President Nixon, according to Limited, always worried about conspiracies of UN- American forces. Reason for this was mainly the public disclosure of the Pentagon Papers which exposed the lies about the Vietnam war “and its cynical disregard for American soldier’s lives. ” (149) Nixon was determined to fight the leak who exposed the papers to the public, namely Lesser, a disillusioned former Pentagon and state department analyst. To fight him, Nixon was determined to use any means necessary. The president’s men founded a unit within the White house which called themselves the “plumbers”.
The name was chosen because they were looking for “leaks”. In the end, Limited claims, they were rather bad producing more leaks than they plugged. Some of them were so determined to find evidence for leaks, that they started fabricating it when they failed to find it. “.. Paranoia, conspiracy, and conspiracy theory became fundamental operating principles of the executive branch” (150) Conspiracy theories were now also used to distract the public from other (real) crimes. Americans knew more and more about their government through the plumbers who exposed what they could.
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Ironically, even though people knew more about their government than ever before, they were also never as suspicious of it hiding more and bigger secrets. Amongst other things, Nixon secretly started bombing Cambodia. He mislead the public with the aid of false reports because he apparently wanted to avoid “a public outcry’. The New York Times found out about and published the secret of the bombing. Nixon became paranoid and reacted in a way that would cost him his Job. He ordered illegal surveillance of Journalists and administration members whom he suspected of leaking the secret, Limited points UT.
An interesting point Limited makes is that Nixon later excused his crimes “by arguing that presidents before him had engaged in conspiracies all the time”. (152) He, however, Limited states, went far beyond what his predecessors had done. Nixon started to use his powers to punish his personal enemies. Basically everyone who spoke against him publicly was a target of his hatred. The “plumbers”, his group of aides, were his personal tool to investigate and punish his enemies. Because Nixon had so many secrets, it was only a matter of time, according to Elm Gumball, that he, o, was spied on and people resolved to steal documents from him.
In one incident when people tried to gain information and steal documents, they found out about Counterpart when stealing some pentagon papers. Donald Rumbled was sure that publishing those papers was a possible catastrophe. He claimed that the essence that people will understand is: “you can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say… The implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the Nixon, determined to fight this conspiracy of leasers, resolved to leak documents himself.
He was sure that he could distract the public from his own secrets and crimes by exposing dark secrets from the past. “The Nixon administration, in short, tried to restore Americans’ faith in the government and the ‘infallibility of the presidency by proving the fallibility and dishonesty of previous presidents. ” (157) Amongst other crimes, Nixon had his aides spy on, sabotage, burglarize and steal in order to fight the Democratic candidates for Re-election. In 1972, one team got caught while breaking in the Watergate office building to replace a malfunctioning bug they had installed earlier.
Nixon knew he had to launch a massive cover-up to avoid anyone finding out about his methods against the Democrats and other crimes, like Cambodia. To succeed covering up all this, he paid hush money to several people, ordered CIA officials to try and convince the FBI to stop its investigation. Unfortunately for him, these orders were recorded on the voice-activated tape machines in the Oval Office. These would become “the most damning evidence” of he president’s conspiracies and force him to resign later. Nixon was, after all, dependent on the loyalty of much of his aides.
And given that he himself proved to be not the most loyal of men, many of them started to worry more about their own welfare than about his. “When the Supreme Court ruled that the president had to turn over the tapes of his conversations about Watergate… The president resigned on August 9, 1974. ” (158) All seemed to be over with the new president Ford until he made a mistake in issuing a pardon to Nixon, after 2 months of presidency. He hoped hat would leave all the conspiracies behind, but the opposite happened: people became more suspicious.
Some members of Congress now were determined to look for other government conspiracies and find them. Over the course of time, more and more secrets of government officials, CIA, or FBI became known. Amongst others, one very shocking secret was that the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover had tried to convince Martin Luther King Jar. To kill himself. All this added to the publics fear that you cannot trust the government whatsoever. A strong tendency of rejection against authority was notable. Ironically, the more secrets the public came to know, the more American citizens distrusted their government.
Furthermore, none of the past crimes seemed to have any consequences. No one was arrested, no one was convicted. That fact made Americans distrust and worry much more. “For many, the answer was obvious: the country itself was not evil, but it was ruled by an evil cabal. ” (165) All this led to new interest in the John Kennedy assassination. Some left leaders looked at Dealer Plaza as “the place where American democracy had died”. (167) Even Garrison was encouraged and supported anew by the public. There was apparently new evidence for a fourth shot.
This evidence, a supposed dictate radio recording from the assassination, later proved to be wrong. As a result, instead of solutions, this whole new investigation only caused more questions. Discussion questions: 1. If the team had not been caught in the Watergate building, what could have been different in the sequence of events? Could history have been totally different? Would Nixon have been remembered as a decent president? 2. How would you have Nixon”? What would you have done to regain trust of the American public?