Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The More Things Change #53012

As most of you know by now, I'm in the middle of reading Robert Caro's latest book on Lyndon Johnson -- The Passage of Power . I read page 396 last night.

"Liberals wanted a larger role for government, wanted bigger, and new, government social welfare programs and therefore a larger budget. They believed the $11 billion tax cut would, by putting more money into people's pockets, stimulate the economy and thereby increase tax revenues, and the money the government would have available for these programs. Conservatives, uneasy about an expansion of government's role and about the proposed new programs, were opposed to the deficits that would be produced by the higher spending, and believed the deficits would be increased by the tax cuts. So Johnson, in starting to deal with the budget, would immediately find himself plunged into the middle of the intense ideological warfare between conservatives and liberals."

History is enlightening, no?

Liberals and conservatives haven't switched sides but they aren't afraid to use each other's talking points. And, I'll point out, these people that are oh-so-concerned about the budget don't mind staring another 10+ year land war in Asia shortly after this period under discussion.

Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?!!

(By the way, I believe that brings this blog full circle. Yes, Virginia, you have to follow the links to keep up.)

We didn't watch Iraq or Afghanistan on TV at the supper table like we did Vietnam. The military learned its lesson. It kept reporters as far away as possible. It also got rid of the draft. Don't kid yourself about it kids. If you knew you were going to get drafted for Afghanistan -- just knew it -- you'd be a lot more involved in your government's affairs. The thought of losing your leg, your life or your son will do that. Especially if you're reminded of it every single night on the TV as you sit down to dinner.

I'll also mention that our interest in our wars has lessened because our wars have been privatized. The vast majority of Americans that were drafted didn't serve in combat. They were cooks, clerks and mechanics. But they served. And they knew at any time they could wind up cooking in Khe Sanh instead of California. Now we hire all that out to private contractors.

History calls them mercenaries.

Don Brown
May 30, 2012

1 comment:

Comrade Misfit said...

Once the Army dropped Westmoreland's strategy for warfighting (feed more and more men into the meatgrinder), the need for a draft went away. Eight million men and women served in Vietnam.

The peak of forces on the ground were over 500,000- by coincidence, the number that was estimated as necessary to provide a secure occupation in Iraq.