Vietnam Meat Grinder
Reprinted in The Nixon Chronicles
In 1968, Republican Richard Nixon was elected President. Nixon ran on a platform of ending the Vietnam conflict and obtaining “peace with honor.” His plan, called Vietnamization, relied on the training of Vietnamese soldiers to take over the fighting, which would allow for the reduction of US troop levels and a retreat to an advisory role in the conflict. While Nixon was nominally successful in reducing troop presence on the ground, he also authorized the military to increase its bombing campaign, even going so far as to conduct secret bombing on a regular basis of Vietnam’s neighbor Cambodia. The strategic argument for bombing Cambodia was that the North Vietnamese military had set up covert bases and supply lines just inside the Cambodian border. Once the American public got wind of the secret Cambodian campaign, widespread protest erupted, especially on college campuses, and opposition to Nixon and the war increased. Protests became highly visible within American culture and at times resulted in violence such as the Kent State protest in which the Ohio National Guard opened fire on protesters, killing four. Much as Vietnam overshadowed many of Lyndon Johnson’s domestic achievements, the same result threatened Nixon’s legacy. In this cartoon, Nixon (recognizable because of his raised “peace signs,” which were a popular affectation he displayed during his campaigns and public appearances) is being consumed by a meat grinder labeled Vietnam. The pile on the right represents the remains of Lyndon Johnson after being consumed by the same meat grinder.
The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library (Reprinted by permission of Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)