Many of us were hoping for a strategy, or a two fold plan that uses the military to destroy ISIS over there and unleashes law enforcement agencies over here. In other words, let's fight them over there and preempt them over here. Maybe that sounds too much like Bush for the un-Bush president!
Last week, I watched All the Way, an HBO film about LBJ in 1964, or the year that he was running for president after President John F. Kennedy's assassination.
The movie takes you to that election year and how President LBJ fought to pass a civil rights bill and defeat Senator Goldwater.
It also showed how President Johnson went out of his way to avoid talking about Vietnam.
In the end, Vietnam found the president as he celebrated his landslide victory over Goldwater. We saw an aide handing him a classified envelope about that place that he promised never not to send U.S. troops to.
President LBJ went back to the election night party knowing that there'd be little to celebrate about Vietnam very soon.
In 1964, President Johnson met with his advisers:
At a meeting of the National Security Council, McGeorge Bundy, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s national security advisor, informs those in attendance that President Johnson has decided to postpone submitting a resolution to Congress asking for authority to wage war. The situation in South Vietnam had rapidly deteriorated, and in March 1964, Secretary of State Robert McNamara reported that 40 percent of the countryside was under Viet Cong control or influence. Johnson was afraid that he would be run out of office if South Vietnam fell to the communists, but he was not prepared to employ American military power on a large scale. Several of his advisers, led by McGeorge Bundy’s brother, William, had developed a scenario of graduated overt pressures against North Vietnam, according to which the president -- after securing a Congressional resolution -- would authorize air strikes against selected North Vietnamese targets. Johnson rejected the idea of submitting the resolution to Congress because it would “raise a whole series of disagreeable questions” which might jeopardize the passage of his administration’s civil rights legislation. Just two months later, they revisited idea of a resolution in the wake of the Tonkin Gulf incident.Like President Obama today, President Johnson decided that he could avoid going to war by not talking about it or getting angry at his opponents.
We know that war eventually found LBJ and it became his legacy. I have an eerie feeling that war will also find Obama.
Unlike LBJ, Obama will leave office in seven months. Like LBJ, he will be remembered for indecision and an unwillingness to face facts.
I hope that #45 is ready for the mess that awaits him or her!
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