Thursday, August 29, 2013

LBJ Syndrome


As of this writing, David Cameron, English PM, has, astonishingly, been shot down in parliament vis a vis his desire to join the U.S. in any sort of military strike against Syria.

Wow.

Remember how, re Iraq, Tony Blair, PM at the time, was deemed GW Bush's poodle? (Me, I preferred to think GW Bush was actually Blair's Rottweiler. Well, I thought that was funny.)

So we won't even have England with us, this time, as we lunge into Syria, as lunge we will.

A few thoughts about Obama: I like to think of him as *relatively* un-enchanted by war. As compared to GW Bush, there can be no doubt. Yet Obama approved a "surge" in Afghanistan that accomplished nothing, was doomed from the start to accomplish precisely that, given that Obama simultaneously pledged withdrawal of American troops in 2014.

(Silly, isn't it? The Taliban hadn't mastered the calendar?)

So why did Obama surge in Afghanistan only to un-surge, too?

Pressure from generals who wanted some campaign, any campaign, to replace the campaign in Iraq from which we were "drawing down"?

Or is Obama divided in his own mind about war itself, and his high office?

Does he suffer a version of the LBJ complex?

LBJ was a  transformative leader when it came to absolutely fundamental domestic issues, eg desegregation and health care.

But he couldn’t let himself be the first American president to lose a war, so he said. Hence the escalation upon escalation in Vietnam that kept him from a second elected term and have severely tarnished his legacy.

Is Obama afflicted with some version of the LBJ syndrome? Some susceptibility to a war he can't refuse? Some need not to turn back from a conflict he can call his own even though it leads nowhere?







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