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Apropos of the previous post about Iraq and Vietnam, here’s a passage TPM Reader KS sent along. It’s a tape of a conversation between LBJ and McGeorge Bundy about Vietnam back on May 27th, 1964 …
Johnson: And we just got to think about it. I’m looking at this Sergeant of mine this morning and he’s got 6 little old kids over there, and he’s getting out my things, and bringing me in my night reading, and all that kind of stuff, and I just thought about ordering all those kids in there. And what in the hell am I ordering them out there for? What in the hell is Vietnam worth to me? What is Laos worth to me? What is it worth to this country? We’ve got a treaty but hell, everybody else has got a treaty out there, and they’re not doing a thing about it.
Bundy: Yeah, yeah.
Johnson: Of course, if you start running from the Communists, they may just chase you right into your own kitchen.
Bundy: Yeah, that’s the trouble. And that is what the rest of that half of the world is going to think if this thing comes apart on us. That’s the dilemma, that’s exactly the dilemma.
See the whole transcript here.
Late Update: And more. I’m not as sure of the provenance of this quote as the one above. But according to a 2003 article from Knight-Ridder, LBJ also said: “If we quit Vietnam,” President Lyndon Johnson warned, “tomorrow we’ll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week we’ll have to fight in San Francisco.”