Reading the book I'm struck by the threads of continuity running from 1970 to 2010. America was in a state of imperial overstretch, riven by a foolish war and roiled by divisive politics. And Hart has had a unique vantage point throughout.
The current fight over the building of an Islamic study center near Ground Zero here in Manhattan is reminiscent of another battle nearly thirty years ago over a Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
US forces won every battle in Vietnam. Every damn battle. But we didn't have the will to win. As high as the stakes were said to be, the actual stakes were pretty low. Do we have the will to win in Afghanistan?
Like Johnson, Obama inherited this mess, but as of Jan. 20, 2009, it was his mess to clean up. What's really at stake is whether historians will view BHO in Afghanistan as synonymous with LBJ in Vietnam.
As part of its efforts during the Vietnam War, the U.S. carried out a nine-year bombing campaign in Laos that ultimately dropped 260 million cluster bombs on the country. Many of those bombs never detonated.