To his everlasting discredit, Lyndon Johnson ginned up the rationale for all out war in Vietnam with his bogus Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Realizing what he'd done not long afterwards, to his everlasting credit, Johnson refused to run for a second term.
George W. Bush didn't have Johnson's courage or capacity for shame, otherwise he too would have declined to run for a second term after his bald-faced WMD lie was exposed.
None of this has stopped right wing commentators, many of whom assiduously avoided military service, from pushing their "Obama is surrendering the war on terror" B.S. It should be noted that many of these are the same people who were dead wrong when they were screaming for a war with Iraq 10 years ago.
As Gen. George Patton said of the Saturday Evening Post's editors, "(They) don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about (sexual intercourse)."
Unlike Vietnam, there was no conscription during the war on terror. If we had a draft, there would have never been an unprovoked invasion of Iraq without irrefutable evidence that Saddam had WMD. And there would have been a lot of hard thinking before U.S. boots were put on the ground in Afghanistan, history's cesspool.
Bush, who turned down a Vietnam tour, would never permit his wealthy friends to send their sons or daughters to Iraq.
I guarantee you, the College Republicans and Bush's Skull and Bones at Yale would have been the first guys protesting in the streets in 2003 if they had actually been compelled to go fight and perhaps die in Baghdad or Kabul.
I was in high school during Vietnam. My recollection is that protesters like the ones at the University of Wisconsin didn't want to be forced to put their lives on the line in a pointless conflict with no exit strategy. Nevertheless, Richard Nixon escalated the war when he took office in 1968 even though, by then, anybody with a brain knew Vietnam was a lost cause.
With neocon and right wing media chicken hawks cheering him on, Bush's response to a horrifying terrorist attack was to unleash America's military might on a relatively small number of stateless terrorists holed up in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was like using an nuclear bomb to kill flies; no real thinking, no long range planning. Just blindly swinging massive fists and hoping to connect.
We accomplished almost nothing in Iraq and next to nothing in Afghanistan at a cost 7,000 dead Americans and at least $2 trillion. For the first time in American history, taxes were not raised to pay for either war. Rather, Bush put his wars on the national credit card.
God forbid the wealthy should be asked to sacrifice even one dollar of their precious earnings.
Meantime, until Obama had the guts to give the politically risky order to kill him, Osama bin Laden was giving the finger to America. Now bin Laden and scores of his lieutenants are burning in hell and al Qaeda is a shell of what it was in 2008.
President Obama is exactly right to call off the dogs of war. It was the wrong answer to the terrorism threat from the get-go. Investigations, surgical strikes, black ops, espionage and all the rest is how you take down vicious international thugs, not sending hundreds of thousands of American troops to Iraq or Afghanistan to "nation build."
(And to my usual critics: No, I didn't serve in uniform. The Vietnam war was over and the draft abolished by the time I graduated from high school. America went to an all-volunteer military and I chose not to enlist. I honor those who do serve and never, ever want to see our young servicemen and women committed to unnecessary wars where they are asked to risk their lives for the sake of some politician's "legacy" or a military contractor's profitability.)