Wednesday, July 28, 1965: 'This ... is why we are in Vietnam'

President Johnson begins his news conference by announcing plans to increase U.S. troops in the Vietnam War from 75,000 to 125,000, along with doubling the monthly military draft quota from 17,000 to 35,000. He also lays out the reasons for America's increasing involvement, including this passage:

"We did not choose to be the guardians at the gate, but there is no one else. ... Three presidents -- President Eisenhower, President Kennedy, and your present president -- over 11 years have committed themselves and have promised to help defend this small and valiant nation. Strengthened by that promise,  the people of South Vietnam have fought for many long years. Thousands of them have died. Thousands more have been crippled and scarred by war. We just cannot now dishonor our word, or abandon our commitment, or leave those who believed us and who trusted us to the terror and repression and murder that would follow. This, then, my fellow Americans, is why we are in Vietnam." 

Johnson concludes with these words: "... as long as there are men who hate and destroy, we must have the courage to resist, or we will see it all, all that we have built, all that we hope to build, all of our dreams for freedom -- all, all will be swept away on the flood of conquest. So, too, this shall not happen. We will stand in Vietnam."

-- Map detail from "Azimuthal Equidistant Projection Centered on Saigon" (CIA, 1965): @

* Transcript (from "Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States"): @
* Video & audio (Miller Center, University of Virginia): @
* "Build-Up in Viet Nam" (Toledo Blade, July 25, 1965): @
* "President Doubles Draft Call" (United Press International, July 28, 1965): @
* "LBJ Hikes Draft for Viet Nam War" (Associated Press, July 29): @
* "Johnson Tells Why Vietnam in Pamphlet" (Associated Press, August 24): @
* "Why Viet-Nam" (Department of Defense, 1965; includes remarks from Johnson's news conference; from Internet Archive): @
* "Johnson's Escalation of Vietnam: A Timeline" (Bill Moyers Journal, 2009): @ 
* Excerpt from "Presidents and Protestors: Political Rhetoric in the 1960s" (Theodore Windt, 1990): @
* "McNamara, Clifford, and the Burdens of Vietnam" (Secretaries of Defense Historical Series, 2011): @
* Pentagon Papers (National Archives, 1969): @ 

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