Obama’s War and Nixon’s War

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I noticed that the war in Afghanistan is now increasingly and correctly referred to as “Obama’s War.” The Vietnam War was once Johnson’s War and then it became Nixon’s War.

Yet, tellingly, according to Robert McNamara in The Fog of War, when Johnson left office, there had been 25,000 Americans who had been killed in the war. This was less than half, of course. When it was all over, more than 58,000 Americans would die, which means Nixon all by himself sent 33,000 Americans to die in vain.

All this conveniently ignores the millions of Vietnamese humans who were incinerated or dismembered by American weaponry, but it is a nice reminder of the sort of mass murder that presidents can commit through wars they don’t even start.

10:40 pm on December 15, 2009
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