One point of the program, he explained, was to offer viewers "an insight into the mind of one president facing the choice of whether or not to send more and more American soldiers to fight in a far-away and strange place."
But another point was to offer Obama and his aides a caution that only a few wise and worldly senators provided Johnson back in the mid-1960s -- chief among them Oregon's Wayne Morse, about whom Johnson says on one of the tapes: "outside Morse, everybody I talk to says you got to go in..."
Moyers was not making crude or casual analogies.
"Granted," he explained early on, "Barack Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, Afghanistan is not Vietnam and this is now, not then. But listen and you will hear echoes and refrains that resonate today."
Now in a different world, at a different time, and with a different president, we face the prospect of enlarging a different war. But once again we're fighting in remote provinces against an enemy who can bleed us slowly and wait us out, because he will still be there when we are gone.
Once again, we are caught between warring factions in a country where other foreign powers fail before us. Once again, every setback brings a call for more troops, although no one can say how long they will be there or what it means to win. Once again, the government we are trying to help is hopelessly corrupt and incompetent.
And once again, a President pushing for critical change at home is being pressured to stop dithering, be tough, show he's got the guts, by sending young people seven thousand miles from home to fight and die, while their own country is coming apart.
And once again, the loudest case for enlarging the war is being made by those who will not have to fight it, who will be safely in their beds while the war grinds on (my em). And once again, a small circle of advisers debates the course of action, but one man will make the decision.
We will never know what would have happened if Lyndon Johnson had said no to more war. We know what happened because he said yes.
Video here and transcript here.
Shorter: "You've got to get in or get out. Get in, you're gonna lose. Get out, you're a pussy."
It's kinda like losing a bet on a ball game and then losing it again on the replay. Stupid.