Claudia Johnson passed away this week. Godspeed, nice lady.
Since the mid 80's, I've read many biographies about her husband. I'm not sure that you can say I'm an admirer of LBJ, but I am quite fascinated by him. He was sort of like Bill Clinton without the great looks. With all I've learned about him, I have grown to admire and respect his wife. I know at some point I always promised myself that when she finally shook the mortal coil, I would make a serious attempt to attend her memorial service, just because I respect her so much.
Of course, real life dictates that I do not attend her services. But I'll be there in spirit.
I heard a radio 'essayist' mention that back in 1966, when LBJ realized the war in Viet Nam was not winable, only 5% off all VN related casualties had been suffered (that is about 3,000). It is chilling to think that 50,000 US Troops died after 1966. (I have not confirmed the reliablility of the quoted casualty stats yet.)
As a war-mongering republican, I had always bristled at the comparisons betwen Viet Nam and Iraq. But now, when I have also come to believe that there is no good success strategy in place, I have to wonder if those comparisons have some merit.
Short of a mammoth surge (and a dedication to killing insurgents), how are we going to get out of this mess? The casualty counts aren't that high yet. But what is the additional investment of lives going to be?
I believe pulling out of Iraq in the near future will result in a apolcalytic slaughter similar to what we saw in Southeast Asia following 1975. But staying in Iraq without a more focused plan will lead to a slaughter of American soldiers.
If we are going to stay, we need to escalate the (killing-related) activity. A troop surge without aggressiveness is like a kiss without a squeeze. Changing hearts and minds, while an admirable idea, is not going to work on these people who hate for the sake of hating.
A quick note to Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota: You are an idiot. It doesn't matter if you are a Christian, Jew or Muslim, or whether you are black, brown or white. You are still an idiot.