I’d rather use a nuclear bomb

“I still think we ought to take the dikes out now,” Nixon offered. “I think – will that drown people?”

Zhat will drown about two hundred thousand people.”

“Oh, well, no, no. I’d rather use a nuclear bomb. Have you got that ready?”

Zhat, I think, would be too much. Too much.”

“The nuclear bomb. Does that bother you? I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christ’s sakes!”

Kissinger paused, taken aback. He collected himself, eventually responding with the one thing he knew would talk the president down from his flight of fantasy: “I think we’re going to make it.” Until Election Day, he probably meant; Saigon would hold on at least until then.

– Rick Perlstein, Nixonland

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