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View Full Version : Was Gen. Lavelle a Fall Guy for Nixon



Gerry Clinchy
08-19-2010, 05:56 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/opinion/19stevenson.html?th&emc=th



The charges against General Lavelle stem from his role as commander of the 7th Air Force, based in Saigon. Just seven months into his tour, he was relieved of command after an Air Force investigation found that on 28 occasions he had ordered aircraft to attack North Vietnamese positions without first being fired on, contrary to the written rules of engagement, and that he had masked those unauthorized attacks with falsified reports of enemy activity.



In 2007, however, Air Force magazine published an article (http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2007/February%202007/0207tapes.aspx) that seemed to exonerate General Lavelle. It quoted from recently declassified White House tapes (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/opinion/transcript.pdf) on which President Richard Nixon told Henry Kissinger, his national security adviser, and Ellsworth Bunker, the American ambassador to South Vietnam, that the Air Force was permitted to attack enemy missile sites under the pretext of “protective reaction” — as long as the attacks were kept secret.