Wiki does not mentioned the whole truth.<quoted text>
About the Gulf of Tonkin
"It was an incident in the Tonkin Gulf that enabled Johnson to justify his actions. This occurred in August 1964, when the American warships the U.S.S. Turner Joy and the U.S.S. Maddox were patrolling in interna- tional waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. Johnson went on national television to tell the Ameri- can people that the North Vietnamese had torpedoed the ships without provocation. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution on August 7, 1964 provided President Johnson the authority to vastly increase the U.S. commitment to the war.
In reality, the American ships were electronically monitoring attacks by South Vietnam, and the details of the event were less clear than Johnson made them seem. The captain of the Maddox, John Herrick, sent the following message to Washington soon after it occurred:“Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonar men may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken”(Moise, 1996). Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wanted to retaliate, and while they did not completely lie to the American people, they
A peaceful anti-Vietnam War dem- onstrator holds up a flower to armed soldiers protecting the perimeter of the Pentagon.
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CHAPTER 4Section 4.7 Vietnam: A Nation Divided (1963–1974)
selected the evidence to make the best case for war. The result was the Tonkin Gulf Resolu- tion, passed in the House by 416 to 0 and in the Senate by 88 to 2. It granted the president the authority to “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression” in Southeast Asia (Williams, 1989)"
It omits certain facts from time to time.
Even Generals know what happened in Vietnam.
General Anthony Zinni, USMC,(Ret.) Remarks at CDI Board of Directors Dinner, May 12, 2004 http://tinyurl.com/8ldmo
I think the first mistake that was made was misjudging the success of containment. I heard the president say, not too long ago, I believe it was with the interview with Tim Russert that ... I'm not sure ... but at some point I heard him say that "containment did not work." That's not true.
So to say containment didn't work, I think is not only wrong from the experiences we had then, but the proof is in the pudding, in what kind of military our troops faced when we went in there.
The third mistake, I think was one we repeated from Vietnam, we had to create a false rationale for going in to get public support. The books were cooked, in my mind. The intelligence was not there. I testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee one month before the war, and Senator Lugar asked me: "General Zinni, do you feel the threat from Saddam Hussein is imminent?" I said: "No, not at all. It was not an imminent threat. Not even close. Not grave, gathering, imminent, serious, severe, mildly upsetting, none of those."