Betty Sue’s response, “I’m a federal employee so I’m going to toss it right back to you
But these comments from Richard Norton Smith, while they don’t answer the question, they shed some light on the thinking Presidents bring to bear when considering war:
President Johnson expended a great deal of his political capital on the war, so you have to wonder why.
Presidents can easily become prisoner of the past. Johnson experience taught him that, “you don’t reward a bully.”
But there was a run up to Vietnam even before Johnson. Eisenhower introduced the idea of “domino theory” and Kennedy had consulted with many advisors investigating what should be done.
To put it in context, one has to consider what would have been the political consequences of walking away? Johnson believed those consequences were worth the risk.