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Posted May 15, 2000
Too Easy on John Dean
Historically accurate but a selective. I was in college during Watergate and, like everyone else, I was very anti-Nixon. As time went by and more facts came out my thoughts have changed. With this perspective, here are some comments on Emery's book: (1) Any treatment of this subject should give Nixon his due, and make appropriate mention of his massive accomplishments, both internationally and domestically (pollution control, desegregation of southern schools, for example). (2) A fair treatment of Watergate should talk about the witchhunt philosophy on the other side. When unarmed first offenders that steal nothing get 40 years in prison and someone that squeals on the president gets off free (James McCord), you know what all the witnesses are going to do. (3) Emery never comes to grips with the central question of whether Nixon even knew about the break-in ahead of time. I say he didn't based on other accounts. Logic would justify this. He had the China summit in February, the North Vienamese invasion of Quang Tri Province in March, the Russia summit in May, how was he supposed to plan a burglary in June? (4) Emery, as also the Watergate Committee, treats Dean with kid gloves even though he probably masterminded the break-in and, as Council to the President, orchestrated the cover-up.
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Posted November 11, 2013
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