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Flagel¹ gives us the picture of LBJ (re Vietnam, 1964-69):

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“Two years in [to his presidency], Lyndon Johnson realized he had no viable solution. In a private conversation with Lady Bird [his wife] in March 1965, he painted himself as a victim of circumstance: ‘I can’t get out. I can’t finish it with what I have got. So what the hell can I do?”²

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  For MORE use the door.

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[MORE]

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   We have to admit that LBJ walked into a complicated situation that he did not start (as is the case with many “replacement Presidents).

   Our purpose is not to dissect the Vietnam War. Flagel points out, however, that while LBJ–who became President upon Kennedy’s assassination–was a “master of domestic politics… [though he] knew very little about world history or international affairs.”

   To quote Flagel:

   “Johnson was not the first to try to subdue the region, to force it into a form of rule to which it was not suited. Before LBJ, there was Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, the French Fourth Republic, Imperial Japan, the French Third Republic, and the Chinese. Johnson inherited fifteen thousand U. S. troops in Indochina. But the decision was ultimately his alone to balloon that number to more than a half-million troops and to transform an intraregional conflict into the supreme test of American will.”

   Of course, the presence of nearby Red China was a factor. But, in retrospect the cost of the Vietnam War was horrible in the loss and maiming of thousands of American lives. Big decisions that were made were proved wrong, and cost the U. S. dearly in every way.

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   ¹From The History Buff’s Guide to the Presidents by Thomas R. Flagel (Cumberland House, 2007), p. 241.