Path to War (2002) Movie Script

Congratulations, Mr. President.
Just the beginnin, Bob.
Sir! Mr. President, over here, please.
Thank you.
She is pretty.
Havin a good time, George?
Great night, Mr. President.
What a night.
Senator Dirksen,
the President would be delighted
if you'd join him in the Oval Office
after the ball.
I will.
One thing I can say
about the Great Society:
it sure is crowded!
Up all night writing this one, Dick?
Uh, this is one speech
I'll gladly disavow.
Got a clippin here.
Quotes my honorable defeated opponent,
Senator Goldwater.
Calls my Secretary of Defense
an IBM machine with legs!
Now, I stand here tonight
to tell you this,
that I regard Bob McNamara here
as not only one of the smartest
but one of the most humane men I know.
Right here.
And that goes
for all my blue ribbon men
you see here tonight.
Never in our history
has there been such
an abundance of brain and talent,
why I've got three
our four Rhodes scholars,
four or five graduates of Harvard,
a couple from Yale, and why,
there's even one here tonight
from Southwest Texas
State Teachers College!
And don't you know,
that one rules the roost!
Thank you.
Watch broken, Jack?
Timin it.
Timin what?
The applause. He'll ask.
In a land of great wealth,
families must not live
in hopeless poverty.
In a land rich in harvest,
children just must not go hungry.
In a land of healing miracles,
neighbors must not suffer
and die unattended.
In a great land of learning
and scholars,
young people must be taught
to read and write.
A bit more volume, please,
Mr. President.
I want to hear every brilliant word
that Dick Goodwin wrote
for your marvelous speech.
Goodwin!? Who told you Goodwin wrote
that speech?
A dozen people work on my speeches,
and nobody more than I do.
Why Jack here's been writin some
of my best stuff for seven years.
My penance for marryin away
his last secretary.
But, thank you for the credit,
Mr. President.
All right, good night, Jack.
Good night, Mr. President.
Good night, Senator.
Good night, Jack.
Yeah, Goodwin wrote
maybe a word or two.
Mhm. Great being one.
Society the other.
Smart sonovabitch got
that out of a book.
Now, listen to me, Ev and listen well.
You're a good friend,
I don't want to see
you retire prematurely.
But as this reception
plainly shows you,
the American people ain't
gonna stand for you
fellahs in the other side
of the isle draggin your feet
in any of my programs.
Now, FDR passed a handful of bills
in his first hundred days.
I'm gonna pass a bucketful.
Poverty, education, healthcare.
I'm gonna finish what I started
on Civil Rights, too.
I'm tellin ya, Jim Crow put a collar
on more smart men,
sure as they were sentenced
to an Illinois chain gang.
Whoa-whoa-whoa. I take offense, sir.
We are most humane to our condemned.
The Great Society
is my beautiful woman, Ev,
and I'm takin her by the arm.
And as the greatest republican leader
in this century,
Edward Dirksen's gonna take her
by the other
and help me escort that lady home.
Yes, and knowing what is likely
thence to ensue, Mr. President,
that is where I shall take my leave.
Lyndon, I apologize for interruptin,
I thought
perhaps you'd like some sandwiches
from the kitchen.
Mrs. Johnson, my most abject apology.
I have kept your husband far too long
on this most festive occasion.
Mr. President,
my heartfelt congratulations, sir.
Outta here.
Good night.
Good night. abundance of what we'e learned
from heartache.
Democracy rests upon the people.
Freedom is a gift,
the judgment is God's...
It was a wonderful speech.
Full of such hope and promise.
Dick Goodwin asked what I thought
and I told him it
was a magnificent job.
And you delivered it so very well.
Thank you, honey.
Yes, you did
Nine p.m. unless you hear from me.
Good morning. How are you?
Yes, thank you
Good morning.
Good morning.
Good morning, Mr. Secretary.
What have we got here?
A crisis in every capital?
Uh, just one.
This is one cable?
Not quite.
Here's the rest of it.
The situation in Viet Nam
is continuing to deteriorate,
we've been able
to keep the noise level down
since your campaign but
my guess is you'll be faced
with a tough decision soon.
How soon?
I've got 19 million older folks
can't see a doctor,
33 million under the poverty line,
I can't have Congress distracted.
Now how soon, Bob?
Very soon, Mr. President.
I hate to have to report this to you,
but Max Taylor says here that
Vietcong enlistment
is increasing rapidly
and that uh,
Saigon can't continue must longer
to provide security
for our advisors down there
and fight an insurgency
at the same time.
Why not?
How many men does South Vietnam
have out there fightin ?
Two hundred thousand.
VC have about thirtyfour thousand.
Well, how the hell
can thirty-four thousand
lick two hundred thousand?
Well, historically a ten
to one ratio minimum is required
for a guerrilla situation
and there's no way
that South Vietnam can achieve
that on their own.
Now, we've kept our powder dry through
the elections and holidays
waiting for some stability
in the South,
waiting for the cycle of coups to end,
during which we've had five killed
in the attack at Bien Hoa,
two at our Saigon officers quarters
and scores wounded
with no retaliation
from us whatsoever.
Now, Wheeler, the other Chiefs,
Westmoreland are fit to be tied,
as you know, and now this
from Ambassador Taylor.
You might send Mac Bundy to Saigon
to have a talk with him,
I'd make another trip myself,
but I'm in the middle of the defense
budget right now.
I don't want to see the word
Vietnam in that damn budget.
You know I'd do that if I could.
In fact,
it's becoming increasingly difficult
to conceal--
Bob, all I want to know is this:
What's it gonna take to get
Ho Chi Minh to quit?
That's all I wanna know.
Mr. President, it's clear to me now
that the answer
is sustained military action
in the air
and if that doesn't work
on the ground.
This is the decision you
are going to have to face,
Mr. President and as I said,
very soon I'm afraid.
Keep me up to date, Bob.
Turn that thing off.
Yes, sir.
This Medicare speech is shit.
Cut out the gobbledygook
and sex it up.
Maybe Goodwin aughta
take a crack at it.
Goodwin's got three months
of assignments.
Oh, I just put the last of those
on your desk, Mr. President.
I'd be glad to look it over
if you'd like me to.
All right.
Put the music to it, Dick.
Jack, I want you to tell him
to stop taking credit
for every goddamn word I say.
Absolutely, Mr. President.
All right.
Come on, out you go.
Schedule me a hair cut.
And see if you can get
Clark Clifford here for dinner.
Converting from Protestant
to Catholic is a big step.
Actually Lyndon took it
better than I did.
I was quite surprised.
Well, both you and Daddy
changed your religions.
From one Protestant denomination
to another.
It was a matter of convenience,
and schoolin and
I don't think religion should be
a matter of convenience.
And this is a private matter, Luci.
You're finishing up at Texas,
aren't you, Lynda?
Next year, Ma am.
She's dating George Hamilton,
you know.
The actor?
With the tan?
And your sister may consider
that a private matter, too.
Oh, mother, you must be joking.
Come on now, damn it,
what's the reason this time?
I don't have the qualifications
to be CIA director.
I decide the qualifications.
You had all the qualifications to be
Attorney General, didn't ya,
to succeed Bobby Kennedy.
Yeah, and here I am stuck
with a friend of his, Katzenbach.
He's excellent.
Ah, well all right you told me
your interest is foreign affairs.
Well, that's where I need your help,
foreign affairs.
What is CIA but foreign affairs?
I think my skills would better serve
you in foreign policy,
Mr. President, not foreign intrigue.
I hear you billed a million dollars
last year,
First lawyer in the country
to do that. True?
that's what five percent came to.
Well then, you can afford to take
a hiatus from all this money-makin,
come serve your president.
I don't think you need an attorney,
old friend.
I think you need a magician.
A magician?
Yes. Someone who can make
a small corner of
Southeast Asia disappear.
President Kennedy
did not lose South Vietnam
and I'm not gonna lose South Vietnam.
I kept all these people on,
they assured me,
told me to stick it out.
Now, that little sonovabitch Bobby
is just hovering
to swoop down and reclaim the mantle
if I fail.
He'll hang me from my left ball,
Goldwater hang me from my right.
That is complete nonsense.
You humiliated Goldwater
in the election.
The entire Right wing is in disarray,
Bobby is a freshman Senator
with no record.
His brother was a no record
Senator too, wasn't he,
when he came out of no where?
Would you like some desert
or are you on your diet?
Oh, now, now, you save some
for me if it's good.
How about you, Mr. Clifford?
No, thank you.
No, he's not gettin anything tonight.
Now, Jack Kennedy put sixteen
thousand advisers in there,
I put in another eight.
We've got twentyfour thousand men
teachin them people how to shoot
and fly planes.
We've got patrols
and covert operations,
we've got an alphabet
soup of aid programs,
a lot of which I'd like
to have right here
and none of it's workin
because with all this coup shit
it's like buildin bricks
with no mortar down there,
there's nothin real to hang it all on.
Now, Ho Chi Minh knows this
and he's gonna keep his people
attackin until there's nothin left.
Now, if we call it quits
and continue as we are,
South Vietnam, maybe
the whole of Southeast
Asia goes communist.
Eh-eh, now even George
all admits that.
Everybody else thinks we aught
to up the ante.
Look at this.
A bunch of sheds,
just outside on the water.
And they call that a military target.
There's school right up the street,
Poles built it for em.
Hell, Clark, I could build em a
thousand damn schools.
I'd like you to start to follow
the situation down there,
read some of these reports
they keep throwin at me.
Eh, I just don't know what to believe
any more biggest damn mess.
And bein on the outside
you could take a fresh look.
I'll do everything I can to help.
Yeah, except come work for me.
Hey, what about the Supreme Court,
what if a seat opens up?
I'm an advocate, I'm not a judge.
Hell, Clark, you're a hick lawyer
from Missouri.
Well, I may be a hick lawyer
from Missouri,
But as you yourself pointed out
I haven't made
Missouri wages for a long, long time.
You know,
I ran sayin I was for peace,
now sure as hell,
they're tellin me I gotta do
what I said I wasn't gonna do.
What Goldwater was gonna do.
Luci's converting to Catholicism.
Big decision for a young girl.
He told me.
He said when the press gets wind
they'll make it sound
as if she did it
as a tribute to the Kennedy's.
I swear
I think he was only half joking.
Hello? I'm sorry, he's asleep.
He just got over neumonia,
I'd rather not wake him.
I... I know, is it possible...
Sorry, Bob, must be pretty damn bad
to keep you at home.
Let's just call it the Hanoi flu.
What the hell's goin on here?
Corps Head Quarters at Pleiku.
Vietcong cut through the wire,
blew up our advisers barracks,
planes and choppers on the runway
and Camp Holloway.
Casualty report.
More of the same,
advisers compound next door.
VC got in with mortar
and grenade launchers.
There are eight dead, a hundred
and twenty plus wounded,
six choppers, one transport destroyed
other aircraft severely damaged.
Mr. Secretary?
The National Security Advisors
in Saigon, is he not?
Didn't the CIA say Hanoi
would connect Bundy's visit
with a decision on bombing?
Vietcong agents in Saigon government
probably leaked it out.
And knowing this, knowing this look
what they did, Bob.
They blew up a hundred
and twentyeight people
just to thumb their noses at us.
Now what the hell
are we going to do about it?
Number 33, the North Vietnamese
barracks at
Dong Hoi just over the border
in North Vietnam,
about six thousand troops based there
An isolated facility
with minimal civilian support.
What are the expected casualties?
Thirty six hundred troops,
uh, roughly forty civilians.
How'd you come up with these numbers?
Sir, we take the approach, look at
the blast pattern,
size of the blast, demographics...
Mr. President, it's a sophisticated
an analysis as I've seen,
unprecedented in aerial warfare.
Well, Ho Chi Minh's not gonna
turn tail overnight.
Saigon's gonna take a shellackin
for anything we do.
And if they go
in now it'd be like sendin
in a widow woman to slap Jack Dempsey.
Sir, we doubt Hanoi will slap back.
Didn't MacArthur say the same thing
when a million Chinese poured
into Korea?
What does State think of this?
The risk of inaction
means more aggression,
Ambassador Taylor concurs.
He's meeting
with Saigon's leaders now
and should be calling
the Situation Room momentarily.
They'll put him through to me.
Mr. President, if I might.
I was in charge of
bombing survey's during World War'II,
And bombing never wins a war.
Rather than erode the enemy's
will it strengthens it,
we've seen this time and time again,
in the Blitz, Berlin.
Well, Blitz and Berlin
never woulda happened
If we didn't lay down
to Hitler's Munich.
And if we lay down now it'll be
the same thing again.
An open invitation to more
of their aggression.
Mr. President, what we're proposing
with Rolling
Thunder is a strictly limited program
of sustained retaliation
moving Northward only if Vietcong act
vity persists.
But it will persist, Bob.
We'll be bombing their cities
before we know it,
now do we expect Russia to sit still
for that? Or China?
Comparisons with Korea fifteen years
ago are flimsy at best, Mr. President.
You are absolutely right.
China has atomic weapons now.
They tested their first bomb
four months ago,
it was no dud. We have no idea
what will set them off.
I, I don't understand.
Why is this?
North Vietnam has secret treaties
with the Chicoms, Mr. President.
We don't know what the flashpoints are
in their intervention.
We could take China out
in seventeen minutes.
They'd be crazy to take us on.
I agree, Bus, but why assume
they're as rational as we are?
Mr. President, four hundred Americans
have died in Vietnam,
and now eight more
in these atrocities,
there has to be a response
to this aggression.
Mr. President,
the Air Force
will be launching strikes
from the Danang airfield,
and that base will become
a more attractive target
to the Vietcong.
General Westmoreland is requesting
a Hawk missile battalion.
Is he asking for troops?
No. No troops.
Saigon will be responsible
for a base defense
but if the Vietcong activity
intensifies despite these measures,
they may need some help.
But it will intensify, Bob!
This is precisely my point,
Mr. President.
Defense Secretary, Saigon,
Ambassador Taylor.
Put him through.
Max, we're all here with President
Go ahead.
Mr. President, gentlemen,
Saigon has agreed to the commencement
of air strikes.
They say their army's ready for any
counterattack from the North.
All right, Max. Thank you.
George... your concerns are mine,
as well as you know
but we're no where nea
the point you suggest,
and many here agree
there's a good chance
that Ho Chi Minh will quit
if we start makin him pay.
Now is there anyone here
who does not agree with this?
I'm concerned about the press.
They're gonna view this
as a change in policy.
There is no change in policy.
But we haven't struck back
since the Tonkin Gulf
affair six months ago.
That's right,
that's when I asked Congress
for the power,
they gave me the power,
now I'm usin it.
But we're takin it slow.
I'm not goin to Hanoi.
And I'm signin off on every target.
You're not gonna bomb
the smallest outhouse
without checking with me.
You understand, General?
We understand, Mr. President.
All right, Bob, you better get goin.
Now, anything else?
From Robert'S. McNamara
to Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, Commander
Pacific Forces, Honolulu.
This is an execution order.
During daylight hours,
7 February 1965, Saigon time,
conduct the following
coordinated attacks:
Number 33 X Dong Hoi barracks...
Good evening, Mr. President.
Planes back?
Uh, the carriers weren't on station
when the order went out, sir.
The operation has been delayed.
About ninety minutes, sir.
We should have word shortly.
At ease.
What happened?
It's monsoon season there, sir.
Well are they goin
or aren't they goin !?
You find out what the hell's goin on
and you call me.
Get the White House operator
to put you through.
You want me to wake you, sir?
You won't wake me!
Why you up?
Worried for you.
Those planes
should a been back hours ago.
What's that?
Letter from a friend complainin
about junkyards.
She says here...
they're all up
and down the highway now
through Dallas to San Antonio
and Houston to Austin...
Right on the highway
or away where people can't see?
No, right along the road defilin
the countryside.
Through Waxahachie and Hillboro,
and lovely San Marcos
where you went to school.
Oh. Love... don't.... Love.
Yes, Mr. President?
What are you do in about junkyards
on the highways?
Well, I'm sendin somethin over to
your office right now.
You jump in your car in your jammies
you might even beat it.
I spoke with Honolulu,
they're cabling now.
Planes are back, the primary was hit.
All the planes, they all get back?
Uh, no, sir.
I'm afraid we did lose one plane.
What about the pilot?
He went down at sea,
Search and Rescue
is looking for him now
but I'm afraid it's not looking
very good.
I'm sorry, sir.
All right, thank you, Bob.
Good night, Mr. President.
Yes, Mr. President?
Oh, I'm sorry.
Put this on Moyer's desk.
Yes, sir.
We lost a pilot.
Sweetheart. Oh, I'm so sorry.
This isn't about junkyards, is it?
Shit, what time is it?
I told Sandra I'd be home before one.
She didn't call.
That's not a good sign.
What about you, you coming or going?
He wants company.
We started bombing
North Vietnam tonight.
Christ. Are they talking about
combat troops?
No. Not yet.
I don't know what to tell the press.
We are backing into a war here,
for Christ's sake
and it's a war he campaigned against.
But now,
he talks like he's puttin a paddle
to Ho Chi Minh's behind.
Nah, Johnson's a deal maker.
He's the best politician
this country's ever seen,
he'll find a way out of this.
Sure, we'll just get
old Uncle Ho down to the ranch,
serve him up some tasty barbecue
and then offer him a damn.
Or a Federal Judgeship.
Hello, Mr. President.
Good evening, Mr. President.
Congratulations on getting
that education bill out of committee.
Well, it hasn't passed yet, has it?
I want all ya up there
on the hill day and night
to get me those yeas.
What is this?
Tapioca puddin ?
Yes, sir.
Would you like it?
Ah, now, votin rights,
that's the meat in the coconut, boys.
Where do we stand?
Um, at last tally
we are short fifty congressmen.
But the Senate is--
Start with the house
give me the names.
You want me to read the roll,
Mr. President,
All four hundred and thirty-five?
From Abbitt of Virginia to Zablocki
of Wisconsin. Go.
Um, Abbit, Virginia, nay.
Abernethy, Mississippi, nay.
Where do you think you're goin ?
The hell you are.
You're gonna relieve him
when he gives out.
Adair, Indiana, nay.
Adams, Washington yah.
Adabbo, New York, yah.
Albert, Okalahoma, yah.
Boys, it doesn't look like we're gonna
be able to get votin rights through.
Not this session.
Well, I must say I don't understand,
Mr. President.
Only a month ago in your State
of the Union message,
you made it perfect...
Reverend King,
I've been to the well
and the well has provided.
I got the votes on Medicare,
aid to education,
all these benefit the poor
and the disenfranchised
and you know who that is.
Please don't misunderstand,
we're very grateful, Mr. President.
Attorney General Katzenbach
here's written
a beautiful piece of legislation.
You think I wanna carry
that around in my ass pocket?
You see it's this,
this problem I got in Southeast Asia,
The Vietnamese to them Southerners
up on the Hill,
what are they but another bunch
of colored people.
And I go up there crawlin
for more aid as I must for Vietnam,
Mr. President,
old Wilbur Mills will say,
you're gonna have to raise taxes.
Declare war, call up the reserves.
And by the way, that's gonna
cost you your War on Poverty,
your votin rights for Negros.
Just like World War II
killed the New Deal,
well there ain't gonna
be World War III, I promise you.
I'm gonna nip this in the bud, I am.
And as soon as I do,
I'll send that bill up and more,
I promise you.
There will be no delay.
Well, Mr. President,
we're going to be down in Selma,
marching for the vote,
and we expect you'll take notice to
what we do down there.
During preparations for Martin Luther
King's second attempt
to march to Montgomery,
four white men beat to death
a Boston clergyman,
one of the fifteen hundred marchers.
The slain reverend, James Reed,
had come to Selma in solidarity
with Negroes attempting
to register to vote.
Amidst growing concern
about increasing racial violence
in Alabama,
Governor George Wallace
is reportedly preparing a trip to
Washington D.C. to see the President.
Meanwhile, demonstrations continue
in front of the White House.
Call em off!
Well, we didn't organize it,
Mr. President.
Call em off, get out there,
both of ya! Call em off!
Why you up?
Those goddamn agitators wake you?
No, I heard you yellin .
Oh, sorry, honey.
....always find ways to tell you
how it can't be done.
It ' still strange to us though
how millions of dollars
can be spent everyday to hold troops
in South Vietnam
and our country cannot protect
the rights of Negros
in Selma and Marian, Alabama!
He's outrageous!
So we have... Now! Now! Now!
Everything's gotta be now.
What they want
the whole goddamn world
with a fence around it?
I just gave Standby authorization
to Federalize the Alabama Guard,
we just need your order.
We have to do it, Mr. President.
Wallace won't protect those marchers.
Hold-hold on, you want me
to send troops into Alabama,
lose Stennis, Dirksen, Russell,
every conservative vote I got hangin
on a thread of a spittle!?
It'll be Reconstruction
all over again!
Hell, your friend Bobby Kennedy
coulda given me that advice!
Governor George Wallace
of the Alabama State Legislature...
Martin Luther King
and his group of procommunists
have instigated these demonstrations
by lawless nigger mobs in Birmingham.
But the law abidin citizens
of both races there are fed up
with this riotin and disruption
led by so-called clergy men
and their communist inspired values!
I am therefore sending two hundred
and fifty state
troopers into that city
supported y five hundred law
officers of this state.
I will meet our enemies face to face.
I will not surrender!
Mr. President,
Wallace is only coming up here
in order to placate you.
He wants things to get
so bad down there
that you have to put the troops in.
Then he'll lambaste you for invading
his sovereign state
and that's how he'll save himself.
Goddamn runty little bastard!
I want his pecker in my pocket.
The thing we have to do,
we have to get him
to ask for the troops to say
he wants rights,
he wants peace, but he just
can't control his own people.
Make it his failure,
that's what we ought to do.
In an interview today,
Governor Wallace denies
that Alabama State Troopers
and Sheriff's Deputies used
unnecessary force in routing Negro
marchers in Selma.
Call the Speaker.
Tell him I want to address Congress.
On television.
That goddamn bill is goin up now.
One more, Governor Wallace.
A little closer.
Thank you.
All right, right here,
let's sit down, Governor.
Over here, that's it.
Over there, oooh, right in the corner.
The corner, Governor, that's it.
All right, Governor,
you wanted to see me?
Uh, yes, uh, Mr. President.
I want to thank you
for agreeing to see me...
Goddamn demonstrators!
Keepin Lady Bird up,
disturbin my daughters rest.
Turn that thing off!
Subversives, most of em.
Communist party's behind
the whole thing.
You know what I'd do,
I'd send some of them
secret service boys out there
with itchin powder.
Sprinkle it on the back of some
of their necks,
they'd drop them signs
they're carryin,
scratch themselves raw..
That's a great idea.
I'm gonna get my people on that.
Better than that, Governor,
we aughta go out there.
We got all of those
television cameras,
you see this television camera
I got out there?
Yes, sir.
Why don't we go out there
and we turn them cameras around
and we'll announce that youm decided
to register every Negro in Alabama?
Mr. President, as much as I...
Nick, give me one
of them Constitutions.
Yes, sir.
Nick's got the Constitution.
Eh, thank you, Nick. Now, Governor,
I'm sure that somewhere
in here it says
that Negros have the right to vote.
Ah, yes, Mr. President.
And uh, they have the right
to vote in Alabama,
but uh, it's the County Registrars,
they uh, they under Alabama law
they independent
and I don't have the power.
George... now don't you shit me
about who's got the power in Alabama.
Mr. President.
Now, come on, Governor.
You're a persuasive man.
Hell, I was watchin you this mornin
on all three networks.
You were attackin me.
I wasn't attackin you, Mr. President,
I was attackin the idea.
Idea, hell, you were attackin me,
and I'll tell ya,
you're so damn persuasive,
I nearly changed my mind.
You have marvelous powers
of persuasion, don't you, Governor.
Governor Wallace,
you and I shouldn't be sittin here,
thinkin about 1965,
we aught to be thinkin about 1995,
when you and I will be long
in our graves.
Now you got a lot of poor people
down there in Alabama,
a lot of ignorant people.
People who need jobs, people
who need a future.
You could do a lot for em.
In 1995, Governor,
what do you want left behind?
You want a great big marble monument
sayin George Wallace,
he built, he protected the weak,
the poor,
the impoverished people
of this great state?
Or do you want a little piece of
scrawny pine layin there
in the harsh, caliche soil sayin,
George Wallace, he hated.
I'm sorry, Governor.
I interrupted you.
Now, you wanted to tell me something?
Mr. President, I uh,
I've had the opportunity to
uh, reevaluate and uh...
I think that uh,
I just may not be able to get things
under control
without some uh, assistance.
Governor, I'll give you
any assistance that's mine to provide.
Now, what specific measures
would you suggest?
The President and I
have spoken and uh,
I have assured him
that I abhor brutality
and in my total commitment to law
and order,
I will do whatever it takes to uh,
maintain the peace.
Mr. Speaker, the President
of the United States.
I speak tonight to the dignity of men
and the destiny of democracy.
There is no Negro problem.
There is no Southern problem.
There is no Northern problem.
There is only an American problem.
There is no cause for pride in
what has happened in Selma.
The cries of pain and the hymns
and protests of oppressed people
have summoned into convocation
all the majesty
of this great government.
Our mission is at once the oldest
and the most basic of this country
to right wrong,
to do justice, to serve man.
This Wednesday,
I will send you a law
which will eliminate illegal barriers
to the most basic American right,
the right to vote.
Many of the issues of civil rights
are very complex,
and most difficult
about this there can
and should be no argument,
for outside this chamber
is the outraged conscience
of a nation
and the harsh judgment of history.
Because of the American Negro,
to secure for himself the full
blessings of American life,
must be our cause.
Because really, it is all of us
who must overcome
the crippling legacy of bigotry
and injustice
and we shall overcome.
Dick, ninety three million on TV,
it's a record.
Hey, Dick, Dick, the switchboard
is jammed haven't
had this many calls since't
he Cuban Missile Crisis.
Hmm, at least we know
they don't only call to complain.
Hey, Dick, sit down, sit down.
That was ole Dick Russell.
Says I'm a low-down cur and a turncoat
but he wants me to know
that's the best speech
he ever saw any president give
and that goes back to Lincoln!
Mr. President, it's Dr. King.
Oh, Dr...
Oh, Reverend King, that's kind
of you to call.
Did you know I was on TV tonight?
Oh, oh, you saw it? Yeah.
Okay, All right. I understand.
Yeah. Bye. Bye.
You've got Arthur Crimm on Line 3,
Oh, no-no-no. No, no, I can't.
No, no, no.
You know, boys,
I'm reminded tonight of Texas
hill country in spring.
Oh, Lyndon,
your guests are far too weary
to appreciate your poetry.
Now let me tell you boys
about the hill country
in the spring.
Good night.
Good night, all.
Good night, Mrs. Johnson.
Good night. Luci.
Now, in the spring...
Luci. Come with me. Good night.
Good night, Mrs. Johnson.
Good night.
In the spring, in the hill country,
the sun is up early
and the ground gets warmer,
and you can see the steam risin
and the sap drippin.
And in his pen, there's my prize bull.
Now he is the biggest...
Best hung bull in the hill country.
Well, in the spring that bull gets
a hankerin for them cows
and he starts pawin the ground
and gettin restless.
So I open up the pen
and he goes down the hill with
his pecker hangin hard and swingin .
Well, those cows
get so goddamn excited,
they get more and more moist
to receive him
and their asses just start quiverin
they start quiverin all over
every one of em is quiverin !
And as that bull struts
into their pasture,
oooh, boys,
ha-ha we had em quiverin tonight!
Arriving in Naval transports,
United States Marines
storm the beaches
in Danang Vietnam in full battle gear.
These are the first U.S.
ground troops to step foot
on Asian soil since the Korean War.
They were greeted
by some lovely local ladies.
The Pentagon says their mission
is a defensive one,
to protect the U.S. air base
from enemy attack
so Operation Rolling Thunder
can roll on.
Speaking with reporters,
President Johnson emphasized
that these thirty-five hundred
will free up
the South Vietnamese troops
now guarding the base to go out
and fight Vietcong.
Reports from the field, however,
indicate that Saigon forces
may be no match
for full Vietcong regimen.
Recently, in one of the heaviest
attacks of the war so far,
the Vietcong inflicted
major casualties
in Quai Nang Province.
Unofficial sources say
that many South Vietnamese army
units are near collapse.
Oh, my, oh, my.
Mr. President.
Mr. President.
All right, sit down, sit down boys.
I, I heard you fellahs
were talkin over dinner.
Can I get you a plate of food,
Mr. President?
No, thank you.
Why? Why do they want war with us?
To Ho Chi Minh and North Vietnamese
this is just a continuation
of the war with the French,
and the Japanese,
and the Chinese a thousand years
before that.
We never should have allowed
the French
to reclaim their colonies in 45,
but we needed them aligned with us
against the Soviets and that
was their price.
Will we end up like the French?
A great power cuttin and runnin from
a bunch a little men in black pajamas,
tuckin our tail in defeat?
France didn't have the fire power
we have.
But the bombing seems
to have no affect.
Well, it appears now
that it won't stop them,
but it has slowed down their resupply.
Hanoi's starting
to send down large units
and the more of
their men we can tie up
with repairing roads and bridges,
the fewer they can spare
to fight the South.
What do we have there now?
Well, we've got the 3rd Marines
at Danang, Phu Bai,
Chu Lai, the 173rd Airborne
at Vung Tau,
for base defense and support
of the South Vietnamese
units 13 battalions in all.
Never mind battalions, how many boys?
Fifty-one thousand troops,
Mr. President.
Yeah, and Westmorel
and wants how many?
One hundred eighty-four thousand.
And the authority to launch
offensive operations
under his own command.
The South Vietnamese are useless,
Mr. President.
They've lost four battalions
in a month.
Desertions are at record levels.
They're losing
and they're losing fast.
National Security Advisor
I know they're losin !
I don't need a Phi Beta Kappa key
to know they're losin !
Anyone smart enough to pour piss
out of a boot
knows they're losin !
How many casualties
you think we'll take?
We could reach 500 a month
by the end of the year
if Hanoi hasn't quit by then.
Five hundred a month?
You tell Westmorel that
he's got the authority.
Tell him to get out there
and kill Vietcong,
and do whatever he has
to do to hold em off.
Then you and Wheeler go and see him
and nail him down on what he needs
to get this thing over with.
Then damn it, let's get it over with!
U.S. Command Center, Saigon
Kid was setting fuses
on the goddamn bridge,
do you believe it?
I was five minutes away.
And that potshot last time I was here
he missed me by a mile.
Jesus, you'd think they'd put their
best sniper on the job.
I wish I could tell you
they were representative of the enemy
Mr. Secretary.
My strategy for the war is divided
into three phases.
In Phase I,
employing the 184,000 man level
now being considered,
we would halt the losing trend
by the end of 1965.
In Phase II,
for which an additional
100,000 troops would be needed,
allied forces would gain
the initiative by June 30, 1966,
pacification activities
would be expanded
aimed at winning the hearts and minds
of the South Vietnamese peasantry.
If the Communists do not then give up
Phase III of our strategy would kick
in the win phase,
which would being on July 1, 1966
and conclude by December 31, 1967
the defeat of remaining
enemy forces and base areas.
Additional reinforcements
will be needed for this phase,
following which allied forces
will begin to be withdrawn.
General, that's a marvelous plan,
but uh, excessively abstract.
I want to see your numbers.
I want to see the percentage
of the country you now control,
The percentage intend to control
with these 200,000 additional men.
I want to see rates of infiltration
and interdiction,
force ratios in each
of the tactical corps zones
and enemy casualties
in battles fought
and projected battles
against these added forces.
Mr. Clifford, The President
on Line One.
Old friend, I need you here.
Whatever resources are lost through
bombing or capture,
China and Russia will make up
with resupply,
encouraging a friendly game
of I'm more revolutionary than though
Our intervention
will give them a cause
over which to unite when it is
in our interest to deepen
the breach between them.
Wouldn't we lose credibility
throughout the world
if we give up as you propose?
Wouldn t this be an irreparable
blow, George?
A worse blow, Mr. President,
would be that the mightiest
power in the world is unable to defeat
one of the most backward.
With the seventy-one battalions,
with Westy's plan,
this war is winnable.
I say we go in
and we get the job done.
But can we get the job done?
What if they put their stack in?
What makes you think
if we put in the numbers
you're suggesting that Ho Chi Minh
won't match us man for man?
This means greater bodies of men,
Mr. President,
Which will allow us to cream them.
Their firepower against ours...
Why does anyone think
that they will accommodate us
by fighting our kind of war?
Their tactics are terror,
and sniping they have better
access to intelligence.
Why is this?
It's because the South Vietnamese
government is heavily
infiltrated with Vietcong agents,
Mr. President.
What other road can we go,
stopping the bombing?
These make us look weak,
with cup in hand.
Better to lose now than
after committing 200,000 men.
I disagree. We have to make
a stand here,
and if we fail it
could be chalked up to
any number of things corruption
amongst Saigon's leaders for instance,
then we can get out.
But this government would have stood
up to the Communists.
But we won't get out,
Bob, we will double our bet
and get massacred in the rice paddies
So-so-so-so, what's you're advice,
George? Cut and run?
Mr. President,
no great captain in history
ever hesitated
to make a tactical withdrawal
when conditions were
unfavorable to him.
Does anyone else here agree
with what George is sayin ?
I've asked Clark Clifford to join us.
Clark, you have any comments
at this time?
I, I have a question
for General Wheeler.
Yes, sir.
Good morning, General.
Good morning.
If the President proceeds
with this plan,
what in your view would constitute
a victory?
What is the definition of victory
in this contest?
A military victory
in the traditional sense
is not what we are seeking.
To eliminate
every last Vietcong guerilla,
could require as many
as half a million men
and five years...
N-n-no one, no one's considerin
those kinda numbers, no one.
Our objective is to reach
a stalemate whereby
we are attriting the enemy faster
than he can replace his loses,
this is the so-called
cross-over point.
And how many men will this require?
A substantially smaller number.
Depending on how
the North Vietnamese respond.
might they respond by sending in,
say, 100,000 troops?
We regard this as unlikely.
Well, it's less than half the men
they have under arms.
Well, it's certainly possible,
they already have 50,000 men
down there.
And to achieve the ten
to one superiority?
Which I understand is barely adequate
for conventional forces
in a guerilla situation.
How many troops would be required
to meet this possible threat?
As I said, this would be unlikely.
One million troops,
is that not correct, General?
You see, we would need
one million men in Vietnam.
Excuse me
I can't tell you how grateful
I am to finely have an alley
at the barricades.
Well, it's just what makes sense,
Not to Bob McNamara but to me.
A million men was straight-out
of your memo of October last year.
An impressively persuasive document
in my opinion.
All sixty-seven pages of it.
I haven't shown much restraint
on the subject, it's true.
If he brought you in,
it must be because I'm like
an old broken record now.
Well, then that'd be two of us.
Scratchy and irritating as hell.
Good day, George.
The Vista Volunteers are here
for the pictures, Mr. President.
All right,
tell em I'll be out in a minute.
And tell Goodwin
I wanna see him right after.
I called Marg soon
as I knew you were safe. Cowards.
I really appreciate that,
she was pretty shaken up.
She hates my work
Well, I hate sendin ya.
The whole thing stinks to high heaven
What'd you wanna tell me in private?
I've managed to keep
these Vietnam expenditures
under wraps as you requested,
but if you decide
to move forward with this,
it's going to be impossible to keep up
the guise indefinitely
and I strongly believe
you should present
this bill to the American people.
No, absolutely not.
Mr. President,
I can't continue to hide
these kinds of figures.
Phase I of Westmoreland's
program alone
is going to run us
twelve billion dollars.
Twelve billion!?
I can't ask Congress
for twelve billion dollars!
Mr. President.
Bob, it'll be unshirted hell
if I go to the Hill askin for
that kind of money.
I'll never get another thing
out of em again.
Now how much can you trim off that?
Bob, I've got my ox in a ditch here.
Now, what can you do for me?
If we continue to use
the maximum transfer authority
from other areas,
I could probably
cut these figures in half,
but we'd still
need a big appropriation
to carry us through this year.
But Westmoreland says
if we put the men in,
there's a chance they'll quit
by year's end, right?
Well, that's certainly
what we all hope,
but we can't count on West...
You just do the number countin,
will ya, Bob?
Get as low as you can.
One more.
All right. All right, thank you,
thank you.
I need a statement for next week.
I'm not sure yet
if I'm gonna want to use it,
but I need it ready.
All right, Mr. President.
You know, Jack,
I want war like I want polio
the shootin, the bombin goes against
every bone in my body.
You know
that better than almost anyone.
These young people here,
that's what I'm all about.
That was me,
in Cotulla teachin Mexican kids
livin in hovels,
treated worse than you'd treat a dog.
But here I start
a billion dollar bank
for em in Southeast Asia, free money,
and Ho Chi Minh wants no part of it.
I could a turned that place
into the Tennessee Valley.
I read he said he's willin to fight
for twenty years.
I know what he says
and I know what I say
and I know what I must do despite
what I say, damn it!
I want to leave the footprint
of America in Vietnam,
schools, dams, hospitals.
Bomb craters that'll be our footprint
That's what they'll remember me for.
Not civil rights or health care
or education.
No, sir,
it'll be Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam.
Twenty bills I'm tryin to get out
of committee,
and twelve outta eighteen
workin hours everyday,
my head's stuck up that raggedy-ass
little fourth-rate country
that doesn't even have the fight
to save itself.
You get with McNamara,
you know what it's gotta say
and tell Buzzby or Goodwin
we gotta put the music to it, Jack.
Why you up?
You needn't ask me that each time.
Ah, I tried not awake ya.
I got the ringer so low
I can't hear it,
and I got the flashlight.
Maybe you oughta sleep in
that other room you set up.
What happened to that Prime Rib
from the Medicare meetin ?
Is that what you want?
There's a nice chicken left
from the Education Lunch.
I saw em put it away.
Oh, darlin you been so good
about your diet,
I don't see any point
in the middle of the night...
I don't care about that now!
Another heart attack might
be the answer to my problems.
All right,
you stop that kinda talk please,
I worry enough about your health.
I'll fix somethin for you
if you sit down.
All right.
Come on.
All right.
I'm sorry.
Luci met a boy.
When she went on that Chicago trip
with you last week.
What do you mean she met a boy!?
Why didn't I know about this?
That day she went to Milwaukee
and visited the William Feldsteins.
She visited Beth Jenkins at Marquette
and Beth had some friends over,
all the students there
and among them was this...
boy, Patrick Nugent is his name.
He's Catholic.
Luci will only date boys
who are Catholic now
and she calls him Paddy.
Thank you.
So I am payin attention.
He's just tons, mother.
She said to me.
That's the new expression, tons.
Move your elbow.
Thank you.
Yeah. You like the chicken?
You remarked on it.
I didn't know of it.
You might have shown it
to me this mornin .
And woken you again?
Like a jack ass in a hailstorm.
I guess I'll just have to hunker up
and take it.
I feel like I'm goin down in a plane,
and I can crash with it and burn up,
or jump and die.
Where we were when I came in,
I, I'd trade back to that.
I'd trade back
to the damn vice-presidency
to get outta this mess.
Clark, the President would like you
and your wife
to join him
at Camp David this weekend.
Oh, thank you, Bill.
Thank the President.
We'd love to,
but we have a prior engagement.
is there anyway you can make it?
He's working on an escalation speech?
Has he made up his mind?
I'd say he has
but he's asking for you.
And who else will be there?
Bob McNamara.
Mr. and Mrs. McNamara,
I'd like you to meet my friend,
Pat Nugent.
It's an honor to meet you, sir.
Pleasure. My wife, Marg.
Nice to meet you.
You're in National Guard,
where you stationed?
I'll be at Andrews with the 113th,
but down to San Antonio first
for basic.
Ah, Lackland Air Force Base, sure.
Used to call it Kelly back in 42
when I was goin
around helpin to build an Air Force
in this country.
You know,
we only had a handful of planes
when the Japanese attacked us,
spread all over the country.
Is that right?
And Hap Arnold knew
every one of em by name.
I have some Hap Arnold stories
for you.
Uh, sorry,
we'll leave everything till tomorrow,
we'll talk in the morning.
I look forward to it.
Come on in.
Let the best minds
of our administration
start looking for a way out
and stop looking for a way to win
this unwinnable war,
because it is my considered opinion,
that continuing on that path
will lead us to catastrophe.
Any unbiased jury would
give you your verdict, Clark,
no question.
But, if it's true what Moyer says;
that Lyndon's in McNamara's pocket...
McNamara has such sway in there.
Truman took your advice over
George Marshalls, for heaven sakes
Kennedy, too.
but Lyndon is another kettle of fish.
Give him a new vision,
Clark. He'll hear you.
Rinaldo, leave it there.
So, these are the numbers.
Now, you will not be held accountable
for anything that has happened up
till this point,
in fact, you will be admired
for the noble attempt
you have made
to honor your predecessor's
commitment a commitment
that has been exploited by
that corrupt and self-destructive
regime in South Vietnam.
The bombing might have worked,
but it hasn't.
And to make it work,
you would have to resort
to unconscionable measures
that would make you a her
to those in this country
you distain and a criminal
to those you have sought
all your life to assist
the young and the poor,
who are the ones
who will have to fight this war.
This, this is not the last inning
in the struggle against Communism.
We must pick those spots
where the stakes are highest for us
and where we hold the cards
that'll give us the greatest
opportunity to prevail.
Ho Chi Minh told the French,
he said, You will kill ten of my men
and I will kill only one of yours,
but in the end, it is you who'll tire.
And they did, and eleven years ago,
at the end they just couldn't do it
any more.
The North Vietnamese lost 500,000
in their war against the French
and they did not tire,
and they will not tire now.
Not after you commit a 100,000,
not after you commit 500,000.
And if you do not win decisively
after a big buildup,
it will be a huge catastrophe.
It will destroy
the American people's faith in you
and the democratic party
and their government
for years to come.
Now, you have always stressed
the economic
and social dimensions
of world problems.
And in this you are unrivaled.
You have a unique opportunity here
to address this problem,
economically and socially.
Not by war, not by killing people,
but by helping them here and there.
This is a year of minimum political
risk for you, Mr. President.
You were elected by the largest
landslide in our history,
the reactionary elements
of this society
will not soon recover
I foresee little erosion
of your prestige and power
if we cut our loses
and get out of Vietnam.
But I foresee nothing
but disaster for you
and this country
if we don't.
If we escalate this war,
I believe we'll ruin us
And I believe we'll ruin you
And all the good you've started to do
Shit. It's a hot one already.
You wish you were back in Texas,
Mr. President?
Fellahs, right now I'd rather
be on the moon.
Okay, Bob.
Mr. President,
Clark has suggested that
the stakes aren't there in Vietnam.
This is damn shocking.
Well, I...
Here are the stakes:
Number one. National Security.
If we back down in Vietnam
it will only be a matter of time
before we have to go
in some place else.
Two, the commitment's we've made
and the price of breaking them
and Our prestige before the world.
Could the stakes be any higher?
To elaborate on Point 1.,
if we withdraw, Laos, Cambodia,
Thailand, Burma will fall,
but the ripple effect
will be far greater.
With Communist agitation increasing
in Africa, India,
even Japan. We will have to give up
some bases.
Pakistan will move closer to China.
Point two,
our pledge is a pillar of peace
in the world
and if we break it,
our allies will lose faith in us.
And three,
because we have so persistently
and publicly committed ourselves
to preventing a Communist
takeover in South Vietnam,
our failure to see that commitment
through will be profoundly
to our prestige
this is why I recommend the following
1, Put the men in.
Westmoreland's plan is sound,
every quantitative measurement
shows we can win.
2, Call up the reserves
and extend tours of duty
and 3, Expand the bombing.
In the North remove restrictions
on bridge
and rail lines,
mine the harbors.
Expand Rolling
Thunder from twenty-five hundred
to four thousand
sorties a month. In the South,
tactical air strikes
must be supplemented
by increased B-52 bombing
of VC base areas.
Now, to elaborate...
Clark, I think you scored
some terrific points in there,
I'm so glad you were arguing
the other side.
you believe what you've said
to the President,
you're certain we can win?
Well, I sure hope there's no mistake
in my confidence
on the President's part.
Well, that's not what I'm asking.
Clark, I've seen the charts,
I've run the numbers,
everything else is... soft,
I had dinner with President Kennedy
just after the Missile Crisis
and he told me
that if it had not been for you,
keeping your head,
facing down the chief,
thinking clearly,
we might not be alive today.
Now, there were no charts
and numbers then.
Just judgment.
You're telling me
that it is your judgment that
this is the best course of action
for this country?
For this president?
I can only give my best advice.
That's what I did for Jack Kennedy,
it's what I'm doing now.
I'll see you at dinner, Clark.
You wanna stop somewhere
and talk about it?
I'm all talked out, honey.
I've done nothing but talk.
At some point the talkin's gotta end.
God happens when the talkin ends.
Lyndon, oh!
A hundred PhD's among em,
ten thousand IQ points
and I can't get an answer
I can sit with.
And if it turns bad,
they'll say this wouldn't ve happened
under Jack Kennedy!
No, sir! Cause he could do no wrong!
He leaves a thousand on the beach
in Cuba and his numbers go up!
Lyndon, now oh...
Lyndon, now c mon, honey.
What do you think of crashin through
that damn gate and drivin back
to Texas?
Now you know you'd get
no argument from me.
You hate it that much?
Have you ever considered
the shoes I've had to fill?
She didn't die with him.
Oh, he didn't die.
He's more alive than ever
cause his half-size brother
with one-and-a-half his brains
and a tenth his scruples
ate his heart out
and took in his spirit
as sure as he was out
of some Injun story.
And me, I'll be President
What's His Name,
who came between the two,
the President
who lost America's first war.
Why must young Americans,
born into a land exultant
with hope and with golden promises
toil and suffer and
sometimes die in such a remote
and distant place as Vietnam?
It is because in the fight
for freedom,
the American people have learned
that retreat does not bring safety,
and weakness does not bring peace.
If we are driven from the field
in Vietnam,
then no nation can ever again
have the same confidence
in American promises,
or in American protection.
We did not choose to be
the guardians of the gate,
but there is no one else.
Nor would surrender
in Vietnam bring peace.
Because we learned from Hitler
at Munch,
that success only feeds the appetite
of aggression.
I've asked the Commanding General,
General Westmoreland,
what more he needs to meet
this mounting aggression.
He has told me
and we will meet his needs.
I have today ordered
to Vietnam the Airmobile Division
and certain other forces
which will raise our fighting
strength from 75,000 to
125,000 men almost immediately.
Additional forces
will be needed later,
and they will be sent as requested.
Yeah, but how many?
Now, I do not find it easy to send
the flower of our youth,
our finest young men into battle.
I think I know how their mothers weep
and their families sorrows.
Mr. Secretary, Senator Morse
has been calling Vietnam,
McNamara's War.
What is your reaction?
This is a war
of the United States Government.
I am following the President's policy
and working in close cooperation
with the Secretary of State.
Now I must say I don't object to
it being called McNamara's War,
I think it's a very important war one
that I'm pleased
to be identified with
and to do what I can to win it.
Appearing on Meet the Press yesterday
McNamara was asked to comment
on Hanoi's claim
that some 10,000 civilians
have been killed in the bombing,
including thousands of women
and children.
Some loss of innocent life
is unavoidable in an operation
such as this,
I can tell you
that we are taking every
possible precaution
in choosing targets,
the risk of civilian casualties
is most assuredly
one of several factors considered.
So, what target are you recommending?
There's a cement factory along
a major rail line.
General Wheeler feels military value
is marginal.
But the monsoon has sucked
in more valuable targets.
What's the output of the facility?
It appears to be small, sir,
even by their standards.
It couldn't produce enough
for them to rely heavily
on the output.
Let's give it a C for military value,
what's your risk analysis?
Risk of pilots is close to zero.
There might be some small arms fire,
but recon shows
no antiaircraft emplacements.
No megs in the area?
They'll be protecting more valuable
targets and probably
won't risk losing them defending
this one.
Depending on cloud cover,
we may have to come in low enough
to be in range of small arms
but this is a small risk.
Give it an A for risk
of pilots and aircraft,
what's your flashpoint analysis?
The target is more than twenty miles
outside Hanoi so
there's little risk of provoking
China or Russia.
Cosigan or Mau won't be down there
touring the factory that day,
will they?
This isn't one of Russia
or China's friendship projects?
A gift from the motherland?
Well, if I were Ho Chi Minh,
I would have returned this gift.
Of course, catching one of them
there might have been a nice bonus
for us.
Thanks, but I've already been
to the brink of nuclear
annihilation and I'm not eager
to go back.
Give it an A for flashpoint risk.
Next. What about civilians?
We're clear of residential
except for one row of hooches
behind the facility.
So what are these, houses
or storage shacks or what?
Well, we can't be sure uh,
most likely the factory
managers and their families
live there.
I'm not too familiar
with Southeast Asian home
construction, sir.
We could certainly use someone
who knows something
about Vietnamese culture around here.
So, what's the outside number
of civilians?
Well, four hooches this size,
we use six per so,
Twenty-four for a target this size,
that seems high.
That's how we figure it, sir.
I mean that seems a high number
to lose
for a target like this.
Give it a D for civilian casualties
let's see what we've got,
C, A, A, D...
let's give it a solid C+
and put it before the President.
All right, what's the...
Jesus, there's a guy on the wall
at the river entrance!
Look at that guy.
Hey, wait a minute! Stop!
Stop! Don't! Don't!
Get down from there! Get off!
Please, please, the baby, stop! Stop!
Yes, Mr. President?
You wanted to see me?
Yes, sir.
You could come down now.
Yes, Dick?
Mr. President,
as uh Bill Moyers told you,
I've been offered a fellowship
at Wesleyan University in Connecticut
Well, good for you.
Ha! That ain't easy to get.
No, no, I'm very fortunate.
Well, don't wait too long
to turn it down
so they can call the next guy
on the list.
Mr. President,
I have already accepted.
No, problem. You didn't know
you weren't free to go.
Call em up, put me on if they give
you any trouble.
What do you mean I'm not free to go?
I mean you can't go.
Can't get along without you.
That makes you a pretty big fellah.
How big a fellah you gonna be
with some fellowship?
Well, you've got along
without me before I came.
You want more money?
I got plenty of money.
I'll arrange a payment
from the Johnson Foundation.
Money isn't the issue, Mr. President.
This is something that I want to do.
Well, it ain't gonna be,
so make your call.
Mr. President, I uh, I'm very sorry.
Well now, Dick...
you either stay here
with me or you go
over to the Pentagon and get yourself
a pair of shiny
black boots,
because there's a statute,
I asked McNamara,
says we can draft specialists vital
to the National Interest
and that's what I'll do.
You won't to serve here,
you know where I can send you.
Will you make me a General?
No, you won't want to be a General.
You'll want to be
a Private Marine infantry,
that's where the action is,
I know you like
to be around the action,
that's why you stayed here so long.
You listen to me, Dick,
you go ahead and take your fellowship
but your hands are all over this.
You and Moyers and Bundy
and everybody else talkin
about jumpin ship!
But most of all, you.
You put your name all over
the Great Society,
you put the tune
to those words of war, too
and hidin out on some college campus
or anything else you ever do
is never gonna change that!
An entire generation
of North Vietnamese have been born
and lived and died in the pursuit
of one thing
a united Vietnam under Communist rule
The North Vietnamese
have never known anything but war.
we've just completed a study of
their staggering
recuperative abilities.
this one was knocked out
in a morning raid,
two hours later some bamboo planks
across a bunch of wooden canal boats
and there's foot traffic again.
By three p.m.
it's a pontoon bridge, strong enough
for a fully-loaded truck.
A bomb knocks out a rail line,
they call the bicycle brigades.
some as old as seventy
or seventy-five,
put the cargo on their bikes,
each one balances up to a six hundred
pound load across the frame,
they wheel it across a jerry-rigged
bridge to another train
waiting to move it on south.
Filling a bomb crater to make
a road passable again,
that's as routine
to a school kid there
as getting a malt down
at the corner shop here.
It's a first date.
They have a brand of cigarettes,
Mr. President,
called Dienbienphu
that's their Yorktown,
their Waterloo where they defeated
the French in 54.
Reminders of war are
in the most casual
moments of daily life.
In a smoke, Mr. President,
their heroes,
he kid who was put to death
for trying to assassinate Secretary
McNamara last year in Saigon,
there's a song about him,
It's a top ten hit.
And Norman Morrison.
Norman Morrison was the Quaker
who burned himself to death
in front of the Pentagon last month,
a great hero.
Hanoi just issued a postage stamp.
Thank you, John. Thank you, Scott.
A great hero?
He almost took his one year
old daughter with him a baby!
It's a miracle she was unharmed.
The man was disturbed.
Three young children are fatherless.
So, what do we do?
Mr. president, the most strategic
targets in North Vietnam
remain intact because Hanoi
and Haiphong
continue to be off-limits.
We're not hitting their oil supply,
major power plants,
rail links to China.
We're not mining the ports,
hitting the dikes...
CIA says hittin the dikes
would flood the whole damn country!
Kill the rice crop!
Starve em to death!
Isn't that right?
Yes, sir.
And I have one more problem
for your big computer,
ask how long
it'll take 500,000 angry Americans
to climb that White House wall
and lynch their President
he does somethin like that!?
This is why the Chiefs
and I have been urging for months
that we take the next logical step
and destroy their oil reserves.
Nothin stopped em yet,
why should that stop em!?
That oil goes in trucks,
Mr. President,
trucks that carry troops
and guns and bullets
across the border to kill our men.
They don't need damn trucks!
Weren't you watchin !?
They got hundred year old women
auling crap!
What do you want me to do,
kill everybody's grandmother
in that place!?
Mr. President,
Ambassador Dobrynin says
that Moscow would try
to bring Hanoi to the table
if we stop the bombing for three
or four weeks.
This would be a grave mistake,
Mr. President.
They'll send down everything they can
Westy's against it,
Admiral Sharp, Bob,
I know apposes it and every one
of the Chiefs.
Look, the North Vietnamese
have 9 regiments down there,
we thought they had 3.
VC has more than doubled theirs
from 5 to 12,
which is twice our build up.
And I just feel that we need
to do something
before we send another 200,000 men
over there.
Yes, Bob, we can try bombing them
where it hurts.
The enemy lost over a thousand
in recent fighting,
didn't they?
They lost 1,200
in the Ia Drang Valley
and we lost 300.
But it's clear they're willing
to take those kinds of casualties,
which is something
we were not counting on.
Some where not counting on.
Bob, are you now sayin
that no matter what we do
militarily there's no sure victory?
I believe we may have been overly
optimistic about an early end.
China, Russia, although they do not
want a general war,
have stepped up their aid.
Just a moment, gentlemen,
the President undertook this program
because General Westmoreland
was confident we could win.
Why are we considering
/ another 200,000
if you now believe victory
to be unlikely?
That's my question.
I still believe we can win.
But if there is the slightest
chance of obtaining a settlement
without sending over hundreds
of thousands more men,
and hitting their cities,
I think we should do it.
Right now we are incurring
significant casualties,
if the buildup continues
we may be facing a thousand per month.
And if Hanoi won't talk,
it will only make our position
with the American people stronger
and they will be more likely
to accept these kinds of loses.
We could have a thousand casualties
a month
if we do this, Mr. President!
It's my job to protect our troops,
every truck,
every sampan that gets through
means more dead Americans,
they'll send down missiles,
anti-air craft guns,
it'll set us back a year!
All right, wait a minute now,
all right...
It seems to me
that if we're this pessimistic,
winning battles,
yet predicting stalemates
just five months after going in,
we should pause the bombing
and see what results.
I'm sorry, George,
but I must disagree.
If we pause the bombing and it fails,
the President will be under
irresistible pressure
from the right-wing hawks
in Congress to bomb Hanoi,
to bomb the Red River dikes.
That'll flood the country
and create a civilian disaster
of such magnitude
I do not believe
that North Vietnam will talk
until they come to the realization
that this will be a stalemate
that they cannot win
Now they're not there.
They're unrelenting buildup
in the South clearly indicates
that they believe they can win.
Are you now sayin
that we have no choice
but to continue
to match them man for man?
Well, you made that decision,
Mr. President, we are there,
you have convinced
the American people
that we should be there.
I see no alternative
but for you to make your best effort
to win.
I couldn't believe my ears!
Clifford about-facin,
McNamara goin soft!
They're all changin their tune now.
And Ole George McBundy got
with the Soviet Ambassador,
got a little vodka in him,
and those Harvard types that'll
believe anything outta diplomat!
I don't believe for a minute
that Moscow wants peace.
You don't have to take his advice
if you believe it will fail.
Didn't you hear anything!
Don't you know if I don't pause
the bombing now,
the Kennedys'll all shout
from the mountaintops
that the Russians held out a big fat
olive branch
and I snapped it in two and now
I've missed my chance for peace!
So how's academic life?
Not nearly as challenging.
But I can say I've been getting
a lot more sleep.
Well, someone has to deal
with these things.
You certainly have the floor space.
That I do. That I do.
You know the guy in that portrait?
James Forrestal.
That's right.
Truman's Secretary of Defense.
The guy went absolutely nuts.
When Truman finally got rid of him,
he pinned him with a service medal,
he just stood there mute,
his throat clamped God knows what
demons going through his mind.
A couple days later he jumped out of
the 16th floor of Bethesda Naval.
Sometimes, you can wrestle too much.
Bob, we both came in
with Jack Kennedy.
We were around when this started.
Vietnam started with Eisenhower
and neither of us were here.
I know, and it was Kennedy who put
in all those socalled advisors.
But, I can't believe that had
he lived we'd be in this ditch.
You sound like you've been talking
to Bobby.
He's your friend,
what's he telling you?
If you told the President to stop
the bombing he'd stop it.
We have stopped the bombing,
under my recommendation.
You paused it.
Hanoi knows that you're gonna
start up again
if they don't agree to talk,
and they have said a hundred times
they won't knuckle under to that.
Now, if you told the President
that you no longer
believe the bombing can work...
I never said I believed that.
Bobby says you told him it's
not worth a damn.
Well, that's between Bobby and me.
And as far as my influence
with the President is concerned,
I think you over-estimate my pull.
I don't see how that's possible.
Peace Talks that's the only way
out of this thing now.
You stop the bombing for thirty days,
the brass is ready to hang me,
God, I sure hope Hanoi wants
to take the bait because...
I just don't think we're going
to be able to beat these people.
So, are you going public
with your views?
I'm thinkin about it.
Well, you are free to do that now,
aren't you?
Is that where it happened?
Yep. It's incredible.
Absolutely incredible.
For twenty days now,
we and our South Vietnamese allies
have dropped no bombs
on North Vietnam.
We seek neither territory, nor bases,
economic domination
or military alliance in Vietnam.
We fight for the principle
of self-determination,
for the people of South Vietnam
to be able to chose their own course,
chose it in free elections
without violence,
without terror, and without fear.
We have said all this
and we have asked
and hoped and we have waited
for a response.
None has come.
I believe that we can continue
the Great Society,
while we fight in Vietnam,
yet there are those who cry out,
We must sacrifice.
Well, let us rather ask them,
Who will they sacrifice?
Are they gonna sacrifice the children
who seek their learning,
or the sick who need medical care,
or the families that dwell in squalor
now brightened by the hope of home?
Will they sacrifice opportunity
for the distressed,
the beauty of our land and the hope
of our poor?
Vietnam has been fighting for
it's independence for 4,000 years.
We have defeated the Mongols
three times
and despite all of his bluster
and all his bombs,
Emperor Johnson is not nearly
as terrifying as Genghis Khan.
Ho Chi Minh s statement over
Hanoi radio this morning.
Thirty-seven days.
Thirty-seven days now,
not one bomb has fallen,
this is our answer.
This is our answer.
What now, Bob?
Hanoi and Haiphong harbor.
As you can see,
they're in very concentrated areas.
The tanks and refineries
are within a short distance
of residential sections.
What about the Russian oil ships?
They offload with a 250 foot
floating pipeline.
That's why we're targeting
the distribution tanks,
some 1500 feet from the vessels.
But still quite close
to the residential areas.
That's correct.
And I understand that they purposely
situation strategic
targets close to neighborhoods.
What about those ships,
can they shoot back?
No, sir. They're unarmed.
But the tanks are protected
by surface-to-air missiles.
The Russians sent them down
during the bombing pause.
How many planes will we lose?
Twenty to twenty-five.
How many casualties?
And if the bombs miss,
it could go as high as 12,000
with 50% of these civilians
and 50% of those killed.
Of course we don't plan these strikes
to miss our targets.
But you do miss sometimes.
And this time you could hit
a Russian ship
and the bomber pilot,
he'll be a kid from Johnson City,
That'll be the kid
that starts World War III,
thank you very much.
All right,
so what great things
will result from this plan?
With no oil,
their entire infiltration effort
will grind to a halt,
from manufacturing to transportation.
Their war making capability
will be destroyed
and they will have to negotiate.
The Chinese and the Soviets
will step up aid.
And we could lose the support
of Canada,
Japan and the Chinese representation
issue at the UN.
If a Russian ship is sunk,
we just don't know.
The Chinese may send in troops,
but as Bus said, this could end it.
What if it doesn't?
What if by God's grace we don't have
a million Chinese and nuclear war,
but they still won't quit?
What will you be askin me
to hit next?
Strategic targets closer
to the center of Hanoi.
The Paul Doumer Bridge,
four major rail lines cross it.
The power plant, industry,
all within five miles of downtown.
Bob, are you for this?
It might work.
So you're for it.
Uh, Mr. President?
Since taking over for Mac Bundy,
I've had a chance to evaluate
our bombing policy and I uh,
I believe that our continued delay
in attacking Hanoi is causing Russia
and China to underestimate
our resolve
and that that may actually encourage
World War III.
As always, I support any measure
that has a chance of ending this.
Anyone else? George? Nothin to add?
This will not affect
North Vietnamese manpower,
which has proved to be limitless.
It will be hard for the Russians
and the Chinese to take,
I'm concerned as always about
the escalating level of violence,
but maybe this will finally satisfy
the hawks in Congress.
If we have to do it,
let's do it now.
You know, George, you remind me
of a country schoolteacher,
asked if he believes
the world is flat or round,
he says, I can teach it either way.
How soon do we go?
This is the same as mine, you know.
I just as soon forget
about those thirteen days.
He had them made
at Tiffany's didn't he?
He gave one to Jackie, too.
She joked it's the only thing
he ever gave her
from there that wasn't ordered
straight out of their catalog.
A trying time.
You speak as if it's in the past.
The trying time.
Here you go.
...Johnson wasn't much
of a poker player
but he loved the political
Can a whiskey convert a man, Clark?
Look at them.
You know what they remind me of?
A flock of buzzards sittin
on a fence discussing
the price of carrion.
You could have had Bundy's job.
What was it, Clark?
You haven't socked away
enough dough yet?
Oh, no, that's unbecoming of you,
The basement office? What?
You know I'd lose my freedom
to advice him on his Presidency
if I took a cabinet post.
George, the President wants
to get out of Vietnam
just as much as you do, in principle.
There's a word that's been tossed
about more than a dollar whore
in a port of call.
How's this for principle:
what a waste.
You know who said that?
To me.
For all the principle around here
we're in one hell of a mess,
don't you think?
Look at him. His wife's got an ulcer,
his kid's got an ulcer,
everybody's got Bob McNamara's
ulcer but Bob McNamara.
Sometimes I think it's all just
a god damn academic exercise to him.
George. You mustn't give up on this,
Oh, Christ, Clark.
Good evening, Mr. and Mrs.
Clifford how are you.
I'd like you to meet Charles Rob.
Clark Clifford.
Anyone who still thinks we ought to
be in Vietnam
should take a detour from work
and drive by Arlington
Cemetery every day for a week.
I don't think I'd trust anyone
in a policymaking position
who'd do that.
Who did what, Bob? Who faced
the consequences of his counsel?
Who needed a reminder of
what war was all about?
A reminder of what? Our jobs
in World War II, in the rear?
I pushed paper just like you, Walt.
We were all too damn smart.
I must've been sittin
on my brains then up in that B-25.
Two years in prison camps.
That's right, Nick's the only one
here who saw combat.
And you were probably pickin
his targets, Walt.
As I remember, we won that war.
Yeah, well, you can tell that
to the 50,000 dead men,
women and children of Dresden.
Is anyone ready for dinner?
Dresden was bombed for the rail lines.
Dresden was bombed to terrorize
the hell out of those people,
which is precisely what our B-52s
are doing in Vietnam.
And if this keeps up, in another year,
we'll have dropped more there
than on all of Europe.
Isn't that right, Bob?
Let's go inside, darling.
Isn't that what you told me
the other day? In private?
Among some other things.
Such as the fact that we've destroyed
so much of that country
they can't even grow enough rice
to feed themselves,
the rice bowl of the world.
We've created so many refugees
that if we had the same proportion
out of their homes in this country,
there d be thirty-million people
on the streets.
Isn't that right? Bob?
Isn't that what you said?
What was it Tacitus said
about the Romans at Carthage?
You have made a desert
and call it peace.
If you still can't reach him then
get whosever on call,
we need a doctor here.
Christ, Marny.
I'll be all right. It was the liqueur
Mr. Secretary,
it's Major Wolfson
at the Command Center.
We just got a call from CINCPAC
saying the weather around
Hanoi has cleared
and the fighter-bombers
are on their way.
Bob, it's me.
Mr. President, the operations
we discussed will be going tonight.
They have perfect conditions.
Bob, Bob these, these, these pilots
are said to be the cream.
They're the best the Navy
and Air Force have, Mr. President,
and they know you're counting on them
All right, Bob. Thank you.
I'm going to the Pentagon now,
I'll call as soon as I have word,
Mr. President.
Thank you.
Forgive me for ventilating so freely.
I believe that you are only
so worried
because you feel foolish
having waited so long
to take this action.
If, if you did it a year ago,
instead of using kid gloves
and giving them an extra month
in which to resupply,
it would have followed quite naturally
but now it seems to you like one
step too many.
The problem is, my good sir,
each step has been inches instead
of yards.
We have been going to war by inches!
Tip-toeing apologetically
when we should be striding through
with our heads held high
like Americans!
Why aren't we hearin from em!?
Yes, Bob.
Mr. President, they had some weather.
You said it was clear!
I'll call you the moment
I know anything.
Bob, my life's in your hands here.
Yes, sir.
Our Father...
Our Father...
Our Father...
Who art in heaven,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name...
Hallowed be thy name...
Well, if you admit her
you could run some tests on her,
can't you, goddamnit, I mean...
Secretary, Exec-con on one.
You can see there that she's in
a hell of a lot of pain.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done...
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
On earth.
On earth.
On earth.
As it is in heaven.
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day...
Give us this day...
Our daily bread...
Our daily bread...
And forgive us our trespasses.
And forgive us our trespasses.
As we forgive those
who trespass against us.
As we forgive those
who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation.
Lead us not into temptation.
But deliver us from evil.
Deliver us from evil.
Go ahead.
Mr. President,
I just talked with Honolulu,
all the primaries were hit,
and no ships were struck.
Now, we did lose two aircraft
due to anti-air.
No Russian ships?
We didn't hit any Russian ships?
No, but as I say, uh,
two pilots are down.
I won't know about civilian
casualties till we have the photos.
Now, if the weather holds
we could send the RFs in
to see just what collateral damage...
All right, Bob. Thank you. Thank you.
Pentagon sources tell CBS news
that General Westmoreland
has been granted even great
authority over the use of B-52s
in Vietcong controlled areas
in the South.
With the recent escalation
of bombing over North Vietnam,
aimed to destroying the heart
of the enemies
urban industrial capacity,
the US clearly wants
to force a change
in Hanoi's will to continue the war.
Last year the rate of Rolling Thunder
missions reached 1,500 per week,
since then the rate of sorties
has doubled.
Mr. President it appears
that the air strikes have
had no effect
on the enemy's war making capability.
The attacks were not successful?
Well, why we did destroy nearly 100%
of their oil storage capacity
in our follow-up attacks
throughout the summer,
a large portion of their stock
was put into barrels and
dispersed in anticipation of
our strikes.
They've retained enough to meet
ongoing requirements.
Their buildup is continuing.
And Westmoreland is requesting
additional men.
How many?
The Program Three forces
will bring us up
to 431,000 by the middle of 67.
What about the bombin ?
We're looking at heavier B-52
strikes in the southern DMZ,
and in North Vietnam--targets
in the restricted zones.
Downtown Hanoi.
Yes, sir. And Haiphong.
And in the buffer zone with China.
The good news, Mr. President,
is that the naysayers were wrong.
Peking and Moscow stood still
and they will very likely stand
still even
with intensified activity.
Are you recommendin some of these
new targets for me today?
Yes, I am. You have the evaluation
sheets before you.
I have some photographs here,
number seventy-two
of the Van Dien truck depot.
That the one with the school
up the street?
As a matter of fact, yes,
the Polish Friendship School
across the highway a half a mile up.
Mr. President, as you may recall,
in order to avoid a tax increase
we did not budget for the war
beyond this fiscal year
which has cost us 20 billion
as apposed
to the 12 billion projected.
We're over by eight billion?
Eight billion?
Mr. President, if you approve
these new forces,
constraints on domestic programs
will no longer be avoidable.
It's all in a memo I sent over
to you today along
with some recommendations.
Joe, I want to start workin
on the State of the Union.
You sit down with Bob
and Walt and Fowler.
Yes, Mr. President.
There's to be no mention
of the Great Society!
What is it you're lookin for!?
Undersecretary of State?
I'll change the title
to the Holy Roman Emperor, right?
No, this is the best way
I can serve your Presidency
and I think Dean Rusk would
feel undercut
if you were to fill George Ball's job
with a personal friend of yours.
I don't give a rat's ass
what Rusk feels,
I need you in that room, Clark.
I need someone like George with
an ability to reason and argue.
A devil's advocate.
George Ball is not playing
devil's advocate.
He believed every word he said.
All right. All right.
Moyers wants the job.
My press man thinks
if I make him number two
at State I'll all of
a sudden give a shit
what he thinks about Vietnam.
And McNamara,
McNamara sends me a paper,
says we should cap the troops,
level off the bombin.
You know what happens
if I stop bombin ?
Ho Chi Minh runs five
more divisions up my ass,
that's what happens!
It was McNamara's program,
the whole thing,
now he's talkin up
a shit storm to Bobby!
Oh, you don't know that.
I know everything.
I know who's sayin
what at those fancy Georgetown
dinner parties.
I know cause I had Hoover
put a couple of boys there, too.
I know.
What they say doesn't matter.
You're not helpless in this situation.
You're approval ratings are down.
You need to go out there
on the stump and sell the
truth Westmoreland is now
aying that a Communist
military victory is impossible.
You're finally winning in Vietnam.
We're winnin but we're losin .
We're killin em and we're losin .
We're losin because this war
goes on and on and on.
I passed twice the number
of bills FDR
got through in his first hundred days
There's never been an era
in American history like this,
yet there's so much left to do.
But this war has got to end!
Five years pussyfootin about
in that miserable little country.
Two billion dollars a month!
We could be feedin these people,
educatin these people!
Goddamnit why won't that sonovabitch
let me help him? Why!?
Why won't he lay down his arms
and stop killing off his sons
in the flower of their youth?
I do not understand.
I... I just do not understand.
Mr. President...
Moyers, get me Moyers,
and get me General Westmoreland
on the other line.
Can I help you, Mr. President?
Get your bags packed.
Call the press together.
We're goin to Vietnam.
Are they ours?
I fuckin hope so.
Attention. Arms!
Order, down!
Where you from, Son?
Louisville, Kentucky, sir.
Yes, sir.
Have you turn majority age yet,
I was twenty-one last month, sir.
My mom and my girl sent me
a big ol chocolate cake
and it came just in time, sir.
Bill, get em out.
Yes, Mr. President.
Come on, guys.
Well, they've given me the honor,
Corporal McCaffrey,
of pinnin you
with this purple heart here.
There. You'll be home right soon,
and on the first Tuesday of November,
you got a congressional election
I want you to vote.
Yes, sir.
Yeah, you'll be able to
get to your pollin place?
I don't know where it is,
but I'll get a ride, sir.
All right.
Make sure you vote now.
Yes, sir.
We're all behind you, sir.
Every one of us.
We won't let you down.
All right, son. Thank you.
And I won't let you down!
You'll get everything you need.
I thank you, I salute you,
may the good Lord look over you
and keep you safe until you come home
and nail that coonskin to the wall.
Three cheers for the President!
Hip-hip-hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!
Hip, hip, hooray!
Certainly the bombing of the North
makes the war more costly
and more difficult
and more painful for North Vietnam.
It is a harsh punishment indeed.
But we are not in Vietnam
to play the part
of an avenging angel pouring death
and destruction.
We are there
to assure the selfdetermination...
Kennedy, McCarthy
they haven't done a thing
for this country!
Not a fuckin thing!
And look at all I've done.
It should be clear by now
hat the bombing of the North
cannot bring an end
to the war in the South,
and that indeed at the present time
it may well be prolonging that war.
Our troops are being killed
by the bullets
and the mines of the South.
If, by ending the bombing of the North
we can bring peace to South Vietnam,
we will save the lives
of thousands of...
I don't know
why you're worried about Kennedy
and your second term,
because I don't think your health
will survive your first term.
Where you going ?
I want to be useful to you.
And I would listen even
as you rant and rave,
but I have worked far too hard
and born
far too much to watch you
destroy yourself.
...major political elements
of South Vietnam, anticipate...
The bridge is a major target
and we've never hit it.
The chance of civilian deaths
will be almost zero.
I say one hundred to five hundred,
possibly more.
Which is it? Five hundred or zero?
Mr. President, the Stennis Committee
is up in arms over
our holding back on these targets.
Bob's testimony is coming up
and it might take some heat off him
if some of these can be cleared up
before his appearance.
I can take the heat without padding
my resume
with more bombing missions.
This is a heavily defended target
in a very populated area.
The photos are right here,
Mr. President.
The photos are meaningless,
the target is heavily defended.
The pilots jettison their bombs
when they re under attack.
Now, I've been asking for two years
why they don't come straight up
he river
that way they dump the bombs,
they go in the water and not
on the people
and I still haven't got an answer!
Coming in from the Gulf involves
an extra turn,
with our backs to those
heavy defenses.
If it is so well defended,
should we risk the pilots?
Men dying is a relative thing.
The effect of the air campaign
is cumulative.
Every blow makes the enemy stretch
his resources.
Stretching is a relative thing.
Mr. President,
we shouldn't be bombing
for punitive reasons,
but there just doesn't seem
any point to this anymore!
Hit it. Hit the goddamn bridge.
What's next.
Uh, number 309, sir,
the uh railcar repair shop...
Oh, Jesus! Come to me. Come on.
I got you. I got you.
I got you. I got you.
I don't know what I'm gonna do, Marg.
Rostow, The Chiefs,
they're gonna drive this thing
straight to hell.
I won't be long.
we don't want your fucking war!
we don't want your fucking war!
we don't want your fucking war!
we don't want your fucking war!
we don't want your fucking war!
we don't want your fucking war!
How many kids you kill today?
How many kids you kill today?
How many kids you kill today?
How many kids you kill today?
All right, take formation, spread out
Stop the war in Vietnam,
bring those troops back home!
Stop the war in Vietnam,
bring those troops back home!
Let's go! Let's go! File in,
move it up!
Hell-no, we won't go!
Hell-no, we won't go!
Hell-no, we won't go!
Hell-no, we won't go!
No rifle is to be loaded
without my permission.
I'll have the commanders go down
the line again.
Not one bullet, damn it!
Get off me! Let me go! Get off me!
Let me go! Just let me go!
Look, look at that.
There he is! That's McNamara!
Over there!
Secretary McNamara,
on behalf of the subcommittee,
let me thank you
for your appearance here today.
I have, from the beginning,
and do today,
fully support the objectives
of the bombing
to interdict men, and supplies
and hinder the enemy's ability
to wage war in the South.
In this I am 100% behind
the Joint Chiefs,
Admiral Sharp, General Westmoreland,
and his commanders,
as they are fully aware,
and as the President is aware.
We are all greatly encouraged
to hear that, Mr. Secretary.
You are the last to testify,
as you know,
and the overwhelming view
from General Wheeler and the others
is that there has been excessive
interference from your office--
If I'd be permitted to finish
my statement, Senator
Stennis, there are copies available
outside the hearing room.
Our greater objective, however,
was, and remains,
to persuade the leaders
of North Vietnam
that they cannot prevail.
In this we have been unsuccessful.
This is due to the fact
that North Vietnam
can sustain its forces in the South
with a mere 100 tons
of supplies a day,
through corrupt elements
in the South Vietnamese government.
Out of 359 targets recommended
by the Chiefs,
only 57 remain unstruck.
Two are battery plants manufacturing
a total of 600 tons a year,
not enough to fill the corner
of a Sears,
Roebuck regional warehouse.
Just a moment, Mr. Secretary!
There's a rubber plant producing
The service station where
I fill my car
could supply
the output of this facility.
Excuse my interruption.
Hitting these targets will cost us
in pilots, planes,
and hard cash, and they will kill
more and more civilians.
The military knows this.
They think it's worth it. I do not.
Hold on!
You know what he did to me out there?
It's like sellin your house
and your son takes the buyer aside
and tells him there's leaks
in the basement.
Now Hanoi knows we're divided
and they'll never stop.
I've gotta get rid of
that sonovabitch.
You can't just get rid of him.
The Republicans will play up
the disunity
and Bobby'll have a field day.
Bobby's clamorin for him to resign
don't you know,
to go public against me for doin
what he advised!
Look, we'll find a job for McNamara
where he won't be able to snipe
at you.
I'll help you fill his post
with someone you can trust.
I'll do anything I can for you,
Mr. President.
But we have a reelection campaign
to start
and we do not have a policy
to end this war.
Clark, you'll do anything you can?
They're ready for you, Mr. President.
Yep. I'll be out in a minute.
Sit down, Bob.
I'm sorry you found out
from the Washington Post.
I'm sure Fowler told you,
or the bank people.
Nobody told me anything,
Mr. President. I uh,
mentioned to you in the spring
that I'd been approached
by the World Bank,
but I thought
if you were going to nominate me,
you would have said
something yourself.
They're doin fine work
there--humanitarian work.
I know that's of interest to you.
Yes, but only if it's what you want.
If I can no longer be of service...
Service? Who's been of more service
to me than you?
Why you've served longer than any
Defense Secretary in history.
Look what you've had
to shepherd us through.
The Cuban crisis, two Cuban crisis,
Berlin, Dominican,
Middle East. Hell,
that's a tough enough job
in peace time.
And look what you've had to deal with
Mr. President, my point is,
I don't have to leave
until you want me to leave.
Bob, Joe Fowler asked me
for three nominees.
I said I only got one McNamara.
There were tears in
the Treasury Secretary's eyes
cause he was hopin he'd be my choice.
And with tears in his eyes
he said he had to
submit three names to the bank.
I said, okay, it's McNamara,
McNamara, and McNamara.
You ask him.
Now, the bank directors vote today,
but it's uh,
it's just a formality.
Now, Bob,
I better get over to Lady Bird's
beautification awards,
important to her.
Your wife's the same
with her readin program, I know.
Yes, although with her condition
it's been difficult.
Ah, no improvements since surgery?
My son, uh... he has em as well.
You deserve whatever you want
from this government.
My obligation is to help you,
and this was within my power
to grant you.
People have an obligation
to the President,
not the other way around.
May your selfless service,
spent in defendin freedom
bring even greater rewards
in the larger work that you
now undertake to promote
freedom throughout the world.
Signed, Lyndon B. Johnson, President.
This is the Medal of Freedom,
the highest award a President
can bestow upon a citizen
of the United States.
I award it now to a loyal, brilliant,
good man,
Robert McNamara the very best we have.
Thank you, Mr. President,
this is an almost impossible
situation to respond to.
You're used to impossible situations.
Now, I stand here tonight to tell you
that I regard Bob McNamara here,
as not only one of the smartest,
but one of the most humane men I know.
One, put the men in.
Two, call up the reserves,
extend tours of duty.
And three, expand the bombing.
Mr. President, uh,
I cannot uh...
find the words to express
what lies in my heart today and uh...
I think I better respond
at another time.
Mr. Clifford
Mr. Clifford, does your acceptance
of the job
of Defense Secretary
signal your interest
in elected office?
It signals only my desire to serve
a great President
and a long-time friend.
I am 61 years old and I am sure
this will finish me off.
Quiet please! Quiet please!
Joe, Joe?
It's been observed that
in your views on Vietnam,
you've changed from dove to hawk,
which are you?
I am not conscious of falling
under any of those
ornithological divisions.
I'll tell you this, he's no ostrich.
I know of no man who will call it
as it is with such candor
and judgment as this man,
Clark Clifford.
We got a light at the end
of the tunnel now!
It's probably a small attack,
Mr. President the embassy
compound's been hit before.
Mr. Secretary,
it's not just the embassy,
the palace, legislature, airport, too
Secretary Rusk!
Put it on the speaker phone.
Go ahead, Ben.
Dean, I've got the duty officer
at the Embassy, Alan Brandt.
Mr. Brandt!
Mr. Brandt can you hear me?
They're shooting right outside,
Mr. Secretary.
Outside of the Embassy compound?
Inside! They blew through the wall,
they're at the doors.
Rostow, Casualty report.
Do you have something to defend
yourself with, Mr. Brandt?
I'm at the window! They're below me.
They see me.
They're looking right at me.
I've got to go, Mr. Secretary.
I've got to go I've got to get out
Small attack!?
These are desperation moves,
Mr. President
we've got them on the run!
It's not just Saigon.
The Vietcong have launched
surprise attacks
on 36 of the provincial capitals
of South Vietnam.
From the streets of Wai near the DMZ,
to the US Embassy compound in Saigon,
the casualty count on both sides
has been unprecedented.
The U.S. Military says
it is successfully
beating back the Vietcong attacks,
but clearly they are paying
an enormous price.
The enemy's well-laid plans
went afoul!
They tried to ignite a revolution
in the South, and they failed.
If this is a failure, God help us
when they have a success.
I've given em all the men,
the planes, the guns,
the bullets he said he needed,
I thought we were winnin this thing!
Now Westmoreland says
he wants 206,000 more troops!
We'll have 750,000 there.
Three quarters of a million men
in Vietnam.
Light at the end of the tunnel!
Hell, we don't even have a tunnel!
We don't even know
where the tunnel is!
I want you to get Westmoreland here,
get your people together
and look at this thing.
We'll give em the boys if we have to,
but on your recommendation.
You'll wait?
I'll wait, but not for long.
If he needs em what the hell
am I supposed to do!?
Old friend... get me an answer.
Give us these troops
and we can seize the initiative!
But it will just be more of the same!
The enemy's taken 200,000 killed
and he'll take 200,000 more!
We've lost a tenth that many
and Americans are rioting
in the streets.
They should be cheering!
They Vietcong lost.
We were victorious.
That's true, Walt,
but remember they only committed
to this offensive--holding
enough back to strike again.
That's right, damn it
and it could happen at any time.
I say put the men in.
There are no more trained men.
We would ship raw troops and train
them in the rear.
What rear? There is no rear
in Vietnam anymore.
I would hope we've at least learned
that from this victory.
With 206,000 more men we could go
into Laos, Cambodia,
North Vietnam and cut out
their supply routes once
and for all we have never been given
that authority!
Excuse me, General. Dean,
you said the enemy
committed 175,000 men
to the offensive.
That's right, Clark.
And General Westmoreland says
that they suffered
to wounded ratio.
It's right here in my report.
We beat the pants off them!
Then how in the hell can we justify
to the public sending
hundreds of thousands more men!?
We tell them this:
that we're within inches
of victory inches!
Yes, sir.
And 3.5 times that number
are out of action?
It's in the report, Clark.
If there's 45,000 dead and three
and a half times that number...
General, according to you
and General Westmoreland
we have killed and wounded 120%
of the enemy.
It's becoming more and more evident
that an out and out military victory
cannot be achieved with any strategy.
So... these are my recommendations:
one, send Westmoreland
only those forces
that will satisfy his immediate need.
Wheeler has agreed to 22,000 plus
the units previously approved
and already scheduled for deployment.
This would stave off immediate defeat
while we move to negotiations.
We realize that the settlemen
will not be favorable for Saigon
and they would fight it.
Two, the bombing,
Wheeler, the other Chiefs
and Walt Rostow all advocate hitting
the remaining targets in Hanoi
and Haiphong and mining and bombing
the harbors.
With the support of everyone else,
I recommend a bombing halt.
I've told you,
I'm not gonna stop the bombin .
It keeps the lead out of our boys.
There's little evidence
to support that,
sir and the bombing is going
to be the single greatest issue
in the Presidential campaign.
The perception is evolving out
there that Eugene McCarthy
is the peace candidate and
you are the war candidate.
If McCarthy has a good showing
in New Hampshire,
I think Bobby'll throw his hat in.
But he can't beat you
if you're sitting at the peace table.
Peace table! Sell out South Vietnam.
This is your advice!?
If I could lay a plan to win
the war before...
I gotta go on TV in three weeks
and explain all this
to the American people!
Huh? And you're tellin me to cut
and run admit defeat that
for nothin !
That 20,000 American mothers weep
for nothin !
The situation has changed since Tet.
Yes, it has! Tet was a failure!
The enemy has failed to overrun us
and we are poised to win
and now it's only you and your people
who are advising against
the extra effort
it'll take to turn three years
of miserable war into victory!
And I'm telling you there is
no victory to be had!
Not without measures that'll tear
this country apart
and bring down this administration!
I told you to get out of
Vietnam three years ago
Lyndon when you...
What about two years ago, and one!
Hey? You shot down
every bombing pause,
backed every troop increase!
Don't you dare!
Mr. President,
my counsel has not deviated one whit!
My every word, then as now has been
informed solely by my commitment
to preserve your Presidency
and establish your place
in this country's history!
I shoulda cleaned house November 63,
got rid of all of
em, McNamara, Bundy, Connally,
wooin me those fuckin Kennedy lovers
would be disloyal to me!
All of em!
They only advised you, Mr. President.
You decided.
Against all your natural instincts
against the whole of
your life experience... you decided.
Senator Eugene McCarthy,
dove of Vietnam,
who was virtually unknown to voters
of this state two months ago,
has finished in a virtual tie
with the sitting President of
the United States, Lyndon Johnson.
Since poles taken only a week ago,
predicted Johnson would win two-thirds
of the vote and McCarthy
only eleven percent,
the Senator's surprisingly
high turn-out
has shocked the country.
I run because
it is now unmistakably clear
that we can change these disastrous,
divisive policies only
by changing the men
who are now making them.
I run because I am convinced
that this country
is on a perilous course
and because
I have such strong feelings
about what must be done
and I feel that I am obliged
to do all that I can.
Oh, I was there,
I was there when you told your brother
to go into that place. I was there.
And now I'm payin for it day
after day after day while you
cut me to pieces!
There's blood on your hands,
you traitor!
...prolong that war.
Our troops are being killed
by the bullets and the mines
of the South.
If by ending the bombing of the North
we can bring peace to South Vietnam,
then we will save the lives
of thousands of our young men,
and thousands of Vietnamese.
Yes, Mr. President?
I talked to Mills.
He won't back a war surtax unless
we go on TV
and announce deep cuts.
I want you to go up there
and talk to everybody
at Ways and Means.
I'm meeting with five of them in
the morning, sir.
Take Ackley up with ya, to back up
the numbers,
cause they wont believe anything
outta the White House anymore.
That's a good idea. Anything else,
Mr. President?
Are you all right, Mr. President?
Yeah, Joe, I'm all right.
Joe...Senator Kennedy's speech
who wrote it for him?
This guy Walinsky on his staff's
been writing a lot of his stuff.
I don't know, maybe Schlesinger,
I think he was involved... yes.
All right, Joe. Thanks.
I could never again raise
my voice against
the violence of the oppressed
in the ghettos
without having
first spoken clearly to
the greatest purveyor of violence
in the world today
my own government.
how many kids you kill today?
how many kids you kill today?
how many kids you kill today?
The largest antiwar demonstration
yet brought hundreds
of thousands of protesters into
the streets of American cities.
The radicals say that
since peaceful demonstrations
won't end the war,
they're ready to move
from protest to resistance.
With talk of full-scale rebellion
is sweeping the country from college
campus's to the inner cities
the mood is turning ugly
and there's a dangerous sense
that the Nation's political
is spinning out of control.
For it seems now more certain than
ever that the bloody
experience of Vietnam is to end
in a stalemate.
This summer's almost certain
will either end in real give
and take negotiations
or terrible escalation.
But it is increasingly clear
to this reporter,
that the only rational way out
then will be to negotiate
not as victors
but as an honorable people
who lived up to their pledge
to defend democracy
and did the best they could.
This is Walter Cronkite, goodnight.
Well, say what you think.
All right.
It's tough. And effective.
But the music in it is sad
and sour to the ear.
And I don't know that any speechwriter
could have made it sing.
I got a hundred bills in committee
and they'll never see
the light of day.
But I think I could
pass a thousand bills
more education, more health care,
more rights but it wouldn't matter
cause it seems nothin I say,
no matter how I say
it could ever bring
this country together again.
Then perhaps eloquence of speech
is no longer the answer...
but eloquence of action.
Mr. Secretary...
Would you be kind enough
to make sure that the
President sees that this evening?
Lady Bird
I promised
to have these budget figures
by the end of the day.
Oh, he's right inside.
No, no, I won't disturb him.
Thank you, goodnight.
Uh, Clark. I've got the speech here.
I need your help with it.
You know that I'm at your service,
Mr. President.
I know, old friend.
Good evening, my fellow Americans.
I want to speak to you of peace
in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
We are prepared to move immediately
towards peace
through negotiations.
We are reducing,
substantially reducing
the present level of hostilities
and we are doing so unilaterally,
and at once.
Tonight, I have ordered our aircraft
and our naval vessels
to make no more attacks
on North Vietnam
except in the area north
of the demilitarized zone
where the continuing
enemy buildup directly threatens
allied forward positions.
The area in which we are stopping
our attacks includes
almost 90%
of North Vietnam's population
and most of its territory.
Our purpose in this action is
to bring
about a reduction in the level
of violence that now exists.
It is to save the lives of brave men
and to save the lives of innocent
women and children.
Now, as in the past,
the United States is ready to send
its representatives,
in any forum, any time to discuss
the means of bringing
this ugly war to an end.
There is a division
in the American house now.
There is divisiveness among us
all tonight.
With America's sons
in the fields far away,
with America's future under challenge
right here at home...
with our hopes and the world's hopes
for peace in the balance everyday,
I do not believe that I should devote
an hour or a day of my time
to any personal partisan causes
or to any duties
other than the awesome
duties of this office
the Presidency of your country.
Accordingly, I shall not seek,
and I will not accept,
the nomination of my party
for another term as your President.
But let men everywhere know,
however, that a strong,
and a confident,
and a vigilant America
stands ready tonight
to seek an honorable peace
and stands ready tonight
to defend an honored cause,
whatever the price,
whatever the burden,
whatever the sacrifice that
that duty may require.
Thank you for listening.
Good night and God bless you all.
President Johnson's speech
and the bombing cutback,
led to the first peace talks
between the U.S.
and North Vietnam.
Negotiations derailed
under President Nixon,
but a settlement
was eventually signed
after four more years of war,
at the end of which more than 58,000
Americans and two million Vietnamese
were dead.
President Johnson died
on January 22, 1973, five days
before the Paris Peace Accords
were signed.
Many of the programs and initiatives
of the Great Society endure.