Skip to comments.Lyndon Johnson, Vietnam and Politics: 40 Years Ago Today (Remembering 1968)
Posted on 03/31/2008 6:08:20 AM PDT by Nextrush
"Does Ho Chi Minh have anything like this"-President Lyndon Johnson
According to Texas writer Larry L. King (not the CNN guy) the earthy talking Lyndon Johnson made this comment in the White House to staff members with his pants down and his manhood on display.
Regardless of the raw nature of Johnson's reported comments the administration's Vietnam War policy always aimed to be a repeat of the Korean War with some negoatiated ending.
The "bombing" of North Vietnam was restricted when it came to the main conduit of North Vietnam's war supplies, Haiphong harbor.
There was fear that Soviets on the supply ships would get killed and start the feared nuclear war. The Soviets provided an almost constant supply to the Communist forces thoughout the war.
The graduated force policy was supposedly aimed at creating negotiations from a position of strength, but the strength had suddenly eroded in early 1968.
The Tet Media Offensive made a major military victory for the Allied forces look like some sort of defeat.
Lyndon Johnson was feeling the political heat and had to call for negotiations with a conciliatory act.
The president made a televised speech to the nation on Sunday evening March 31st, 1968 at 9pm.
I watched on a black and white television set in my bedroom (I was only seven years old at the time). A network slide came up with an announcer introducing the speech.
The network news operations did not surround presidential speeches before or after with analysis and comment. That practice would begin with Richard Nixon's presidency next year.
I watched Johnson's speech carefulling listening and comprehending that he was calling for peace talks and announcing a bombing halt above the 20th Parallel.
What I didn't catch were the few words he spoke at the end about not being a candidate for re-election.
Johnson saw his political situation as grave and had polls in hand indicating he would lose the Wisconsin Democrat Primary to Senator Eugene McCarthy on Tuesday April 2nd (McCarthy won 56-37 percent).
Johnson's withdraw would open up the Democrat race for president but party insiders moved to get Vice-President Hubert Humphrey set up as his replacement.
Waiting in the wings from the outside to enter the race, the brother of the slain JFK, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York.
Did you realize this cr*p has been going on with these people or their predeessors since the Pequot War?
Democrats make good cannon fodder, other than that they are useless in a war..
Since we’re looking at 1968, let’s not forget Tet, Walter Cronkite and CBS.
Had he not been assassinated, Bobby Kennedy would have been the Democratic nominee. Whether Nixon could have beaten him like he did Humphrey, we will never know.
Johnson was weakened after his near-loss in New Hampshire. I’m anxious to read Caro’s final volume on LBJ to see how he treats the history.
Agreed. For those of us who watched history unfold back then, it is chilling to see the Drive-By Media use the exact same template for Iraq and George Bush that they did for VietNam and LBJ.
Fortunately, Bush is made of stronger stuff than was LBJ. Johnson may have been a master politician, but he had no core. He loved Power for its own sake.
Really? Are you aware of our present Rules of Engagement?
It is not an R or D problem, it is a mindset which has existed since the end of WWII, whereby we are so afraid of an expanded conflict (we haven't had any Wars since then) that we fight with one hand tied behind our backs and look for negotiated settlements from the git go.
Before anyone suggest Gulf War I, let me remind all that GHW Bush, chickened out and failed to finish the job and kick Sadam's butt which may or may not have had a positive effect, but we certainly would not be where we are today if he had.
As someone who worked in Intelligence (both producing it and having access to the highest levels thereof) in Vietnam for 18 months, I can attest to the fact that our policies were NOT designed to WIN, only to contain and hopefully, convince the North to cease and desist.
And example is that most POW's/Deserters (Regular North Vietnamese Regulars)I debriefed, considered the bombing of the North VERY effective in disrupting their supply lines as well as being demoralizing. They were especially afraid of B-52's.
After preparing report after report of these findings, I would read that no less than Sec Def (the worst we've had in my lifetime) McNamara making statements claiming that he was not certain of the effectiveness of our bombing of the North.
Just one example but telling.
And don't even get me started about specific bombing targets being approved (OR DENIED) from the oval office; or having our pilots ingress and egress North Vietnam from the exact same routes over and over, affording the North opportunities to place AAA and SAM missiles along these routes causing who knows how many unnecessary planes shot down.
The article is correct that we were scared witless of Russia and to a lesser degree, of China who were providing military aid to North Vietnam.
With a complete naval blockade of the North and a rail/road interdiction from China, that conflict would have over in 6 months or less.
Of course he did.
He was a Democrat.
Lynndon Baines Johnson and Robert Strange McNamara. Two idiots in search of a half victory.
LBJ never wanted to win the VietNam war. And when the Commander in Chief is wobbly, that mindset telegraphs itself throughout the Chain of Command all the way to the bottom.
My father, Democrat he was, once told me that the biggest crook he ever saw in the White House, was NOT Richard Nixon (whom I expected when I asked him the question) but Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Neither did/does the current administration, who're into the "hearts and minds" crap just like before.
So, it's "hearts and minds" ~
Do you live in some binary world where there are only two, either-or options?
Haven’t you noticed, the people who live in Iraq are very argumentative.