Presidential War

THE MOST CONSTRUCTIVE result of the Watergate scandal thus far has been the increasing willingness of Congress to end the continuing criminal bombing the Nixon administration is conducting in Cambodia. Congress evidently emboldened by the disarray in the White House, is moving to cut off funds for the continuing aerial onslaught.

The significance of last week's Congressional actions, however, seems to have been lost on Nixon, for his spokesmen continue to issue arrogant statements indicating he will disregard the votes. The rationale for his actions is spurious: the struggle in Cambodia is being waged by indigenous revolutionaries and not, as Nixon claims, by infiltrators from outside. Nixon should have learned the lessons of Watergate by now: if he continues to disregard the nation's duly elected representatives and the authority of the Constitution they uphold, his illegal acts should add another point to a bill of impeachment.

The administration claims that its Cambodian acts are meant to guarantee the implementation of the January peace agreements, which it says are beset by subversion from the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front. Henry A. Kissinger '50 is in Paris this week, purportedly to strengthen the agreements through new negotiations with the North Vietnamese.

The peace agreements are indeed in danger, but not from the sources Nixon and Kissinger would have us believe. The biggest obstacle to a lasting peace in Indochina is the unrepresentative, militaristic regime of President Thieu, which depends on massive amounts of American aid to keep the South Vietnamese people penned in the burgeoning cities and watched over by Thieu's police.

Thieu needs continuing aid to bolster his basically untenable position. The aid, he knows, will be forthcoming only if hostilities remain at a high level and his regime appears in danger. It is therefore in his interest to promote a warlike situation.

To insure that peace actually returns to Indochina, Congress should follow up its initiatives in the Cambodian situation and cut off all direct aid of any sort to the Thieu regime. Only then can the desires of the people of Vietnam for peace and justice, reflected by the programs of the National Liberation Front and other political groups, be realized.

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