Lyndon Johnson is miserable. He knows he is losing his dream of a Great Society. But he doesn't know how to stop the war in Vietnam. He doesn't seem to be able to admit that he has made a mistake. And he has started saying things that aren't quite true. He has said, "We are not going to send American boys thousands of miles from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves." But he is already doing just that. And he has said all the bombing is aimed at military targets. But reporters tell of houses, schools, and stores flattened by bombs. President Johnson keeps saying that we are winning the war and it will soon be over. But television makes people realize he isn't telling the complete truth. For the first time in history, people at home can see exactly what war is like. The TV screen shows dead American soldiers and dead Vietnamese. Pentagon officials like Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton worry about the impact of all the coverage. "There may be a limit beyond which many Americans will not permit the United States to go," McNaughton says. "The picture of the world's greatest superpower killing or seriously injuring 1,000 non-combatants a week is not a pretty one."
At first, it is mostly students on college campuses who begin demonstrating against the war. Then more and more Americans begin to join them. Martin Luther King, Jr., is now leading anti-war protests as well as civil rights marches. Ministers of many faiths are doing the same thing. The college protests begin to get ugly and violent. And then the cities, especially those in the North, start exploding.