Why Was: US Military Dead during Iraq War 993
Johnson was sort of like John Gotti. A criminal with a heart of gold, a sort of Robin Hood character. I really believe he cared deeply about the plight of Black Americans and the urban poor.
The mess of Vietnam was really created by Kennedy. Johnson inherited it at a point where it was arguably impossible to fix.
Nixon did a lot of remarkable things, but his methods were often despicable, as were Johnson's. The question is when we cross over the line where the end justifies the means. Nixon went way further over that line than Johnson. Perhaps Johnson's greatest virtue was in knowing when to quit.
With respect to the Cold War, perhaps the reason we didn't have a global thermonuclear conflict is because at some point people in a position to do so were willing to risk their own lives and careers to stop it from escalating to that point. It's an interesting question whether it might have had different people been in power.
Nixon had a role in preventing a nuclear confrontation between China's radical cultural revolution crowd and the US.
The disturbing thought is that there are still a huge number of nuclear ICBMs out there, we just ignore them.
Why Was: US Military Dead during Iraq War 994
You seem to put something else into the word "individualism" than I do. Being able to stand...
Yes, it's rather sad that it is so dirty. It's hard to understand why humans become so corrupted by power and greed, why we tend to elect the most corrupt "successful" people, and why we demand impossible things from our "leaders."
It seems that the truly noble tend to do the best they can for a while and then walk away, much as George Washington tried to teach by example. That or they are buttbuttinated before they have a chance to do so.
The less noble seem to linger on, but they, too, are often eventually victims of their own avarice and greed.