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Clark CliffordThe Wise Man of Washington$
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John Acacia

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125510

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125510.001.0001

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This Could Be a Quagmire

This Could Be a Quagmire

(p.236) 9 This Could Be a Quagmire
Clark Clifford

John Acacia

University Press of Kentucky

The tragedy of Lyndon B. Johnson was that despite his many legislative accomplishments in civil rights, health care, and antipoverty programs, his administration is best known for the quagmire that was the Vietnam War. However, it was in this arena, both as an informal adviser to Johnson and ultimately as secretary of defense, that Clark Clifford distinguished himself. With but one exception, Clifford was the lone voice in the Johnson administration speaking out against the war. In March 1965 the first combat troops were dispatched to Vietnam: two battalions, or about 6,000 men. The troops were sent to protect the air bases from which U.S. forces were unleashing the bombing campaign known as Rolling Thunder. General William C. Westmoreland, commander of the U.S. forces, requested that the president provide him with ground forces with which to pursue the enemy. Clifford was one of the few opponents of escalation who had any access to the president.

Keywords:   Lyndon B. Johnson, Vietnam War, Clark Clifford, United States, bombing campaign, troops, Rolling Thunder, William C. Westmoreland

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