I loved the OC Register article about Ron Walker, who by all accounts is doing an outstanding job as president of the Nixon Foundation. Well, everything except for the typically ungracious and inaccurate remarks made by Tim Naftali.
Here’s the text of a letter to the editor I sent to the Register to try to correct the record:
To the Editor:
The assertion by Tim Naftali, the National Archives director of the Nixon Library [“He’s still Nixon’s advance man,” February 12, 2010], that the Library’s original exhibit on Vietnam did not indicate that National Guardsmen shot the four students killed at Kent State is pure fantasy.
As the author of that exhibit 20 years ago, here is the text of the concluding paragraph of a sidebar to the Vietnam exhibit entitled: Cambodia and Kent State, taken directly from my files:
At Kent State University in Ohio, the Governor had to call in the National Guard after some demonstrators burned the Army ROTC building to the ground. The guardsmen, many the same age as the students, were pelted with rocks and chunks of concrete. Tragically, in the ensuing panic, shots rang out. Four students lay dead. The President later referred to the days following Kent State as among the darkest of his presidency.
It is obvious to anyone (except perhaps Naftali, who seems to possess a very jaundiced and biased eye toward all things Nixon) that the students were shot by the National Guardsmen. Does he really think that Library visitors are either so stupid or so ignorant as to conclude that the students were shot by other students or by unknown assailants?
Naftali’s anti-Nixon bias is apparently so deeply ingrained in his psyche that he cannot distinguish the truth from the dark fantasy he has created in his own mind about the Nixon Library. Isn’t there an Alger Hiss Library somewhere he would like to be director of?