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A Tale of Two Quagmires

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers looked back some four decades to his experience as a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s administration. At the time, Johnson made a series of fateful decisions to escalate the war in Vietnam, where eventually over two million American military personnel would serve. Estimates indicate that nearly 60,000 U.S. troops – and more than a million Vietnamese – were killed during the course of the conflict.

With an eye on President Obama’s deliberations on whether to deploy more U.S. troops in addition to the 68,000 already in Afghanistan, Moyers presented a montage of recorded conversations and his personal memories of President Lyndon Johnson’s decisions to escalate the war in Vietnam. He said:

“Our country wonders this weekend what is on President Obama’s mind. He is apparently about to bring months of deliberation to a close and answer General Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan. When he finally announces how many, why, and at what cost, he will most likely have defined his presidency, for the consequences will be far-reaching and unpredictable. As I read and listen and wait with all of you for answers, I have been thinking about the mind of another President – Lyndon B. Johnson. I was 30 years old, a White House assistant, working on politics and domestic policy. I watched and listened as LBJ made his fateful decisions about Vietnam... Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, Afghanistan is not Vietnam and this is now, not then. The situation is different. But listen – and you will hear echoes and refrains that resonate today.”

The nation is divided about America’s mission in Afghanistan. In a new WASHINGTON POST – ABC News poll, 55% of respondents expressed confidence that President Obama will pick a strategy that will work, but 52% said that the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting given the costs versus the benefits.

What do you think?

  • How does the history of the Vietnam War compare to the present situation in Afghanistan?

  • What decisions do you think Obama should make regarding Afghanistan? What do you think he's actually going to do? Explain.

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    The US, the coalition of the willing, has not won a war since WWII. That fact bodes ill for Afghanistan. Until the tendency to war is addressed and washed away by the realization that war as a tool of policy must end if we all are to survive...only that awareness is worth talking about.

    Share and save the world!

    - We didn't lose Vietnam. We quit Vietnam.

    Alexander Haig (1924 - 2010)

    Posted by: C. Ikehara

    Wonder what the infection was that brought down the general...? Have we quit being ahead of biologic killers...?

    - We didn't lose Vietnam. We quit Vietnam.

    Alexander Haig (1924 - 2010)

    What really was on the agenda in the War Room discussions? Surely the centerpiece has to set American Interests against the costs, including casualties and PTSD. But what are these Interests? When average citizens are getting more and more reluctant to support the war that the White House and Pentagon embrace, there must be are several versions of American Interests at play. And not all of them are right. Perhaps "power" and "influence" are more highly valued by some, "money" and "peace" by others. It would be helpful to hear from those who have knowledge of the "insiders".

    DETeodoru wrote, in part, "Instead, we have old ex-Trotskyites training a second generation of NEOCONS by the old Leninist concept acquired from their old master: POLARIZE TO MOBILIZE."

    You must admit that Russia's pre-"communist" wealth paid for a LOT - the settlement of Israel, and 8 years of Bushism...

    Opium for 6 billion "x" $$$ per dose...? Health insurance companies that provide no health insurance but keep raising premiums - bye bye flower children "don't get sick and if you do, die quickly? And the ever present "buy our oil at $140 per barrel or DIE"...

    It's always SO PERSONAL, mano et mano, penny by penny, but the $$$ is always flowing into their pockets as a sign of god's favor for what they DO - theft and murder and "no soup for you" even though you grew the veggies and cooked the soup...

    Stalin was a HOOT, also..."get me the LIST of everyone smarter than me and we will kill them ALL"...

    Before declaring that McChrystal's strategy will proceed untouched, let's consider the alleged report to Obama that the WashPost was kind enough to provide us.
    In it vague hot-button pressing words are strung in sentences built around them-- NO strategy is apparent, just a lot of tactics that might work here or there not but there or here. Obama was out-checkered by our assassin-in-chief SPECIALOPS, what we now call our sharpshooter assassins. It is hard to guess which of his peanut gallery of civilian "military experts" who never heard a gun go off was the wordsmith of which of the sections, but one sees no cogent strategy, only the familiar words of certain plump chickenhawk who insists that we must get used to accepting a lot more casualties on our way to "victory"; a term that is never defined in such a way that you might triangulate and see whether today or tomorrow we are closer or further from it. Our "privatized" Pentagon pays hard dollars for
    experts to de-concretize English so that no general is ever held accountable. Instead we are told-- ever since the Bush retort to the Iraq Study Group’s conclusions-- that YES WE ARE LOSING ***BUT*** WE CAN ***STILL*** WIN, only if we accept the NEW way, surging into it with more mom and dad soldiers… of course, ever ready to accept making for even more widows and orphans on the homefront.

    I am an old man who when I came here as a young man had the same sense of hopelessness about America, then a nation of people drugging themselves with TV ad illusions that all is well, and if not, all will soon be well through spending more. By the way, that has been the mantra I heard repeated ever since Eisenhower warned us on his way out to be weary of the military-industrial complex. But I must say that at UC Berkley in 1960s I developed a unique sense OF HOPE THAT AMERICA IS BACK ON ITS WAY UP when a Communist cabal form NYC led by Betina Aptheker won the FSM student revolution. I am an anti-Communist refugee from the Red Bloc and so it wasn't that they were Communists what raised my hopes but rather that these Communists DIDN’T call for Red Revolution but for MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE and responsible debate instead. Today, I see academia surrendering to the Liliputhean intellect of think-tank Wash DC "expertise"-- the "this is it" people who expound
    but never feel the need to argue their case. Why should they? GONE are the days of the TEACH-INS, when we anti-Communists were always given an equal opportunity to face the New Left in debate at teach-ins, imposing on them the MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE that Betina and her Reds acquired for us. Instead, we have old ex-Trotskyites training a second generation of NEOCONS by the old Leninist concept acquired from their old master: POLARIZE TO MOBILIZE. The Pentagon copied these think-tank-ers, creating seemingly academic institutions, chairs and institutes to feign academic standards. But in fact, it all is only-- AS I EXPERIENCED IN THE OLD RED WORLD-- merely "THIS IS IT" nonsense MONOLOGUE like McChrystal’s report to Obama. Americans suffer from the "ain't my kid going to war" disconnect syndrome so why should the Establishment make its case in anything but empty rhetoric? Afterall, MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE demands that we accept even less illusory certainty and
    might have to take more "enhancers" to feel like men in our old age or more tranquilizers to sleep dead-silent at night. McChrystal is the first to know that a Congress that can be bought by banks, health insurers and weapons manufacturers surely can be bought off by hot-button jingoism: WE ARE LOSING ***BUT*** WE CAN ***STILL*** WIN. Americans like fourth quarter comebacks and the mythmaker of the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman deception to cover-up friendly fire snafus can always come up wit this formula in colorful PowerPoints to impress the sleepy Congressmen with no skin in the game.

    I worked at the VAMC, I noticed that Vets who were in the hot zones, fighting would not talk about it, the ones who talked were the ones who were never in the actual firefights. Many lost their wives or girlfriends to the peace movement. Our soldiers were following orders, but treated terribly upon their return to the country they served. Why has the government cut back on the VAMC's meant to help the Vets?

    The wars that are being fought are for the creation of a Greater Israel. It begin in 1896 when Theodor Herzl published his book "Jewish State". It was Theodor Herzl who founded the Zionist movement. The aim of this movement was to set up a Jewish national home in Palestine.

    When the Senate refused to Authorized World War I, the Special Interests got the Constitution changed. It is interesting to note that the Senators selected and controlled by Special Interests, the Income Tax on the people, the Federal Reserve (FED), and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) were all created in 1913. It appears they were getting ready to start WWI. It took 4 years after the Senators became Representatives of the Special Interests for them to become a majority in the Senate. And guess what, they voted for war.

    What was Supreme Court Justice Brandeis (the Leader of American Zionism) part in encouraging President Wilson to turn a European war into World War I in order to free the land they covet from the Ottomans? Did the Zionists cut a deal with Great Britain with the Balfour Declaration being a condition for the Zionists getting the United States involved in WWI on the side of Great Britain? Were the Zionists responsible for the Black Tom Explosion?

    How many gentiles were killed in this war?

    What are the details of the deals that the Zionists cut with the Nazis to move Jews from Europe to Palestine? Were the deaths in the camps caused by starvation because the Allies destroyed the food supply? What is being covered up and why people in Europe put in prison for disagreeing with the officially mandated truths of WWII? Why does the United States not speak up for free speech and unrestricted Internet access for all Europeans? Isn't this just as important for the Europeans as it is for the Chinese?

    How many gentiles were killed in this war?

    Why does the United States continue to support the Nuclear Armed Israel which was created as a result of a terrorist uprising against the British Mandate of Palestine?

    What have these terrorists who call themselves Israel done for the USA?

    1. Killed a United States Citizen and a trial was denied the parents.
    2. Bombed the USS Liberty and it was covered up (An Act of War against USA).
    3. Have been taking over $3 Billion a year in US Taxpayer money and Military Equipment.

    What have these terrorists done to gentiles in the Middle East with USA supplied Weapons?

    1. Illegally invaded Palestine Land.
    2. Illegally occupying Palestine land.
    3. Treating the Palestine People inhumanly.
    4. Illegally building Houses on Palestine Land (Hillary recently said this is OK).
    5. Continued violations International law.
    6. Continued violations of United Nations resolutions.
    7. Has not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty and has WMDs.
    8. Continues to deny the Palestine People the right of return.
    9. Dropped Cluster Bombs on the Women, Children, and Unborn of Lebanon.
    10. The list goes on.

    How many gentiles have been killed in the Middle East with the support and protection of the United States?

    What would you do if you were a gentile in the Middle East?

    What will the reaction of the hungry and poor gentiles in the United States be when they are hit with runaway inflation?

    Before I begin I must qualify that I am from the AUS(tralia) not the USA. Three things from this podcast struck me as relevant.

    Firstly, the Evil 9/11 attack was not an act of aggression by Afghanistan. To attack one country for the actions of a group is like blaming a Hotel for the actions of a guest.

    Secondly in both situations there was a Demon (Communism now Extreme Islamic). Obama will be blamed for this war instead of those who started it Bush Blair Etc. Where are the vast underground complexes. What about the reportage of people like Hersch? From what I have seen those administrations now departed still remain and actively rail against any of Obama's action. The best action of his administration would be to pursue this more strongly so that in the eyes of history it does not become his legacy.

    Thirdly, what will your country and ours have to sacrifice to continue this. The Blood and Treasure of both the present and the Future?

    Mr. Moyers:

    As I prepare to embed in Afghanistan next week, I would like to offer a couple thoughts to the topic of connecting the American war in Viet Nam and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    First, Viet Nam is a country, not a war. The New York Times evidently condensed the Vietnamese names (Dien Bien Phu, Ha Noi, Sai Gon, Da Nang, Viet Nam, etc.) to save money when reporters filed stories by cable. It would help Americans, especially, to see the correct spelling, which will create a new understanding of a past trauma that our country still deals with. It is my opinion that the national psyche of America suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Denial. Using real names will help bring us into the present and help us make decisions based on critical information, not emotions.

    As Pres. Johnson created the war in Viet Nam based on a lie, similarly Pres. Bush did the same thing in Iraq. Johnson created his “many flags” to fight in Viet Nam (South Korea, Australia, new Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines) so it wouldn’t look like the US was a bully nation. For the same reason, Bush created his “coalition of the willing,” with the admonition, either you are with us, or you are a terrorist. Pres. Obama has a situation whereby he may, like Pres. Johnson, be known for a foreign war instead of his domestic policies. It’s going to be a tough road no matter if the military influences decisions or cooler heads prevail.

    Having served a tour in Viet Nam (1968-1969) as an Air Force sergeant assigned to an Army unit, then an advisory team in the Mekong Delta, and having been in and out of Viet Nam since 1989, I have watched 20 years of dramatic changes in economy and culture.

    One thought for American war veterans: please realize the Vietnamese do not hold American veterans responsible for the damage inflicted during the war. The leaders of our nation alone are held responsible.

    Second, as an American war veteran, I have been treated better in Viet Nam than my own country.

    Many of the soldiers I embedded with in Iraq last year had fathers who were in Viet Nam, but never told their sons or daughters about the war. Now these young soldiers know for themselves the folly of involuntarily extended and multiple deployments (tours of duty). The combined effects of trauma over time create deeper manifestations of PTSD. One result: we see higher rates of suicide, Military Sexual Trauma (American soldiers sexually assaulting American soldiers), and PTSD-related problems, both in soldiers and veterans.

    We need better and honest information about the effect these policies have on our soldiers and others. We like to ignore or forget.

    Thank you for helping this cause.

    Ted E.

    So what's the bottom line...?

    The approval for "war" from Congress in 2001 will be in effect for the whole century...?

    Posted by: kevin

    "do we ever learn?"

    "Some are blind and can see everything, Some have eyes and are totally blind."
    Some go too school to learn to do the work right. Some go to school just to
    get paper - certificate. Some are indoctrinated so bad that they do not know if
    they are coming or going. Some believe a CHANGE is when you move the war
    from IRAQ to Afghanistan. Some speak of "CHANGE" "yes we can" in a
    bigger and deeper whole, as the tragedy of war, the lost of "blood and treasure"

    i really wanted to,"you tube" or blog the transcript of the Vietnam document on myspace and get the full a/effect towrds the likness of historian quagmire process ON-Vietnam/Afgahanistan
    My Vote for the "Change" was towrds pulling out of war..what happened..Obama?
    do we ever learn?
    Médiocrate 30k youngmen
    a decision to be
    UN-decisive will not progress.. Sometime ya just gotta go cut a cancer out to save a bigger part of life.

    Anything other than ending the war, is nothing but adding to the terrible losses. But the decision is not up to the President as most would believe, it is rather up to the Americans who willfully volunteer. If we taught our children better, to never ever war, the war would surely end.


    Well folks;
    it looks like Obushama is not going to get us out of Iraq; he is getting us deeper into Afghanistan with no promise of capturing our arch enemy who made a fool of us, Ben Laden. And the drums of war beat on while Rome burns.

    Well folks;
    it looks like Obushama is not going to get us out of Iraq; he is getting us deeper into Afghanistan with no promise of capturing our arch enemy who made a fool of us, Ben Laden. And the drums of war beat on.

    "What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" Mahatma Gandhi

    The only Way to win a war is to end it.


    It is probably the responsibility of the correspondents on these Talkback pages to choose, or at least nominate candidates, as Bill Moyers' successor in April. I don't see any reason why some of our more humanitarian compadres/comadres should not be considered. Maybe David E., or David H. or Natalie Rosen or such. (or a panel) (Figgers like me are ineligible because of our high=bidding and contrary technique.) Maybe hardworking Maria Hinojosa could be lured across from NOW or Rick Karr reanimated. Even Phil Donohue could fill in until someone is selected. Barbara Ehrenreich should maybe give it a go. Know what? Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis could try hosting the Journal. Robin MacNeil of MacNeil- Lehrer is Canadian. But let me warn you: What this show needs least is a sell-out or another wet noodle like President Obedient. Moyers is leaving because swimming against a rip tide has worn him out. Head for the beach, Valiant One.

    I expect though that PBS is more likely to give us "Blue Knobs" (Lou Dobbs) than an actual person.

    Dear Joe,

    If you can't do it with the number of guys you got there now, why bother to do it at all?

    Otherwise, it's like throwing water into the ocean.

    It's not the Taliban, it's not the whole country, it's just a small group of terrorists.

    Just have those smart commanders ferret the Al Quada out of each one of those cave strongholds in a surgical operation. Period.

    That's the historical precedent for it, when the Mongols ferreted the 400 Assassins out who plotted to kill the Kublai Khan -- using Chinese siege weapons and Chinese fire balls -- that's it, for the record, because the true historical precedent is not the by God "Crusades," it was never the Crusades. The Media is sadly lacking in history.

    And if ya can't say no to the Pentagon -- Bush and Cheney, and LBJ couldn't -- then the People and your base, Mr. Biden, support withdrawal, now, from Afghanistan.

    Please, again, watch this fascinating video by Bill Moyers on the LBJ tapes prior to escalation.

    Speaking for myself, no war is best, and immediate withdrawal, for the real duty is to "the fatherless and the widows in their time of need," and that is the definition of religion, pure and undefiled.

    Sincere thanks,

    I have decided that I won't watch whatever "speech" the President delivers.

    Just like on another thread there is consensus that the "data" is manipulated and corrupt when it comes to everything "scientific"

    from breast cancer treatment

    to household electrical bills

    to tonnage of particulates allowed in the air unfiltered by "grandfathered" industries

    to the humdinger "derivatives" theft of the banksters

    ALL this "intelligence" has corrupted the TRUTH of USA and "war"....hasn't it?

    THE PEOPLE, through their ELECTED representation in the Congress and Senate

    (not appointees like Rice and Runsfeld, for instance)

    DECIDE when to go to war.

    AFTER that decision of the PEOPLE is when the President takes on the role of Commander in Chief.

    Put another way, the Chief does not decide on "war" and then gathers up a plethora of religionists, spin meisters and all sundry other such rejects from the "olympic labor" class

    to "sell" the "war" to the American People.

    Such ignorance of WHO WE ARE can only mean that bloviators on cable TV shows

    ("Fareed" compared USA to a type of celestial nuclear reactor - a "star" - that is "...still burning hte brightest even though it's dead at the core....")

    are NOT either nuclear physicists nor "AMERICANS"...

    So I'm not watching the "sell"....

    Just once again reshuffling my personal "priorities" about the basics of life maintenance now that the emerging "elite" are a bunch of scum bag drug pushers - the "priests" - for the psychotic war lords.

    It's been a while since the AMERICAN PEOPLE did actually declare their own "war", hasn't it? One the MAJORITY might be willing to "sacrifice" for...

    The War Winning Strategy

    The only Way to win a war, is to end it.


    During the '08 campaign candidate Obama referred to Afghanistan as the war of necessity. I think most Americans agreed. That has changed. Why? It's probably due to the fact that the country actually started paying a bit of attention to the conflict. And what did they find? Gosh, it's complicated! What to do? To cut and run is very appealing and it's my first instinct, but the consequences are quite tricky. We had the chance to do this right before Bush took us into Iraq, a bone-headed national move if ever there was one, but that chance has come and gone. Now we have a broad web in which we are entangled. If we just leave we turn our backs on Pakistan, a country that has recently waged combat on some of its own people at our urging. What do we say to them? Oh, thanks for going out on that limb for us. Bye. We turn our backs on the women of Afghanistan if we pull out as well. Sorry, I know we promised you a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's a train and there's nothing we can do about that. You see, it's complicated. This is something that Americans are going to have to engage in now because ignoring it has not worked. It didn't just go away. We need a national dialogue on Afghanistan. And then we need an international one. We're going to need help here and now that the go-it-alone Bushies are gone we can get it. Not just NATO, but the rest of the world needs to get involved because to just watch us flail may be ammusing in a perverse way it won't be funny for long if Pakistan collapses and its nukes end up in the wrong hands. It's not funny that the women of Afghanistan face a dark future that finds them thrown into the past, the distant past. Like the middle ages. This whole thing is our problem, but not just our problem. The only way out that avoids disaster is an international effort. Failure would hurt us, but it would hurt the whole world as well. Obama needs to talk to us Tuesday night, but he needs to talk to the world as well.

    A powerful history lesson from Bill Moyers. The lesson tells us of the importance of awareness and how to ask questions and reach well reasoned conclusions.

    Our national leaders and political and media pundits often speak of the great sacrifice we ask of our men and women under arms and how proud they are to "lead" and "support" them even when asked to give their lives. All the while, life for 98 percent of the rest of us goes on unaffected by the immediate threat of death or serious injury. And no one want to admit that the profound economic effects of war are having domestically or internationally; even though is sound trivial compared to human costs on those directly affected.

    But we never hear them speak or act in a way that would cause great personal/political sacrifice that would cost them a political future. LBJ knew in his heart and Barack Obama knows that there is no military or political “win” to be had. Tragically, Barack Obama (like LBJ), is unwilling to sacrifice his immediate political future regardless of how many Americans have to die in Iraq or Afghanistan as a result if his decisions.

    Barack Obama hailed himself as something different. But now know with genuine clarity what has been clear since his entered office. The tone of the “dialogue” by the political establishment has changed but the reality has not.

    If Barack Obama truly values and wants to honor and support the sacrifices made by our fellow citizens under arms and the absence of a compelling moral case for these wars, he should fall on his political sword to immediately end our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan; thereby preserving the lives of our citizens. Surely he would be called weak, a coward, naïve, or worse, and many other labels. And history may not treat me well either. He should skip the presentation to the country with another well remarked speech on the rationale for war. He should tell it directly to those directly affected.

    But if he truly believes in the correctness of these wars, he should spend the rest of his term attending the funerals of each and every casualty of these wars to explain to the families how necessary this is. When he is not attending funerals, he should be visiting and caring for wounded veterans explaining the same. He can leave the fighting to the Generals whose counsel he has accepted. How little a sacrifice for a Commander-in-Chief compared to what he is asking of them.

    Kevin wrote, in part, "Industrial Hemp could be a winning strategy. If we would supply Afghanistan farmers with industrial grade hemp seeds, we could end the cycle of narcotics and corruption."

    The "mono issue" (passion for ONE materialistic cause) approach to "living" is completely useless, Kevin.

    Especially when coupled with the history of the 20th century and the role opium played in the establishment of totalitarian regimes(AKA "mono cause").

    The "troops" are being sent to SECURE the multi-billion $$$ business of "opium", not replace it with hemp, potatoes, or huckleberries.

    NO ONE is going to be bending their knee in OBEDIENCE to drug lords and war lords anymore - stop smoking the hemp and/or the opium and/or the wha'ever, including booze and get on the bandwagon.

    Fight communism vs oil demands-an interesting comparison like apples & grapefruit. Do you really-smart people have rings in your noses & follow the spin doctors where-ever your are led?

    Congress ignored Health Care for decades & now that is all that is in the media---why the change?

    Congress is broken as evidenced by the traitor-ness way it has "Protected" citizens:
    dismantled usuary laws
    FED, SEC, Treasury, Corporations, Unions, Lawyers were allowed to run wild while Congress had "Over-sight" committies (always thought that meant looking over their sholder, but now realize it meant TO OVERLOOK what they did).

    Allowed clubs or parties to make rules that denied primary participation by legally registered voters (FL & MICH).

    Ya'll can chase all the Red Herrings up stream, but don't be surprised when your paddles don't work due to running out of water.

    Congress is at work alright--COVERING UP!!!

    Vote all out that were there for the erosian of

    Accountability & Responsibility! They are

    Billy Bob Florida

    Talk about a mess! This is just another part of the truly awful Bush administration and its legacy, which historians will turn to when they want to warn mankind about the dangers of arrogance, greed and stupidity. We have been painted into a corner and no matter what we do we will pay dearly. While Bush speaks at 'motivation' rallies and Dick with a captal D rants about the right thing to do, we are left to pick up the pieces of their eight year long party that left the house trashed, the front yard spattered with blood and the neighbors stunned and scared to death. I hear Bush is writing a book. I have a title for him: "How To Screw-up Just About Everything Almost Beyond Repair. My Life In The White House."

    Dear President Moyers,

    I am proposing a constructive solution to the Afghanistan dilemma.
    I hope that this proposal can be of some use.

    A. I have seen footage of American soldiers patrolling poppy fields…Ignoring the poppies.
    B. Karzai's brother and #2 man are deep into poppy politics and corruption.
    C. The Taliban are supposedly funding their resistance through poppy profits.
    D. How do we improve Afghanistan economy and promote stability?

    Industrial Hemp could be a winning strategy. If we would supply Afghanistan farmers with industrial grade hemp seeds, we could end the cycle of narcotics and corruption.
    It would give Afghanistan a virtual monopoly on a "green" product.
    A. Afghanistan would be a worldwide "green" leader.

    B. Hemp is a source material for biodegradable "green plastics"

    C. Fewer trees would be cut down for the paper industry.
    1.Hemp pulp is more productive and far less toxic than wood for paper.
    2.The American Constitution is written on Dutch Hemp paper.

    D.It is a source of "green" oils and lubricants.

    E.Hemp has hundreds of legitimate, beneficial and green uses.

    An Afghani product which reduces corruption,
    gives a legitimate "in demand" product,
    raises the economic profile.
    And solves a really big problem.

    Besides, neither the Christians nor the Moslems like drug production.
    Both sides could agree on that!

    I was thinking about all the flags from all the organizations supposedly governing themselves and attempting to be the only flag left waving someday over the "land of the free and the home of the brave"...

    Yup, sometimes you can't help but be in that place where "...there's nothing left to lose..." and you go for it...that Skull and Bones flag has got to get ripped down.

    Wonder which foreign flag the REAL people in Afghanistan are having a visceral reaction to when they see it?

    Biggest difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan has to be the fact that USA created the "taliban" and now is gearing up to destroy the "taliban"...

    Looks like the "perfection" of endless warfare for profit for the elite few has been can CREATE an enemy, anytime, anyplace.

    Mr Moyers your commentary is very much need and appreciated keep up the good work ! I attached a quote from another President about war.

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron ".

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1954

    WHAT do you THINK?
    The history repeat itself.
    The War will to continue at the expense of more "blood and treasure!"
    The display of status quo, "the power of OLIGARCHY! "

    "I feel very confident that when the American people hear a clear rational
    for what we're doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they
    will be supportive. Obama said."
    "Neither he nor his advisers had detailed an exit plan. I intend to finish the job.
    We are to dismantle and degrade their capabilities and ultimately dismantle
    and destroy their networks."
    "Infusion of 35,000 troops at a coast of $75 billion annually."

    "The CHANGE," the fall of the "EMPIRE."

    At the beginning of the broadcast, Moyers says "Afghanistan is not Vietnam; this is now, not then," etc. At the end, no such space for reality: it's all his preordained analytical construct.

    And yes, an escalation may very well be a mistake on Obama's part. But the fact remains: this is now, that was then; Afghanistan is not Vietnam. Politicians being politicians and war being war, the deliberations take on many similar tones. But the differences in the underlying ground realities are profound, while the similarities, I believe, are mostly on the surface. Beyond that, in 1964, the wisdom gained by the experience of Vietnam was not avalable to johnson, his general and his men. It is available to Obama.

    This is not to argue for escalation today. It is only to say we ought to take things for what they are and not insist they are more like something they are not than they are like what they are.

    It seems to me that Johnson took into account the political considerations much better than he took into account the military considerations. That is, he does not seem to have gone into Viet Nam with a winning military strategy.

    When we studied the decisionmaking for the Vietnam War, one of the dominant criticisms was that "keeping our options open" was a persistant "decider" in nearly every decision. Therefore every commitment of resources was delayed and piecemeal. What we now descibe as "incrementalism" played into the strategies of the NVA and Giap. (Maybe Mr. Moyers could comment on this if he saw this behavior.) Our neglect over the last 8 years in Afghanistan is giving a similar, irrevocable result.

    Here I am being optimistic again. Today on the news I heard that Obama wants to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. At first I thought this would allow the war to escalate, but then I thought what if Obama is shuffling our troops out of Iraq. Afghanistan was the entry point for this bs war, so maybe it will be the exit point as well. Could this be Obama’s exit strategy? Just a thought (ouch).

    It appears we have been "sucker punched" again...
    If we get out of Iraq and consolidate our position in Afghanistan long enough to put Al Qaeda out of business it might make sense but to continue the present coarse of action in Iraq and send more troops into Afghanistan will be political and moral suicide.

    How does the history of the Vietnam War compare to the present situation in Afghanistan?

    I'd say the comparison lies in that at least Obama is not contemptuous of history the way his predecessor was. Obama, by taking his time and having multiple meetings with his staff and that of the military, is certainly showing his awareness of the repercussions in escalating the United States military involvement in Afghanistan. He is aware that if American troops are STILL in Afghanistan by the time he is up for re-election, it could easily cost him his second term in office. Obama also wants an end-game. He does not want an indefinite stay in that country. What's unfortunate, and how this does compare to Vietnam is that Obama, even after all of these meetings is still GOING to escalate the United States military presence by sending more US troops. It's astounding why he would arrive at this conclusion when there is not one compelling reason for why U.S. troops should stay in a country so corrupt. The war on terror will not be won in Afghanistan. The war on terror is an endless war created by those who wish to instill fear and to create a war-time society and civilization.

    # What decisions do you think Obama should make regarding Afghanistan? What do you think he's actually going to do?

    He's going to continue the war in Afghanistan by agreeing to the military's request for more troops. However, I have to believe that Obama is not so stupid as to not require an end date for our military involvement. As I previously stated, if troops are still in Afghanistan by the end of Obama's first term, he won't win a 2nd. I certainly would have no reason to vote for Obama if he continues the folly of his predecessors.

    Dear Bill...not since your revalations on the Iran-Contra affair have I been so captivated by your outstanding journalism. Thank you for this which I would pray that our President would also see. Ellis Katz, Encino, CA

    Absolutely too much INIQUITY has been commited since the ACTS that started off this orgy of insanity that began with the JFK murder, followed by RFK, MLK, JPII, John Jr., Diana, and so many more we don't even know about because the StalinBush LIST is not available, yet...protected by ISRAELI "INTELLIGENCE"...

    and now quotes from the bible on billboards praying for God to kill "leaders"...

    I think we're done with the self-proclaimed "leaders" of "values", aren't we?

    So let's get back to the $$$ which is the TRUE reason for all this HELL ON EARTH...



    If the corporate mercenaries want to keep increasing their global industries of piracy, slavery, heroin, human organs, and weapons - GUESS WHAT?

    You're going to have to do it with the booty you already stole...WE'RE STOPPING THE TAXPAYER MONEY PAYOUTS. F-ck you.


    There are no more egg-laying chickens left under grandma's babuschka to feed your ork-army.

    Get it? THIS is a declaration of "war"...and I am raising a freekin' ARMY at this point - NOT YOU NEOCONS with your STUPID head-shamaness pulled out of some UNKNOWN bag of tricks...

    ...might not be a "velvet" revolution against the HOME GROWN SKULL AND BONES and IMPORTED psychotic and sociopathic "leaders"...but it certainly won't be all that hard to WIN the psycho logical war against YOUR INSANITY, either.

    TARP this...

    And for the USELESS flapping lips DEMANDING MORE "sacrifice"

    Sacrifice this....

    Use your imaginations for what obscene visual a recovering and healed-by-navel-gazing-and-praying (sarcasm) taser-ed tribble is sending you on this sacred kingdom of your invention - VIRTUAL reality...

    It's WAR.

    War has become habit. We are a stunningly violent people.

    Our government is at the same stage as an adolescent boy, determined to show the world just how tough he can be, until he's knocked flat on his butt.

    Good Morning Buster,
    I hadn’t anticipated writing you again so soon, Mr. President. I thought it would be only respectful to not add more bother to your heavy burdens for at least one year….to let you settle into the office in the relative calm of all the barking dogs and cocks crowing surrounding the most powerful position in the world (I don’t give a damn what they say about Hu Jintao of China). And frankly, Mr. President, I have slept pretty well knowing that you have been working on our (the ordinary citizens) behalf.
    This wee hour waking is an exception, however, and I find myself agitated and disappointed in myself that I’m not out participating in some radical action to help bring attention and an end to the wrong headed war in Afghanistan. You’ve got so much on your plate and, I’m sure, very little appetite for much of it….but the war in Afghanistan is a no brainer to get rid of, Buster,….what are you waiting for? There is no way to “win” with troops since the “battle field” of terrorism is not a fixed place in Afghanistan (for example 9/11-men from Saudi Arabia, flight trained in US and coordinated from Germany). Terrorists should be treated as international criminals and apprehended, convicted and contained by international law wherever they are found….yes, we have a big role to play but not troops on the ground. Afghanistan is rife with political and cultural challenges; it will likely be that way in 3010. That’s it, plain and simple, no need to smooth and slick it all down for your political adversaries or even those looking out for your “best (political) interest”; the soldiers in the field will understand and be grateful and so will their families. Aren’t you, Mr. President just about sick of going to funerals already? And ordinary folks, not the ones lining their pockets with profits from the military industrial complex, will appreciate not spending the estimated $65 billion on the war in Afghanistan next year.
    I want to believe, Mr President, that you are perhaps just suffering from temporary exhaustion and consequently letting too many advisors push your heart around. But wake up and get the hell out of bed, Buster, tell me and all the other people that believe in your goodness and your intelligence that you are not weighing the considerations of your political future on the backs of the Afghanis who will continue to die by the thousands defending this foreign invasion. Your not in the huddle in a game of hoops anymore…’re the coach, damn it! Take charge, Mr President, and be our hero….the one who isn’t confused and blinded by all the trash talk about “soft on terrorism” and “will to win”.
    I want you, Mr. President, to listen to the words of Bill Moyers in his recent essay on Afghanistan-- and his video documentary on the decisions involving our escalation of the Viet Nam war-- “LBJ’s Path to War” parts I and II
    And after your finished, do your homework and craft a speech and a policy that will become a pivotal moment in US foreign policy in which we say no to war and yes to humanity at its best. I’m sorry your mother’s not here, but she’s not, and I’m here to kick your ass on this one, Buster.

    One of the many citizens believing in you,
    Scott Stoll

    We did not lose the Vietnam War. We lost 58,000 troops. North Vietnam lost 1.2 million.
    We kicked their butts.
    Posted by: John F

    I thought body counts are no longer "politically correct"...
    Was it worth all of those human lives to be able to say we "kicked their Butts" and that is all we accomplished?
    How sociopathic can we get?
    What a waste of human life and our nations resources.

    I respect LBJ for the method and concern for all of the involved in the Vietnam crisis. When he went realized that he did not do the best for the USA or Vietnam, he went out with dignity when he decicded not to run again! Obama should look at this carefully and put his selfishness on the shelf.

    The Vietnam and Afghanistan wars are only single chapters in the subversion of America. The National Security Act of 1947 allowed for the creation of a rogue agency, the CIA, and this was probably the first chapter towards how we got to where we are today.

    Mr. Moyers created a documentary back in 1987 called “The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis” and it is by far my favorite for two reasons: it explains the Iran-Contra scandal; and more importantly, it show how this scandal fits into the big picture. If you can spare 90 minute, I suggest you watch it. It will give you a better understanding of today’s situation(s).

    "...and where it will take us if we the people let it?"

    Is it no surprise that Ollie North would later work for FauxNews? Whatta piece of...

    And I wonder who [still] controls "The Enterprise" today.

    Thank you for your lifetime of service to our country and our culture.

    By Alyce Vrba
    WE as Americans are proud, resilient, creative, hard-working and sometimes hard-headed and slow to learn lessons from the past...but WE are not the globe's police force, WE are not the globe's bank-roller, WE are not the globe's patsy.
    WE as Americans individually and collectively must focus on rebuilding our AMERICA for our 21st Century...
    1) Restructuring and streamlining our healthcare system;
    2) Restructuring our financial system; controlling powerful interests; instituting accountability, disclosure, and meaningful consequences for white-collar crime perpetrators and their fellow street perpetrators;
    3) Rebuilding our infrastructure, including transit lines and systems that cost-effectively, safely, and in a renewable energy, green framework transport our goods and our PEOPLE; implementing state-of-the-art cost-effective grid systems and communication systems;
    4) Rebuilding, protecting, and conserving our environment - our land, our water, our air;
    5) Implementing safe, affordable housing and housing our homeless - as many of our homeless appear to be U.S. citizens, our veterans;
    6) Implementing small business administration loans, programs, and contract awards that focus on loaning to, hiring American citizens, that produce products and services utilized in our Regions;
    7) Demanding full accountability, disclosure, and timely, cost-effective performance and competency at all levels of our government: Federal, State, Local: County, City, including weeding out dysfunctional agencies, programs, and mindsets;
    8) Instituting programs at our school systems that instruct our students by age 10 to understand the basic elements of a written or oral contract or obligation; to understand a budget; to understand basic accounting; to understand and use checking, savings, and investment accounts...and to continually move toward, to excel in science, math, organizational, management, and critical thinking and decision-making skill sets.
    WE as AMERICANS can achieve; Can go beyond situational socioeconomic insecurities; Can move into implementing, thriving, and living with sustainable values that constructively move us forward versus settling for situational values. WE are AmeriCAN.
    A.VRBA, Copyright 2009, All rights reserved.
    See PBS, CHARLIE ROSE,,11-20-09,discussion with Thomas L. Friedman, Stephen P. Cohen, Eugene Rogan
    See PBS, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, "A Tale of Two Quagmires",
    See New York Times, "Life Lessons, Home Fires", By Roman Skaskiw, http://opinionator.blogs/
    See PBS, NOW, "Who's Helping Our Wounded", 11-19-09,
    See PBS, NOW, "Will GoldmanSachs Apology Lead to Forgiveness?", 11-11-09, Elizabeth Warren,
    See CBS, 60 MINUTES, 11-22-09, "The Cost of Dying",
    See New York Times, "The Phantom Menace", 11-22-09, By Paul Krugman,
    A.VRBA, 2009

    The book's data and sources come from American and Vietnamese well after the conflict to erase emotions and patriotism.

    My guess is that once you read this book, those that served will be filled with more pride and those that did not serve will be in awe of those that did.

    Posted by: John F

    What a wonderful life you must lead, John F.

    Everything fits neatly into your "theory".

    Hey REY, here's a video with McNamara's confession.

    "Naw, it was just confussion and events afterwards showed that our judgement that we'd been attached that day was wrong. It didn't happen."

    You should know - All “facts” (not opinions) point to us winning the Vietnam War.
    We did not lose the Vietnam War. We lost 58,000 troops. North Vietnam lost 1.2 million.

    We kicked their butts.

    The more you tell a lie the more it becomes the truth. We have been beating ourselves up with guilt for over 30 years based upon deception, lies and myths.

    The North Vietnamese signed the peace treaty January 27, 1973. The last American troops left South Vietnam March 29, 1973. Two years later North Vietnam violated the peace treaty, invaded and defeated South Vietnam in 1975. This had nothing to do with us. The USA was long gone by then.

    Our mistake was that we left South Vietnam after we overwhelmingly defeated North Vietnam. We stayed in Germany, Japan and South Korea and the world has benefited for decades. We left South Vietnam and look what happened.

    When any soldier from any war describes their experience, they are telling you their own little view of the war that happens directly to them. They do not see the big picture. All combat veterans will tell stories of horror, mistakes and Snafu’s from any nation’s army. This includes my grandfather-WW I, father-WW II and my uncle-Vietnam.

    The Democratic and Republican administrations along with Congress during those years prevented the US military to fight the war as it should have. We could have won the war in 2-3 years. They were afraid if we were too aggressive that China would send troops against us, like in Korea.

    The North Vietnamese army (NVA) was equally trained as well as the US army. They also were just as well equipped- supplied from China and Russia. They actually had better field artillery equipment (Russian). We had the advantage in air power.

    Records reveal the so-called “Viet Cong” actually were 80% NVA, not the poor farmer that was depicted in the news media.

    It was later shown that North Vietnam’s army had a tremendous desertion problem and young men doing all possible not to be drafted. The North Vietnamese had a saying, “Born in the North to die in the South”. There was increasingly great unrest among the civilians regarding the war.

    But as in most dictatorships, they had no freedom of speech or press.

    North Vietnam knew they could not defeat the US. They developed one of the world’s largest propaganda organizations (Dich Van) to defeat us psychologically. They successfully divided us by pitting the US population against our own politicians and the soldiers fighting the war. The news media fell for all their lies (disinformation). It was so bad that the media would automatically believe the enemy’s statements and not our own-without even researching facts or sources. Our soldiers were treated horribly and with great disrespect from the news media and some American citizens.

    Our men in uniform were severely restrained, militarily and politically. But they still accomplished all military objectives and forced North Vietnam to sign the peace agreement and admit defeat.

    In general; as a nation, as a people, and as veterans we have nothing to be ashamed of regarding our participation of the Vietnam War.

    Read "Unheralded Victory" by Mark W. Woodruff to learn what really happened in Vietnam. This eye opening book was written in 1999. The book's data and sources come from American and Vietnamese well after the conflict to erase emotions and patriotism.

    My guess is that once you read this book, those that served will be filled with more pride and those that did not serve will be in awe of those that did.

    Bill, I just heard the announcement of your retirement. I figured that it was coming sooner than later but I shall miss your way of investigating the darker places and events and how much you bring to us the audience.

    I hope pbs will find someone who has similar analytical way of approaching very important subjects.

    I shall enjoy the next few months.

    Thank you so much for all the years you have dedicated to your work.

    Shawna Lampi

    I'm saddened by your retirement as we need you more than ever. Frankly, there's no one I'm aware of to replace you. You've helped me to forgive Lyndon Johnson, in retrospect the most progressive president in modern times. Vietnam ruined my faith.

    Vic Hill

    Mr. Moyer,

    Your reporting has done more to save what little is left of democracy in America than all the presidents, all the senators and all the congressmen put together.

    You cannot be replaced, and the nation will be less without you.

    I wish you the best in your retirement.

    Only when we are ready, ourselves, to abandon the right to make war, so that we can have an international police force for police actions, might our conditions improve.

    Posted by: Rex Styzens

    This is the kind of "fantastic" thinking that gets us nowhere...

    We (ALL countries with "natural resources") already HAVE an "international police force" - global corporate contractor MERCENARIES.

    Discussion is SELECTIVE ELIMINATION of the best human stock.

    Empty out the prisons to be bullet catchers for the mercenaries...

    We already ARE in the "dark ages" because the "drunken sailors" blew it all on stuff that DESTROYS - destroys property, lives, health, NATIONAL name proof?...which so few posters provide...?

    "DEBT" has been redefined to mean ANY human need for life maintenance and the LABOR that goes into it...that "charity" and "volunteer" bs didn't take...guess the "american people" aren't THAT stupid after all in some ways...

    And the social engineers are still flapping their useless lips and blaming the "american people" for buying too much at WalMart.

    Yeah - THAT's the 600 trillion in derivatives...

    Watching the Tale of Two Quagmires was painful on so many levels. As always, Mr. Moyers is right on target with what we need to know. I was, however, disappointed in Mr. Silverman's comment that we had to lose the the Vietnam war to win our ultimate strategic objectives. That comment merely reflects the ideas of those who support the notion of real "winning" versus "losing." WE LOST our young men and women first and foremost. And, WE LOST the social reforms that could have been actualized by the likes of Lyndon Johnson had he not inherited Vietnam and had he not had the politics of re-election to worry about. WE LOST the objectives for Americans and what we want our country to be...and we're engaged in yet another Asian war! I pray Mr. Obama watches this "Quagmire" and re-focuses on what we Americans need now.

    As a Foreign Service veteran of the Vietnam quagmire, I was deeply offended by your treatment of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The contrived battle repesented the first time a U.S. President has lied his way into a war.

    The overview was that the American advisory effort in South Vietnam was failing, and President Johnson was being challenged by a bellicose Goldwater. He instructed the Pentagon to come up with bombing targets in North Vietnam. He instructed the C.I.A. to organize South Vietnamese naval attacks near Haiphong. He then ordered the Navy to put ships off that shore, within what North Vietnam claimed as its territorial waters.

    On August 2, 1964, the North Vietnamese did counter with torpedo boats, but no American soldier was hurt. There was apparently a paint chip on the U.S. destroyer. Two days later, the Navy repeated the exercise with two destroyers but there was no North Vietnamese response. However, late that same night, Johnson went on nation-wide television to describe the "attack." The next day, he went to Congress with a resolution equivalent to an open-ended declaration of war. It got all but two votes in Congess.

    Johnson as a wartime President went on to win the election in a landslide, 58,000 American lost their lives, and the reputation of the United States was permanently tarnished.

    You, Bill Moyers, of all people should know these facts. The conclusion of your broadcast, however, warning of the complexities of Afghanistan, begins to make up for your misleading broadcast about Johnson.


    Get them to stop the so-called war, let Kazai deal with the problem. It is up to the Afgans to decide whose side they must fight for. We need to take care of our own country when it is going to the dogs.

    There is no other way.

    Much appreciated the program and the Journal, but disagree with the closing statement that we will never know what would have happened if President Johnson had not increased troop levels because we do effectively know what would have happened -- we would have the situation in East and Southeast Asia that exists there now. I have argued elsewhere in "Winning by Losing in Vietnam" that our military withdrawal from Vietnam was a necessary precondition for ultimately achieving most of America's strategic objectives in that region. In short, we had to lose the war in order to win it.

    quanticosentry NORFOLK — The Marine Corps announced last month that former U.S. Coast Guardsman John Flores will receive the civilian Meritorious Service Award ...--
    Thursday, August 20, 2009
    Coast Guard vet, author to receive Marine award
    Civilian Meritorious Service Award

    NORFOLK — The Marine Corps announced last month that former U.S. Coast Guardsman John Flores will receive the civilian Meritorious Service Award for his years of research and writing about the life of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Freddy Gonzalez.
    He has also written extensively about the USS Gonzalez, a guided missile destroyer attached to the Navy Base in Norfolk.
    During Viet Nam’s Tet Offensive Sgt. Gonzalez took over as platoon commander before his companyentered Hue City, and quickly found themselves surrounded by enemy forces trying to stop the Marines from entering the city, on Jan. 31, 1968.
    Over the course of the next three days he was wounded several times while saving fellow Marines and launching brave, deadly, solitaryattacks on enemy positions.
    On the morning of Feb. 4, 1968, at the St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, he fired a dozen rockets at North Vietnamese Army positions, saving the pinned-down platoon, giving his life for his men. He was the only man awarded the Medal of Honor for the month-long battle of Hue City — the most violent, intense fighting of the entire 10-year war.
    Flores’s book, entitled ‘‘When The River Dreams: The Life of Marine Sgt. Freddy Gonzalez,” took 10 years ofresearch. Flores served four years in the U.S. Coast Guard in the 1980s asa search-and-rescue crewman inNew Orleans.
    Last month, Ruchar Webb, of the Marine Corps Headquarters Medals Incentives Board, contacted Flores by phone at his home in Albuquerque, N.M., he said.
    ‘‘My wife finally admitted that she contacted the Navy Department in a letter about my work,” Flores said. ‘‘And the Navy Department sent her a letter last June stating they would pass her request on to the Marines.”
    Flores’s wife, Rowena, received a reply to her request for “some type of recognition“ for her husband's work, on June 5, from Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Patricia C. Adams.
    ‘‘... your husband’s achievements are commendable and merit consideration for a (Navy Department) orMarine Corps honorary award,” Adams wrote. ‘‘We have forwarded your letter and its contents to the staff at Headquarters (Marine) for review and consideration ... (the Awards Board) will make the appropriatere commendation for the award level and approval authority.”
    Webb told Flores he would bereceiving the Award for his work, but did not state a date for receiving it.
    ‘‘It does not matter when or how it's received,” Flores said. ‘‘What an honor this is to me. I spent some time on board the warship USS Gonzalez with the first crew at sea when the ship was en route from Norfolk to commissioning near Corpus Christi, Texas. That was 13 years ago this fall. The Navy flew me by helicopter from NAS Key West to the underway ship that was about 30 miles offshore. That gotme started on the book about Sgt. Gonzalez, published finally in October 2006, exactly 10 years after my tripon board.”
    [Serving in the Coast Guard] ‘‘was sometimes pretty tough duty,” Flores said. ‘‘All I got in the end was an honorable discharge, a Good Conduct Medal and a kick in the butt from my old chief. And now the Marine Corps gives me this.
    ‘‘A Marine Corps buddy of mine at the time, Wendel Hall, used to make fun of me for being a ‘shallow water sailor.’ Wait till I show him the medal... He won’t believe it.”

    The mother of the USS Gonzalez
    By Micheal Mink
    As she made her way across Pier 2, the 80-year-old woman stood out from the crowd gathered for the ship’s change of command ceremony. Greeted like family by the ship’s Captain, it clear that this is no ordinary woman, and to her it is no ordinary ship – it is her ship.

    The USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named after Marine Sgt. Alfredo “Freddy” Gonzalez, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War. The woman is Dolia Gonzalez, mother of the ship’s namesake. It has been said that she makes the trek from her home in Edinburg, Texas, every time the ship leaves and returns from deployment, and for many of the major ceremonies.

    Dolia Gonzalez may not know any of these Sailors personally; but she considers each of them as her own. Since the ship’s commissioning, the crew has made it their mission to treat Dolia as the ship’s mother - writing letters and calling her during deployments and inviting her to special events like today’s change of command ceremony.

    “It means life in my blood; it’s for my boy. This is my life. My son is here with me,” said Dolia.

    During Cmdr. Brian Fort’s last duty as the ship’s commanding officer he made it a point to thank Dolia for all that she’s done for his crew, by presenting her with a painting by retired Marine Col. Charles Waterhouse.

    “She makes our life on board here extremely enjoyable. Knowing she means all this to my Sailors,” said Fort.

    As the ship’s new captain steps in, Cmdr. Lynn Acheson said she’s excited about fostering the relationship with Dolia, and getting to know the mother who has been such an integral part of the ship’s history. Acheson said, “Dolia is a model of the honor and sacrifice heroes like Sgt. Freddie Gonzalez have made.”

    “She’s got a special relationship with the crew. I hope to continue with my own personal relationship with her, I have a lot of respect for that lady,” Acheson said.

    Gonzalez was born in Edinburg, in 1946 and raised primarily by his mother. He was an All-District football player at Edinburg High School in spite of his weight of 135 pounds.

    Following high school graduation, Gonzalez enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in San Antonio June 3, 1965, and then enlisted in the regular Marine Corps July 6, 1965. He went on to serve in Vietnam at his own request in response to an ambush that took the lives of some of his friends.

    He first was assigned to the Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, as a rifleman. On Jan. 1, 1966, Gonzalez was promoted to private first class and transferred to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam as a squad leader.

    In October that year he was promoted to lance corporal, and the following December was promoted to corporal. Gonzalez completed his tour of duty in Vietnam and returned to the United States in February 1967. He was stationed with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He became a Marine instructor at Camp Lejeune to prepare Marines for the guerilla warfare.

    Though he had not intended to return to war, after learning of an ambush which wiped out an entire platoon, including men who had served under him during his tour of duty, he requested a transfer and another tour in Vietnam.

    He spent May and July of 1967 in a staging battalion at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, during which he was promoted to Sergeant. Gonzalez was then assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein) in Vietnam.

    In January 1968, Gonzalez’ unit was involved in the initial phase of Operation Hue City and deployed by truck convoy to reinforce other units fighting in the city. The convoy was attacked near the village of Lang Van Lrong and drew heavy enemy fire.

    Gonzalez immediately positioned his men and directed their fire until the area was free of enemy snipers. The convoy moved on and was attacked again after crossing a river south of Hue. A Marine standing on a tank was wounded and fell to the ground in a position exposed to enemy fire.

    Gonzalez ran to him, picked him up and carried him to a protected area. During the rescue, Gonzalez was wounded by fragments of exploding grenades. As the convoy was pinned down by an enemy machine gun bunker up the road, Gonzalez led his platoon to the bunker and destroyed it with hand grenades.

    The convoy eventually reached Hue, where Gonzalez and his unit fought against heavy enemy resistance. He was seriously wounded on Feb. 3, but refused medical treatment in order to stay with his men. The following day, his unit was pinned down by a large enemy force and suffered heavy casualties.

    Gonzalez used several antitank weapons against heavily fortified enemy positions while exposed to enemy fire. He held back the enemy advance and destroyed an enemy rocket position before he was mortally wounded. Gonzalez was hit by the last rocket fired by the enemy, and died in the Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church, where he had taken cover.

    For his actions, while being wounded several times between January 31 and February 4, 1968, Gonzalez was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    His Medal of Honor was presented to his mother on October 31, 1969, by then Vice President Spiro T. Agnew at the White House.

    In 1996, the USS Alfredo Gonzalez, a guided missile destroyer, was commissioned in Corpus Christi.

    There is a permanent display of his uniform and medals at the Hidalgo County Historical Museum.

    Alfredo Gonzalez Hall, Instructor Training Battalion Headquarters Building, The Basic School, Quantico, Va. was dedicated July 13, 2007. Gonzalez was chosen to have the building named after him by the Marines of Instructor Battalion.

    Mother Teresa once said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

    Dolia’s son gave his life. Though she lost him, his memory and her love is kept alive through her connection with the USS Gonzalez. They’ll undoubtedly be saving her seat at the next ceremony, and she’ll make the trip because a mother’s job never ends, and the de facto matriarch of the USS Gonzalez wouldn’t disappoint her children.


    Once upon a time there was a great nation that won two world wars. The nation was ruled by a great leader who the people loved. His family Loved their country and worked tirelessly to bring about a land of hope and achievement...
    Just like every other nation there were those who had no respect for human life or the rule of law. People in high places with a lust for power and no scruples wanted to start a war to assure plenty of wealth for their evil friends. They set up the benevolent leader to be killed so they could take over the country. Not only did they kill the leader; they also killed his brother who they thought might be a threat to their plans. The people knew what was happening but could not find a way to change the course of history. Their concerns were white washed with lies and deception.
    The new leader took advantage of people's grief and fears. He esculated the war at every opportunity while claiming to be pressed into action. There was no attempt to end the war and it went on a very long time. His fatal tactical error was pulling his dogs ears and lost an election but his legacy lives on.
    Are we going to travel this same path until we have destroyed our credibility and turned our nation into a state of chaos and poverty?
    And the beat goes on and on ... and on...
    Is it the heart beat of our nation or the war drums of destruction?

    As a foreigner, the first thing in this program bothers me is that no one cared enough in the admistration to ask in 1964 that why no goverment could stand in south Vietnem, why there was such high derseted rate in the army. All they care about is their own political career, or US interests in that area.
    I think such self-rightous and self-centered attitude cost the whole contry a lot in the end. But as always, other people pay the price.
    I am afraid this time, same thing will happen again.

    I doubt the review of the LBJ telephone tapes had the intended effect. What they show is how very different the situation in Afghanistan is from our predicament in Vietnam.

    No dominoes now. Just Pakistan with its nukes. No supplies from Russia and China to the Taliban. Admittedly, they get all they need from those Afghani they intimidate.

    Yes, we are again in the middle of a civil war. We have no guarantee that should we strengthen the elected regime in Afghanistan, our opposition will not just find somewhere else from which to launch terrorism.

    Only when we are ready, ourselves, to abandon the right to make war, so that we can have an international police force for police actions, might our conditions improve.

    These recordings reminded me of something.

    At the LBJ Presidential Library website, you can replay more phone conversations.

    Some are particularly interesting because, he talks about his knowledge of Nixon operatives sabotaging the Paris Peace Talks, which he believed otherwise would have had a real chance, and how he thought of the sabotage as "Treason".

    Thanks. 40+ years after being at LBJ's side through his private hell, here you are again...

    The Domino Theory survives, though in disguise...and we continue to think that traditional armed conflict is the appropriate response. The seeds of fundamentalist religious violence are planted deeply indeed--and as in all 'organic' conflict, will continue to sprout long after military forces depart.

    Either we depart the scene entirely, add troops and reconcile ourselves to another open-ended Korean-style 'police action', or alter our tactics in opposing what is not, in its essence, resolvable by invasive means. This has even given rise to a descriptive term, "asymmetric conflict," and is a deep and permanent change in the way human conflict is pursued.

    Lyndon Johnson's deep error was making alliance with an incompetent government that could not summon the allegiance of its own people--and then largely taking over conduct of the war.

    The long-fractured Afghan environment (where the concept of the nation-state is merely an artifice of western thinking) doesn't offer prospects for a cohesive and reliable partner.

    Other strategies must be developed (and these are of importance for all the civilized world, not just the U.S.) to neutralize terrorists. Neither conquest of territory nor culturally/ethnically/religiously foreign intrusion can be the models for this struggle, and "AfPakistan" is the theater in which these truths are clearly emerging.

    We are so indebted to you for the many, many programs you have done on so many, many subjects that words can hardly express my feelings upon the news that you will soon retire. You have earned it and I wish you the best, but there is absolutely no other television like yours anywhere--and I've watched a lot in recent years. You can't be replaced. Thanks so much for what you have meant for our country.

    Bill, I understand your desire to end the Journal and enjoy some free time.

    But I am going to miss this so much.

    As a journalist, I hope to continue learning from your example to be honest, curious, strong, engaged, and compassionate.

    Thanks for being a hero.

    Great program - especially since it makes it clear that JFK and RFK got us into Viet Nam and then Johnson inherited the mess. Just like President Obama.

    RFK was obsessed with communism - ie: his significant involvement with the MCarthy hearings.

    I found the presentation too sympathetic too Lyndon Johnson. He was a war criminal, as was his successor, Nixon. LBJ was in my view more culpable than Nixon. LBJ deserved his ignominious fate just as Obama will deserve his.

    Bill, Thanks for compiling a straight forward history of the tribulations of a 'leader' President Johnson, and the issues concerning war, any war, as it becomes a potential for reality.

    'Global terrorism' does not require a home base, it arises from poverty, lack of education, huge divisions between the wealthy and the poor, scarce resources, and overpopulation relative to the carrying capacity of the society. Terrorism and ethnic cleansing are symptoms of a problem NOT the problem.

    Our billions of dollars spent in military interventions, and more importantly investment of lives would be better spent addressing the problems.

    If we place blame on selfishness, and greed for those holding or desiring power, we had better look first at home at the extent of selfishness and greed, and where it has taken us, and where it will TAKE us. Let's confront our lives and problems here. Let's be a model and not try to impose a model on others. We appear self righteous.

    Let's reflect on and learn from the OUR lessons of the past, most recently Viet Nam, and presently Iraq! Let alone all of the wars of all peoples ion the past. Wars are never won by those who initiate them; they just lead to deep holes out of which one can never fully crawl. The dead certainly are left filling those holes and never experience any kind of life beyond that. We initiated the war in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and maybe eventually in Pakistan as well. Initiators are losers.

    Cut our losses and extricate us as soon as possible. We are between a rock-and-a-hard spot. 'Saving face' is no reason to continue to pursue this. In retrospect President Johnson confronted this issue and unfortunately I think, 'politically tried to save face/and his position' through continuing to pursue his war.

    Love to hear responses.

    Dear Bill,
    Peace be with you!

    I have enjoyed your programs and reporting for many years and celebrate your presence in the world. I didn't catch all of our program on the Johnson Presidency and the Viet Nam War but do agree with the comparisons and parallels that you outlined in the end of the program. My brother fought in the Viet Nam War, was wounded several times, won several Purple Hearts, and died unclear as to what he and others had fought for.

    Doesn't is seem that the number of social, political, and environmental fires that need to be put out are increasing? And that they are being increasingly difficult to extinguish. In my humble opinion this trend will continue until we realize that humanity has reached a point in our development where we are in need of a Prime Directive to plot our future course and to prescribe our current and future choices.

    Every species of life has a Prime Directive built into its genetic code. Most forms of life follow their Prime Directive instinctively and without significant variation or deviance. The human animal is different. Humans have, in our minds, elevated ourselves above our fundamental nature, have imagined ourselves separate from the ecosystem of which we are a part and upon which we are mutually dependent, and we have forgotten the process, the importance, and the benefits of Creating Peaceful Space. Without a Prime Directive chaos is inevitable.

    The Prime Directive is the foundational principle or mandate for our journey in the world. Without an umbrella directive that embraces all humankind our cultural traditions, religious ideologies, political philosophies, and racial and ethnic divisions will continue to breed conflict. Creating Peaceful Space is a natural progression of the Prime Directive.



    It could take generations for universal acceptance but it seems clear to me that unless we begin to move in that direction we face what for many is the unthinkable.

    Not even bringing up the REALITY of how long "communism" kept going on the Czar's 15 billion seems to be enough for the pseudo-intellectuals to give up on the HOPE of manipulating a come-back of the DRAFT, is it?

    ...Let's enlarge the "wealth comparison" - 15 billion back in the early 20th century was a kind of "wealth" that is actually UN-REPRODUCIBLE because of a 7 billion total world population math factor - Gates's laptop-button-controlled-from-the-jet garage door opener is pathetic in comparison to the architecture of St. Petersburg...

    Back to the POINT -

    USA "capitalism" ran out a lot faster for the 1% moveable-feast global "elite" who stole Russian "gold"...

    ...feeding the children of "enemies" from the myriad of anti-wha'ever "lists" that psychotics and sociopaths concocted via homeland insecurity

    into a DRAFT...?!

    well that just means that the "real estate" sucked up via 600 trillian in derivatives already has non-"american" tenants packing up to move into it, right...?

    I believe that TALKING about bringing back the draft already is producing "unintended consequences"

    ...the existentially-POTENTIAL DRAFTEES aren't "soldiers" yet who MUST follow "orders" without question...

    That's the new world order, people. IF a "war" can't be won with well-paid, corporate-contracted mercenary armies, then don't start the "war".

    Like, duh.

    I am at the max range of my control over my own weakness - hatred of the ACTS of iniquity...

    As the friend who dropped in noted, "Uh oh, I know that look..."

    And I quipped back, "...Yup, "feeling" like a star-trek tribble who's been taser-ed..."


    In my "culture", we do get very specific about WHY we eventually CHOOSE

    as free-will individuals

    to go to "war" and why.

    In fairness, you all need to know it's never about the $$$ some point the "pen" of "perception is reality" is exposed for the psychopathic COWARD's "strategic" sword it always really was.

    "...Such a life on such a planet..."

    Natalie Rosen wrote, in part, "Yet again the American people fail to learn history, fail to understand the polices that emanate from the leaders it elects who never have to bear the burden physically or monetarily."

    The "policies" that the "american people" are too stupid to "understand" are constantly being shaped by UN-ELECTED "appointees", aren't they? Rumsfeld was the "policy" maker, wasn't he?

    Having this Program with its Historical material available on the Internet is a gift to all of us. My opinion is that there was a surge in Afghanistan right after Obama became President. Things only got worse there despite his adding many more troops. He must withdraw, and contribute to the defeat of terrorism with less deployed military, and more 'smart' ways to oppose those who would harbor terrorists. He will have to weather the political screech that he, and the democrats are weak. This is the only way to appropriately resolve this issue...a 'war' with no Declaration, with no Strategy, with no real Popular Support in this Country except from the GOP...Both Iraq, and Afghanistan need to be turned off before we lose sight of the best way to counter, and defeat terrorism. We knew right after 2001 how to do this in Afghanistan, and the populace there supported us. Now, we have as many enemies there as friends, and a Surge put in place by Mr. Obama that did not work. Time to go. Time to exit a quagmire, and to gamble that the American People will eventually follow their instincts, and agree that we have to pick our battles, and not be knee-jerk reactionaries to our enemies' provocations. Let's avoid the mistaken thinking of the Past, and remember that we cannot win a civil war by occupying a nation with military resources. Terrorism can be countered without uncontrolled, massive military projections of power.

    The multiple hijackings on 9/11, horrific as they were, were not an act of war. Punishing an entire country for the misdeeds of a few is a war crime. Obama has continued Bush's 'war'. I cannot vote for him again. I believe he will continue to muddle the distinction between criminal acts and acts of war because he has the same imperial lust for power that Bush had, though he pretends otherwise. And this will destroy us as a democracy.

    I have one addition to make to Mr. Moyers' final words. We don't know what would have happened had Johnson de-escalated and exited Vietnam. But we do know what happened after we finally chose to do so. None of the domino fears were realized. The country settled its own affairs.

    The sooner that happens in Afghanistan the better for all of us. The longer the quagmire exists, the worse.

    It seems so self-evident, but of course our commander in chief is only concerned about his re-election, his maintaining power for a few more short years. And in the case of Johnson, as Mr. Moyers points out, even that ambition was ultimately thwarted.

    Take heed, Mr. Obama, take heed.

    I tried to post this a link to this video on Facebook and it was blocked because some members apparently found it offensive. Unbelievable. Has anyone else had this problem/

    In a time of 24/7 new cycles and the near constant bombardment of 15 second news bites Bill Moyers makes a clearly thought-out and articulated argument for why we most never forget our collective histories.

    Mr. Moyers also thoroughly and carefully reviews the history and it's effects using the clear and calm delivery it deserves.

    I wish Mr. Moyers was at President Obama's side to aid him is his decision.

    Thank you Bill.

    This was incredible. I think this type of usage of historical archival media is so incredibly effective, and your producers have done a great job of making the past present...for better or worse. You and your team do such an amazing job every week. I was very sad to hear your show will end, and I wish you and your team all of the best.

    I sincerely hope President Obama watched this program.

    It is sad that after so many generations we as a race continue to make the same mistakes becasue of greed or religious ideaology. With all our improvemnets in technology and we cannot or refuse to see what really is needed in our world to do the right thing for all. I like many have family members that have served or are currently serving and like most over time those who have served in the end see the futility in the long run. It is time that we as a nation need to vote on the issues not the politicians. I truly believe our government needs and overhaul. I do not believe our politicians represent the people as is intended by our constitution. Government is now big business and big business is our government. Greed keeps our government from making the choices and decisions that are needed. I truly believe that the populace can do very little unless we regularly and openly show our representatives what is needed. Call, email, post signs and join protests for the things we need and believe in. This is the only way our politicians will learn what they were put in office for.

    I wish you weren't retiring, Mr. Moyers. I look forward to Friday night's broadcast and don't really see anyone capable of replacing you, other than possibly Brancaccio. Your stories are always the best and your guests, while not all that well known are extremely enlightening. When you retire, we will inevitably become less well informed and that's not a good thing.

    My dear Mr. Moyers,

    It saddens me greatly to watch and listen to these tapes of times past. My big brother went to Vietnam and lived to return but a different man.

    What insanity drives us or the powers to be to continue to think that we must fight so much? We've learned in hindsite that Bush took us to war with false and manipulated information. My heart aches and yearns for a country, my country, to focus on ourselves and take care of our own.

    Lastly sir, I've read your leaving the media. You've served our country well Mr. Moyers and I close with heart felt thanks and encourage you to feel or deepest gratitude for all the truths you've revealed, all the anger you've voiced for us w/o a platform.

    I'll miss you Mr. Moyers.

    With the deepest respect and honor to you,


    What puzzles me is why LBJ didn't follow-up further on the "neutralization" option. He was obviously extremely smart and commonsensical and well-aware that one way to avoid getting further entangled was to have South Vietnam neutralized. I am surprised that he didn't pursue it. At the very least the international conference to pursue such an approach would have bought him more time. And when you are in a bad situation sometimes the best thing to do is to simply delay the time at which you have to make an unalterable commitment,

    De ja vu or Learned Lessons?

    This is another poignant thought-provoking presentation, utilizing Bill’s unique historical perspective to think about the military choices we make.

    I was in the middle of Mark Danner’s book, Stripping Bare the Body when I took a break to watch this show. I was following the Basnia debacle when I was returned to the Vietnam fiasco. It seems we rarely get things right when it comes to our engagements. Unfortunately, each of these examples leads to a tremendous loss of life.

    Some common threads run through these situations that complicate the decision making process, irrespective of who occupies the White House. These situations are difficult enough without confounding them with distractive elements that cloud their focus. Perhaps these elements are inherent to anyone who runs for high office. If so, they come at the peril of many actors and observers. Here are the common threads I see:
    • Re-election concerns –tend to show up far too often and seem to interfere with rational decision-making. More time focusing on what’s right rather than politically benign may help save lives and lead to better decision making.
    • Diplomacy – seems to disappear off the table early, never to return (if it was ever there). Perhaps one of McNamara’s Saigon trips should have been diverted to Hanoi, at least judging from some of McNamara’s comments in The Fog of War. In his return to Vietnam years after the conflict ended, he was surprised by what motivated the Vietnamese to fight. Through the entire process, we didn’t understand why they were fighting. Do we face the same situation now?
    • Foreign support – drives our escapades, yet shortly after the process begins there is a notable absence of what is best for (or the actual desires of) these foreign denizens, even though their lives are usually on the line. In Vietnam, we lost some 57,000 American lives, while around 3,400,000 Vietnamese died (according to McNamara’s account in The Fog of War). These numbers need to mean something. What is the total count to be in Iraq and Afghanistan?
    I am not a pacifist. I’m not suggesting we can, or should always avoid the use of force. It should, however, be used for the right reasons, at the appropriate time. So far, we don’t seem to understand where and when that is. In that light, we need to be far more reflective before sending people to face death.

    Great show portraying the mindset of LBJ and the Vietnam War. This showed how egotistical and really hardheaded LBJ was. He asks for everyone's advice and the majority tell him it was a losing situation. LBJ’s ego commanded our continued involvement. Vietnam was a country fighting for its independence from the French and Britain and we stupidly get involved on the losing side. Forget the fact that Vietnam was trying to expel the countries that were raping her. What a stupid war. Thanks LBJ!!!


    Vietnam should have never happen for the people of America turned against it, and Jane Fonda caused a lot of hurt and pain to the innocent men who were sent there and their families. Shame on her. Obama should pull out all military and bring them home as he promised. Another lie to us as usual?

    If Obama is so mentally deficient he cannot see Afghanastan as another Vietnam, pity him, and us.

    Bill Moyers is the best of the best. It is deja vu all over again! The similarities to Afghanistan are staggering complete with other powers losing in that murderous terrain before us. The generals and the Pentagon thinkers do their thinking and the grunts do the dirty work and come back in coffins. Usually it is NOT the policy makers whose sons end up horrifically disabled or dead.

    It is, in my opinion, a question of CHANGING once and for all the national psyche from a nation which loves war and loves winning war to a country that will declare war and wage war ONLY when absolutely existentially necessary. Our country from afar sees war like a football game but does not want to see the blood and guts hanging out of its soldiers during war or see what it means to lose a war and what it does to the national will.

    Our country is falling apart at home. We simply cannot afford more war. We have no money and no more national will. Our soldiers we do have are whipped serving sometimes four and five tours and we do not even have enough troops if we were god forbid threatened anywhere else including at home. If President Obama will not pull our troops out and send NO more I believe we are among the doomed.

    The man who should have been president, John Kerry, was 100% correct. Terrorism should be fought as a police action with intelligence and particular strikes with special forces at the right time and right place but NOT with thousands or hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground 7000 miles away. Iraq was nothing short of devastating to our military. Yet again the American people fail to learn history, fail to understand the polices that emanate from the leaders it elects who never have to bear the burden physically or monetarily.

    We won OUR own revolution because the British could not keep up a force across
    the sea fighting a group who knew the terrain and had the WILL behind their existential cause.

    It matters whether a fighting force has conviction or not. A draft would mean drafting men (and now women too) in a country which would never countenance that. It will NEVER be done over time successfully with simply a volunteer army... EVER.

    I only wish Bill Moyers could have convinced LBJ at that time of the folly that was Vietnam and now I hope someone shows this to the President so history does not eerily repeat itself all over again!

    Aren't there enough similarities? Isn't eight years enough? Isn't another corrupt regime stealing from the US and from their own people reason to disconnect? To listen to the "best" political mind reason against escalation and then to proceed with exactly the opposite reason enough? Didn't someone say something about ignoring history and being doomed to repeat it? Lets try the opposite of the choice made in Viet Nam.God help this country!

    Another frightening look into how history repeats itself.I had a difficult time falling asleep. LBJ was a tremendous politician, but from viewing your program, we really learn about his struggle. The program was absolutely riveting to someone who was 11-15 years old during the period of escalation. I remember the names of people, cities, battles and now I can put it all into perspective. The final comments about understanding the outcomes based on the decision to escalate the Viet Nam war was chilling, and I hope that should this Nobel Laureate president decide to sent additional troops (from who knows where), not only will more lives be lost or ruined, but his political career will also end. We don't have much too lose by pulling out of something we should have never gotten into. And, our reputation in the world is so low now, we need to swallow our pride and beat it. The Taliban is very patient and will wait for decades--we cannot win.

    Louis L.: I agree with you 100%!

    I for one do not care if hawks, or anyone else calls me unpatriotic, "not supporting the troops," or any other negative labels for my opposition to Afghanistan policy. I stand firm in my belief that history was not on our side, and occupation was doomed to fail. We should pull out now to avoid more needless deaths.

    I watched your program last night and was amazed to see and hear the thinking that went on before escalating the viet nam war. I was one person who marched against that war and now i feel the same way about our present wars. War is not the answer. I know it would take strength and perhaps more character for Obama to say that he would bring our soldiers home but in my opinion, that is what he should do.
    and then he should spend the money saved on fighting for our country and its
    survival. what will we win if we keep on with this war?

    Ultimately, the problems of Afghanistan are political and economic. To think we can occupy that country, shows a fair amount hubris, if not a lack of understanding of history. Countless empires and countries have tried to occupy Afghanistan, generally without much success.

    The worst rationale for any military action is honor. Instead of cutting your losses and accepting the situation as dire as it is, more people will die, for what?

    There are two fundamental differences between Vietnam and Afghanistan

    (1) Vietnam was by most accounts a proxy war, the same isn't true of Afghanistan--there are too many tribes and too much infighting among them. Additionally, there the fact that the Taliban weren't universally recognized prior to U.S. involvement.

    (2) In Vietnam the U.S. was fighting people united by a common political ideology that could be used to govern. In Afghanistan, we're fighting people loosely united (at best) by religion and hatred of occupying forces--they hardly share any idea of governance.

    There are two fundamental differences between Vietnam and Afghanistan

    (1) Vietnam was by most accounts a proxy war, the same isn't true of Afghanistan--there are too many tribes and too much infighting among them. Additionally, there the fact that the Taliban weren't universally recognized prior to U.S. involvement.

    (2) In Vietnam the U.S. was fighting people united by a common political ideology that could be used to govern. In Afghanistan, we're fighting people loosely united (at best) by religion and hatred of occupying forces--they hardly share any idea of governance.

    Thankyou Mr. Moyers (and your staff) for another interesting program.

    As a longtime viewer, I was saddened to read that the Journal will be ending next spring. Your thoughful conversations and eloquent commentary on the issues of the day will be greatly missed.

    Klark wrote, in part,

    "We at Figgers, after some deliberation (about Bundy) have come to the consensus that if only volunteers, those who fervently support these wars of occupation-then Vietnam/now Iraq and Afghanistan, were to go and fight, that the conflicts would soon close down due to lack of interest."

    Now why am I reading between the lines here and "hearing" this suggestion as typical "american people" psycho logical handling?

    I guess because when I crunch the numbers, I ALSO come up with the same "sum" - we can't "afford" 2 armies

    (just like we can't afford hands-on health care and "insurance" companies that are tasked with NOT providing "care")'s getting messy with the numbers of returning USA "army" personnel vs. the high-fiving "successful" mercenary (corporate "contractors") "army"...a tale of two quagmires, indeed....

    Olive L wrote, in part,

    "And I have not forgotten how Johnson left office a broken hearted man."

    Indeed, President Johnson suffered (needlessly?) because he was not psychologically conditioned to be think like an "elitist" who could "delegate" the "handling" of "the people"

    (note he still saw us as "people", not "American People")

    over to the sophisticated "social engineers" to factor "us" out of the decision making equation.

    These are, indeed, much different times. I wonder, though, whether President Johnson would have bought into the "idea" that, eventually, for instance, a shrink at Columbia University, who just received a 50 million $$$ grant to "research" PTSD,

    could "mend" his broken heart through psycho-logical "science"?

    "Peace" remains elusive because it needs to be "nurtured" and THAT task involves "mothers".

    As for reaching back to the history of the creation of the man-made, fetishistic ghost created the all-important FEAR brain-lock

    - communism -


    Czar Nicolai was worth 15 billion of today's dollar value. So do the "math" as for how long "communism" lived off of that stolen booty...

    Yup, no doubt about it, there too few normal minded "producers" of "civilization" left on the few, as a matter of fact, that we're being used, more than once, to populate EVERY anti-wha'ever list that homeland insecurity has going into the "poverty" pile...

    Hard to hide the sadism behind "pick yourself up by your own bootstraps" that the psychos and sociopaths hurl at you as they walkk off with your bootstraps - again.

    But thanks to the insertion of the "bible" and other "holy" works into the creation of the "lists", they're getting away with forcing us to bow to their "moral" high ground.

    WAR always was, and always will be, about who gets the booty. And then there's a 1000 year "dark age" that ensues until some kind of "civilization" is rebuilt - usually by "slave labor" and usually in the EXACT same way that can keep the end game the same:

    "More misery for others = more money for ME ME ME".

    Insanity WORKS well as a "process", kids.

    Bill Moyers' Journal --

    Your program featuring President Johnson's telephone conversations regarding escalation of the Vietnam war prompted the following letter to President Obama:

    "We strongly urge you to refuse to send more troops to Afghanistan. Escalation will lead to increased costs, both financially for the U.S and in human terms for all sides.

    "One might think we would have learned a lesson from our experience in Vietnam. But that does not seem to be the case. Presidents, and unfortunately a goodly share of the public, seem to be acutely sensitive to such illogical taunts as “soft on communism, soft on terrorism” from our political right and even “paper tiger” from our adversaries.

    "Why should this be? My wife and I are of the opinion that the problem, at least for boys, begins in the early grades and reaches a crescendo in the junior high. Can we recall the shouts of “Stand up and fight like a man!” Boys are often urged to fight with bullies twice their own size.

    "And the sports world is filled with similarly illogical rhetoric. How we admire that plucky quarterback who throws that long long pass in the closing seconds of the game even when his team trails 17 to 72! We admire the boy who got beat up and the quarterback because “they never gave up.”

    "But there is a difference. The quarterback was playing a game. The bullies’ victim had only his own life to lose. Presidents who follow the same logic are putting other people’s lives in jeopardy. And to what end?

    "The Afghanistan war, as well as the Iraq war, are stupid wars. The idea that we should spend billions of dollars to deny terrorists a “safe haven for training camps” just doesn’t make sense. The 9/11 terrorists were mostly from Saudi Arabia. The 9/11 plot was hatched in Germany. The 9/11 terrorists learned to fly in the U.S.

    "So please, President Obama, do the right thing. Let’s build schools, not military outposts. Bring all the troops home.

    Thank you.


    William M Thwaites PhD Carol T. Thwaites

    In August 1964 I was assigned to the 11Th Air Assault Division (TEST)on a 2 month field test of the massive vertical envelopment concept involving hundreds of helicopters to rapidly transport troops into combat when the "Tonkin" incidents erupted. I vividly recall some of the lesser lights cheering when President Johnson authorized the bombing campaign and the release of combat troops into S. Vietnam. The handsome and charismatic General Wm. Westmoreland visited our unit and also the apposing aggressor force made up of the 82Nd Airborne. I also recall being severely injured in a combat related accident with others from my Infantry Company at this time. As a result, I am now 100% service connected DAV and did not accompany my unit to Vietnam in July 1965.(Which caused me much guilt and needless anguish for years after the event!) In the tape, President Johnson says "I have sent the First Air Mobile Division to Vietnam!" That was the unit created from the 11TH AAD (TEST)and by November 1965 it was engaged in vicious combat in the Ia Drang valley battles. Several close buddies I had trained with were KIA there in the 2Nd Battalion, 7Th US Cavalry Regiment(Garry Owen.) A famous book "WE Were Soldiers Once...An Young" tells the grim and yet glorious fight these good soldiers put up then. Bless them, they and the battles are long forgotten now. All we have to show for it is the sad sack "Black Crying Towels" we see hanging from the legion posts today. I guess when one loses a war, they mourn the "coulda, shoulda, woulda" theories to much, and hang on to stuff like the POW/MIA icon. Wish we would have understood the terrible anguish and wrenching decisions President Johnson was forced to make in 1964/65! President Obama is right to not make a hasty decision on the Afghanistan problem. Wikipedia says the USA true military budget now exceeds $1 Trillion Buck$ annually, yet our deficits have more than doubles since 2001. We have already pumped over $1 Trillion(all debt mind you)into the "2 Freedom" wars! If it is more War, "then go whole hog and declare total war with a universal draft and pile on WW II style;" says I!

    I really enjoyed the show. Your arguments and chosen excerpts of Johnson depicted uncanny similarities between Vietnam and Afghanistan. We constantly say “never repeat history” or “never forget the past,” but we always do. Whether its economic catastrophes, human injustices, or wars, we always seem to think THIS is different. Maybe its not our collective short term memory but every other generation’s ego that constantly has to be slapped in to check. I hope President Obama makes the right call, but based on the powerful case you made last night, I fear that outside influences will steer him off course. I pray that this or the next memory loss/ego swelling we have, is not irreversible.

    Your show is on Sunday mornings here in Southern Ontario and it is part of my "must see programs".
    Thank you for your hard-hitting (in the guts)and eye-opening stories from around the world.
    I was saddened to hear that you're retiring from the journal, but knowingly must confess, that the time was approaching and well-deserved.
    You will be missed.


    What is happening on April 30? Thanks for the Two Quagmires Piece, hope Obama sees it.

    I'm really getting concerned about the Oiligarch Bankster Companies "sponsoring" our only voices of Liberty. News Hour and Washington Week are totally corrupted, now I'm seeing them "sponsor" Bill Moyers, Now and Frontline.

    Don't you people understand the reason? When these programs become dependent on the funding from all their companies for major revenue to operate, all they have to do to censor or kill the program is pull their support. I bet they are already putting pressure on you to say this or not say that.

    Dump them and keep telling us the truth. For instance, what is the current status of the Trans Afghanistan Pipeline and Oil Laws of Iraq? How are they connected to why we are in these countries? Why is the Media so quiet about the 9/11 Ballot Initiative in NYC?

    My view is the Illuminati Oiligarch Banksters are behind the negative reviews of the decision to try the 9/11 Guantanemo Detainees in NYC U.S. Courts because this could be an opening for ACTUAL 9/11 Investigations that could bring out the real truth. Thus exposing these "conspirators" as duped scapegoats for the true attackers headed by Dick Cheney.

    Charles Michael Couch


    I will definitely miss your show. You have the ability to get to the heart of issues in a way that not too many people can. You ask the tough questions without offending people.

    I plan to be sure to watch every episode until April 30.

    I look forward each week to gain an informed perspective of our world. Last night was no exception. Two observations about LBJ and VietNam. Understanding that his phone conversations were being recorded he seemed to be framing his thoughts with a view as to how posterity would be regarding him ,rather than having a meaningful exchange with his colleagues. Second, is the appalling ignorance of all about VietNam and what was going on there. The primary concerns of our leadership was what was politically acceptable, and how they would be judged morally by the world. Personally, the biggest failure in the administration of the VietNam War was the lack of honesty and forthrightness. Regarding Afghanistan, I have listened to reports and heard interviews that tell me that the current administration does not comprehend the complexities of the culture(s) and history of the region, they inherited a War on Terror that was riddled with falsehoods, and they do not have a clear objective towards which progress can be measured. Some say we cannot afford to pull out. I say we cannot afford to stay, given these unacceptable conditions.

    Thank you for providing this insight from the Vietnam War. I found the program compelling. So many factors influence the decision makers but I was impressed by the anguish President Johnson endured. I don't agree with the decisions he made and I hope President Obama doesn't make the same mistakes. It's time for the US stop trying to manage the affiars of other countries.

    President Obama and everyone in his administration should view this program. Please send him a DVD. PBS does a better job of representing the American people than does our elected representatives. PBS is paid for by the American people. It is not lobbied by special interests.
    It's journalism, is neither liberal or conservative but thoughtful, fair and balanced. The research performed to produce these programs is done by and with the help of
    knowledgeable scholars and experts in their fields. The people who work for PBS have our best interests at heart. Each of them, is one of us. They are not concerned with getting rich. They simply want to be happy, healthy, and successful. They want these things for their families and for future generations of Americans.

    I grew up watching PBS since birth and believe that it has directly contributed to my intelligence, intelect, and sense of decency. It has been, and continues to be a huge part of my lifelong education. God forbid that we should let this greatest of American institutions and ideas perish because of a lack of funding or support from the American people. PBS makes this country a better nation.

    Those policy and decision makers in our government should always be apprised of new episodes/shows such as this, and Frontline etc. The reporters that report on (and travel to) countries like Afghanistan,
    didn't get into this business for the money. They did it because they were passionate about making the world a better place. Thank you Bill Moyers and everyone else who works for PBS, for the great work you do on a daily basis.

    David Eddy: The oligarchy already operates several bases in Israel, with Israeli pilots in first line American aircraft, possessing the cruelest and latest weapons, chemical munitions and nuclear capability. Makes the nuts in charge of Iran look pretty brave, doesn't it?

    Is Obama truly corrupt or just extorted (or both)? Imagine yourself in his long Italian shoes with a smart wife, two little girls and a bugged dog named Beau. (Smoking more now but enjoying it less.) Getting re-elected and staying alive are confounded issues. Oswald never walks alone, nor even Nadal Hasan.

    Yes, I think that the recitation of how we incrementally got deeper and deeper into an impossible conflict in Vietnam is very similar to what we now face in Afghanistan.

    However, the matter that impressed me most about hearing LBJ's discussions with numerous people about what he should do was how superficial all his thoughts and advice seem to be. Nobody ever asked what does it mean to "win" in Vietnam. And, if it meant a stable and peaceful South Vietnam, then how could that possibly be obtained when a full-scale invasion of North Vietnam was never in the cards?

    And, nobody seemed to question whether the South Vietnamese government was feckless no matter who was in charge.

    And, related to that, why was the desertion rate among the South Vietnamese military always so high? I don't think anyone ever asked whether the people of South Vietnam didn't really see North Vietnam as a real threat. And, if they didn't see it as a threat, why should we?

    And absolutely nobody questioned whether the "domino scenario" was correct. The closest nation was Thailand and I'm not sure they saw North Vietnam as a threat either. And LBJ saw threats to India and the Philippines. But, any rational view would have seen that there were geographic barriers to any outcome in South Vietnam affecting them.

    I also thought that the advice that LBJ was getting from all portrayed in the show was incredibly shallow as well. Perhaps when the POTUS asks for advice everyone's brain seizes up. Or, did they know that LBJ really didn't want to hear any analysis that differed from LBJ's own.

    The next question is whether right now President Obama is getting advice that penetrates the fog around him. If he and some of his people can question all assumptions, then there's a shot that a good decision might result this time. But, if the same thoughts that LBJ had and the same advice that LBJ got are still happening, then repeating the disaster of Vietnam is almost inevitable.

    And Obama might remember another similarity to our Vietnam disaster. People elected Nixon back then to get us out of Vietnam. Of course he didn't really have a plan to get us out. People elected Obama to get us out of both Afghanistan and Iraq. And, hopefully, it won't take Obama five years like it took Nixon to get us out of those wars.

    The whole think points out why any president needs to have some institutional way to get advice that isn't part of the group-think of everyone within the beltway.

    BillM thinks this is all about voting, and he advocates only "ballot voting." (He's correct that the dangerous nuts are getting louder with corporate assistance.) There are more than "two sides" (of any issue) in our nation, and many ways of voting. Ballot voting is weak medicine with cookie cutter candidates,corporate indoctrination and rigging when necessary. The media would have schoolchildren know that Palin is a viable leader, and that elections are as simpleminded as hockey. On the first Tuesday next November let's applaud as BillM slaps his pucky in the net.

    Bill Moyers,
    You are to be highly commended for this excellent documentory. It is so obvious that our politicians have a flat learning curve.
    It is also becoming worrysome that Obama has no intentions of keeping his promises and has been corrupted by power. We do not need another Condalessa Rice or General Powell; we need the Barrack Obama that we voted into office.
    We need to stop the occupations and only give air support as requested by Iraq or Afghanistan.
    We need to have an airbase in Israel to make our presence known in the Middle East. All we are doing now is creating hate and discontent that will become our epitagh.

    The strategy and tactics in Afghanistan have been wrong since the beginning. Defeat the Taliban, then what?

    It's the same Fiasco that Tom Ricks outlined in 2006 for the invasion of Iraq. The tell-tale issue to watch for is whether or not Colin Powell's admonition about having a clear "exit strategy" is being heeded.

    Furthermore, the strategic purpose of being involved in Afghanistan is clouded by the failed political ideologies of War on Terrorism, War on Drugs, and War on Poverty.

    Finally, there is no popular support for the government, and the national army's numbers and fighting ability are being over sold in the usual manner.

    This is an easy one for the President. Pull out the troops in a safe and measured manner. If there is an international consensus for nation building in Afghanistan, then leave NATO and the UN to do the job using a plurality of neighbours from the region.

    I pray that President Obama sees your Journal on President Lyndon Johnson's decision for the Vietnam war before he decides what to do in Afghanistan. You have produced a most amazing historical journal with immediate relevance to our present situation. The parallels are nothing less than scary -- opinions of generals, push of Republican hawks, local government corruption and incompetence etc. If we don't learn from this history, history is irrelevant!

    Please, send the DVD to the White House and ask them to tell you if they watch it.

    Thomas Friedman had some good things to say about the Afghanistan predicament in the Charlie Rose Program: if the Afghans want to be free, as they did when 300 of our marines helped them throw out the Taliban, they will do it on their own with our minimal support. Pakistan will fight the Taliban because they want their country back. If they don't, we must be willing to live with some additional risk to us -- which is not as hard to accept as the blood and treasure we must pay for many years of intensive warfare in Afghanistan.
    Thank you for a great program.

    All the mushy, shallow emotionalism of the comments here illustrate that we are still failing to focus on the real lesson of this program:

    The Rightwing Extremist Republicans are licking their chops and drooling over the prospect of an opportunity to claim that Obama "lost the War On Terror."

    Does anyone who was so powerfully affected by this show have a plan to combat this? Do any of you have a clue?

    Johnson and Humphrey were able to hold off a rightwing, John Birch, KKK, take over of America after the murders of JFK, RFK, and MLK. They could have thrown a bone to the sociopathic perverts by invading Granada; but, just to make the mob happy, like Pontius Pilate, LBJ sacrificed the Vietnamese people and 50,000 Americans.

    How is Obama going to satisfy the mob? Who can Obama crucify to satisfy the blood lust of the mob? Will it be the Palestinians this time?

    Or, will Obama hand the Republicans the best gift they could ask? Will he give them the opportunity they crave? Will he take responsibility for "losing the War on Terror?"

    This country is not immune to a right wing tidal wave. Like Lewis Sinclair wrote in the 1930's, it can happen here.

    In the 1930s, the fears and insecurities of the German middle class created fertile breeding grounds for the Nazis. Today, the American middle class is faced with an eroding standard of living that is inevitable and unavoidable. Globalism, resource scarcity, and the imperatives of environmental amelioration mean that there is no easy fix for the American middle class.

    What happens when Bubba can't drive a huge, splendid, gas guzzling "power stroke" pickup 30 miles alone to work everyday?

    What happens when violent, heavily armed, ignorant rednecks with a high school education can no longer afford to strut around like royalty?

    What happens when the inflated egos of ignorant American plebians face the humiliation of poverty just like their class the world over?

    How is Obama going to drain the swamp that is breeding the plague of xenophobia and militia fever that may soon sweep America?

    First, we have to understand the true meaning of our history.

    We have to know who we really are as a people.

    We have to confront our inadequacies, our intellectual poverty, our moral corruption -- in every aspect of our lives.

    We have to know what an Obama American can be.

    We have to know how to avoid being anything like the sociopathic perverts of the "greatest generation."

    We are in for some very rough sledding over the next four years. Everyone had better batten down the hatches and prepare for a huge storm. The pains of rebirth are about to begin.

    We need to resume the "back to the earth" movement of the 1960s. We must enable our citizens to take pride in a return to the land.

    To do this, we must have a land redistribution policy that takes land out of the hands of huge agri-business conglomerates and puts it back into the hands of a proud, self-sufficient American yeomanry. This will take a sea change in politics and mass mentality.

    Can the new Obama America manage this? On the answer to this, your future hangs in the balance.

    This is no time to "tear up." You'd best row like your life depends on it. Because, it does.

    "Againistan" is a better title than "... Two Ouagmires".

    A Lesson for Obama: Vietnam

    Bill Moyer- with an intimate knowledge of the events that led to the Vietnam War, makes an impressive and clear case that the War in Afghanistan has similarities and many of the same risks as Vietnam. So does Daniel Ellsberg. So does Mikhail Gorbachev and others. It is clear that Johnson, McNamara and Bundy knew that the war was unwinnable- yet they felt compelled to commit American combat troops anyway. There reasons ranged from a desire to hold a position- to a fear of the domino effect- to fear of political repercussions. Yet what was most visibly absent was an understanding of the Vietnamese. They saw the war in geopolitical and military terms, but failed to appreciate the "enemy." The enemy was fighting for their country and freedom from colonial domination. The United States was an arrogant conqueror who know little of their culture, their determination or their struggle. In Afghanistan, it appears the United States, like the Russians in 1979, are perceived in the same way. The Soviet's War in Afghanistan contributed to the downfall of their empire. Likewise the Iraq and Afghanistan War has contributed to the economic ruin of the United States. Like the Russians we underestimate the enemy- we talk of training troops, corruption, etc., but we fail to understand the aspirations and needs of the Afghan people. Johnson, like Obama, was keenly aware of the political implications of leaving Vietnam- the abrogation of treaties, the appearance of being weak, etc. Yet, in the end the United States was forced to leave Vietnam. It will be the same in Afghanistan. The domino effect has been replaced with the War on Terror. Both are bogus constructs put forward by weak minds who need simple epithets to justify aggression

    A Lesson for Obama: Vietnam

    Bill Moyer- with an intimate knowledge of the events that led to the Vietnam War, makes an impressive and clear case that the War in Afghanistan has similarities and many of the same risks as Vietnam. So does Daniel Ellsberg. So does Mikhail Gorbachev and others. It is clear that Johnson, McNamara and Bundy knew that the war was unwinnable- yet they felt compelled to commit American combat troops anyway. There reasons ranged from a desire to hold a position- to a fear of the domino effect- to fear of political repercussions. Yet what was most visibly absent was an understanding of the Vietnamese. They saw the war in geopolitical and military terms, but failed to appreciate the "enemy." The enemy was fighting for their country and freedom from colonial domination. The United States was an arrogant conqueror who know little of their culture, their determination or their struggle. In Afghanistan, it appears the United States, like the Russians in 1979, are perceived in the same way. The Soviet's War in Afghanistan contributed to the downfall of their empire. Likewise the Iraq and Afghanistan War has contributed to the economic ruin of the United States. Like the Russians we underestimate the enemy- we talk of training troops, corruption, etc., but we fail to understand the aspirations and needs of the Afghan people. Johnson, like Obama, was keenly aware of the political implications of leaving Vietnam- the abrogation of treaties, the appearance of being weak, etc. Yet, in the end the United States was forced to leave Vietnam. It will be the same in Afghanistan. The domino effect has been replaced with the War on Terror. Both are bogus constructs put forward by weak minds who need simple epithets to justify aggression

    really great show.
    i pray president obama will have the wisdom to say no to sending more troops.

    How startling to see how Moyers has aged 5 years in the last 6 months. While Charlie Rose cracks the tired "I'll be gone: You'll be gone" joke with Tom Freidman, and Tavis Smiley promotes 50cent's newest gangsta release, and Ira Flatow dreams of bases on the Moon, and Now follows brain damaged veterans, only Bill pursues the survival issues at hand. Our oligarchy sponsored Congress turns out compromises consisting of special interest clauses and President Obedient promises a tightened budget and freer trade for corporate advantage.

    It is also startling to see Lyndon Johnson (a short-sighted obedient who wanted to be popular) calling up pre-oligarchs to test his talking points. The intelligent man with a middle-ground solution (McGeorge Bundy) was ignored while LBJ argued,"I have to stay in office to do good and keep the crazies out."

    We at Figgers, after some deliberation (about Bundy) have come to the consensus that if only volunteers, those who fervently support these wars of occupation-then Vietnam/now Iraq and Afghanistan, were to go and fight, that the conflicts would soon close down due to lack of interest. Further, if Grady Lee Howard's prime issue of designation of tax contribution were in place there would be no cash for such efforts.

    Bill Moyers compared Barack Obama to Lyndon Johnson, hoping President Obedient would make a better choice. We doubt that a man who's best client is the elite financial sector and free floating corporate oligarchs has such a choice in mind. Notice how it is all of a piece, every issue, with Barack as the Judas Goat. The health rationing pronouncements (From Bush appointed study commissions) on the eve of passage of a compulsory health care insurance purchase bill (with no single-payer, just a make-believe public option, maybe) should tell you something.

    All around us we can see employments (domestic) eaten away by automation, off-shoring, closures and stretch-out (increased productivity it is called). Wages are going down as the dollar falls and accelerating inflation is unacknowledged, while there is talk of cutbacks in entitlements (like SS, where tax deductions have been paid over decades)and benefits agreements with employers. Our "no safety net" condition was well illustrated by Now's report on the tens of thousands of dumped head injury veterans (One in five recent veterans has some form of head injury, and then there are the amputees, the blinded and deafened and the mentally disrupted.)

    The oligarch cares not that war costs hundreds of billions and eventually trillions when he is reaping low-taxed millions or maybe billions. And we give bailouts to these traitors who are above and outside law and common decency! "Heads I win, tails you lose," he asserts through legislation and policies ordered a la carte for a Siamese-twin-party state. Obama has never experienced the autonomy and freedom of the 60s, and remember how Johnson was crushed and Kennedy shot by at least two assassins connected to Howard Hunt (Church's Senate Select Committee findings 1979). We know Obama/President Obedient fears the cross-hairs or quickly induced cancer or cerebral hemmorhage. He studied college level US history we suppose.)

    All these crises doom our empire:
    1.Crisis of citizen confidence
    2.Climate change

    3.Alienating and bankrupting wars over poorly framed terrorism issue
    4.Corporate corrupted economy
    5.Failure to address energy crisis
    6.Failure to educate and inform the public while allowing propogandistic indoctrination and manipulative and false advertising
    7.Insane faith in capitalist markets to the detriment of labor and honest enterprise
    8.Materialist "success ethic" undermining all natural and supportive human relationships
    9.Co-operation with fascists like those running China, Honduras and Israel (for dirty deeds and cheap labor)
    10. No safety net or reliable medical care for our people

    Any of these could undermine our representative government and the general welfare but we continue them all. Even Lyndon Johnson tried harder and risked more! President Barack Obama, we knew Lyndon Johnson, and you're proving to be a lesser person, when a much greater leader is needed. Share the risk of the whistleblower, the lowly soldier and the non-union meatpacker. Abolish wage slavery, and our nagging distrust.

    Mr. Moyers:
    Your program is always informative and moving, but tonight the content was directly parallel to what the President is facing. As one citizen, I wrote the following letter to the White House:

    If only LBJ had had the courage to say "no" to a troop build-up in Vietnam. How much suffering and inevitable defeat would have been avoided? But he wanted to get elected to the next Presidential term and was afraid to appear weak. He got sucked into the Vietnam mess by the Generals, who are a bottomless pit of need for more troops. He was aware that Americans don't like the appearance of weakness. He was afraid if he withdrew from Vietnam, he would appear weak, but history would have seen him as a hero. So, what is real courage? It is the ability to walk away from violence and war, to say, "No more war! No more killing of innocent people in our name." When will we ever learn from history? Please get our military and contractors out of Afghanistan, out of Iraq and out of all those places where we destroy families, cultures and our planet. And, it is not only other cultures we destroy, but our own as well. Don't you get it when you visit the military hospitals and see the soldiers and families that will forever be maimed? Don't you see that we are pouring billions down the drain in Afghanistan and Iraq, while Americans, young and old are sleeping on the cold streets, sick and dying without health care or shelter? Can being elected again be important enough to you to sacrifice so many lives for injustice?
    I am boggled by the thought.
    As an individual citizen, I can only be a voice for justice, but hopefully, you will hear my voice along with others, who agree with me.

    Wow. Incredibly, incredibly
    powerful. This to be sure is an award-winning documentary. I've studied much on the History of the Vietnam War. This is extremely well-done and compelling. Wow!

    Holy about ghosts of the past speaking to the present situation!

    What I found fascinating was that Johnson asked all the right questions, got the right answers and still went ahead knowing there was no reason to fight the war and no way to win. Bluster, ideology, and politics at home were more important than the lives of the soldiers. Just once in my lifetime I would like the President and Congress to do what is right rather than what they think will win re-election. If he had shared his thoughts with Congress and the country openly and in full like he did with the advisers on the phone maybe the country would have come to consensus and backed him up in doing the right thing, we will never know. I just read that Bill Moyers is retiring next April, I will miss the reasoned discussions and thoughtful insights that the Journal affords every week. Mr, Moyers, have a good retirement, you will be sorely missed.

    We are still grieving the enormous losses of Viet Nam. This shows how we are so afraid to be seen as weak. People like Goldwater exist today. Maybe now we'll finally be strong enough to refuse a fight.
    Thank you, Bill, for yet another program that left me in tears--tears of appreciation.

    I have a pretty good idea what would NOT have happened in my life, had Mr. Johnson said "No".

    To Mr. Obama, I would take a phrase from Mr. Reagan, "Just say no". JUST...SAY...NO!

    The Eisenhower administration sabotaged the French Treaty vote on Vietnamese reunification, installed a puppet regime, and dumped the whole mess in Kennedy's lap. Twenty years later, Vietnam was reunified. It took the Vietnamese 20 years to finally achieve the national reunification that Eisenhower ruined. As the war between Vietnam and China in 1973-75 proved, Vietnam was never anybody's "domino."

    It is all Eisenhower's fault that this happened. Eisenhower's "military industrial complex" speech should be taken as his confession -- his McNamara moment.

    Like all of the emotionally disturbed men who defined American sociology after World War 2, both Kennedy and Johnson were hung up on proving "macho," manly characteristics. Like all the tragically tormented veterans of World War II - a war which everyone should have known was fought and won by the Russians with little help from the West - the officials of the American government were incapable of thinking critically or analytically about anything touching on manhood or patriotism.

    Our involvement in World War 2 was a joke. The American invasion of Europe was a cake walk compared to Stalingrad. There was no ground campaign in the Pacific. Think of the idea of surrounding islands. Think of the insanity of Iwo Jima! World War 2 was like a bad dream that drove American patriarchs insane. No amount of fantasy could turn our pathetic role in WW2 into a heroic epic.

    The Vietnam War says a lot about the pathetic excuses for men that the WW2 veteran pretended to be. They are the self-styled "greatest generation" according to their self-serving legend about themselves. Yet none of them can answer how were they better than their parent's generation. Perhaps they are just claiming to be the "better than you" generation?

    The delusional members of the World War 2 generation have caused enormous harm to the promise of America. One can only hope that the new American of the Obama generation can set a better standard for clear thinking and stewardship. The malevolent influence of the ridiculously dubbed "greatest generation" (now represented by former V.P. Cheney and former Secretary Rumsfeld) cannot end too soon.

    Congratulations BMJ!

    Absolutely fascinating show. Just plain riveting.
    Required viewing for every student, every soldier, every American and every human.

    I fathom it was difficult to condense the subject to a one hour show and some hard choices must have been required in the editing suite.

    But thankfully not the tough choices President Johnson faced and President Obama is facing.

    What a great closing.
    "We don't know what would have happened if President Johnson said 'no' to additional troops.

    "But we do know what happened with the President said "Yes."

    What a powerful message.

    Rock on Bill!!! Your show today (Johnson and Vietnam) is the best (maybe, sadly, the only good) articulation of what hell is going on. Thank you.

    First time commenter.

    It would have been helpful if you had addressed the final and durable excuse that has been given for the Vietnam War: the so called "boat people." Who were they really?

    Recall that there was an enormous pogrom of Chinese ethnic groups in neighboring Malaysia only a few years before. Throughout S.E. Asia there was at that time a strong antipathy towards ethnic Chinese, who were viewed as the Jews of Asia and pilloried in the same way that the Jews of Germany were prior to WW2.

    Yet, there are still many apologists today who claim that the exodus of the "boat people" from Vietnam after the expulsion of Americans proved that America had been performing some sort of worthwhile mission there. The logic of such a claim is a mystery, even if this claim is true. However, if the refugees were fleeing as a result of old ethnic rivalries, then the situation says absolutely nothing about the relevance of the American intervention in Vietnam. And, in the case of ethnic rivalries, no serious conclusion can be drawn about the effectiveness of a Vietnamese communist government versus a Malaysian "free world" government.

    How do we know that the "boat people" were not fleeing from ethnic turmoil? How can anyone use their plight to justify 50,000 dead Americans and the waste of treasure and credibility as a result of the Vietnam War?

    It seems to me that this country has still not faced up to the fact that the Vietnam War was a TOTAL WASTE with absolutely no shred of redeeming value. The "boat people" do not provide a fig leaf to cover our disgusting nakedness.

    There are no adequate words to express our appreciation for the Bill Moyer's Journal.
    We spent many years fighting to end the Vietnam War & participating in the Clergy Layman March Against the Vietnam War etc. Please, please be sure that President Obama, VP Biden and all see this remarkable video which could help them to make the right decision on Afghanistan.

    Richard Russell tells LBJ: of course you'd be impeached! Obama must have the character to just say no and be willing to face impeachment for the love of his people.

    Bill Moyers you are a good and brave American who obviously loves his country.

    I watch your show regularly because I know I will receive an objective insight into current issues facing our country.

    A Tale of Two Quagmires sheds incredible insight into how decisions are made in Washington, DC, concerning military conflicts.

    I am 63 years old and remember very well the quagmire we faced in the 60s and early 70s regarding the Vietnam War.

    During the Vietnam War, there was a general just like Lt. General Stanley McChrystal. His name was Lt. General William Westmoreland. In the four years he was in command in Vietnam (June 64 to June 68), our troop level grew from 16,000 to 535,000. In fact, in March 1968, Westmoreland was still asking for even more troops. He wanted an additional 206,000 troops by year’s end.

    Unfortunately, watching your program I came to realize that Lyndon Johnson was not a good leader of our country in 1964. You can tell in his voice that he knew it would be best to end our involvement in 1964 but he succumbed to the pressures from his generals and Republicans, wanting to make him look weak.

    Unfortunately, President Johnson was more concerned about how his handling of the Vietnam War would affect his election, and that of his Democrat friends on the hill, in November 1964 than the lives of American soldiers and people in Vietnam.

    I hope President Obama gets to see your program so he can learn, before it’s too late, what Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Bush 43 didn’t understand in making their decisions to initiate/escalate military operations in foreign countries thousands and thousands of miles away from our borders.

    As Albert Einstein once stated: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome.

    We would be insane to increase our military foot print, i.e., put more boots on the ground, in Afghanistan, particularly since our protracted and costly involvement in Iraq is so fresh in our minds, and has yet been determined to be successful.

    I suspect Osama bin Laden is so happy to see the U.S. expending so much money and sacrificing so many young Americans. As bin Laden stated in a key speech he made on October 29, 2004, just before George Bush was re-elected, his plan is to bankrupt United States in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would say he is doing a pretty good job of it!

    I agree with those that say: Let the ones who decide United States should go to war, join the military and go fight the war on the ground themselves.

    I’m sure if this were a requirement, Washington politicians would think differently.

    I hope President Obama has the courage to do the right thing.

    Great show! Thanks for always being the voice of reason. Will we ever learn?

    A wonderful show tonight!
    Thank You Bill Moyers!

    Dear Mr. Moyers:

    What role did the Brown brothers of Brown and Root play in LBJ's decision to send US troops into Vietnam?

    That's really poor, showing the quotes underneath two photos; but how to know which figure (on the right of left) is the one speaking? The named "speaker" is always on the left side of the screen. But how is anyone to know how to associate the name with the correct picture, as you have no clarification for which figure(picture) is the one talking. Not everyone is as old as you, and doesn't know these dead politicuans by their black and white photos. Did you people even graduate junior high Journo school?

    Thank you, Bill. I teared up along with some of the other people who are old enough to remember the period of the Vietnam War. And to have this follow on the heels of the story about our shameful treatment of the military who have been sent once again into harms way and returned "damaged goods" apparently worthy only of being tossed in the trash heap is heart breaking. I was amazed at how similar Mr. Obama's present quandary is to the situation President Johnson found himself in. And I have not forgotten how Johnson left office a broken hearted man. Wheeler and dealer he might have been as a Senator, but he did try to help the helpless, a lesson learned as a teacher who saw first hand children who needed help. I wouldn't have Mr. Obama's responsibility for anything. I am not certain that any choice he makes will be a good one.

    Thank you once again for an excellent program. Every member of congress and all staff in the administration should watch this program. When the president finally makes a decision, he does so because of the support and perspectives of others in key roles - congress, administration, and military. He does not make these decisions alone. We all share responsibility.

    This was an excellent lesson in history, but I don't believe for a second that LBJ only thought in such objective terms as winning elections and youth dying. It doesn't jibe with his later statements and the other things we know about him. Rather, I think, these only exemplify his conception of America's role in the world as a great paternal figure, which, being from the South, and particularly because of his own family situation, he constantly measured against ideas of manliness. Whether he really was a warmonger or not he clearly wanted to appear as an anti-Communist, but the best antidote for Communism he thought was economic development and welfare. I suppose this was the ambivalence many of FDR's southern Democrats had, yet, at the same time, it is not unlike the attitude of the old city bosses like Daley. He wanted to try to help the poor little "brown brothers" as he told Doris Kearns Goodwin later, and he didn't want to be seen as the man who lost Asia, and he didn't see why these should be seen as incompatible. As time went on he became increasingly committed to the war, justifying it as necessary to stop the spread of Communism, as did many others. Several of the people he "reasoned" with at this early period, it seems, had a far clearer picture, particularly Russell, and McNamara, who saw that even winning would be a loss because it would be seen as a "white man's war."

    Breathtaking show. I was tearing up at the end. The parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan, as Moyers summarizes at the end, are too obvious to ignore. Watching it, I felt waves of knowing electricity flowing over my body like a tsunami.

    In my judgment, the (largely political) massive aversion to losing is driving this whole mess and, while that the pain of loss is greater than the joy of winning is a well-known cognitive bias present in all of human-kind, it is particularly endemic to the American character, with our winner-take-all approach to politics that seems so unique in the developed (and even developing) world.

    I'm only 25 years old and feel like I have more of a grasp on history than Obama does, based on his actions and rhetoric to date. If someone in his staff doesn't force him to watch this show (and a decision by O to escalate Afghanistan would show his lack of attention [or cowardice or insanity or mania.... if he does watch this]), then my faith in America, which has been increasingly growing thinner and thinner since O won last year, will evaporate completely, and I will make every effort to expatriate to Canada as soon as I can. I cannot, in good conscience, support a regime so monstrously corrupt and negligent.

    If the decision is made to take the advice of Defense, I would strongly urge my fellow young Americans to leave with me. It will only make this country more bellicose, but then, I don't really think that anyone is listening to those of us who oppose war (at least not in our government).

    Ultimately, if escalation ensues, I say let Rome burn to the ground. Thankfully, Rome is not the only game in town this time around. These are sad times indeed.

    Tonight's show should be required watching in every American household.
    What a window on the political decision-making process at the presidential level.
    No wonder we're so frequently in one heck of a mess!
    Thank you, Bill Moyers, for making the effort to do all the archival work and masterful editing of these tapes. Until tonight I myself was dithering about Afghanistan, but I am now clear: we should withdraw.


    This should be shown in prime time on every
    network and cable station and be required viewing foe every American

    Dear Bill,

    We appreciate very much watching your fascinating program on Friday evenings. This week is was certainly amazing to see how so few ordinary people can be entrusted with such extraordinary decisions that affect so many.

    By juxtaposing the decisions then with now, I can only recall what Albert Einstein once said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

    Once again, Bill Moyers has hit the issue in a new way, bringing us to think more deeply about the situation in which our current president finds himself. If the hawks in Pres. Johnson's day had been ignored would we have gotten out? Can President Obama find his way through that morass and try a new road, to say, finished, we stop now, no more additional troops? I watched this presentation immediately following the NOW production on 3 of the many soldiers who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries, whose families have had to give up careers and so much more (including health insurance) to care for their terribly injured young husbands and children. And this is the most common injury today. I pray that our president will stand up for peace -- and not give in to those who believe that strength is found only through war.

    It is instructive to watch Bill Moers re-living Vietnam quagmire tonight!
    One wonders has US Establishment has learnt any thing.
    We still see Heritage Foundation and a host of Right wingers pushing for war now against Islamic"terrorists"!!
    They have switched their target from fighting Communism to fighting Islam.It suiits the Evangelicals,Zionist hawks and the Armageddonists to have an enemy such as Islam and Muslims.In this new crusade they have willing allies in Israel,Hindu India and Right wing Christian America!
    In place of Vietnam or Communists China they have Iran,Afghanistan.
    Israeli blitzkrieg in Gaza Lebanon is never questioned.The Goldstone Report has been condemned by a Captive USA Government!
    Iran is asked to open its Nuclear research facilities to UN Inspection while Israel and India enjoy free ride to build bombs and oppress Palestinians and Kashmiris!
    Crocodile tears are shed by UK USA over such outrages!
    Iran is in the dock and soon it will be Pakistan; turn and all Muslim nations on by one.

    You made a statement About LBJ's decisions to increase troop levels and the commitment to war - "we all know what happened because he did."
    What has happened after the decision was made? It is not popular to consider that the changes in Asia were due, in part, to our stand in Vietnam.
    I believe that our decision to take a stand had a major role in the status of Asia today. Would the same status exist if a stand had not been taken? As Bill stated, we don't know. But, we do know that we consider our status at present much better today.
    By the way, I was there. I know what it was like there. I did my job.

    Your website makes it hard to comment on a progam like the one this evening--brilliant and compelling--and to make a financial contribution.

    You need to make it much easier.

    I hope our President and every single person in our Congress and our country watched this valuable program tonight,
    History cannot repeat itself. Not this time, not this place! Dithering? Do for as long as you like,Mr. President and then...... please,please say NO to sending our precious soldiers into battle.

    The program about Pres. Johnson and Vietnam shoud be shown to president Obama. He is too young to have firsthand knowlege of what happened and whose advice he shoud listen to.

    I am by nature nore of a hawk tan a dove but if we do not learn from our past mistakes we are domed to repeat them.

    People who will not fight their own battles are not worth supporting.

    Has Obama virtually wasted his entire first year? Ask almost any educated liberal and you know what the answer would be (of course a yes--duh). But, what if this has been a political strategy? I’ve heard several TV shows talking about how past presidents had made their biggest policy impacts within their first years, but what if Obama has been waiting for election years to throw his punches? Now I know I’m being optimistic, and I don’t even have a H1N1 fever, but maybe Obama is going to give us change-we-can-believe-in in 2010 and ’12. I hope this is his plan.

    What do you think?

    "When we debate an issue as grave as the war in Afghanistan, we must take the time to carefully deliberate the costs of the war to the American people, both in terms of blood and treasure."

    There is no justification for the Continuation of the war. It is a continuation of the status quo policy
    of the former administration. It was a policy by deception! Policy of "oligarchy" that resulted in lost "terms of blood and treasure".

    Due to Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings - which is nothing less than a license to commit fraud!
    The Country is faced with substantial "treasure" losses with no end in sight.
    License that deprives citizens of property, papers, rights that should have been protected under the Constitution, do not exist in real world!
    "Debtor in Possession" has an absolute right through a corrupt justice system. After the judicial
    system turn blind eye and the foxes clean the chicken... , the Bankruptcy courts now will decide
    the destiny to...!
    Standing by with a pitch fork to shovel... protect... no longer works.
    It is no longer, IF the people should buy... but when.
    "One must speak, even if it is but one voice!"

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