Monday, August 27, 2007

"It's Just The Biggest Damn Mess I Ever Saw"

Don't miss this 1964 conversation between LBJ and McGeorge Bundy. Of course it's no secret that LBJ had deep misgivings about Vietnam, and this tape has been in the public domain since the 1990's. But, as Moyers notes, 58,000 U.S. troops died after that conversation took place. President Bush, by all accounts, is unencumbered by similar doubts (cue retort from the usual suspects: if LBJ had believed in Vietnam like Bush believes in Iraq, we would have won).

8 Comments:

Blogger Grace Nearing said...

if LBJ had believed in Vietnam like Bush believes in Iraq, we would have won

Here's the retort to that retort: If Bush had believed in Iraq like LBJ believed in Vietnam, the number of US troops in Iraq would number 500,000 -- or even 700,000, if Westmoreland had gotten the additional 200,000 troops he told LBJ he needed.

8/27/2007 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we don't *have* 500,000 combat troops

8/27/2007 9:14 PM  
Blogger Chris F. said...

They had a *DRAFT* back then.

8/28/2007 1:06 AM  
Blogger Chris F. said...

That is not to say we should ever reinstitute the draft...at least not for a conflict of the sorts we have created in Iraq (or had created in Vietnam). WW III becomes inevitable, I will rethink my stance on the draft. Until then, I would think we could limit ourselves to the kinds of conflicts that actually utilize (as opposed to over-utilize) the troop base we can actually acquire. I am with CR in the belief that the War on Terror should have been and should still be waged in Afghanistan. Although, I am not so convinced we should be waging a war on terror. Nothing good can come of a war against unseen and constantly redefined enemies. Should we continue to prosecute and enforce our deadly weapons laws? Absolutely. But threatening to kill, maim or torture those who do not follow the majority party lines, that sounds a lot like monarchy, if not dictatorship.

8/28/2007 1:20 AM  
Anonymous RW said...

A draft would probably improve our decision making if nothing else; there are too few people with real skin in this game as it stands right now.

That aside, the concepts of service and civic duty have been suffering for years. Time perhaps to require service of everyone, no exceptions: Peace corps, Vista, military, doesn't matter; to hell with country of birth, no vote w/o service!

8/28/2007 1:26 AM  
Blogger Vercules said...

In "Fog of War", one of my all-time favorites, similar conversations can be heard between McNamara and both Kennedy and LBJ.

8/28/2007 1:25 PM  
Blogger Grace Nearing said...

Let me clarify: I know we do not have available 500,000 combat troops.

My point is that if Bush truly believed that the overthrow of Saddam and the occupation of Iraq was so crucial to our country, there would have been and should have been an enormous mobilization of troops and materiel.

LBJ committed the troops and the money, and he paid for it with his political life.

Shinseki pointed out that the occupation math did not work, and he paid for it with his career.

The president, vice president, and NSA head ooky-spooked citizens with talk about nuclear mushroom clouds and bioweapons, patted us on the head, and then told us that our most noble civic duty was to go hang out at the mall.

That's one hell of a strange war.

8/28/2007 3:00 PM  
Blogger Chris F. said...

Grace, I cannot disagree with you. I skipped past the discussion of what I thought about numbers of troops and their correlation to success. It is clear that we do not have the numbers of troops to successfully pacify our opposition in Iraq.

What I still can't believe is how many people were actually convinced by the "case for war" presented by the administration. What they said was so incredibly unspecific, that I just could not believe it. The American public was given substantially more specific information as a reasoning to enter Vietnam, than was given to us as a (what is often referred to as) 'justification' for war in Iraq. Aside from that, I just did not believe what Bush said. Nothing he said felt truthful to me, and I was just not ready to believe him. Why did so many believe him? The lies seemed so obvious. I am not claiming to have any access to the intelligence, or any supernatural lie detecting skills. I just simply knew he was lying. It seemed to me the press could tell, too. I'd love to see a true count of who was truly convinced.

8/29/2007 11:14 PM  

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