Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rearview Mirror: Reagan calls for facts on Viet Nam War.(October 22, 1965)

Perhaps surprisingly, in October of 1965 one of the most controversial issues in the Reagan campaign for California governor was his position on Vietnam.  It had been previously reported that Reagan proposed “an unqualified declaration of war,” though the Gipper denied this.  

It’s not entirely clear to me what the distinction supposedly was between calling for a declaration of war and for an unqualified declaration of war.  Apparently, Reagan quite publicly called upon President Johnson to present all the facts of the conflict to the American people and to the Congress and to ask for a declaration.  
Once we are committed to large scale warfare, if we are to abide by the constitution, I think the president should go before congress and let them decide for war or peace—unless there are factors that are not being told us…Once you ask young men to fight and die for our country, there is a moral obligation to achieve our object and lessen the chance for them to give their lives.

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