (June 27 issue). Not only does Mr. Grigg misunderstand the nature of Watergate, but THE NEW AMERICAN'S usually intrepid insistence on supported arguments was so strangely lacking that it appeared Mr. Grigg merely set up a straw man only to knock him down.

The thesis of Mr. Grigg's article is that Deep Throat's actions were "hardly those of a traitor" to America that "many [conservative commentators] consider Felt to be." However, Mr. Grigg does not cite even one commentator that says Mark Felt betrayed his country. He does mention Thomas Fleming's charge that Felt betrayed Richard Nixon, but Grigg in no way tries to disprove it.

What is most disturbing is that Mr. Grigg seems to lionize Deep Throat as someone who was forced to go outside the "proper channels" (i.e. the law) due to the "urgent necessity to deal with threats to the Constitution ... posed by an administration abusing its powers." Mr. Grigg then lists some of the "routine crimes against the Constitution committed by Nixon." What! Maybe Mark Felt knows what his true motives were, but one thing is certain: he didn't sneak around with reporters Woodward and Bernstein because he was outraged over wage and price controls.

And if Mr. Grigg thinks Felt so noble for taking "full legal responsibility" for his actions, why did Felt conceal his identity for three decades?

Whatever Nixon's shortcomings, we need to face a hard truth: 17 million Vietnamese were enslaved by Communists in 1975 because leftist Democrats in Congress cut off the aid the South needed to survive. Had Mark Felt and the Washington Post not helped to break Nixon's presidency--and the Republican Party--those Democrats would never have been swept into power in the 1974 midterm elections.

Not only does Mr. Grigg fail to understand this, he even implies that there was some sort of moral equivalence between the former president and the Communists. Maybe he should take up residence at the Post.


Sag Harbor, New York

William Norman Grigg responds: Mr. Horn's letter regurgitates sound bites served up by GOP-aligned pundits and media personalities after Mark Felt was revealed to be "Deep Throat," notably the charge that Felt--by aiding the effort to evict Richard Nixon from the White House--somehow shares moral responsibility for the Communist conquest of South Vietnam. It was in reference to that accusation that our article summarized the typical conservative view of Felt as "something akin to a traitor--or worse."

As noted in our article, the Nixon administration, like its immediate predecessor, lavished aid and trade on both Soviet Russia and Communist China, thereby indirectly promoting the North Vietnamese war effort. And long be[ore Nixon was driven from office, Henry Kissinger's diplomacy had sealed the fate not only of South Vietnam but also tens of thousands of abandoned U.S. POWs in Southeast Asia. Mr. Horn and others who diligently retail the Republican Party line insist that countenancing Nixon 's crimes was a necessary expedient in the struggle against Communism, but they generally don't pay careful attention to Nixon's tangible record as a supposed anti-Communist.

Far from "lionizing" Felt, our article pointedly noted that his "actions were of dubious legality," that his 'judgment was imperfect [and] his motives were mixed." And the observation that Felt took "full legal responsibility referred to his admission of being involved in "black bag operations" targeting domestic terrorists, rather than his conduct as "Deep Throat."
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Author:Grigg, William Norman
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Oct 17, 2005
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