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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The Gulf of Tonkin Incident (8/2/64) - Aug. 3rd, 2003
Military History Magazine ^ | 28 July, 1997 | Captain Ronnie E. Ford, U.S. Army

Posted on 08/03/2003 12:15:42 AM PDT by SAMWolf


Keep our Troops forever in your care

Give them victory over the enemy...

Grant them a safe and swift return...

Bless those who mourn the lost.

FReepers from the Foxhole join in prayer
for all those serving their country at this time.

God Bless America
...................................................................................... ...........................................

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New Light on Gulf of Tonkin

With fresh evidence now available, claims that the Tonkin Gulf incident was deliberately provoked gain new plausibility.

An Event To Dwarf All Others

The Tonkin Gulf incident of 1964 may rank with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as events that Dr. David Kaiser of the U.S. Naval War College describes as "controversies in American political history that dwarf all others."

The claim that the administration of President Lyndon Johnson deliberately triggered the Vietnam War by orchestrating the Tonkin Gulf incident and duping Congress is not a new one. Two recent books--Sedgwick Tourison's Secret Army, Secret War (reviewed in the February 1997 Vietnam) and Dr. Edwin Moise's Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War--and other new revelations may indicate, however, that the claim is certainly more plausible than could once be proved. Thirty-three years after the fact, modern Tonkin Gulf researchers pointedly ask: Did the United States intentionally instigate the first attack on USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin on August 2, 1964? Did Hanoi actually order a second attack on Maddox on August 4, 1964? And, if the Communist Vietnamese did not launch this second attack, then did Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara knowingly and deliberately mislead the U.S. Congress to obtain support for what would become the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, to ensure President Johnson's re-election and ultimately lead the United States into war?

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs "Gulf of Tonkin" resolution.

The story of former South Vietnamese special operation forces, part of an American covert intelligence effort known as Operation Plan 34A (or 34 Alpha), is finally coming to light. Details about the plan are now available, thanks to the release of once-classified documents and disclosures by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and military intelligence officials.

When Hanoi officially switched its reunification strategy to one of armed conflict in 1960, the Communists, through infiltration, began to build an organized regular force that threatened the American-backed Saigon regime in South Vietnam. In 1961, hoping to undermine the Communist Vietnamese government in Hanoi, the CIA initiated a joint sea-land covert special operation with the South Vietnamese government to dissuade Hanoi from its infiltration activities.

The CIASouth Vietnamese covert force conducted airborne, maritime and overland agent-insertion operations. South Vietnamese covert operatives were to gather intelligence, recruit support, establish bases of resistance and carry out psychological operations behind enemy lines. The maritime operation began as an infiltration operation. But beginning in June 1962, with the loss of the vessel Nautelas II and four commandos, it evolved into hit-and-run attacks against North Vietnamese shore and island installations by South Vietnamese and foreign mercenary crews on high-speed patrol boats.

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution

While some infiltration operations had some initial successes, such successes were few. The CIA suspected the North Vietnamese were capturing and attempting to turn the agents immediately upon their arrival. By the end of 1963, a National Security Council Special Group, the staff of the special assistant for counterinsurgency and special activities of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the CIA were all apparently aware that the covert attacks were unproductive. According to former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, "It accomplished virtually nothing." But the operation was not discontinued. According to Tourison, by January 1964 McNamara had taken over the operation from the CIA, and it became known as 34 Alpha. Now in charge, the Pentagon assumed that the overwhelming majority of the airborne commando agents either had been killed or captured or were working for their captors, the Communist North Vietnamese.

Sectretary of Defense - Robert McNamara

Although it appeared that the program had been compromised, new agent teams continued to be recruited, trained and inserted into North Vietnam. By August 1968, approximately 500 of these men were presumed lost. In his book, Tourison poses an interesting question: Were these teams of commandos deliberately used initially to push Hanoi into war and later to test U.S. communications security, or were they simply victims of effective North Vietnamese counterintelligence operations? The answer lies in the story behind what were known as the U.S. Navy's DeSoto patrols.

DeSoto patrols were U.S. naval intelligence collection operations using specially equipped vessels to gather electronic signals intelligence from shore-and island-based noncommunications emitters in North Vietnam. By August 2, 1964, the Communist Vietnamese had determined that the DeSoto vessels were offshore support for a 34-Alpha operation that had struck their installations at Hon Me and Hon Ngu some 48 hours earlier. In retaliation, the North Vietnamese then conducted an "unprovoked attack" on Maddox, which was approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Vietnam. During the battle that ensued, one North Vietnamese patrol boat was severely damaged by Maddox, and two others were attacked and chased off by U.S. air support from the carrier USS Ticonderoga.

On August 4, 1964, Maddox and USS C. Turner Joy reported a second attack, this one occurring within 17 hours of 34-Alpha raids on North Vietnamese facilities at Cap Vinh Son and Cua Ron. On that day the National Security Agency (NSA) had warned that an attack on Maddox appeared imminent. An hour after the NSA's warning, Maddox claimed that she had established radar contact with three or four unidentified vessels approaching at high speed. Ticonderoga soon launched aircraft to assist Maddox and C. Turner Joy. Low clouds and thunderstorms reportedly made visibility very poor for the aircraft, and the pilots never confirmed the presence of any North Vietnamese attackers. During the next several hours, the ships reported more than 20 torpedo attacks, the visual sighting of torpedo wakes, searchlight illumination, automatic-weapons fire, and radar and sonar contact.

Despite the recommendation of Captain John J. Herrick, the recently assigned senior officer on board Maddox, that the circumstances--including darkness, stormy seas and nervous, inexperienced crewmen--warranted a "thorough investigation," Secretary of Defense McNamara told Congress there was "unequivocal proof" of the second "unprovoked attack" on U.S. ships. Within hours of McNamara's revelations, Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, and the United States plunged into the only war it has ever lost.

"McNamara's War"

McNamara's account, backed by the Johnson administration, did not go unchallenged. Before a joint executive session of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committee debating full congressional support for the resolution, Senator Wayne Morse (D-Ore.), who had already dubbed the conflict "McNamara's War," declared: "I am unalterably opposed to this course of action which, in my judgment, is an aggressive course of action on the part of the United States. I think you are kidding the world if you try to give the impression that when the South Vietnamese naval boats bombarded two islands a short distance off the coast of North Vietnam we were not implicated." Senator Morse also noted that the American vessels were "conveniently standing by" as support for 34-Alpha operations.

Senator Wayne Morse (D-Ore.)

In response, McNamara denied any U.S. naval involvement in the South Vietnamese-run operations, asserting that the DeSoto operations were neither support nor cover for 34-Alpha raids. Tourison sets the record straight on this issue. "The MarOps [maritime operations] were not CIA-supported South Vietnamese operations that the United States had no control over as former Secretary of Defense McNamara claimed," writes Tourison. "These operations were under U.S. control, not South Vietnamese."

McNamara also claimed that the Maddox crew had no knowledge of the 34-Alpha raids. McNamara now acknowledges that this claim was untrue, although he maintains that he did not know it at the time. Captain Herrick and his crew did indeed know of the 34-Alpha operations. In fact, retired Lt. Gen. Phillip B. Davidson, the former chief of intelligence for the U.S. Army Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), cites Captain Herrick's observation that Maddox personnel were extremely concerned that the 34-Alpha operations were putting their ship in harm's way. Davidson further endorses Herrick's assessment that this concern may have resulted in an overly nervous crew and unreliable reporting about the second attack in the gulf.

On August 7, 1964, the Senate passed support for Tonkin Gulf Resolution 88-2, with Senators Morse and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska) voting nay. The House voted 4160 in support. Prophetically, Senator Morse closed his argument by saying, "I believe that within the next century, future generations will look with dismay and great disappointment upon a Congress which is now about to make such a historic mistake."

The events surrounding the resolution and its passage point to a tragic failure in the U.S. decision-making system of the time. At a crucial moment in history, U.S. intelligence-collection agencies directly fed raw intelligence data to U.S. policy-makers without submitting that data to thorough and proper analysis. The prevalence of this kind of unpolished intelligence support to government leaders helped open the door to full U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1972, Louis Tordella, the deputy director of the NSA, announced that the decoded message on which the NSA's August 4 warning to Maddox had been based actually referred to the original attack on August 2. And the "unequivocal proof" of the second attack consisted of decrypted North Vietnamese damage assessments of the first attack (August 2) that were presented to top-level U.S. decision-makers as the alleged second attack was being reported to the Pentagon. According to a U.S. News and World Report exposi, former CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence Ray S. Cline verified this series of mistakes in 1984. Given the extreme volitality and pressure of the situation, the fact that some decision-makers were confused by intercepts suggesting two attacks is understandable. That they acted so quickly on rash assumptions--removing the chance for necessary debate and analysis--added insult to injury in an already untenable decision climate.

The Pentagon Papers

In his book Vietnam at War, General Davidson points out that Herrick was a combat veteran who realized that the Maddox crew had never before been in combat. He claims that Captain Herrick's assessment that the "entire action leaves many doubts except for apparent attempt to ambush at the beginning " remains the most valid summation of the second attack.

Understandably, in the United States the Vietnam War as a whole and the Tonkin Gulf Incident in particular remain topics of widely ranging interpretation and debate. McNamara recently visited Hanoi, where he met with Communist Vietnamese Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap. McNamara also invited the Vietnamese to participate in a conference of top Vietnam War decision-makers to, according to press reports of the visit, "correct the historical record." During his visit, Giap told McNamara that "absolutely nothing" happened on August 4, 1964. McNamara later endorsed this statement by his former adversary.

In his recent book, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, McNamara admits that the United States "may have provoked a North Vietnamese response in the Tonkin Gulf," albeit innocently. He maintains, however, that "charges of a cloak of deception surrounding the Tonkin Gulf incident are unfounded. The idea that the Johnson administration deliberately deceived Congress is fake." Many disagree. Coincidentally, on the very day McNamara was in Hanoi, American veterans, historians and scholars met in Washington, D.C., for a conference sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Institute. One of the conference's many prominent guest speakers was Daniel Ellsberg, the former Johnson administration member who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press. In his presentation, Ellsberg addressed the question of whether the Johnson administration deliberately misled Congress: "Did McNamara lie to Congress in 1964? I can answer that question. Yes, he did lie, and I knew it at the time. I was working for John McNaughton....I was his special assistant. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. He knew McNamara had lied. McNamara knew he had lied. He is still lying. [Former Secretary of State Dean] Rusk and McNamara testified to Congress...prior to their vote....Congress was being lied into...what was to be used as a formal declaration of war. I knew that....I don't look back on that situation with pride."

Ellsberg is not the only former government official of the era to expose this alleged conspiracy. In 1977, former Under Secretary of State George Ball claimed in an interview televised by the British Broadcasting Corporation: "Many of the people associated with the war...were looking for any excuse to initiate bombing. The DeSoto Patrols were primarily for provocation....There was a feeling that if the destroyer got into trouble, that would provide the provocation needed."

Was this provocation needed to initiate bombing, or to assist the Johnson administration during an election year? Either goal certainly seems plausible.

A Total War Footing

Interestingly, a resolution stating, "Upon request of South Vietnam or the Laotian government to use all measures including the commitment of U.S. Armed Forces in their Defense"--the very resolution that became the Tonkin Gulf Resolution--had been prepared in May 1964, three months before the "unprovoked attacks" ever occurred. At the time, Johnson was running his presidential campaign on a peace ticket. Johnson's main opponent for the presidency, Senator Barry Goldwater, was pushing for an even tougher U.S. stance in Southeast Asia. An "unprovoked attack" by North Vietnam would give Johnson the opportunity to respond with limited force and improve his image with the American people without appearing to agree with his main political opponent, a man the Johnson administration was busy painting as a candidate who would potentially lead the country into a nuclear war.

If this line of thinking was part of Johnson's plan, it was well-calculated. In response to the Tonkin Gulf attacks, the president launched a limited airstrike and warned Hanoi against further aggression. Thus, four months prior to the November election, he appeared firm but not a warmonger. His approval rating with the American people soared from 42 percent to 72 percent, and within three months he overwhelmingly won his campaign for the presidency.

Tourison claims that the 34-Alpha raids and the DeSoto operations were carefully orchestrated to solicit a North Vietnamese response in the Gulf of Tonkin, a claim that appears at least plausible: "These facts argue that if U.S. communications intelligence resources were able to intercept these messages, Washington also would have known that Hanoi had placed all its forces [on a] total war footing. Intercepted passages would have revealed how closely Hanoi was monitoring the raids undertaken by MACSOG's [MACV's Studies and Observations Group] forces. Further, Washington would have known that Hanoi was closely watching the obvious high correlation between other Seventh Fleet electronic and communications intelligence activities in support of Plan 34A and the full range of covert maritime, airborne, agent, and psychological operations being conducted by MACSOG and the CIA. Information about these actions, in spite of increased questions about the widening war, was closely guarded by a select few in the executive branch who had a need to know."

McNamara explains it differently: "Although some individuals knew of both DeSoto and 34A operations and patrols, the approval process was compartmentalized; few, if any, senior officials either planned or followed in detail the operational schedules of both. We should have."

Tourison's position suggests quite the opposite, and testimony from Daniel Ellsberg seems to back him up: "One of my first jobs in the Defense Department was to carry around...the 30 day schedule, regularly, of those operations starting in August [1964].... I carried those plans to Alex Chowpin in the U.S. State McGeorge Bundy...and they would initial it. They followed every aspect of it. This is what then both Rusk and McNamara testified to Congress about prior to their vote on a Tonkin Gulf Resolution that was to be used as a declaration of war."

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The Question of Presidential
Congressional Authority.

The result of whatever actually did or did not happen in the Tonkin Gulf was that, by overwhelmingly approving the resolution, the U.S. Congress ceded to the president the power that America's Founding Fathers endowed only Congress--the power to declare war. According to McNamara, herein lies the significance of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution: "The fundamental issue of Tonkin Gulf involves not deception, but rather, misuse of power bestowed by the resolution. The language of the resolution plainly granted the powers the President subsequently used and Congress understood the breadth of those powers....But no doubt exists that Congress did not intend to authorize, without further, full consultation, the expansion of U.S. forces in Vietnam from 16,000 to 550,000 men, initiating large scale combat operations with the risk of an expanded war with China and the Soviet Union, and extending U.S. involvement in Vietnam for many years to come."

Despite passage of the War Powers Act in 1973, the question of presidential versus congressional authority over U.S. military operations remains a topic of serious contention. In 1990, McNamara testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that no president should be able to send American troops to war without congressional approval. He further testified that he believed President George Bush would seek congressional support before sending American troops to conduct combat operations against Iraq. Bush did, and McNamara added, "President Bush was right. President Johnson and those of us who served with him were wrong."

For the Tonkin Gulf incident itself, McNamara endorses the hypothesis of former Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs William Bundy: "Miscalculation by both the U.S. and North Vietnam is, in the end, at root of the best hindsight hypothesis on Hanoi's behavior. In simple terms, it was a mistake for our administration, resolved to keep the risks low, to have 34 Alpha operations and the destroyer patrol take place even in the same time period. Rational minds could not readily foresee that Hanoi might confuse them...but rational minds' calculations should have taken into account the irrational....Washington did not want an incident, and it seems that Hanoi hadn't either. Yet, each misread the other, and the incidents happened."

Daniel Ellsberg, at the November 1995 Vietnam Veterans Institute Conference, was far more critical of those who served in the executive branch and notably more apologetic: "What I did not reveal in the Summer of 64...was a conspiracy to manipulate the public into a war and to win an election through fraud...which had the exact horrible consequences the founders of this country envisioned when they ruled out, they thought as best they could, that an Executive Branch could secretly decide the decisions of war and peace, without public debate or vote of Congress....Senator Morse, one of the two people who voted against the Tonkin Gulf Resolution told me in 1971, '...had you given us all that years earlier, in 1964, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution would never have gotten out of Committee. And, if it had, it would never have passed....' But there was a time in my life later...knowing the consequences of all these policies...when I did say to myself that I'm never going to lie again with the justification that someone has told me I have to....I've never been sorry I've stopped doing that."

Now that time has passed and some of the individuals involved have re-examined what happened, the shroud of controversy surrounding the events of August 4, 1964, has begun to lift. As mentioned earlier, the former secretary of defense endorses a joint effort with the Communist Vietnamese to discuss and clear up some of the contentious areas of the Vietnamese conflict. This effort may prove difficult and ultimately fruitless unless the Vietnamese decide to be more candid.

Truth Is Simply A Weapon.

Care must be taken with Communist Vietnamese versions of history. As a typical totalitarian regime, Hanoi is acutely aware of how it is perceived from abroad. The Communists monitor and often censor what is said or written about them by their own citizens. This sort of information-control policy helps to ensure that their "official" accounts of history are accepted by their populace and go unchallenged. They are quick to accept praise, warranted or not. And they are even quicker to deny fault, deserved or not.

In one of their more current official histories, the Communist Vietnamese claim responsibility for the initial attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, but say that the second was an American fabrication to justify airstrikes on August 5. In an older history, they not only claim the second attack on August 4-5, 1964, but declare that date as their navy's anniversary or "tradition day," proclaiming it the day "when one of our torpedo squadrons chased the destroyer Maddox from our coastal waters, our first victory over the U.S. Navy."

About this assertion, Douglas Pike, the foremost U.S. authority on the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), notes, "If the Gulf of Tonkin Incident is a myth created by the Pentagon, as some revisionist historians claim, the PAVN navy is now part of the conspiracy." In this same history, the Communist Vietnamese claim that their navy sank 353 American naval vessels. It is rational to believe that the number of U.S. Navy vessels lost to a fleet of Communist patrol boats, with a total arsenal of 60 torpedoes, was somewhat less.

These and other indicators reveal that, to the Communist Vietnamese, truth is simply a weapon. Given Hanoi's fondness for duplicity, we begin to understand the task faced by intelligence professionals of the Vietnam era--and by modern researchers, historians and former government officials who, with as much as 30 years of hindsight, are trying even today to unravel the events of that conflict.
1 posted on 08/03/2003 12:15:43 AM PDT by SAMWolf
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To: AntiJen; snippy_about_it; Victoria Delsoul; SassyMom; bentfeather; MistyCA; GatorGirl; radu; ...
After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, his deputy, Lyndon B. Johnson became the new president of the United States. Johnson was a strong supporter of the Domino Theory and believed that the prevention of an National Liberation Front victory in South Vietnam was vital to the defence of the United States: "If we quit Vietnam, tomorrow we'll be fighting in Hawaii and next week we'll have to fight in San Francisco."

Johnson, like Kennedy before him, came under pressure from his military advisers to take more 'forceful' action against North Vietnam and the NLF. The Joint Chiefs of Staff advised Johnson to send United States combat troops to South Vietnam. The overthrow of President Ngo Dinh Diem had not resulted in preventing the growth of the NLF. The new leader of South Vietnam, General Khanh, was doubtful that his own army was strong enough to prevent a communist victory.

Johnson told his Joint Chiefs of Staff that he would do all that was necessary to prevent the NLF winning in South Vietnam but was unwilling to take unpopular measures like sending troops to tight in a foreign war, until after the 1964 Presidential Elections. Just let me get elected," he told his military advisers, "and then you can have your war."

As the election was not due for another eleven months, the Joint Chiefs of Staff feared that this was too long to wait. They therefore suggested another strategy that would be less unpopular with the American public as it would result in fewer of the men being killed.

For sometime, military intelligence officers working in Vietnam had believed that without the support of the Hanoi government, the NLF would not survive. They therefore advocated the bombing of Hanoi in an attempt to persuade North Vietnam to cut off supplies to the NLF.

Curtis LeMay, the commander of the US air force, argued that by using the latest technology, North Vietnam could be blasted "back to the Stone Age." Others pointed out that "terror" raids on civilian populations during the Second World War had not proved successful and claimed that a better strategy would be to bomb selected targets such as military bases and fuel depots.

Lyndon B. Johnson preferred the latter proposal but was aware he would have difficulty convincing the American public and the rest of the world that such action was justified. He therefore gave permission for a plan to be put into operation that he surmised would eventually enable him to carry out the bombing raids on North Vietnam.

Operation Plan 34A involved the sending of Asian mercenaries into North Vietnam to carry out acts of sabotage and the kidnapping or killing of communist officials. As part of this plan, it was decided to send US destroyers into North Vietnamese waters to obtain information on their naval defences. On August 2, 1964, the US destroyer, "Maddox" was fired upon by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. In retaliation, "Maddox" fired back and hit all three, one of which sank. The "Maddox" then retreated into international waters but the next day it was ordered to return to the Gulf of Tonkin.

Soon after entering North Vietnamese waters, Captain Herrick reported that he was under attack. However, later he sent a message that raised doubts about this: "Review of action makes reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather reports and over-eager sonar men may have accounted for many reports. No actual sightings by "Maddox". Suggest complete evaluation before further action."

Johnson now had the excuse he had been waiting for and ignored Captain Herrick's second message. He ordered the bombing of four North Vietnamese torpedo-boat bases and an oil-storage depot that had been planned three months previously.

President Johnson then went on television and told the American people that: "Repeated acts of violence against the armed forces of the United States must be met not only with alert defence, but with a positive reply. That reply is being given as I speak tonight."

The Congress approved Johnson's decision to bomb North Vietnam and passed what has become known as the Gulf of Tonkin resolution by the Senate by 88 votes to 2 and in the House of Representatives by 416 to 0. This resolution authorised the President to take all necessary measures against Vietnam and the NLF.

Johnson's belief that the bombing raid on North Vietnam in August, 1964, would persuade Ho Chi Minh to cut off all aid to the NLF was unfounded. In the run-up to the November election, the NLF carried out a series of attacks and only two days before the election, the US air base near Saigon was mortared and four Americans were killed.

Barry Goldwater, the right-wing Republican candidate for the presidency, called for an escalation of the war against the North Vietnamese. In comparison to Goldwater, Lyndon B. Johnson was seen as the 'peace' candidate. People feared that Goldwater would send troops to fight in Vietnam. Johnson, on the other hand, argued that he was not willing: "to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves."

In the election of November, 1964, the voters decided to reject Goldwater's aggressive policies against communism and Johnson won a landslide victory. What the American public did not know was that President Johnson was waiting until the election was over before carrying out the policies that had been advocated by his Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater.

Additional Sources:

2 posted on 08/03/2003 12:16:41 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: All
The Gulf of Tonkin is a body of water that lies on the East Coast of North Vietnam and the West Coast of the island Hainan. This was the waters for the staging area of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, which included the American destroyers the Maddox and C. Turner Joy and the American aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ticonderoga. This was the site that would eventually lead the escalation and official documentation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Entire engagement lasted about 4 hours.

Throughout melee, Maddox and Turner Joy fired 249 5" shells, including 24 star shells, and 123 3" rounds. The 2 destroyers also dropped 4 or 5 depth charges, 1 of which failed to detonate, against boats following in their wakes.

On August 7, the "Tonkin Gulf Resolution" passed, 416 to 0 by the House and 88 to 2 by the Senate. The resolution stipulated that the President of the United States could "take all necessary measures to repel armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."

This was what led to the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam and became the point where the U.S. made a large commitment. By July of 1965, the U.S. would have 80,000 troops mobilized and operating in South Vietnam. This opened the door to the eventual peak of some 543,000 troops by early 1969, including the dropping of 400 tons of bombs and ordnance per day. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a significant event in the fact that it opened the door to one of the most vivid and memorable wars in modern day history.

President Johnson's Message to Congress August 5, 1964

Last night I announced to the American people that the North Vietnamese regime had conducted further deliberate attacks against U.S. naval vessels operating in international waters, and I had therefore directed air action against gunboats and supporting facilities used in these hostile operations. This air action has now been carried out with substantial damage to the boats and facilities. Two U.S. aircraft were lost in the action.

After consultation with the leaders of both parties in the Congress, I further announced a decision to ask the Congress for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia.

These latest actions of the North Vietnamese regime has given a new and grave turn to the already serious situation in southeast Asia. Our commitments in that area are well known to the Congress. They were first made in 1954 by President Eisenhower. They were further defined in the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty approved by the Senate in February 1955.

This treaty with its accompanying protocol obligates the United States and other members to act in accordance with their constitutional processes to meet Communist aggression against any of the parties or protocol states.

Our policy in southeast Asia has been consistent and unchanged since 1954. I summarized it on June 2 in four simple propositions:

America keeps her word. Here as elsewhere, we must and shall honor our commitments.

The issue is the future of southeast Asia as a whole. A threat to any nation in that region is a threat to all, and a threat to us. Our purpose is peace. We have no military, political, or territorial ambitions in the area.

This is not just a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity. Our military and economic assistance to South Vietnam and Laos in particular has the purpose of helping these countries to repel aggression and strengthen their independence.

The threat to the free nations of southeast Asia has long been clear. The North Vietnamese regime has constantly sought to take over South Vietnam and Laos. This Communist regime has violated the Geneva accords for Vietnam. It has systematically conducted a campaign of subversion, which includes the direction, training, and supply of personnel and arms for the conduct of guerrilla warfare in South Vietnamese territory. In Laos, the North Vietnamese regime has maintained military forces, used Laotian territory for infiltration into South Vietnam, and most recently carried out combat operations - all in direct violation of the Geneva Agreements of 1962.

In recent months, the actions of the North Vietnamese regime have become steadily more threatening...

As President of the United States I have concluded that I should now ask the Congress, on its part, to join in affirming the national determination that all such attacks will be met, and that the United States will continue in its basic policy of assisting the free nations of the area to defend their freedom.

As I have repeatedly made clear, the United States intends no rashness, and seeks no wider war. We must make it clear to all that the United States is united in its determination to bring about the end of Communist subversion and aggression in the area. We seek the full and effective restoration of the international agreements signed in Geneva in 1954, with respect to South Vietnam, and again in Geneva in 1962, with respect to Laos...

Joint Resolution of Congress H.J. RES 1145 August 7, 1964

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.

Section 2. The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. Consonant with the Constitution of the United States and the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore, prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.

Section 3. This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United Nations or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress.

3 posted on 08/03/2003 12:17:12 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: All

4 posted on 08/03/2003 12:17:40 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: Samwise; comitatus; copperheadmike; Monkey Face; WhiskeyPapa; New Zealander; Pukin Dog; Coleus; ...
.......FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

.......Good Sunday Morning Everyone!

If you would like added or removed from our ping list let me know.
5 posted on 08/03/2003 12:28:48 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Pray for our Troops)
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To: SAMWolf
Big thunder boomers rockin' the windows and lighting up the sky. Woke me. Thought I better go ahead and post the ping list just in case. Now back to zzzzzzzzzzzzz. :)
6 posted on 08/03/2003 12:36:46 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Pray for our Troops)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning, Snippy. Storms underway in Northeast Oklahoma. How's everything going where you are?
7 posted on 08/03/2003 3:02:43 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: SAMWolf
On this Day In History

Birthdates which occurred on August 03:
1753 Charles Earl Stanhope, England, radical politician/scientist
1811 Elisha Graves Otis inventor (safe elevator)
1851 Lady Isabella Caroline Somerset temperance leader
1867 Stanley Earl Baldwin, (C) British PM (1923-24, 1924-29, 1935-37)
1871 Vernon Louis Parrington critic/educator/author (Pulitzer 1928)
1872 Haakon VII Charlottenlund Denmark, King of Norway
1884 Louis Gruenberg near Brest Litovsk Poland, composer (Daniel Jazz)
1887 Rupert Brooke British WW I poet (1914)
1894 Harry Heilmann SF Cal, baseball hall of famer outfielder (Detroit)
1900 Ernie Pyle correspondant during WW II
1900 John T Scopes Tennessee teacher convicted for teaching evolution
1901 John Stennis (Sen-D-Miss)
1902 Habib Bourguiba 1st president of Tunisia
1902 Judson Laire NYC, actor/singer (Papa-Mama, Adm Broadway Revue)
1902 Ray Block France, orch leader (Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason)
1905 Dolores Del Rio Mexico, actress (What Price Glory?)
1907 Irene Tedrow Denver Colo, actress (Lucy-Dennis the Menace, Mr Novak)
1918 James MacGregor Burns political writer (The Lion & the Fox)
1920 Maria Karnilova Hartford Ct, actress (Olga-Ivan the Terrible)
1920 P.D. James mystery writer (Cover Her Face)
1921 Hayden Carruth Waterbury Ct, novelist (Crow & Heart)
1921 Marilyn Maxwell actress (East of Sumatra)
1923 Anne Klein fashion designer (Anne Klein II)
1924 Leon Uris US, novelist (Exodus, QB VII)
1926 Tony Bennett Queens NY, singer (Left a body part in SF)
1927 Gordon Scott Portland Oregon, actor (Tarzan & the Trappers)
1929 Bethel Leslie NYC, entertainer (Capt Newman MD, Rabbit Trap)
1930 James Komack NYC, writer/director/actor (Courtship of Eddie's Father)
1931 Alex Cord actor (Brotherhood, Fire, Street Asylum)
1935 Georgi S Shonin cosmonaut (Soyuz 6)
1935 Richard D Lamm (Gov-D-Colo)
1938 George Memmoli NYC, actor (Earl-Hello Larry)
1938 Terry "5 Wigs" Wogan British talk show host (Irish Days)
1940 John W Carlin (Gov-D-KS)
1940 Lance Alworth Houston Tx, NFL hall of famer (Charger, Cowboys)
1940 Martin Sheen actor (Subject Was Roses, Wall St)
1941 Beverly Lee Passaic NJ, singer (Shirelles-Soldier Boy)
1941 Martha Stewart cookbook author/actress (Those Two)
1945 Ron Hendren Pinehurst NC, TV host (Entertainment Tonight)
1950 John Landis director (Twilight Zone)
1950 Waldemar Cierpinski German DR, marathoner (Olympic-gold-1976, 80)
1951 Marcel Dionne Qu‚bec, NHL center (LA Kings, NY Rangers)
1952 Jay North North Hollywood Calif, actor (Dennis the Menace, Maya)
1953 Ian Bairnson Shetland Isles Scotland, guitarist (Alan Parsons Project, Pilot)
1954 Denise Craig WBL forward (Dayton Rockettes, NY Stars)
1956 Kirk Brandon rocker (Theatre of Hate, Spear of Destiny-Outland)
1959 Victoria Jackson Miami Fla, actress (Casual Sex, SNL)
1960 Tim Mayotte Springfield Mass, tennis player (Olympic-silver-1988)
1962 Tina Lehtola Finland, women's ski jumper (world's record holder)
1963 Carlo Imperato Bronx, actor (Fame)
1963 James Hetfield heavy metal rocker (Metallica-Helpless)
1966 Christine Richters Fullerton Ca, playmate (May, 1986)
1967 John Femia Bkln NY, actor (Square Pegs, Hello Larry)
1974 Jenny Beck actress (Claire Carroll-Guns & Paradise)

Deaths which occurred on August 03:
1460 James II of Scotland was killed by a cannon's explosion.
1916 Sir Roger Casement, Irish nationalist (Easter uprising 1916), hanged for treason at 51
1924 Joseph Conrad, Polish/British writer (Heart of Darkness), dies at 66
1954 Colette France, novelist (Claudine), dies at 81
1964 Flannery O'Connor, writer (Good Man is Hard to Find), dies at 39
1966 Lenny Bruce comedian, dies of a morphine overdose
1983 Carolyn Jones actress (Morticia-Addams Family), dies at 54 of cancer


[08/23/70 RELEASED]

POW / MIA Data & Bios supplied by
the P.O.W. NETWORK. Skidmore, MO. USA.

On this day...
0881 Battle at Saucourt: French King Louis III beats the Vikings
1492 Columbus sets sail from Palos, Spain for "Indies"
1596 David Fabricius discovers light variation of Mira (1st variable star)
1678 Robert LaSalle builds 1st ship in America, Griffon
1807 The trial of Aaron Burr begins. He is accused of plotting the secession of New England.
1852 1st intercollegiate rowing race, Harvard beats Yale by 4 lengths
1860 American Canoe Association founded at Lake George NY
1863 Governor Seymour asks Lincoln to suspend draft in NY
1863 Saratoga Racetrack (NY) opens
1881 US Nation Lawn Tennis Association removes "Nation" from name
1882 Congress passes 1st law restricting immigration
1914 Germany invades Belgium & declares war on France in WW I
1914 Yankee catcher Nunamaker throws out 3 would be stealers in 1 inning
1921 1st aerial cropdusting (Troy Ohio to kill caterpillars)
1921 Due to a technicality, 8 Chicago White Sox accused in the Black Sox scandal are acquited, however Landis throws them out of baseball
1928 Ray Barbuti saves US team from defeat in Amsterdam Olympics track events by winning 400 m (47.8 sec)
1930 2nd time in 1930, Chuck Klein of Phillies hits in 26 straight games
1933 Yanks are shut out for 1st time after 308 games
1940 Lithuanian SSR is accepted into the USSR
1943 During World War II U.S. General George S. Patton slapped an Army private hospitalized for battle fatigue accusing the young man of cowardice.
1944 Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp gases 4 000 gypsies
1949 Basketball Assoc of America & National Basketball League merge to form the National Basketball Association
1952 15th Olympic games close in Helsinki Finland
1953 Frank Blair becomes news anchor of the Today Show
1954 1st VTOL (Vertical Take-off & Land) flown
1955 Automobile Association of America ends support of auto racing
1955 Hurricane Connie begins pounding US for 11 days
1956 Willie Williams of the US sets 100 meter record at 10.1
1958 USS Nautilus begins 1st crossing of Arctic Ocean under icecap
1959 AL beats NL 5-3 in 27th All Star Game (Dodger Stadium)
1960 Niger gains independence from France
1962 NY Met Frank Thomas hits his 6th HR in 3 games
1963 Allan Sherman releases "Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda"
1963 Beatles final performance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool
1963 Great Train Robbery-$2.5 M ($3.25 M) robbed
1969 Reds beats Phillies 19-17
1970 4 day NFL strike ends
1970 Hurricane "Celia" becomes most expensive Gulf storm in history
1970 Mairiam Hargrave of Yorkshire, passes her driving test on 40th try
1971 Paul McCartney announces the formation of his group Wings
1973 Flash fire kills 51 at amusement park. (Isle of Man, UK)
1974 Guitarist Jeff Baxter quits Steely Dan & joins Doobie Brothers
1975 500 drown when 2 river boats collide & sink in China's West River
1975 Louisiana Superdome is dedicated
1977 Radio Shack issues a press release introducing the TRS-80 computer 25 existed, within weeks thousands were ordered
1979 Fastest jai-alai shot (188 mph), Jose Arieto at Newport Jai Alai, RI
1980 Duke Snider & Al Kaline enter baseball's Hall of Fame
1981 Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO) begin their strike
1982 Clyde King replaces Gene Michaels as Yankee manager
1983 John Sain of South Bend, Ind builds 3.91 m house of cards
1984 365.7 million shares traded in NY Stock Exchange
1985 "Nihilator" set harness pacing mile (1:49.6) in East Rutherford, NJ
1987 Chicago Bears beat Dallas Cowboys 17-6 in London, England (NFL expo)
1987 Discovery in Orbital Processing Facility is powered up for STS-26
1988 Skip Storch swims 246 km of Hudson River from Albany to NYC
1989 5th jockey to win 6,000 races (Jorge Valesquez)
1989 Lawrence Delisle drives his 4 kids into river
1989 Rickey Henderson sets AL mark of 50 steals in 9 seasons
1989 Cincinnati Reds send record 20 men to bat with a record 16 hits in 1 inning as they score 14 runs in the 1st inning
1990 NY Yankee Kevin Mass sets record with 10th HR in 1st 72 at bats
1990 Radio Kuwait goes off the air, due to the Iraqi invasion
1990 US announces commitment of Naval forces to Gulf regions
1990 For the 3rd time in 1990 a no-hitter is broken up with 2 outs in the 8th inning. Doug Drabek of Pitts still beats Phila 11-0
1991 Pan Am games open in Havana

Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"

New Zealand : Arbor Day (1872)
Niger : Independence Day (1960)
Tunisia : Bourguiba's Birthday (1902)
Arizona, Michigan : American Family Day - - - - - ( Sunday )
Italy : Joust of the Quintana (1st Sunday) - - - - - ( Sunday )
Bahamas, Barbados, Turks & Caicos Island : Emancipation Day (1838) ( Monday )
British Commonwealth : Bank Holiday ( Monday )
Canada : Civic Holiday (1st Monday) ( Monday )
Colorado : Colorado Day (1876) ( Monday )
Jamaica : Independence Day (1962) ( Monday )
St Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla : August Monday ( Monday )
US : National Smile Week begins ( Monday )
Grasmere England : Rush-Bearing Day ( Saturday )
National Psychiatric Technician Week Begins
Romance Awareness Month

Religious Observances
RC : Commemoration of Finding of the Body of St Stephen, martyr

Religious History
1739 English revivalist George Whitefield wrote in a letter: 'I am no friend to sinless perfection. I believe the existence (though not the dominion) of sin remains in the hearts of the greatest believers.'
1858 Birth of Maltbie D. Babcock, American Presbyterian clergyman. His pastoral work centered around Maryland and New York, but he is better remembered today as author of the well-known hymn, "This is My Father's World."
1902 Birth of Martin Noth, German Lutheran Old Testament scholar. His researches concentrated on the "history-of-traditions" approach to analyzing and understanding the Old Testament writings.
1944 Lutheran theologian and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a letter from prison: 'The Church must not underestimate the importance of human example; it is not abstract argument, but example, that gives its word emphasis and power.'
1959 English apologist C.S. Lewis wrote in a letter: 'When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.'

Source: William D. Blake. ALMANAC OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1987.

Thought for the day :
"The best prophet of the future is the past."

You might be computer illiterate if...
you don't use Windows because you don't believe in icons.

Todays Murphys law...(Technology Laws)
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.

Cliff Clavin says, it's a little known fact that...
The longest name in the Bible Mahershalalbaz (Isaiah 8:1).
8 posted on 08/03/2003 6:27:31 AM PDT by Valin (America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Darksheare; *all
Good morning fabulous people!!

Have a wonderful Sunday!
9 posted on 08/03/2003 6:57:19 AM PDT by Soaring Feather
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To: SAMWolf
McNamara and Johnson, two sleezes.

Once again the left gets to office on lies.

I'd like to believe that if Goldwater had won instead, we would have been more aggressive with the enemy and maybe the losses to us wouldn't have been so high.

This story is one reason I enjoyed reading about Abrams yesterday. It's good to be reminded there are some good people out there in government though they be few and far between.

Thanks for the history SAM, the stories may not always bring good memories but they need to be told.

10 posted on 08/03/2003 7:42:16 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Pray for our Troops)
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To: E.G.C.
Morning EGC, storms rolled through here too. Pretty strong, I feared we might lose electric but all is well this morning.
11 posted on 08/03/2003 7:43:48 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Pray for our Troops)
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To: Valin
US : National Smile Week begins ( Monday )

LOL. :)

12 posted on 08/03/2003 7:54:53 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Pray for our Troops)
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To: snippy_about_it
It's always a good idea to turn off your computer if you think you might lose power. We just had a storm move through and we shut off the computer just a few minutes ago. No thunder or lightning at this time.
13 posted on 08/03/2003 8:14:36 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: snippy_about_it
Good Morning Snippy.
14 posted on 08/03/2003 8:15:47 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: snippy_about_it

15 posted on 08/03/2003 8:19:30 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: Valin
1943 During World War II U.S. General George S. Patton slapped an Army private hospitalized for battle fatigue accusing the young man of cowardice.

16 posted on 08/03/2003 8:24:56 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: bentfeather
Good Morning Feather
17 posted on 08/03/2003 8:26:44 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: bentfeather
Morning feather.
18 posted on 08/03/2003 8:27:56 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Pray for our Troops)
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To: snippy_about_it
Thanks Snippy.

Besides Vietnam I wonder what would have happened without his "War on Poverty" wealth redistribution policies.
19 posted on 08/03/2003 8:28:54 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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To: snippy_about_it
US : National Smile Week begins ( Monday )

20 posted on 08/03/2003 8:33:29 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Gone Camping.)
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