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Army divisions. Fearful that these new numbers would necessitate a call-up
of the Reserves, Washington in the summer of 1967 cut Westmoreland's
request nearly in half and established a new authorized force ceiling
of 525,000 men for July 1968. This represented an increase of less than
46,000 personnel. MACV was hard pressed to reinforce I Corps at all.40*

As the war intensified throughout Vietnam in late 1967 General Westmoreland
persuaded President Lyndon B. Johnson to establish earlier arrival dates
for units already scheduled to deploy to Vietnam. The deployment of
the 101st Airborne Division and the 11th Infantry Brigade in December
provided General Westmoreland some room for maneuver. Keeping the 101st
and the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) as a general country-wide reserve,
he attached the 11th Brigade to the Americal Division in southern I
Corps. III MAF began to shuffle its units north to reinforce both Khe
Sanh and the DMZ sectors.41

MACV Vis-a-Vis Marine

While reinforcing the Marines in I Corps with Army units and concentrating
his forces in the north, General Westmoreland had growing doubts about
the ability of the Marine command to handle the developing situation.
Since 1965, senior Marine generals conducted a "sotto voce" debate with
MACV over the direction of the American combat effort. Both Generals
Krulak and Greene criticized the MACV emphasis upon the large-unit major
war, which they believed failed to provide for population security and,
moreover, involved the U.S. in a war of attrition, which in their opinion,
favored the Communists. They voiced their concerns directly to General
Westmoreland and through the command channels open to them.

Although differing in minor details, the two Marine generals in essence
advocated increased pressure upon North Vietnam and basically an "ink
blot" strategy in South Vietnam. Both Marine generals recommended in
the north the targeting of air strikes against North Vietnamese heavy
production facilities and transportation hubs and a blockade of the
North Vietnamese major ports including Haiphong. Greene and Krulak emphasized
for the south a combined U.S.-South Vietnamese campaign in targeted
areas to eradicate the Communist infrastructure in the countryside and
replace it with one loyal to the South Vietnamese government. This pacification
campaign would consist of a centralized combined allied command structure
employing military action together with civic action, and the enhancement
of the local South Vietnamese militia forces and government structure.
The concept was that initial success would provide the momentum, much
as a spreading inkblot, for the linking together of the pacified sectors.
While not neglecting the enemy's main forces, both viewed this war as
secondary. As General Krulak stated: "The real war is among the people"
and not in the hinterlands. He would engage the Communist regulars for
the most part only "when a clear opportunity exists to engage the VC
Main Force or North Vietnamese units on terms favorable to ourselves."42

While the two Marine generals received a hearing of their views, they
enjoyed little success in influencing the MACV strategy or overall U.S
policy toward North Vietnam. According to General Greene, the Joint
Chiefs were interested in his proposal for a coastal pacification campaign
but "Westmoreland wasn't and being CG MACV his views of the 'big picture,'
the 'broad arrow' prevailed." In November 1965, General Krulak wrote
directly to Secretary McNamara, whom he knew from his days as special
assistant for counterinsurgency to the Joint Chiefs during the Kennedy
administration, hinting at some divergence between the Marine "saturation
formula" and the Army "maneuver formula." While allowing that both techniques
were sound and maneuver had its place in the sparsely inhabited highlands,
he pointedly observed that in the heavily populated area south of Da
Nang you "cannot shoot everything that moves." He then continued: "We
have to separate the enemy from the people." According to the Marine
general, the Defense Secretary told him that the "ink blot" theory was
"a good idea but too slow." Both Generals Greene and Krulak would continue
to offer


* The question of the total number of American troops required to
wage the war in South Vietnam was a continually sensitive issue in Washington,
especially since larger numbers probably involved the call-up of Reserve
units. General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., the Marine Corps Commandant,
recalled that sometime in the late 1965 or early 1966 time-frame he
advocated "that a major increase be made in the number of U.S. troops"
in South Vietnam. According to an estimate that his staff made at the
time, it would take approximately 595,000 American troops five years
to conclude a successful end to the war. According to the analysis,
"the number of men of military age becoming available each year" in
North Vietnam as contrasted to the Communist casualty rate would permit
the North Vietnamese "to continue the war indefinitely" at the then-level
of American troop commitment. Greene Comments, 1994. For further discussion
of manpower constraints upon Marine forces see Chapter 27.




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