From 1964 to 1968, close to 34,000 Americans died in South Vietnam. We will never know how many Vietnamese women, men, and children perished during those years, but the total, according to most estimates, was at least one million. Among the dead were tens of thousands of civilians—blown apart by explosives dropped from planes, burned to death by napalm, or gunned down by U.S.
We think we have a handle on LBJ—the raw ambition, the animal physicality, the gaping insecurities—but for the most part, we’re just redrawing the cartoon.
Historians weigh in with their top choices
When President Barack Obama delivers his sixth State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, he is expected to address ways of combatting economic inequality, as well as reforming immigration and the NSA. Skilled orator though he is, Obama will have a tough time living up to many of his predecessors, whose State of the Union addresses uplifted the spirit and psyche of the country in hard economic and political times.
If you dismiss the War on Poverty simply because poverty is still high, then you’re not making a serious argument.
Fifty years ago Wednesday, Lyndon B. Johnson announced a War on Poverty in his first State of the Union address. "It will not be a short or easy struggle; no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on Earth can afford to win it." Popular when it was first announced, it quickly became unpopular, fueled by the disapproval of Johnson due to Vietnam, the urban riots of the 1960s and subsequent crime wave, and the coding of the War on Poverty as a pure welfare scheme.