The Gulf of Tonkin and Lessons for the Global War on Terror
There has been understandable focus this week on the lessons of August 1914 and the events that precipitated World War I. But, with respect to our current national security policy and the wisdom of restraint, Americans—and particularly our elected leaders—should instead recall events that occurred just 50 years ago this month off the coast of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin.
In August 1964, with tensions running high in Southeast Asia and U.S.military ‘advisors’ already committed to Vietnam, the Johnson administration claimed that North Vietnamese ships had attacked a U.S. destroyer, the USS Maddox, in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. Under pressure to respond, President Johnson ordered the bombing of North Vietnamese targets on August 5 and rushed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution through the Congress on August 7, 1964. The resolution authorized the use of all necessary force to assist any Southeast Asian country threatened by communist aggression, effectively writing a blank check to the Johnson administration, which had long sought to strengthen its containment of perceived communist expansion in Southeast Asia.
Read more here.
This article was originally published in Defense One.
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or email@example.com
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or email@example.com
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or email@example.com
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or email@example.com
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.482.8103 or firstname.lastname@example.org