Thursday, January 11, 2007
"It Was Forty Years Ago Today..."
Smartypants Will Bunch of Attytood points out that Bush's dumb-ass reality-defying speech about Iraq was made forty years to the flipping DAY (and probably HOUR) after LBJ's dumb-ass reality-defying speech about Vietnam -- and sounds eerily similar. Some choice examples:
LBJ, Jan. 10, 1967: We have chosen to fight a limited war in Vietnam in an attempt to prevent a larger war--a war almost certain to follow, I believe, if the Communists succeed in overrunning and taking over South Vietnam by aggression and by force. I believe, and I am supported by some authority, that if they are not checked now the world can expect to pay a greater price to check them later. GWB, Jan. 10, 2007: Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror – and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror. LBJ, Jan. 10, 1967: I wish I could report to you that the conflict is almost over. This I cannot do. We face more cost, more loss, and more agony. For the end is not yet. I cannot promise you that it will come this year--or come next year. Our adversary still believes, I think, tonight, that he can go on fighting longer than we can, and longer than we and our allies will be prepared to stand up and resist. GWB, Jan. 10, 2007: Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. LBJ, Jan. 10, 1967: Our South Vietnamese allies are also being tested tonight. Because they must provide real security to the people living in the countryside. And this means reducing the terrorism and the armed attacks which kidnaped and killed 26,900 civilians in the last 32 months, to levels where they can be successfully controlled by the regular South Vietnamese security forces. It means bringing to the villagers an effective civilian government that they can respect, and that they can rely upon and that they can participate in, and that they can have a personal stake in. We hope that government is now beginning to emerge.There's more, but I think you get the picture. Will closes his post with the following:
Two things, though. First of all, only 7,917 American troop had died in Vietnam through the end of 1966, or ten days before Johnson's speech. From the beginning of 1967 though the end of the war, an additional 50,285 -- more than six times as many -- Americans would lose their lives. Also, and we're not endorsing this action by any means, then or now, but it is interesting to note that in that 1967 SOTU, LBJ also called for a 6 percent surcharge on personal and corporate income taxes to pay for the cost of the war. That's a level of responsibility -- and yes, sacrifice -- for war that our current president is unwilling to take.No comment; none needed.
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