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TO QUOTE COL KENNETH L WEBER,USAF(RET),BORDEN,IN:
'"ANYONE HAVING EXPERIENCED VIETNAM (OR HAVING READ IT'S EXTENSIVE LITERATURE) SHOULD REALIZE THAT GENERAL LAVELLE AND MANY OTHERS WERE THRUST INTO CIRCUMSTANCES THAT TESTED THEIR MANHOOD. GENERAL LAVELLE'S MISFORTUNE WAS THAT HE WAS NOT SERVING UNDER NAPOLEAN,WHO ON NOVEMBER 2,1809 WROTE TO MARSHAL JEAN-BAPTISTE BESSIERES:" BE FIRM OF CHARACTER AND WILL...OVERCOME ALL OBSTACLES. I WILL DISAPPROVE YOUR ACTIONS ONLY IF THEY ARE FAINTHEARTED AND IRRESOLUTE. EVERYTHING THAT IS VIGOROUS,FIRM, AND DISCREET WILL MEET WITH MY APPROVAL." I SUPPOSE THE GENERAL WASN'T "DISCREET" ENOUGH AND THEREFORE HAD TO TAKE THE FALL."
Gen Lavelle was probably the most controversial USAF officer during the Vietnam war. He was relieved of command of the 7th Air Force for ignoring the established Rules of Engagement.
He was retired as a Major General, but was later elevated to Lt General and his marker at Arlington says "General".
I was in Vietnam during his tenure as commander of 7th AF and it is my opinion that his actions saved American servicemen's lives. Later revelations actually clear his name and tapes released by the Nixon Library attest to the fact that the actions of Gen Lavelle were known of and approved by the administration. As with most of the war in Vietnam, his removal was a political action.
I knew his daughter Patti(Patty) in Germany and had the pleasure of meeting the General.
Honor restored for general blamed after Nixon denied authorizing Vietnam bombing
John Lavelle, right, talks with Senate Armed Services Chairman John C. Stennis (D-Miss.) in late 1972. (AP Wirephoto)
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 5, 2010
During the summer of 1972, official Washington was dragging Air Force Gen. John D. Lavelle's name and reputation through the mud. Multiple investigations by the Pentagon and Congress concluded that the four-star commander had ordered unauthorized bombing missions in North Vietnam and then tried to cover them up. He was demoted to major general and forced to retire, in disgrace.
Lavelle maintained his rectitude until his death, saying he was acting on orders. Nearly four decades later, it turns out he was right.
On Wednesday, after an exhaustive reexamination of Lavelle's actions, President Obama asked the Senate to restore his honor and his missing stars. The decision officially sets the record straight about who really lied during the controversial chapter in the Vietnam War, who told the truth and who was left holding the bag.
Historical records unearthed by two biographers who came across the material by happenstance show that Lavelle was indeed acting on orders to conduct the bombing missions and that the orders came from the commander in chief himself: President Richard M. Nixon.
Not only did Nixon give the secret orders, but transcripts of his recorded Oval Office conversations show that he stood by, albeit uncomfortably, as Lavelle suffered a scapegoat's fate.
"I just don't want him to be made a goat, goddamnit," Nixon told his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, on June 14, 1972, a few days after it was disclosed that Lavelle had been demoted for the allegedly unauthorized attacks. "You, you destroy a man's career. . . . Can we do anything now to stop this damn thing?"
On June 26, Nixon's conscience intervened in another conversation with Kissinger. "Frankly, Henry, I don't feel right about our pushing him into this thing and then, and then giving him a bad rap," the president said. "I don't want to hurt an innocent man."
But Nixon was unwilling to stand up publicly for the general. With many lawmakers and voters already uneasy about the war, he wasn't about to admit that he had secretly given permission to escalate bombing in North Vietnam. At a June 29 news conference, he was asked about Lavelle's case and the airstrikes...