South Viet Nam: Toward the Showdown?

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the capital's doorstep. One night last week they opened a barrage on the army post of Vinhloc, only five miles west of the city. The crump of guerrilla mortars and government artillery shook buildings at Tan Son Nhut Airport on the city's edge, and flares dropped from patrol planes were clearly visible from downtown Saigon.

The objective, obviously, is to get a psychological strangle hold on the capital, a sprawling, pseudo-sophisticated city of more than 1,000,000, which has never seemed to take the war very seriously. But terrorism has increased, and people get off the sidewalks quickly at night, even the streetwalkers. Last week five U.S. servicemen and 15 Vietnamese were wounded when a bomb was heaved into Saigon's Shadows Bar while the dance floor was crowded with rhumba dancers. The day before, a man on a motorcycle tossed a grenade at six American advisers standing at a Saigon bus stop, missing them but injuring four Vietnamese shoppers.

Spinning Wheels. It was the fear that Khanh might be the country's last hope for survival that prompted Washington to rush to his support, chiefly through Defense Secretary McNamara, who has shuttled repeatedly to Saigon to confer with Khanh and to join him on tours of the countryside. Little by little, it became clear to McNamara that the doughty Vietnamese needed more—not less—U.S. personnel and equipment if he were to make a dent in the growing Viet Cong strength. Four months ago, the wheels began turning. McNamara's recommendation was seconded by then-U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, thrashed over again in June at the high-level conference on Southeast Asia in Honolulu, got the nod from new Ambassador Maxwell Taylor shortly after he arrived in Saigon a month ago. In Washington fortnight ago, limousines carrying McNamara and Secretary of State Rusk rolled up at the White House, and moments later the pair—joined by National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy—sat down in the oval office with Lyndon Johnson. They outlined the detailed plan for the further U.S. buildup. Johnson nodded, declared: "Let's go ahead."

Conquering the Virgin. The reinforcements will be partly concentrated on the hardening "doughnut" around Saigon but will also make possible more military advisers throughout the country—currently pegged at two U.S. officers and one enlisted man for each government battalion. The locals manning isolated outposts who comprise half the government's 400,000-man military force, will also get more U.S. help.

Also on the way are more of the fast, powerful AD1 Skyraider dive bombers. 85 of which have already been sent to replace battle-worn T-28 converted trainers: by year's end 150 Skyraiders will be in Viet Nam. Capable of hauling 10.000 Ibs. of rockets, bombs and other weaponry (for the T-28's 1,500 Ibs.), the stubby, potbellied Skyraiders can thus multiply the number of attacking runs possible during each sortie. Together with the U.S. Army's ubiquitous helicopters, the ADIs are increasing the effectiveness of the air-to-ground fighting that is becoming ever more important in Viet Nam. Last year, of 7.000 guerrilla dead, one of every three was killed from the air.

Especially heartening to the beleaguered Vietnamese leaders is the impending increase of U.S. Special Forces men, whose numbers will be doubled to 1,400. Gung-ho

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