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NEW YORK-Betting All on a Quick Win

that President Johnson has made up his mind to win the elections riding the whipped-up waves of escalation in Vietnam. Almost everything he has done during the last two months would seem to have been designed to clear the way for further doses of calculated escalation. McNamara will leave the Pentagon in January, but even without waiting for his formal exit, the President seems to have given the Joint Chiefs of Staff" a measure of freedom of action in Vietnam which he had persistently denied them during the last two years. In his public pronouncements Johnson has turned down every plea for unilateral de-escalation and he has practically lifted all embargoes on bombing targets in North Vietnam. The present policy is clearly based on the considered advice of the military leaders that, given a free hand, the war in Vietnam can be brought to a victorious conclusion. What is precisely meant by military victory has, however, not been spelt out. Conquest of Vietnam is still excluded from America's war aims; so also Iong-term colonisation of South Vietnam. What the military leaders have presumably told the President is that, released from political restraints. they will be able, within two years, to (a) substantially diminish the fighting ability of North Vietnam, and (b) clear the greater part of South Vietnam of organised Viet Cong insurrection.

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