Obama's Afghanistan decision evokes LBJ's 1965 order on Vietnam buildup
In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson took ownership of a war he, like Obama, had inherited. Gen. William Westmoreland wanted more troops in Vietnam, and after a protracted debate within the White House, Johnson sent them.
Over the next three years, he would send hundreds of thousands more and launch a carpet-bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Johnson's presidency – and many argue, Johnson himself – were destroyed long before America could finally, 10 years later, quit Vietnam.
Obama's decision to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan has reawakened those memories of Vietnam's early days, and brought unsettling comparisons from an array of historians who have spent their careers studying Johnson.
Many of those doubts, historians now know, were shared by Johnson himself, as revealed by White House tapes of telephone recordings released to historians over the years. Listening to them again this week chilled some of the men who know best what that decision cost Johnson.
comments powered by Disqus
- Climate of Change: The Catholic Church's Dance With Science
- Sacrificed Humans Discovered Among Prehistoric Tombs
- Nazis Triumph Over Communists in Ukraine
- Obits for Happy Rockefeller blamed her for his political decline. Don’t believe it.
- Historian investigates claim that Bugsy Siegel wanted to kill Goring
- NYT hosts debate including Eric Foner: How Americans should remember Reconstruction
- William Leuchtenburg says historians and the media have been too hard on Obama
- Hugh Ambrose, historian who helped develop WWII Museum, dead at 48
- Historian discounts claim that Churchill and other British PM's were gay
- Nick Bunker Wins $50,000 2015 George Washington Book Prize