Is Obama's Afghanistan Turning Into LBJ's Vietnam?

Both presidents tried to push big home agendas during war
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2009 9:23 AM CDT
President Barack Obama walks from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Friday, Aug. 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – As the war in Afghanistan rages alongside President Obama’s sweeping domestic battles, he’s keenly aware of the dangers of becoming a modern-day LBJ, an insider tells the New York Times. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program at home was dogged by the Vietnam war, a historian says; Obama must “worry about the outcome” in Afghanistan “and how it could spill over into everything else he wants to accomplish.”

Afghanistan “has indisputably become his war,” Peter Baker writes, and Obama seeks to contain terrorism just as Johnson sought to contain communism. Meanwhile, war opposition is getting louder in Washington, and even Obama’s Afghan envoy finds success difficult to define. “We have the wolf by the ear,” says a retired Army officer—while there may not be the “political and financial capital” to “stick it out” 10 years, “withdrawing, the cost of that seems awfully high.” And, concludes Baker, "as LBJ discovered, the wolf has sharp teeth."