Vietnam War vs. Great Society Essay

2136 Words9 Pages
Vietnam War vs. Great Society Anonymous: "[Johnson] had miscalculated: Even the richest and most powerful nation in the world could not do it all" (qtd. in Turbulent Years: The 60s 36). Lyndon Baines Johnson is a president torn to pieces by war. He glows in the passage of bills benefiting American society. He is someone who has suffered through an entire generation of rebellious teens. What impact did LBJ's foreign policies concerning Vietnam War have on American society? The Vietnam War really isn't a war. Congress never declared war and thus, it is constitutionally considered police action. The United States can have troops in an area for ninety days, but how ninety days became twelve long, bloody years is beyond my knowledge. The…show more content…
Even before Johnson became president, he had visions of a perfect society (Turbulent Years 67). When he did become president, he pushed as many of those ideas through Congress as possible. For instance, several medical aid and civil rights bills went into Congress and were approved. This was the crowning glory of Johnson's presidency. Unfortunately, the Vietnam War ate a lot of government money and some of the Great Society bills just couldn't get through because of money problems. "Guns and butter," Johnson said, "should both be funded by Congress" (qtd. in Rubel 179). He was met with a lot of resistance because people rendered that idea impossible. It was obvious to everyone that the Great Society was much more important to Johnson than the Vietnam War. He was willing to leave the war to develop the Great Society, but by the time he voiced that feeling, he had pushed the war to a point of no return. Many ordinary Americans saw from the start that we could not possibly win Vietnam for the South Vietnamese. It was regarded as a "no-winner" (Encarta IV, C). Even so, we supported South Vietnam with containment, which was the Cold War policy of keeping Communism within its borders, instead of trying to get rid of it. Unlike the Korean War, we fought to keep South Vietnam, but we did not fight to gain control of North Vietnam. Why did we go to war if we thought
Open Document