December 2, 2008: Memo dramatizes White House dilemma over Vietnam (AP)

  • In regard to the war generally, “we must … act in a fashion which will maintain the support of the American people,” Laird wrote. The proposed bombing campaign of the Joint Chiefs sought to drive the North Vietnamese back to the negotiating table. The Nixon administration didn’t go forward with the Joint Chiefs’ plan. But in December 1972, it launched what became known as the “Christmas bombing” of Hanoi when peace talks hit a dead end. The effort stirred anger with the American public. North Vietnam called it a terrorist act.