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Uploaded on Nov 13, 2008
President Richard Nixon used the diplomatic opening to China to negotiate a face-saving "decent interval" deal on Vietnam, one that would postpone, not prevent, Communist military victory. His own secretly recorded White House tapes captured him saying, "South Vietnam probably can never even survive anyway." He had told the American people the opposite, prolonging the war for four years and adding 20,000 American casualties saying the sacrifice was necessary so that one day the South could defend and govern itself. As his tapes reveal, he did not believe that day would come. He prolonged the war to conceal his inability to win it, and he negotiated a settlement that would put a "decent interval" between his final troop withdrawal and the Communists' final military victory--one long enough to make Saigon's fall look like Saigon's fault. "Weve got to find some formula," National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger said, "that holds the thing together a year or two."