The war escalates; American casualties soar; General Westmoreland remains confident of an American military victory; the antiwar movement gains momentum.
Some time in 1967, Julian Bond (after being expelled from the Georgia legislature for his antiwar position) and T. G. Lewis published an antiwar comic. See https://www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org/index.php/vietnam-an-antiwar-comic-book-by-julian-bond/
January DRV Foreign Minister Pham Van Dong (Phạm Văn Đồng) says peace talks can begin if US stops bombing North Vietnam.
January-May Two North Vietnamese divisions, operating out of the DMZ that separates North and South Vietnam, launch heavy bombardments of American bases south of the DMZ. These bases include Khe Sanh, the Rockpile (also known as Elliot Combat Base; known in Vietnamese as Thon Khe Tri, is a solitary karst rock outcropping north of Route 9), Cam Lo (Cam Lộ), Dong Ha (Đông Hà), Con Thien (Cồn Tiên) and Gio Linh.
January 1-18 Harrison Salisbury’s reporting from Hanoi in The New York Times continues to challenge the Johnson administrations’ view of the war; he reports extensive civilian damage and a strong will among the DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietnam or North Vietnam) to carry on the fighting, as well as Hanoi’s willingness to negotiate.
January 2 Operation Bolo: 28 U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom jets engage North Vietnamese MIG-21 interceptors into a dogfight over Hanoi and shoot down seven of them. This leaves only nine MIG-21s operational for the North Vietnamese (DRV). The success for the Americans in this operation (as well as subsequent operations) caused the DRV to ground MiG-21s for several months for retraining and revised tactics.
January 8-26 – Operation Cedar Falls: the largest combined offensive to date and involves 16,000 American and 14,000 South Vietnamese soldiers clearing out NLF from the ‘Iron Triangle’ area 25 miles northwest of Saigon. The NLF chooses not to fight and instead melts away into the surrounding area and into Cambodia. Americans uncover an extensive network of tunnels and for the first time use ‘tunnel rats,’ the nickname given to specially trained volunteers who explore the maze of tunnels. In an attempt to permanently destroy the Iron Triangle as an NLF stronghold, Operation Cedar Falls also entailed the complete deportation of the region’s civilian population to so-called “New Life Villages” (or strategic hamlets), the destruction of their homes, as well as the defoliation of whole areas. After the American and South Vietnamese troops leave the area, the NLF returns and rebuild their sanctuary. This pattern is repeated throughout the war as Americans utilize ‘in-and-out’ tactics in which troops arrive by helicopters, secure an area, and then depart by helicopters.
January 10 U.N. Secretary-General U Thant expresses doubts that Vietnam is essential to the security of the West.
During his State of the Union address before Congress, President Johnson once again declares, “We will stand firm in Vietnam.”
the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
January 23 Senator J. William Fulbright publishes The Arrogance of Power a book critical of American war policy in Vietnam advocating direct peace talks between the South Vietnamese government and the NLF. By this time, Fulbright and President Johnson are no longer on speaking terms. Instead, the President uses the news media to deride Fulbright, Robert Kennedy, and a growing number of critics in Congress as “nervous Nellies” and “sunshine patriots.”
January 26 “We Won’t Go” (to serve in Vietnam) petition in The Stanford Daily sponsored by the Stanford Anti-Draft Union. By the end of 1967, at least 3,000 sign various “We Won’t Go” petitions.
February 2 President Johnson states there are no “serious indications that the other side is ready to stop the war.”
February 8-10 American religious groups stage a nationwide “Fast for Peace.”
February 8-12 A truce occurs during Tet, the lunar New Year, a traditional Vietnamese holiday.
February 13 President Johnson announces the U.S. will resume full-scale bombing of North Vietnam (DRV).
Over 2,500 women from Women Strike For Peace protested at the Pentagon against the Viet Nam war. Carrying huge photos of Napalmed Vietnamese children, 2,500 members of the group Women Strike for Peace stormed the Pentagon, demanding to see “the generals who send our sons to Vietnam.” When Pentagon guards locked the main-entrance doors, the women took off their shoes and banged on the doors with their heels. They were finally allowed inside, but Defense Secretary Robert McNamara would not meet with them.
February 22-May 14 The largest U.S. military offensive of the war occurs. Operation Junction City involves 22 U.S. and four South Vietnamese battalions attempting to destroy the PAVN’s Central Office headquarters in South Vietnam. In fact, there was no such headquarters, as the “headquarters was a small and mobile group. The failure to gain surprise lay in discovery of the plans after PAVN Colonel Dinh Thi Van placed an agent in social circles that included ARVN General Cao Van Vien (Cao Văn Viên) and US General William Westmoreland. The offensive includes the only parachute assault by U.S. troops during the entire war. During the fighting at Ap Gu, U.S. 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry is commanded by Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Haig who will later become an influential White House aide. According to US sources, Junction City ended with 2728 NLF killed and 34 captured. American losses are 282 killed and 1576 wounded. PAVN relocate their Central Office headquarters inside Cambodia, thus avoiding capture. Despite a tremendous expense of resources, and the gaining of temporary control, the NLF soon was able to make a strong comeback in the area. Little of strategic value was gained for US forces.
Spec 4 J. Harry Muir 3d, a conscientious objector who said he could not serve in Vietnam because he loved peace more than America, was sentenced to two years at hard labor today for the kind of conduct that “loses wars and countries.”
February 25 Martin Luther King’s first public statement against the war at an anti-war conference in California.
February 26 Attack at Binh Duong (Bình Dương): an NLF battalion in a surprise attack nearly overran Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Regiment, of the Army’s 25th Division. 19 Americans were among the KIA.
March 8 Congress authorizes $4.5 billion for the war.
March 12 – A three-page anti-war ad appeared in The New York Times bearing the signatures of 6,766 teachers and professors. The advertisement spanned two and a quarter pages in Section 4, The Week in Review. The advertisement itself cost around $16,500 and was sponsored by the Inter-University Committee for Debate on Foreign Policy.
March 19-21 President Johnson meets in Guam with South Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky (Nguyễn Cao Kỳ) and pressures him to hold national elections.
March 25 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led 5,000 people down State Street in Chicago to protest the war in Viet Nam. This was the first anti-war march that Dr. King had joined, and one more step in his increasingly vocal opposition to the war. Dr. King had never been neutral on the war in Viet Nam but he had been silent. He felt, as did the leaders of most other civil rights organizations, that the movement should concentrate on the domestic struggle. They were concerned that opposition to President Johnson’s foreign policy would result in loss of support for passing and enforcing civil rights laws at home.
April 4 Dr. Martin Luther King gives a major address (“Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence”) opposing the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City, calling the U.S. “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”
“Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: ‘Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?’ ‘Why are you joining the voices of dissent?’ ‘Peace and civil rights don’t mix,’ they say. ‘Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people,’ they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live…
As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that 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. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent….
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak of the — for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours…
The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality…and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala — Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.
The speech in its entirety can be found on the Full Disclosure web site at https://www.vietnamfulldisclosure.org/index.php/beyond-vietnam-special-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-in-his-own-words/.
As Taylor Branch recounts in At Canaan’s Edge, even some of King’s advisors believed that the speech was impolitic – “too advanced,” “not so balanced” as it should have been; while the political counselor of President Johnson, John P. Roche, wrote a confidential memorandum saying that King had “thrown in his lot with the commies.” As for the press, the New York Times in an editorial entitled “Dr. King’s Error” judged that King’s protest against the war was “wasteful and self-defeating” and likely to be “disastrous for both causes.” The Washington Post went further. It predicted that many who had once listened to King with respect “would never again accord him the same confidence”; and it concluded: “He has diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, and his people.”
A 2013 PBS documentary about Whitney Young Jr. describes how that leader of the Urban League had a falling out with King because of his opposition to the war. The Pittsburgh Courier, a leading black newspaper in the country, said King was “tragically misleading” black Americans. The NAACP said it was improper for him to link the civil rights to opposition to the war.
April 6 Quang Tri (Quảng Trị) City is attacked by 2500 NLF and PAVN.
April 14 Richard M. Nixon visits Saigon and states that anti-war protests back in the U.S. are “prolonging the war.”
April 15 Anti-war demonstrations occur in New York and San Francisco. The Spring Mobilization’s massive march against the Vietnam War from Central Park to the UN attracted perhaps 400,000 people, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harry Belafonte, James Bevel, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and war veteran Jan Barry Crumb who marched and spoke. During the event many draft cards were burned. A simultaneous march in San Francisco was attended by Coretta Scott King along with 100,00 people.
James Bevel (on leave from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference –SCLC) was the Spring Mobilization’s chairman and initiator of the march on the U.N. Bevel was asked to organize the demonstration by nonviolent activists A.J. Muste and David Dellinger the plan was for just an April 15 rally in Central Park). Rev. Martin Luther King declared that the war was undermining President Johnson’s Great Society social reform programs, “…the pursuit of this widened war has narrowed the promised dimensions of the domestic welfare programs, making the poor white and Negro bear the heaviest burdens both at the front and at home.”
For images, see Yahoo Image Search
April 20 U.S. bombers target Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam for the first time.
April 24 April 24, Abbie Hoffman led a small group of protesters against both the war and capitalism who interrupted the New York Stock Exchange, causing chaos by throwing fistfuls of both real and fake dollars down from the gallery.
April 24-May 11 Hill fights rage at Khe Sanh between U.S. 3rd Marines and the North Vietnamese Army (PAVN). US reports 940 PAVN killed and American losses at 155 killed and 425 wounded. The isolated air base is located in mountainous terrain less than 10 miles from North Vietnam near the border of Laos.
April 24 General Westmoreland condemns anti-war demonstrators saying they give the North Vietnamese soldier “hope that he can win politically that which he cannot accomplish militarily.” Privately, he has already warned President Johnson “the war could go on indefinitely.”
April 26 “We Won’t Go” (to serve in Vietnam) petition sponsored by the Boston Draft Resistance Group (BDRG) published in the Harvard Crimson, initially with 86 signers. By the end of 1967, at least 3,000 sign various “We Won’t Go” petitions.
May Operation Hickey: US Marines were ordered to cross into the DMZ and attack the PAVN. Several days of frontal assaults led to high casualties for PAVN holed up in fortifications, but also left 142 marines dead along with 896 wounded. After 10 days, the marines withdrew.
May 1 Ellsworth Bunker replaces Henry Cabot Lodge as U.S ambassador to South Vietnam.
May 2 The U.S. is condemned during a war crimes tribunal (‘the Russell Tribunal’) held in Stockholm, organized by British philosopher Bertrand Russell.
May 9 Robert W. Komer, a former CIA analyst, is appointed by President Johnson as deputy commander of MACV to form a new agency called Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) to pacify the population of South Vietnam. Nearly 60 percent of rural villages in South Vietnam are now under NLF control. $850 million in food, medical supplies, machinery, and numerous other household items, will be distributed through CORDS to the population in order to regain their loyalty in the struggle for the “hearts and minds” of common villagers. CORDS also trains local militias.
May 10-June 2 Fort Jackson – court martial of Capt. Levy, he faces a maximum of 11 years in prison if he loses. See entries for December 28, 1966, and March 3, 1967.
May 13 In New York City, 70,000 march in support of the war, led by a New York City fire captain.
May 18-26 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops enter the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for the first time and engage in a series of fire fights with PAVN. Both sides suffer heavy losses.
May 22 President Johnson publicly urges North Vietnam to accept a peace compromise.
June The Mobile Riverine Force becomes operational utilizing U.S. Navy ‘Swift’ boats combined with Army troop support to halt NLF usage of inland waterways in the Mekong Delta.
June 1 Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) is established. Originated by veterans who marched in the April 15 New York antiwar demonstration under this banner, it grew to 20-30,000 members and later published 1st Casualty (1971–1972) and then Winter Soldier (1973–1975). It became a significant opponent of the war.
Fort Sill – Pvt. Andy Stapp found guilty of refusing to obey an order to open his footlocker and surrender anti-war literature, was sentenced to 45 days at hard labor, reduction in pay grade and forfeiture of almost a month’s pay. See entries for July 31 and December 25, 1967.
June 2 During Operation Union II (launched May 26), six rifle companies from the 5th marines in a ‘search and destroy’ mission in the Que Son valley fought the PAVN. The PAVN suffered almost 500 KIA, but the Foxtrot Company of the 5th Marines’ 2nd Battalion proportionately lost more of its men than any other American infantry company during the Vietnam War; total American casualties were 71 KIA and 139 wounded.
Capt. Levy found guilty found guilty by a general court martial of disobedience, seeking to promote disloyalty and culpable negligence. On June 3, he is sentenced to three years at hard labor. See entries for December 28, 1966 and May 10-June 2, 1967.
June 23 More than 80 anti-war groups stage the first large-scale war protest in Los Angeles, which ends in clashes with riot police. A crowd of 10-15,000 clashes with 500 riot police outside President Johnson’s fundraiser at the Century City Plaza Hotel. Expecting only 1,000 or 2,000 protesters, the LAPD field commander later tells reporters he had been ‘astounded’ by the size of the demonstration. “Where did all those people come from? I asked myself.” 51 protesters are arrested, and scores are injured. The police attacked the marchers with billy clubs to disperse the crowd.
July General Westmoreland requests an additional 200,000 reinforcements on top of the 475,000 soldiers already scheduled to be sent to Vietnam, which would bring the U.S. total in Vietnam to 675,000. President Johnson agrees only to an extra 45,000.
July 4 300 Vietnam veterans hold a peace rally at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
July 7 North Vietnam’s Politburo makes the decision to launch a widespread offensive against South Vietnam. Conceived in three phases, the first phase involves attacks against remote border areas in an effort to lure American troops away from South Vietnam’s cities. The second phase (Tet Offensive of 1968) will be an attack against the cities themselves by NLF forces aided by PAVN (People’ Army of Vietnam; the army of the DRV or North Vietnamese) troops, in the hope of igniting a “general uprising” to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. The third phase involves the actual invasion of South Vietnam by PAVN troops coming from North Vietnam.
July 15 Rocket attack on the US airbase in Da Nang (Đà Nẵng) by PAVN results in 8 deaths, 175 wounded, 10 aircraft destroyed and 49 damaged.
July 29 A fire resulting from a punctured fuel tank kills 134 U.S. crewmen aboard the USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin, in the worst naval accident since World War II.
July 30 Gallup poll reported 52% of Americans disapproved of Johnson’s handling of the war, 41% thought the U.S. made a mistake in sending troops, and over 56% thought the U.S. was losing the war or the war was at an impasse.
July 31 Fort Sill – Andy Stapp’s second court martial for “breaking barracks restrictions” dismissed. See entries for June 1 and December 25, 1967.
August 9 The Senate Armed Services Committee begins closed-door hearings concerning the influence of civilian advisors on military planning. During the hearings, Defense Secretary McNamara testifies that the extensive and costly U.S. bombing campaign in Vietnam is failing to impact North Vietnam’s war making ability in South Vietnam and that nothing short of “the virtual annihilation of North Vietnam and its people” through bombing would ever succeed.
August 16 Chu Lai, South Vietnam – GIs are warned against subscribing to the antiwar GI newspaper, The Bond.
August 18 California Governor Ronald Reagan says the U.S. should get out of Vietnam citing the difficulties of winning a war when “too many qualified targets have been put off limits to bombing.”
August 21 The Chinese shoot down two U.S. fighter-bombers that crossed their border during air raids in North Vietnam along the Chinese border.
August 23 Vietnamese People’s Air Force fighter pilot Nguyen Van Coc (Nguyễn Văn Cốc) – who was shot down, but ejected safely in Operation Bolo ion January — led several MIG fighters to intercept a group of 40 American aircraft on a bombing mission; three American F-4D fighters and one F-105D fighter bomber were shot down; 8 American aviators killed or captured.
August 28 U.S. representative Tim Lee Carter (R-KY) stated before Congress: “Let us now, while we are yet strong, bring our men home, every man jack of them. The Vietcong fight fiercely and tenaciously because it is their land and we are foreigners intervening in their civil war. If we must fight, let us fight in defense of our homeland and our own hemisphere.”
September 1 North Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong publicly states Hanoi will “continue to fight.”
September 3 National elections are held in South Vietnam. With a claimed 80 percent of eligible voters participating, Nguyen Van Thieu (Nguyễn Văn Thiệu) is elected President with Nguyen Cao Ky (Nguyễn Cao Kỳ) as his Vice-President, the pair winning just 35 percent of the vote.
September 10-October 31 U.S. Marines are besieged by PAVN at Con Thien (Cồn Tiên) located two miles south of the Demilitarized Zone. A massive long-range artillery duel then erupts between PAVN and U.S. guns during the siege as PAVN fire 42,000 rounds at the Marines while the U.S. responds with 281,000 rounds and B-52 air strikes to lift the siege. PAVN losses are estimated at over 2000. In an attempt to secure Hill 88 on September 10, the 26th Marines suffered 300 (40%) casualties, including 37 KIA.
September 21 Operation Kingfisher aimed to destroy PAVN forces south of the DMZ; 2nd Battalion, 4th marines began a “search and destroy” mission; withdrawn after a day of intense fighting with 90th PAVN regiment. American losses are 16-34 KIA (15 bodies left behind) and 118 wounded.
October 1967 A public opinion poll indicates 46 percent of Americans now believe U.S. military involvement in Vietnam to be a “mistake.” However, most Americans also believe that the U.S. should “win or get out” of Vietnam. Also in October, Life magazine renounces its earlier support of President Johnson’s war policies.
October 5 Hanoi accuses the U.S. of hitting a school in North Vietnam with anti-personnel bombs.
October 12 A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority” in the NY Review of Books: 2,000 sign, including academics, clergymen, writers
October 18 Protest at University of Wisconsin against recruiters for Dow Chemical Company (producers of napalm). When students blocked access to the school’s Commerce Building, Madison police began to remove them by force. Tear gas and nightsticks were the primary dispersal weapons that day, and 65 students and 3 police officers were injured. Dow Chemical was banned from the campus.
There are a total of 40 large campus demonstrations against military and Dow recruiters throughout the fall.
October 16-20 Stop the Draft Week: From Protest to Resistance. On October 17, 122 people, including Joan Baez, were arrested at the Oakland, California (Draft) Induction Center. After police brutality, the demonstrations become ore militant throughout the week. By October 20, 4000 marched through the streets, blocking Army buses, clashing with police. At a sit-in at the Oakland Army Induction Center, 97 were arrested, including Joan Baez. The city was brought to a standstill as protesters built barricades across roads to prevent buses carrying recruits to the Army’s conscription center. Police reinforcements came in from San Francisco as demonstrators, many wearing helmets and holding plywood shields, overturned cars and threw bottles, tin cans and stones at the police.
Stop the Draft Week actions also take place in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, and Portland; organized by National Mobilization Committee.
October 21-23 March on the Pentagon draws 50-100,000 protesters. In London, protesters try to storm the U.S. embassy. There are big antiwar rallies throughout Western Europe and in Japan. The rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial started peacefully, though Dr. Benjamin Spock—baby specialist, author, and outspoken critic of the war—did call President Johnson “the enemy.” After the rally, the demonstrators, many waving the red, blue, and gold flag of the Viet Cong, began marching toward the Pentagon. Violence erupted when demonstrators clashed with the soldiers and U.S. Marshals protecting the Pentagon.
The protesters surrounded and besieged the military nerve center until the early hours of October 23. By the time order was restored, 683 people, including novelist Norman Mailer and two United Press International reporters, had been arrested. During the protest, a famous picture was taken, where George Harris placed carnations into the soldiers’ gun barrels. The march concluded with an attempt to “exorcise” the building. Mailer later described the demonstration in his Pulitzer prize-winning Armies of the Night: History as a Novel/The Novel as History.
For images see: https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVvcAg0FVjWQAZuUnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBsa3ZzMnBvBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw–?_adv_prop=image&fr=yhs-mozilla-002&va=march+on+the+Pentagon+1967&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002 ,
October 31 President Johnson reaffirms his commitment to maintain U.S. involvement in South Vietnam.
November 3-December 1 – The Battle of Dak To (Đắk Tô) occurs in the mountainous terrain along the
border of Cambodia and Laos as the U.S. 4th Infantry Division defends against a planned PAVN attack against the Special Forces camp located there. During the fighting, the 4th Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry earns a Presidential Unit Citation for bravery. Massive air strikes combined with U.S. and South Vietnamese ground attacks result in a PAVN withdrawal into Laos and Cambodia. PAVN losses are put at 1644. U.S. troops suffer 289 killed.
November 7 A non-binding referendum was voted on in San Francisco, California posing the question of whether there should be an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. The vote was 67% against the referendum, which was taken by a Johnson administration official as support for the war.
General Hershey, Director of the Selective Service (Draft) System announces draft crackdown on deferred college students who participate in antiwar demonstrations.
November 14 5,000 demonstrate outside New York Foreign Policy banquet addressed by Secretary of State Rusk.
November 17 Following an optimistic briefing in the White House by General Westmoreland, Ambassador Bunker, and Robert Komer, President Johnson tells the American public on TV, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.”
In a Time magazine interview, General Westmoreland taunts the NLF, saying, “I hope they try something because we are looking for a fight.”
November 27 Camp Pendleton – Cpl. William Harvey sentenced to six years, and Pfc. George Daniels to ten years, at hard labor for “advis[ing], counsel[ing], urg[ing], caus[ing] and attempt[ing] to cause insubordination, disloyalty and refusal of duty by the members of the armed forces.”
November 29 An emotional Robert McNamara announces his resignation as Defense Secretary during a press briefing, stating, “Mr. President…I cannot find words to express what lies in my heart today…” Behind closed doors, he had begun regularly expressing doubts over Johnson’s war strategy, angering the President. McNamara joins a growing list of Johnson’s top aides who resigned over the war including Bill Moyers, McGeorge Bundy and George Ball.
November 30 Anti-war Democrat Eugene McCarthy announces he will be a candidate for President opposing Lyndon Johnson, stating, “…we are involved in a very deep crisis of leadership, a crisis of direction and a crisis of national purpose…the entire history of this war in Vietnam, no matter what we call it, has been one of continued error and misjudgment.”
December near Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., in late 1967 to provide soldiers with a place to hang out, listen to music–and, most of all, talk. It was hard to reach out to soldiers, who had few places to go to escape the authoritarian grip of the military command on stateside bases. Fred Gardner decided to rent a Main Street storefront in downtown Columbia and open up the UFO coffeehouse–a play on the USO (United Service Organization) that sponsored Bob Hope’s patriotic performances for the troops
December 4-8 “Stop the Draft Week” at Whitehall, NY Army Induction Center; 546/585 arrested, including Dr. Benjamin Spock & and Alan Ginsberg. Actions also take place in Madison, Manchester N.H., Cincinnati, and New Haven.
December 6 The U.S. reports that the NLF murdered 252 civilian Montagnards in the hamlet of Dak Son.
December 23 Upon arrival at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, President Johnson declares “…all the challenges have been met. The enemy is not beaten, but he knows that he has met his master in the field.” This is the President’s second and final trip to Vietnam.
December 25 14 servicemen found The American Servicemen’s Union (ASU), each from a different base. Its leader was Pvt. Andrew Stapp, of the U.S. Army. He was active in the anti-war movement and the draft resistance movement and came to realize that draft resistance could not reach enough people, especially GI’s. Stapp was eager to go in when he was called for induction. He had already decided to work on organizing GI’s to fight for their rights, including their right to refuse to fight in an illegal and unjust war.
Stapp was court-martialed twice. The first time he was found guilty; the second time because his case had attracted so much support from both civilian groups and from troops at Ft. Sill, where Stapp was stationed, Stapp was found not guilty. Finally the Army gave him a dishonorable discharge. The ASU fought for an end to all forms of discrimination in the service, whether by race or by rank, and for the realization of the Constitutional rights of all GI’s. The ASU has been very active in arranging for legal assistance for servicemen. ASU supported the struggles of black marines Harvey and Daniels, seaman Roger Priest, the 43 Ft. Hood Black GI’s, and many other cases. The ASU stresses unity among GI’s. ASU published the Bond. The ASU eventually claimed 10,000 members.
By year’s end, U.S. troop levels reach 463,000 with 16,000 combat deaths to date (more than 9000 in 1967 along with close to 100,000 wounded), with a total of over 1.3 million troops under American command. By this time, over a million American soldiers have rotated through Vietnam, with length of service for draftees being one year, and most Americans serving in support units. An estimated 90,000 soldiers from North Vietnam infiltrated into the South via the Ho Chi Minh trail in 1967. Overall NLF/PAVN troop strength throughout South Vietnam is now estimated up to 300,000 men. Estimates of Vietnamese deaths (North and South, military and civilian) are harder to come by though a 2008 study by the British Medical Journal estates total deaths from 1954-75 at 3.8 million (higher than most western estimates and the official estimate by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (the postwar government) of 3.1 million. See http://mattsteinglass.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/vietnam-war-killed-38-million-vietnamese-not-21-million/ and http://www.bmj.com/content/336/7659/1482.full#REF16