The turning point: 1968


President Johnson reviews reports from Khe Sanh in the White House situation room

“It was February 5, 1968, and Washington Star reporter Jack Horner had an angry President Lyndon Johnson on the phone. Johnson liked Horner and was willing to talk to him without being quoted, but he couldn’t contain his frustration with the press. ‘On this South Vietnamese thing,’ Johnson said, his voice rising, ‘we think we’ve killed 20,000. We think we’ve lost 400, . . . [I]t is a major, dramatic victory. And I think, what woulda happened if I’d lost 20,000 and they’d lost 400?’ Three and a half minutes later, the president hung up. The rest of the year wouldn’t get any easier. …”
Miller Center (Audio)

When the Wise Men Failed
“On Nov. 2, 1967, a dozen or so of America’s most respected foreign policy mandarins assembled at the White House to meet with President Johnson and his top Vietnam advisers. While the president maintained a sternly optimistic public face on the war, the conflict was threatening to consume his Presidency, and so he sought the wisdom of these advisers, a virtual Mount Rushmore of America’s postwar foreign policy establishment. October had been a most unkind month to the president. Polls revealed that public support for the war, and for Johnson, was eroding, and the punishing bombing campaign against North Vietnam was an increasing point of dissent. The demands of his military commanders for more troops seemed insatiable. Johnson had recently, and reluctantly, authorized one final increase, to 525,000 by the end of 1967 (there had been 23,000 American military personnel in Vietnam in December 1964). And the president knew that any additional increment in manpower would require mobilizing the reserves, further exposing the mounting costs of the war. Behind closed doors, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was despairing of the war effort.  …”
NY Times


About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Lyn. Johnson, MLKJr., R. McNamara, Race Riots, Rob. Kennedy, Tet 1968, Viet Cong, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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