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Johnson told the JCS at a 1963 Christmas party, "just get me elected, and you can have your war." Have seen this used in several books and a movie but never have been able to determine its ultimate source. who wrote it down, reported, it or recorded it?

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Johnson told the JCS at a 1963 Christmas party, "just get me elected, and you can have your war." What is the source of this, i've seen it used in several books and a movie and haven't been able to determine it origin; i.e., where was it first reported, who recorded it or reported it.

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What possible influence do the JCS have in getting a president elected in the first place?

and a simple Google search yields this

JFK: Oliver Stone and the Vietnam War

By Stanley Karnow

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/karnow.htm

Lifting a Quote Out of Context

In one of JFK's most pivotal scenes, a secret agent tells Garrison about a late 1963 White House reception at which Johnson told the joint chiefs of staff, "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." Stone, by his own admission, borrowed the anecdote from my book, and I am convinced of its accuracy, having heard it from Gen. Harold K. Johnson, then the army chief of staff and a guest at the party. I used the story to illustrate Lyndon Johnson's practice of making different promises to different factions. In this instance, he estimated that by placating the brass he could rally their conservative allies on Capitol Hill behind his liberal social agenda. At the same time, as I wrote, he confided to members of Congress who had qualms about Vietnam that he had no intention of getting immersed in that "damn pissant little country." However, Stone, to depict Johnson as a warmonger, lifted the story out of context.

Stone and Sklar cite Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: A History, Viking, 1983, as authority for their Johnson dialogue:

http://www.ctka.net/letters/jock2.html

Johnson subscribed to the adage that "wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals." He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces "need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic," and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislationunless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him "soft on communism" were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and braid with promises he may have never intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the joint chiefs of staff: "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." (p. 326)

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What possible influence do the JCS have in getting a president elected in the first place?

and a simple Google search yields this

JFK: Oliver Stone and the Vietnam War

By Stanley Karnow

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/karnow.htm

Lifting a Quote Out of Context

In one of JFK's most pivotal scenes, a secret agent tells Garrison about a late 1963 White House reception at which Johnson told the joint chiefs of staff, "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." Stone, by his own admission, borrowed the anecdote from my book, and I am convinced of its accuracy, having heard it from Gen. Harold K. Johnson, then the army chief of staff and a guest at the party. I used the story to illustrate Lyndon Johnson's practice of making different promises to different factions. In this instance, he estimated that by placating the brass he could rally their conservative allies on Capitol Hill behind his liberal social agenda. At the same time, as I wrote, he confided to members of Congress who had qualms about Vietnam that he had no intention of getting immersed in that "damn pissant little country." However, Stone, to depict Johnson as a warmonger, lifted the story out of context.

Stone and Sklar cite Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: A History, Viking, 1983, as authority for their Johnson dialogue:

http://www.ctka.net/letters/jock2.html

Johnson subscribed to the adage that "wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals." He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces "need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic," and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislationunless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him "soft on communism" were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and braid with promises he may have never intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the joint chiefs of staff: "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." (p. 326)

so its circumstantial and self-referential. p.s. macadams is radioactive

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Guest Robert Morrow

What possible influence do the JCS have in getting a president elected in the first place?

and a simple Google search yields this

JFK: Oliver Stone and the Vietnam War

By Stanley Karnow

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/karnow.htm

Lifting a Quote Out of Context

In one of JFK's most pivotal scenes, a secret agent tells Garrison about a late 1963 White House reception at which Johnson told the joint chiefs of staff, "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." Stone, by his own admission, borrowed the anecdote from my book, and I am convinced of its accuracy, having heard it from Gen. Harold K. Johnson, then the army chief of staff and a guest at the party. I used the story to illustrate Lyndon Johnson's practice of making different promises to different factions. In this instance, he estimated that by placating the brass he could rally their conservative allies on Capitol Hill behind his liberal social agenda. At the same time, as I wrote, he confided to members of Congress who had qualms about Vietnam that he had no intention of getting immersed in that "damn pissant little country." However, Stone, to depict Johnson as a warmonger, lifted the story out of context.

Stone and Sklar cite Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: A History, Viking, 1983, as authority for their Johnson dialogue:

http://www.ctka.net/letters/jock2.html

Johnson subscribed to the adage that "wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals." He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces "need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic," and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislationunless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him "soft on communism" were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and braid with promises he may have never intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the joint chiefs of staff: "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." (p. 326)

Hey, I've got a few questions for Stanley Karnow. Did we go to Vietnam? And WHEN did we go. And WHO put us in there?

The USA ramped up its Vietnam presence in 1965 within 9 months of LYNDON JOHNSON being re-elected. Lyndon Johnson made a lot or promises to a lot of people. The key thing is WHICH promises he decided to keep.

Stanley Karnow has a LOT to learn about the Vietnam War and how we got in there. Usually these types have not figured out (yet) that the JFK assassination was a full blown coup d'etat.

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  • 11 years later...

Re-posting this old thread for Ron Bulman in reference to our search for the alleged December 1963 LBJ quote, "Just get me elected and you can have your war."

It sounds like the original source for the quote was U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Harold K. Johnson.

 

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50 minutes ago, W. Niederhut said:

Re-posting this old thread for Ron Bulman in reference to our search for the alleged December 1963 LBJ quote, "Just get me elected and you can have your war."

It sounds like the original source for the quote was U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Harold K. Johnson.

 

Bingo!  Thats a legitimate source.  If the author heard it directly from the General, who was there, it's a firsthand quote.  No matter the authors out of context bs.  LBJ did give them their war.  JFK did not and he died for it in part.

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On 3/2/2011 at 5:08 PM, David Josephs said:

What possible influence do the JCS have in getting a president elected in the first place?

and a simple Google search yields this

JFK: Oliver Stone and the Vietnam War

By Stanley Karnow

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/karnow.htm

Lifting a Quote Out of Context

In one of JFK's most pivotal scenes, a secret agent tells Garrison about a late 1963 White House reception at which Johnson told the joint chiefs of staff, "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." Stone, by his own admission, borrowed the anecdote from my book, and I am convinced of its accuracy, having heard it from Gen. Harold K. Johnson, then the army chief of staff and a guest at the party. I used the story to illustrate Lyndon Johnson's practice of making different promises to different factions. In this instance, he estimated that by placating the brass he could rally their conservative allies on Capitol Hill behind his liberal social agenda. At the same time, as I wrote, he confided to members of Congress who had qualms about Vietnam that he had no intention of getting immersed in that "damn pissant little country." However, Stone, to depict Johnson as a warmonger, lifted the story out of context.

Stone and Sklar cite Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: A History, Viking, 1983, as authority for their Johnson dialogue:

http://www.ctka.net/letters/jock2.html

Johnson subscribed to the adage that "wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals." He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces "need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic," and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislationunless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him "soft on communism" were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and braid with promises he may have never intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the joint chiefs of staff: "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." (p. 326)

 

On 3/2/2011 at 5:08 PM, David Josephs said:

What possible influence do the JCS have in getting a president elected in the first place?

and a simple Google search yields this

JFK: Oliver Stone and the Vietnam War

By Stanley Karnow

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/karnow.htm

Lifting a Quote Out of Context

In one of JFK's most pivotal scenes, a secret agent tells Garrison about a late 1963 White House reception at which Johnson told the joint chiefs of staff, "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." Stone, by his own admission, borrowed the anecdote from my book, and I am convinced of its accuracy, having heard it from Gen. Harold K. Johnson, then the army chief of staff and a guest at the party. I used the story to illustrate Lyndon Johnson's practice of making different promises to different factions. In this instance, he estimated that by placating the brass he could rally their conservative allies on Capitol Hill behind his liberal social agenda. At the same time, as I wrote, he confided to members of Congress who had qualms about Vietnam that he had no intention of getting immersed in that "damn pissant little country." However, Stone, to depict Johnson as a warmonger, lifted the story out of context.

Stone and Sklar cite Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: A History, Viking, 1983, as authority for their Johnson dialogue:

http://www.ctka.net/letters/jock2.html

Johnson subscribed to the adage that "wars are too serious to be entrusted to generals." He knew, as he once put it, that armed forces "need battles and bombs and bullets in order to be heroic," and that they would drag him into a military conflict if they could. But he also knew that Pentagon lobbyists, among the best in the business, could persuade conservatives in Congress to sabotage his social legislationunless he satisfied their demands. As he girded himself for the 1964 presidential campaign, he was especially sensitive to the jingoists who might brand him "soft on communism" were he to back away from the challenge in Vietnam. So, politician that he was, he assuaged the brass and braid with promises he may have never intended to keep. At a White House reception on Christmas Eve 1963, for example, he told the joint chiefs of staff: "Just let me get elected, and then you can have your war." (p. 326)

Not a surprise really that it was DJ outing this 11 years ago.  He's that good several times over on different aspects still today.  With John Armstrong, see the How did Fritz Know thread.  This thread is from before I followed much less joined the forum.

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BTW, when the movie came out, Oliver's opponents tried to do everything to back track this quote.

In other words, it really did not mean what it meeant.

As per how the JCS could have helped get LBJ elected, it was through the joint OPLAN 34A DeSoto Patrols in the Tonkin Gulf. And also their mapping out a target list for LBJ in NSAM 288 for expanded air strikes over North Vietnam.  Finally, it was helping Saigon hang on and not fall before LBJ's target date for direct American Intervention.

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4 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

BTW, when the movie came out, Oliver's opponents tried to do everything to back track this quote.

In other words, it really did not mean what it meeant.

As per how the JCS could have helped get LBJ elected, it was through the joint OPLAN 34A DeSoto Patrols in the Tonkin Gulf. And also their mapping out a target list for LBJ in NSAM 288 for expanded air strikes over North Vietnam.  Finally, it was helping Saigon hang on and not fall before LBJ's target date for direct American Intervention.

Right. And anyone who ever worked with LBJ would say he knew what elections were about.

LBJ also knew what Biden recently found out. If any candidate or President is not wanted or liked  by the Pentagon, stories can be leaked, narratives framed, blame laid. 

Biden probably made the right choice in Afghanistan. But any number of narratives were floated about the horrendous catastrophe that was Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan. Where did these narratives come from? The Deep State-Pentagon. Domestic groups and voters don't give a hoot about Afghanistan. 

Though it is not PC to say so, even before he was elected Trump was targeted by the Deep State. They wanted Hillary, a known commodity and a hawk. Trump was a lulu, talked about leaving Nato, or S Korea. (This does not make Trump a nice guy or a hero, or even coherent. It just means the Deep State went after Trump). 

LBJ knew he had to play ball with the Pentagon, the Deep State. At any point "Who lost China" or similar could become a story. 

Sadly, LBJ on some levels always knew Vietnam was a bad idea. 

 

 

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He had to do Vietnam because that's why he was put in office. He

knew it was doomed and it would destroy him as well,

but he felt he had no choice. His story was a classical tragedy.

Edited by Joseph McBride
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14 hours ago, Joseph McBride said:

He had to do Vietnam because that's why he was put in office. He

knew it was doomed and it would destroy him as well,

but he felt he had no choice. His story was a classical tragedy.

Iago (in Othello) comes to mind.  We have to rule out Macbeth because, unlike Macbeth, LBJ was not a courageous military hero.

I have noticed that Phillip Nelson doesn't get much respect around here, but I think Nelson made a very convincing circumstantial case for LBJ's complicity in JFK's murder in his two books on the subject.

But LBJ, the sly sociopath, was always very slick about covering his tracks -- e.g., disguising himself as a champion of Civil Rights after 1963, after colluding with the Dixiecrats in Congress for years to sabotage Civil Rights legislation.  He was wooing the liberals in the Democratic Party in 1964 and 1965, posing as a man committed to supporting JFK's policy agendas (while secretly reversing JFK's foreign policies.)

One of LBJ's slyest con jobs, IMO, was his professed skepticism about the conclusions of the Warren Commission Report.

If he had expressed support for the WCR, it would have aroused suspicion.

 

Edited by W. Niederhut
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William, you just jabbed me.

In my four part review of Novick/Burns, I compared LBJ to MacBeth.

Because as the war gets worse and worse, one by one the Kennedy guys desert him: Salinger, Schlesinger, Sorenson, Powers, Ball, Bundy, he dismisses McNamara and he is left ranting over Vietnam until Acheson walks out on him.

More like The Scottish play than the Moorish one I think. 

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