If I google the word "dither," I get 238,000 hits. If I search within those results for "dither Obama," I somehow get about 597,00 hits.
And who says there's a right wing echo chamber?
Our glorious hardass ex-vice president, whose administration essentially ignored Afghanistan for eight years, now accuses Pres. Obama of "dithering" over the decision to commit more U.S. troops there.
Saying Mr. Other Priorities turns my stomach is the most even-tempered thing I can come up with right now.
Bill Moyers recently played recordings of President Lyndon Johnson as he was "dithering" over committing more American troops to Vietnam. Johnson — who inherited the commitment from the previous administration, who wanted to focus on domestic policy, who was hounded by right wing opponents who wanted to bomb North Vietnam back to the stone age, and who had the example of the French failure before him — had countless advisors tell him what an unwinnable mess he had on his hands.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: What do you think about this Vietnam thing? What, what, I'd like to hear you talk a little bit.
[Senate Armed Services Chairman] RICHARD RUSSELL: Frankly, Mr. President, if you were to tell me that I was authorized to settle it as I saw fit, I would respectfully decline and not take it.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: [chuckles]
RICHARD RUSSELL: It's a, it's a, it's the damn worst mess I ever saw, and I don't like to brag. I never have been right many times in my life. But I knew we were going to get into this sort of mess when we went in there. And I don't see how we're going ever to get out without fighting a major war with the Chinese and all of them down there in those rice paddies and jungles [...] I just don't know what to do.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: Well, that's the way that I've been feeling for six months.
RICHARD RUSSELL: It appears our position is deteriorating. And it looks like the more we try to do for them, the less that they're willing to do for themselves [...] It's a hell, a hell of a situation. It's a mess. And it's going to get worse. And I don't know what to do. I don't think that the American people are quite ready for us to send our troops in there to do the fighting. And if it came down to an option of just sending the Americans in there to do the fighting, which will, of course, eventually lead into a ground war and a conventional war with China [...] If it got down to that or just pulling out, I'd get out. But then I don't know. There's undoubtedly some middle ground somewhere [...]
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: How important is it to us?
RICHARD RUSSELL: It isn't important a damn bit, with all these new missile systems.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: Well, I guess it's important to us-
RICHARD RUSSELL: From a psychological standpoint.
RICHARD RUSSELL: Of course you'd look pretty good, I guess, going in there with all the troops and sending them all in there, but I tell you it'll be the most expensive venture this country ever went into.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: I just haven't got the nerve to do it, and I don't see any other way out of it.
RICHARD RUSSELL: It's one of these things where "heads I win, tails you lose."
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: Well, think about it and I'll talk to you again. I hate to bother you, but I just-
RICHARD RUSSELL: I wish I could help you. God knows I do 'cause it's a, it's a terrific quandary that we're in over there. We're just in the quicksand up to our very necks. And I just don't know what the hell is the best way to do about it.
In another conversation with Russell
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: But they say that, well a fellow like A.W. Moursund said to me last night, -damn, there's not anything that'll destroy you as quick as pulling out, pulling up stakes and running, that America wants by God, prestige and power. And they don't want-I said, yeah, but I don't want to-I don't want to kill these folks. He said, I don't give a damn. He said, I didn't want to kill 'em in Korea, but said, if you don't stand up for America, there's nothing that a fellow in Johnson City-or Georgia or any other place-they'll forgive you for everything except being weak.
RICHARD RUSSELL: Well there's a lot in that. There's a whole lot in that.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: Goldwater and all of 'em raising hell about go on, let's hot pursuit. Let's go in and bomb them [...]
RICHARD RUSSELL: It'd take a half million men. They'd be bogged down in there for ten years. And oh hell no.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON: We never did clean Korea up yet.
RICHARD RUSSELL: No it ain't clean yet. We're right where we started [...] I didn't ever want to get messed up down there. I do not agree with those brain trusters who say that this thing has got tremendous strategic and economic value and that we'll lose everything in Southeast, in Asia if we lose Vietnam. I don't think that's true. But I think as a practical matter, we're in there and I don't know how the hell you can tell the American people you're coming out. There's just no way to do it. They'll think that you've just been whipped, you've been ruined, you're scared. And, it'd be disastrous.
It wasn't Johnson's dithering that killed more than 50,000 Americans. And it isn't Dick Cheney's bravery on the talk shows that is going to accomplish what he could not do in power.
You could take the Moyers transcript and change the names, and we'd be heading back to the same damn place, only drier.