Posted on | April 12, 2014 | 44 Comments
That was one of the slogans chanted by anti-Vietnam War radicals at protests circa 1967-68. Another one was, “Ho! Ho! Ho Chi Minh! The NLF is gonna win!” NLF was the National Liberation Front, otherwise known as the Vietcong, so that the Left was cheering for terrorists long before 9/11 and the Bush-era madness of Ward Churchill, et al.
The truth about the 1960s — especially the pro-Communist, anti-American allegiances of the so-called “peace movement” — is nearly forgotten now, and no one under 40 knows anything at all about it. Our education system is such a complete failure that the past is a tabula rasa for most young people, whose knowledge of history ranges from minimal to non-existent. And most of what young people think they “know” about the 1960s is substantially wrong. Anti-war protesters were not seeking “peace” in Vietnam, they were seeking Communist victory, and the reason they hated Lyndon Baines Johnson was because he was in favor of defeating the Communists.
It was therefore with astonishment that I watched MSNBC Thursday attempt to retrieve and repair LBJ’s reputation as a liberal hero. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Listening to hour after hour of paeans to LBJ’s wonders, I almost wished that someone might put the 1968 versions of Tom Hayden and Stokeley Carmichael into a time machine, and transport them to the MSNBC set where they could denounce Lyndon Johnson as the morally bankrupt old fraud he was.
There was once a sort of bipartisan consensus about this: Left-wingers hated LBJ for fighting the Vietnam war; right-wingers hated him because he wouldn’t fight to win in Vietnam. Quite a few young anti-war radicals of the ’60s grew up to become conservative Republicans and Reagan voters; the one thing they never became, however, was the kind of liberals who supported LBJ. This past week’s weird carnival of liberal Lyndon-love was offensive to me. Left-winger Michael Kazin also had about as much of it as he could stand:
LBJ, wrote my friend E.J. Dionne, presided over “a consensual period when a large and confident majority believed that national action could expand opportunities and alleviate needless suffering. The earthily practical Johnson showed that finding realistic ways of creating a better world is what Americans are supposed to do.” Not a word about those countless people in Southeast Asia whose lives reached their unnatural limits when they encountered an American infantryman with an M-16 or a bomb dropped from a B-52.
Of course, to remember what the United States, during LBJ’s tenure, did to Vietnam and to the young Americans who served there does not cancel out his domestic achievements. But to portray him solely as a paragon of empathy, a liberal hero with a minor flaw or two, is not merely a feat of willful amnesia. It is deeply immoral.
You can read the whole thing at the New Republic. Of course, Kazin is a Commie-loving pinko traitor, but at least he has the intellectual integrity to tell the truth about Lyndon Johnson.