One senses that the doves have won, or at least have gone far toward winning, the battle to influence public opinion. A mood of dissatisfaction with the war and unwillingness to approve any further escalation has begun to take hold. The signs are scattered but all point in the same direction: the opinion polls, some election returns last month, and, most of all, the behavior of the politicians, both those in the running for the Presidency and those up for lesser offices next year, and, perhaps more significantly, even some formerly hawkish Senators who are not up for reelection. Even Nixon, of all people, is now being touted by many of his backers less as a militant hawk than as a cool, experienced professional in dealing with international affairs.
To be sure, the war goes on and the Administration defends its policies with great heat. And it remains entirely possible that the Administration will escalate again in the hope of “winning” the war before next year’s elections. Whether or not this is the meaning, or will prove to be the consequence, of McNamara’s impending departure from the Pentagon remains unclear at the time of writing. If this should happen, the opponents of the war will be confronted with an entirely new situation....
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