The War: Debate in a Vacuum

Lyndon Johnson last week pondered one of the most critical decisions of his presidency—and he pondered it almost entirely alone. The question was how many more U.S. fighting men will be needed for the Viet Nam war. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, civilian policymakers at the Pentagon and State Department functionaries mulled over more than half a dozen plans, probably one from General William C. West moreland, the U.S. commander in Viet Nam, calling for 206,000 troops beyond the 525,000 already authorized. But there was a feeling that the debate was being...

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