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View Diary: Conservative liberals and the radical restorationists (117 comments)

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  •  Was going to give you a 2 but.... (none)
    we're all having a good discussion here, so I will instead point you in the direction of further argument that the book Paul recommends is right. Your argument is primarily "marginal" for lack of information, so here is the information you need.

    You should read David Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest," which is still the best book of biographies of all those who got us into Vietnam (it wasn't just LBJ, it was everyone around him who he looked to for advice since he knew he didn't understand foreign policy that well).  They were all seared by McCarthyism. By that, they were not so much seared by the "there are 57 communists in the State Department" line, but rather the argument put forward by the entire right:  "Who lost China?"  People these people had known, respected, and considered their mentors had their lives and careers destroyed over this.  

    No one under about 60 is now old enough to remember those days, and I (being that age) only remember it emotionally as a child from my family having our life turned topsy-turvy when my father was accused of being a "premature anti-fascist" for supporting the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, which lost him his job creating the electrical engineering school at the University of Houston and sent us back to Colorado to his old government employer, where he spent all the rest of the years of my childhood up to just before I graduated from high school cowering in the shadows and keeping a low profile so he could care for his family.

    All the people running the government at that time had themselves cowered in fear of being torn apart at a point in their careers where they were junionr/middle enough they could not have defended themselves, and they were bound and determined they were not going to expose themselves to such an event again.

    And in so doing, in so worrying about not allowing the right to destroy them, they destroyed themselves.

    William Goldman was right when he said the three rules of Hollywierd are "1) Nobody, 2) knows, 3) anything." Works in the real world, too.

    by HollywierdLiberal on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 06:23:56 PM PDT

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    •  i know the history fairly well (none)
      and i'm simply not convinced that lbj himself didn't have greater freedom of action than he chose to exercise. he had been a red-baiter in the 1950s and had the anticommunist credentials NOT to intervene as fully as he did -- and the decision to send in american combat troops was his.

      i'm not going to argue that the red scare wasn't an incredibly traumatizing event, and probably affected the mix of advice lbj received. however, there WERE advisers, i believe clark clifford was one, telling him that vietnam was a mistake. he just chose not to listen to them -- or to any of the people outside the administration who were opposed to the war.

      yes, not escalating in vietnam would have been a tough political decisin to make with the red scare in the recent past, but tough political decisions are something that presidents are paid to made. and given his considerable political chops, could probably have minimized the fallout.

      so yes, mccarthy helped prepare the ground (and i'm sorry to hear about your father), but i don't think this absolves lbj.

      non-resident or non-u.s. citizen? want to (legally) help defeat bush? see www.overseasvote.com

      by gracchus on Fri Sep 03, 2004 at 10:14:10 PM PDT

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