American Interest Editorial: “Reluctant warriors…dwell in the hell of half-measures”

From American Interest:

“Reluctant warriors do not often make good wartime commanders-in-chief. Woodrow Wilson promised to keep the United States out of the World War only to enter it, and affect its termination, as a goo-goo-eyed secular crusader in a way that prefigured the toxic twenty-year truce that led to World War II and the Holocaust. Lyndon Baines Johnson did not want to Americanize the war in Vietnam in 1964-65, but he reluctantly gave in to his military commanders and advisors in the interest of “not losing”, bequeathing the counterproductive doctrine of graduated response that, in the end, lengthened the war and got more people on all sides killed in consequence. Reluctant warriors, whether prone to excessive ambition that would atone for the sins of violence, as with Saint Woodrow, or whether prone instead to dwell in the hell of half-measures, as with LBJ, make special kinds of mistakes.”

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