Was Lyndon Johnson One of the Greatest Presidents Ever?

President Obama recently placed himself as the fourth greatest president of all time behind Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

When I first heard this I looked at the three presidents he rated higher than himself and instantly thought of Abraham Lincoln who freed the slaves, FDR who ushered in the New Deal which was a huge socialistic program and Lyndon Johnson who should have been convicted of war crimes against the American people and military.

Obama may have been looking at Johnson’s socialistic policies that included the Great Society and the War of Poverty, but he failed to look at who this man really was.

The early 1960s, the United States was getting involved in the United Nations’ ‘police action’ taking place in Viet Nam.  The country was divided about whether or not the US should even be involved in the Viet Nam War.

The 1964 presidential campaign narrowed down between Democrat Lyndon Johnson, who had assumed the office of President upon the assassination of John F Kennedy, and Republican Senator Barry Goldwater.  The number one issue of the campaign focused upon what each candidate would do about Viet Nam.

Incumbent Johnson told the American people that he was a president of peace and would do everything in his power to end the US involvement in Viet Nam and bring American troops home as quickly as possible.

Sen Goldwater also wanted to get US troops out of Viet Nam as quickly as possible, but he had a different idea.  He said that if we were there to fight a war, then we were going to fight it to win and get it over.  He said that if it meant dropping an atomic bomb to end the war, then he would be in favor of it.

The media, who was nearly as liberal then as they are now, quickly labeled Johnson as the candidate of peace and Goldwater as a warmonger.  The resulting presidential election was one of the most lopsided victories in history and Johnson was overwhelming re-elected.

Not long after the election, Johnson began his escalation of America’s involvement in Viet Nam and sent more and more troops to the war torn country.  Since the action was a United Nations ‘police action’ Johnson had every military offensive measure approved by the United Nations Security Council.

The Security Council at the time included representatives from communist nations.  In other words, we had to get permission from the communists to take action against the communists.  Then US Commander of our forces in Viet Nam was Gen Westmoreland.  Westmoreland understood the situation with the UN Security Council and bypassed them to launch what turned out to be the most successful offense push the US ever made in Viet Nam.  Rather than praise Westmoreland for his ingenuity and successful mission, President Johnson fired him and replaced him with a general who would do Johnson’s bidding.

President Johnson never made one motion toward peace or ending the US involvement in Viet Nam.  On the contrary, his escalating actions led to the deaths of nearly 50,000 American military personnel.  His entire campaign of peace was an outright lie that cost thousands of lives that need not have been lost.

I had the privilege to sit on a committee with Sen Goldwater after he retired from the US Senate.  Sitting to his right side on the committee for nearly a year, I became well acquainted with the politician and man.  On one occasion, I asked him about Viet Nam.  When I did, his face grew red with anger and he harshly referred to Johnson with a line of expletives that shocked even me.

Goldwater told me some of the things that happened in Washington DC under Johnson’s second term and it was he who told me that Johnson was a traitor to the nation and to our military and should have been tried for war crimes.  I’ll never forget when Goldwater looked me straight in the eye and said that Johnson was the lyingest politician he had ever known and that Johnson will rot in Hell for his crimes against America.

I asked Goldwater what he would have done different with Viet Nam and the United Nations had he been elected.  He told me that one of the first things he wanted to do as President was to “kick the UN’s ass out of our country.”  As for Viet Nam, he would never had told the UN anything about what we intended to do and he would have used military leaders that would have led a fast and decisive war and end the conflict as quickly as possible.  When I asked if he was serious about dropping the bomb on Viet Nam if necessary and he said that he would have done it as a last resort to bring a quick end to the conflict so he could bring all US troops home.

In my dealings with Sen Goldwater, I have to say that he was one of the most honest politicians I’ve ever known.  He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and didn’t care if the truth offended someone or not.

The more I looked into Johnson’s political career, the more I found myself having to agree with Goldwater in that he was a prolific liar and probably should have been tried and convicted of war crimes against the US and the US military for knowingly sending them into actions that he had already notified the communists we were fighting against that we were going to do.

And this is one of the three greatest presidents that Obama admires?  Says a lot about himself, doesn’t it?