The Full Wiki

Gulf of Tonkin Incident: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Gulf of Tonkin Kn11060.jpg
Painting of USS Maddox firing upon three P-4 torpedo boats
Date August 2 and August 4, 1964
Location Gulf of Tonkin
Result Gulf of Tonkin Resolution; escalation of the War in Vietnam
Belligerents
 United States  North Vietnam
Commanders
US Naval Jack.svg George Stephen Morrison Le Duy Khoai, Commander Torpedo Squadron 135[1]
Strength
1 aircraft carrier,
1 destroyer,
Four F8 Crusader jet aircraft[2]
3 torpedo boats
Casualties and losses
1 destroyer slightly damaged & 1 one jet slightly damaged[3] 3 torpedo boats damaged,
of which 1 torpedo boat heavily damaged,
1 torpedo boat moderately damaged/and 4 North Vietnamese Sailors KIA & 6 NVN Sailors WIA[4]

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident is the name given to two separate incidents involving the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. On August 2, 1964 the US destroyer USS Maddox while performing a DeSoto mission, was engaged by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron[5], a sea battle, in which the Maddox expended over 280 3" and 5" shells, and which involved the strafing from four USN F8 Crusader jet fighter bombers, all of which resulted in the damage to one US aircraft, one 14.5mm hit on the destroyer, 3 damaged torpedo boats, and 4 North Vietnamese individuals killed and 6 wounded; with no US casualties.[6]

The second Tonkin Gulf incident, which occurred on August 4, 1964, was also a naval battle, but this time, may have involved the "Tonkin Ghosts"[7], and no actual NVN Torpedo Boat attacks. The outcome of this second incident was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by "communist aggression". The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for deploying US conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded[8] that USS Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there may not have been any North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the engagement of August 4. The report stated

[I]t is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night. [...] In truth, Hanoi's navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on August 2.[9]

Contents

Background

Although the United States attended the Geneva Conference (1954), which was intended to end hostilities between France and the Vietnamese at the end of the First Indochina War, it refused to sign the Geneva Accords (1954). The Accords mandated, among other measures, a temporary ceasefire line, intended to separate Vietnamese and French forces, and elections to determine the future political fate of the Vietnamese within two years. It also forbade the political interference of other countries in the area, the creation of new governments without the stipulated elections, and foreign military presence. By 1961, President Ngo Dinh Diem faced significant discontent amongst some quarters of the southern population, including some Buddhists who were opposed to the rule of Diem's Catholic supporters. After suppressing Vietminh political cadres who were legally campaigning between 1955 and 1959 for the promised elections, Diem faced a growing communist-led uprising that intensified by 1961, headed by the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NFL or, derogatively, Viet Cong).[10] The US had begun providing direct support to the South Vietnamese government in the form of military and financial aid and military advisers, the number of which grew from 600 in 1961 to 16,000 by the end of John F. Kennedy's presidency in 1963.

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident occurred during the first year of the Johnson administration. While Kennedy had originally supported the policy of sending military advisers to Vietnam, he had begun to alter his thinking due to what he perceived to be the ineptitude of the Saigon government and its inability and unwillingness to make needed reforms (which led to a US-supported coup which resulted in the death of Diem). Shortly before his assassination in November 1963, Kennedy had begun a limited recall of US forces. Johnson's views were likewise complex, but he had supported military escalation in Vietnam as a means to challenge what he perceived as the expansionist policies of the Soviet Union. The Cold War policy of containment was to be applied to prevent the fall of Southeast Asia to communism under the precepts of the domino theory. After Kennedy's assassination, Johnson ordered in more US forces to support the Saigon government, beginning a protracted United States presence in Southeast Asia.

Chart showing the US Navy's explanation of the Gulf of Tonkin incident

A highly classified program of covert actions against North Vietnam known as Operation Plan 34-Alpha, in conjunction with the DeSoto operations, had begun under the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1961. In 1964 the program was transferred to the US Defense Department and conducted by the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (SOG)[11]

For the maritime portion of the covert operation, Tjeld-class fast patrol boats had been purchased quietly from Norway and sent to South Vietnam. Although the crews of the boats were South Vietnamese naval personnel, approval for each mission conducted under the plan came directly from Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, Jr., CINCPAC in Honolulu, who received his orders from the White House.[12] After the coastal attacks began, Hanoi lodged a complaint with the International Control Commission (ICC), which had been established in 1954 to oversee the terms of the Geneva Accords, but the US denied any involvement. Four years later, US Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara admitted to Congress that the US ships had in fact been cooperating in the South Vietnamese attacks against North Vietnam. Maddox, although aware of the operations, was not directly involved.

What was (and is) generally not considered by US politicians at the time (and by later historians) were the other actions taken under Operations Plan 34-Alpha just prior to the incidents. The night before the launching of the actions against North Vietnamese facilities on Hon Me and Hon Ngu islands, the SOG had launched a covert long-term agent team into North Vietnam, which was promptly captured. That night (for the second evening in a row) two flights of CIA-sponsored Laotian fighter-bombers (piloted by Thai mercenaries) attacked border outposts well within southwestern North Vietnam. The Hanoi government (unlike the US government, which had to give permission at the highest levels for the conduct of these missions) probably assumed that they were all a coordinated effort to escalate military actions against North Vietnam.[13]

The incident

Daniel Ellsberg, who was on duty in the Pentagon the night of August 4 receiving messages from the ship, reported that the ship was on a secret electronic warfare support measures mission (codenamed Desoto) near North Vietnamese territorial waters.[14] On July 31, 1964, USS Maddox (DD-731) had begun its intelligence collection mission in the gulf. Admiral George Stephen Morrison was in command of local American forces from his flagship USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31). The Maddox was under orders not to approach closer than eight miles (13 km) from the North's coast and four miles (6 km) from Hon Nieu island.[15] When the SOG commando raid was being carried out against Hon Nieu, the ship was 120 miles (190 km) away from the attacked area.[15]

First attack

On August 2 Maddox radioed it was under attack from three North Vietnamese Navy P-4 torpedo boats 28 miles (45 km) away from the North Vietnamese coast in international waters.[15] Maddox stated she had evaded a torpedo attack and opened fire with its five-inch (127 mm) guns, forcing the torpedo boats away. Four USN F8 Crusader jets launched from the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) then attacked the retiring P-4s, claiming one was sunk and one heavily damaged. Maddox, suffering very minor damage from a single 14.5-millimeter machine gun bullet, retired to South Vietnamese waters where she was joined by the destroyer USS Turner Joy. The North Vietnamese claimed that Maddox was hit by one torpedo, and one of the American aircraft had been shot down.

This account, however, has come into sharp dispute with an internal NSA historical study[8] which stated on page 17:

Photograph taken from the USS Maddox August 2, 1964 and showing three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats under fire
At 1500G, Captain Herrick (commander of the Maddox) ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first.[8]

Even before this was revealed, however, some had held that the actions of the Maddox (i.e., merely the presence of the vessel in particular places and times) were provocative to the North Vietnamese because they coincided with the covert South Vietnamese raids. Since the Desoto patrols were conducted in order to gather just the sort of electronic emissions that the SOG 34-Alpha raids would provoke, it was a reasonable assumption that the two were "piggybacked."

Others, such as Admiral Sharp, maintained that U.S. actions did not provoke the August 2 action. He claimed that North Vietnamese radar had tracked Maddox along the coast, and was thus aware that the destroyer had not actually attacked North Vietnam and that Hanoi (or the local commander) had ordered its craft to engage Maddox anyway. Sharp also noted that orders given to Maddox to stay eight miles (13 km) off the North Vietnamese coast put the ship in international waters, as North Vietnam claimed only a five-mile (8 km) nautical limit as its territory (or off of its off-shore islands). In addition, many nations had previously carried out similar missions all over the world, and the USS John R. Craig (DD-885) had earlier conducted an intelligence-gathering mission in similar circumstances without incident.[16]

Second alleged attack

On August 4, another Desoto patrol off the North Vietnamese coast was launched by Maddox and the C. Turner Joy, in order to "show the flag" after the first incident. This time their orders indicated that the ships were to close to no more than 11 miles (18 km) from the coast of North Vietnam.[15] During an evening and early morning of rough weather and heavy seas, the destroyers received radar, sonar, and radio signals that they believed signaled another attack by the North Vietnamese navy. For some two hours the ships fired on radar targets and maneuvered vigorously amid electronic and visual reports of enemies. Despite the Navy’s claim that two attacking torpedo boats had been sunk, there was no wreckage, bodies of dead Vietnamese sailors, or other physical evidence present at the scene of the alleged engagement.[17]

At 0127 Washington time, Herrick sent a cable in which he admitted that the attack may never have happened and that there may actually have been no Vietnamese craft in the area: "Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonarmen may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken".[18]

One hour later, Herrick sent another cable, stating, "Entire action leaves many doubts except for apparent ambush at beginning. Suggest thorough reconnaissance in daylight by aircraft."[19] In response to requests for confirmation, at around 1600 Washington time, Herrick cabled, "Details of action present a confusing picture although certain that the original ambush was bona fide."[19]

At 1800 Washington time (0500 in the Gulf of Tonkin), Herrick cabled yet again, this time stating, "the first boat to close the Maddox probably launched a torpedo at the Maddox which was heard but not seen. All subsequent Maddox torpedo reports are doubtful in that it is suspected that sonarman was hearing ship's own propeller beat" [sic].[19]

United States response

President Johnson's speech to the American people

President Johnson went on air at 11:34[20] described an attack by North Vietnamese vessels on two U.S. Navy warships the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy and requested authority to undertake a military response.[21]

The first attack (2 August 1964) on the USS Maddox was launched by the North Vietnamese. The second attack (4 August 1964) was reported, then after air strikes were ordered by the President. The U.S. only attacked under retaliation resulting in the sinking of two Vietnamese boats.[21] Johnson's speech repeated the theme that "dramatized Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh as the aggressor and which put the U.S. into a more acceptable defensive posture."[20]

He emphasized commitment to both the American people, and the South Vietnamese government. He also reminded Americans that there was no desire for war. "A close scrutiny of Johnson's public statements...reveals no mention of preparations for overt warfare and no indication of the nature and extent of covert land and air measures that already were operational." Johnson's statements were short to "minimize the U.S. role in the conflict; a clear inconsistency existed between Johnson's actions and his public discourse."[22]

Reaction from Congress

While President Johnson’s final resolution was being drafted, Senator Wayne Morse attempted to lead a campaign to raise awareness about possible faulty records of the incident involving the USS Maddox. Morse supposedly received a call from an informant who has remained anonymous urging Morse to investigate official logbooks of the Maddox.[23] These logs were not available before President Johnson’s resolution was presented to Congress.[23]

After urging Congress that they should be wary of President Johnson’s coming attempt to convince Congress of his resolution, Morse failed to gain enough cooperation and support from his colleagues to mount any sort of movement to stop it.[23] Immediately after the resolution was read and presented to Congress, Morse began to fight it. He contended in speeches to Congress that the actions taken by the United States were actions outside of the constitution and were “acts of war rather than acts of defense."[23]

Morse’s efforts were not immediately met with support, largely due to the fact that he revealed no sources and was working with very limited information.[23] It was not until after the United States became more involved in the war that his claim began to gain support throughout the United States government.

Distortion of the event

Evidence was still being sought at 11:37 pm on August 4, as Johnson addressed the nation, as to whether any action had taken place earlier that day. Messages recorded that day indicate that neither President Johnson nor McNamara were certain of an attack.[24]

Various news sources, including Time, Life and Newsweek, ran articles throughout August on the Tonkin Gulf incident.[25] Time Magazine reported: “Through the darkness, from the West and south…intruders boldly sped…at least six of them… they opened fire on the destroyers with automatic weapons, this time from as close as 2,000 yards.”[26] Time stated that there was “no doubt in Sharp’s mind that the U.S. would now have to answer this attack,” and that there was no debate or confusion within the administration regarding the incident.[26]

The use of the set of incidents as a pretext for escalation of U.S. involvement follows the issuance of public threats against North Vietnam, as well as calls from American politicians in favor of escalating the war.[27] On May 4, 1964, William Bundy called for the U.S. to “drive the Communists out of South Vietnam,” even if that meant attacking both North Vietnam and Communist China.[27] Even so, the Johnson administration in the second half of 1964 focused on convincing the American public that there was no chance of war between North Vietnam and the U.S.[27]

North Vietnamese General Giap suggested that the DeSoto patrol had been sent into the Gulf to provoke North Vietnam into giving an excuse for escalation of the war.[27] Various government officials and men aboard the Maddox have suggested similar theories.[27] American politicians and strategists had been planning provocative actions against North Vietnam for some time. George Ball told a British Journalist after the war that “at that time…many people…were looking for any excuse to initiate bombing”.[27]

Provocative action against North Vietnam was considered after the August, 1964 incidents John McNaughton suggested in September 1964 that the U.S. prepare to take actions to provoke a North Vietnamese military reaction, including plans to use DeSoto patrols North . William Bundy’s paper dated September 8, 1964 suggested more DeSoto patrols as well.[27] Strong evidence suggests that these strategic plans may have circulated before the Gulf of Tonkin Incidents took place.

Consequences

US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara failed to inform US President Lyndon B. Johnson that the U.S. naval task group commander in the Tonkin Gulf, Captain John J. Herrick, had changed his mind about the alleged North Vietnamese torpedo attack on U.S. warships he had reported earlier that day.

By early afternoon of 4 August, Washington time, Herrick had reported to the Commander in Chief Pacific in Honolulu that "freak weather effects" on the ship’s radar had made such an attack questionable. In fact, Herrick was now saying, in a message sent at 1:27 pm Washington time, that no North Vietnamese patrol boats had actually been sighted. Herrick now proposed a "complete evaluation before any further action taken."

McNamara later testified that he had read the message after his return to the Pentagon that afternoon. But he did not immediately call Johnson to tell him that the whole premise of his decision at lunch to approve McNamara’s recommendation for retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam was now highly questionable. Had Johnson been accurately informed about the Herrick message, he might have demanded fuller information before proceeding with a broadening of the war. Johnson had fended off proposals from McNamara and other advisers for a policy of bombing the North on four separate occasions since becoming President.[28]

President Johnson, who was up for election that year, ordered retaliatory air strikes and went on national television on August 4. Although Maddox had been involved in providing intelligence support for South Vietnamese attacks at Hon Me and Hon Ngu, Johnson denied, in his testimony before Congress, that the U.S. Navy had supported South Vietnamese military operations in the Gulf. He thus characterized the attack as "unprovoked" since the ship had been in international waters.

As a result of his testimony, on August 7, Congress passed a joint resolution (H.J. RES 1145), titled the Southeast Asia Resolution, which granted President Johnson the authority to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without the benefit of a declaration of war. The Resolution gave President Johnson approval "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."

Later statements about the incident

In 1965, President Johnson commented privately: "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."[29]

In 1981, Captain Herrick and journalist Robert Scheer re-examined Herrick's ship's log and determined that the first torpedo report from August 4, which Herrick had maintained had occurred—the "apparent ambush"—was in fact unfounded.[19]

Although information obtained well after the fact supported Captain Herrick's statements about the inaccuracy of the later torpedo reports as well as the 1981 Herrick/Scheer conclusion about the inaccuracy of the first, indicating that there was no North Vietnamese attack that night, at the time U.S. authorities and all of the Maddox crew stated that they were convinced that an attack had taken place. As a result, planes from the carriers Ticonderoga and Constellation were sent to hit North Vietnamese torpedo boat bases and fuel facilities during Operation Pierce Arrow.

Squadron commander James Stockdale was one of the U.S. pilots flying overhead during the second alleged attack. Stockdale wrote in his 1984 book Love and War: "[I] had the best seat in the house to watch that event, and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets—there were no PT boats there... There was nothing there but black water and American fire power." Stockdale at one point recounts seeing Turner Joy pointing her guns at the Maddox.[30] Stockdale said his superiors ordered him to keep quiet about this. After he was captured, this knowledge became a heavy burden. He later said he was concerned that his captors would eventually force him to reveal what he knew about the second incident.[30]

In 1995, retired Vietnamese Defense Minister Vo Nguyen Giap, meeting with former Secretary of Defense McNamara, categorically denied that Vietnamese gunboats had attacked American destroyers on August 4, while admitting to the attack on August 2.[31][32] A taped conversation of a meeting several weeks after passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was released in 2001, revealing that McNamara expressed doubts to President Johnson that the attack had even occurred.

In the Fall of 1999, retired senior CIA engineering executive S. Eugene Poteat wrote that he was asked in early August 1964 to determine if the radar operator's report showed a real torpedo boat attack or an imagined one. He asked for further details on time, weather and surface conditions. No further details were forthcoming. In the end he concluded that there were no torpedo boats on the night in question, and that the White House was interested only in confirmation of an attack, not that there was no such attack.[33]

NSA report

In October, 2005 the New York Times reported that Robert J. Hanyok, a historian for the U.S. National Security Agency, had concluded that the NSA deliberately distorted the intelligence reports that it had passed on to policy-makers regarding the August 4, 1964 incident. He concluded that the motive was not political but was probably to cover up honest intelligence errors.[34]

Hanyok's conclusions were initially published within the NSA in the Winter 2000/Spring 2001 Edition of Cryptologic Quarterly, about five years before they were revealed in the Times article. According to intelligence officials, the view of government historians that the report should become public was rebuffed by policymakers concerned that comparisons might be made to intelligence used to justify the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) that commenced in 2003.[35] Reviewing the NSA's archives, Mr. Hanyok concluded that the NSA had initially misinterpreted North Vietnamese intercepts, believing there was an attack on August 4. Midlevel NSA officials almost immediately discovered the error, he concluded, but covered it up by altering documents, so as to make it appear the second attack had happened.

On November 30, 2005, the NSA released the first installment of previously classified information regarding the Gulf of Tonkin incident, including a moderately sanitized version of Mr. Hanyok's article, "Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2–4 August 1964" Cryptologic Quarterly, Winter 2000/Spring 2001 Edition, Vol. 19, No. 4 / Vol. 20, No. 1. The Hanyok article stated that intelligence information was presented to the Johnson administration "in such a manner as to preclude responsible decision makers in the Johnson administration from having the complete and objective narrative of events." Instead, "only information that supported the claim that the communists had attacked the two destroyers was given to Johnson administration officials."[9]

With regard to why this happened, Hanyok wrote:

As much as anything else, it was an awareness that President Johnson would brook no uncertainty that could undermine his position. Faced with this attitude, Ray Cline was quoted as saying "... we knew it was bum dope that we were getting from Seventh Fleet, but we were told only to give facts with no elaboration on the nature of the evidence. Everyone know how volatile LBJ was. He did not like to deal with uncertainties."[36]

Hanyok included his study of Tonkin Gulf as one chapter of an overall history of the involvement of NSA, and American signals intelligence (SIGINT), in the Indochina Wars. A moderately sanitized version of the overall history[37] was released in January 2008 by the National Security Agency and published by the Federation of American Scientists.[38]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Moise, p. 78
  2. ^ Moise, p. 82
  3. ^ Moise, p. 82, 83
  4. ^ Moise, p. 92
  5. ^ Moise, p. 78
  6. ^ Moise, p. 78,82,92
  7. ^ Moise, p. 106, 107
  8. ^ a b c Robert J. Hanyok, "Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2-4 August 1964", Cryptologic Quarterly, Winter 2000/Spring 2001 Edition, Vol. 19, No. 4 / Vol. 20, No. 1.
  9. ^ a b Hanyok article (page 177)
  10. ^ Edward Doyle, Samuel Lipsman, and Stephen Weiss, Passing the Torch. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1981, pgs. 145-148.
  11. ^ Joint Chiefs of Staff, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group, Documentation Study (July 1970), Annex F, Appendix x.
  12. ^ MACSOG Documentation Study, Appendix C, p. 14.
  13. ^ Edwin E. Moise, Tonkin Gulf.Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996, pgs. 60&61.
  14. ^ Polmar, Norman "The U. S. Navy Electronic Warfare (Part 1)" United States Naval Institute Proceedings October 1979 p.138
  15. ^ a b c d Pentagon Papers
  16. ^ Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, Strategy for Defeat — Vietnam in Retrospect (San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1978) P. 42
  17. ^ [1], Prados, John. The White House Tapes: Eavesdropping on the President A Book-and-CD Set. New York: New, 2003. George Washington University. Web. 25 Oct. 2009.
  18. ^ Ellsberg, pp. 9-10.
  19. ^ a b c d Ellsberg, pg. 10.
  20. ^ a b [2], Ball , Moya Ann. "Revisiting the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis: An Analysis of the Private Communication of President Johnson and his Advisers." SAGE (1991): 281-296. P286.Web. 28 Oct 2009.
  21. ^ a b [3], Gulf of Tonkin Incident. 04 08 1964. Web. 27 Oct 2009. P.1.
  22. ^ , Cherwitz, Richard A. "Masking Inconsistency: The Tonkin Gulf Crisis." Communication Quarterly (1980): 27-34. Web. 28 Oct 2009.
  23. ^ a b c d e , Goulden, Joseph C. Truth is the First Casualty. Chicago: Rand McNally & Company, 1969. Print.
  24. ^ , Wise, David. The Politics of Lying: government deception, secrecy, and power. New York: Vintage Books, 1973. Print.
  25. ^ [4], Bradlee, Ben. "Deceit and dishonesty - The first James Cameron Memorial Lecture." The Guardian [London] 29 Apr. 1987. The Emperor's New Clothes. Web. 26 Oct. 2009.
  26. ^ a b [5], "Action in Tonkin Gulf." Time Magazine 14 Aug. 1964. Time Magazine Online. Web. 28 Oct. 2009.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g , Moise, Edwin E. Tonkin Gulf and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1996. Print.
  28. ^ Gareth Porter, "Robert McNamara deceived LBJ on Gulf of Tonkin, documents show"
  29. ^ [|Cohen, Jeff]; [|Solomon, Norman] (1994-07-27). 30-year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War. http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2261. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  30. ^ a b Jim Stockdale, Sybil Stockdale (1984). In Love and War: The Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years. Harpercollins; 1st ed. edition (October 1984). ISBN 0060153180. 
  31. ^ "McNamara asks Giap: What happened in Tonkin Gulf?". (November 9, 1995). Associated Press
  32. ^ CNN Cold War - Interviews: Robert McNamara, retrieved January 23, 2007
  33. ^ S. Eugene Poteat, "Engineering in the CIA: ELINT, Stealth and the Beginnings of Information Warfare", The Bent of Tau Beta Pi, Fall 1999
  34. ^ Shane, Scott (2005-12-02). "Vietnam War Intelligence 'Deliberately Skewed,' Secret Study Says". New York Times. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1202-06.htm. 
  35. ^ "Robert J. Hanyok: His NSC study on Tonkin Gulf Deception". (October 31, 2005). New York Times.
  36. ^ Hanyok article (page 39)
  37. ^ Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975, Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 2002
  38. ^ Report reveals Vietnam War hoaxes, faked attacks

References

  • Doyle, Edward, Samuel Lipsman, and Stephen Weiss, Passing the Torch. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1981.
  • Ellsberg, Daniel (2002). Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York: Viking.
  • Hanyok, Robert J. Spartans In Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975. Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 2002.
  • Moise, Edwin E. Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
  • Fletcher, Martin LBJ tape 'confirms Vietnam war error', The Times, November 7, 2001.

External links

Advertisements

Gulf of Tonkin Incident
File:Gulf of Tonkin
Painting of USS Maddox firing upon three P-4 torpedo boats
Date August 2 and August 4, 1964
Location Gulf of Tonkin
Result Gulf of Tonkin Resolution; escalation of the War in Vietnam
Belligerents
 United States  North Vietnam
Commanders and leaders
George Stephen Morrison Le Duy Khoai[1]
Strength
1 aircraft carrier,
1 destroyer,
4 aircraft[2]
3 torpedo boats
Casualties and losses
1 destroyer slightly damaged,
1 aircraft slightly damaged[3]
1 torpedo boat severely damaged,
2 torpedo boats moderately damaged,
4 killed,
6 wounded[4]

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident is the name given to two separate incidents, one disputed, involving the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a DESOTO patrol, was engaged by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron.[1] A sea battle resulted, in which the Maddox expended over 280 3" and 5" shells, and which involved the strafing from four USN F-8 Crusader jet fighter bombers. One US aircraft was damaged, one 14.5mm round hit the destroyer, 3 North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and 4 North Vietnamese sailors were killed and 6 were wounded; there were no U.S. casualties.[5]

The second Tonkin Gulf incident was originally claimed by the U.S. National Security Agency to have occurred on August 4, 1964, as a naval battle, but instead may have involved the "Tonkin Ghosts",[6] and no actual NVN Torpedo Boat attacks.

The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by "communist aggression". The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded[7] that the Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there may not have been any North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the incident of August 4. The report stated:

[I]t is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night. [...] In truth, Hanoi's navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on August 2.[8]

Contents

Background

Although the United States attended the Geneva Conference (1954), which was intended to end hostilities between France and the Vietnamese at the end of the First Indochina War, it refused to sign the Geneva Accords (1954). The Accords mandated, among other measures, a temporary ceasefire line, intended to separate Vietnamese and French forces, and elections to determine the future political fate of the Vietnamese within two years. It also forbade the political interference of other countries in the area, the creation of new governments without the stipulated elections, and foreign military presence. By 1961, President Ngo Dinh Diem faced significant discontent amongst some quarters of the southern population, including some Buddhists who were opposed to the rule of Diem's Catholic supporters. After suppressing Vietminh political cadres who were legally campaigning between 1955 and 1959 for the promised elections, Diem faced a growing communist-led uprising that intensified by 1961, headed by the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF or, derogatively, Viet Cong).[9] The US had begun providing direct support to the South Vietnamese government in the form of military and financial aid and military advisers, the number of which grew from 600 in 1961 to 16,000 by the end of John F. Kennedy's presidency in 1963.

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident occurred during the first year of the Johnson administration. While Kennedy had originally supported the policy of sending military advisers to Vietnam, he had begun to alter his thinking due to what he perceived to be the ineptitude of the Saigon government and its inability and unwillingness to make needed reforms (which led to a US-supported coup which resulted in the death of Diem). Shortly before his assassination in November 1963, Kennedy had begun a limited recall of US forces. Johnson's views were likewise complex, but he had supported military escalation in Vietnam as a means to challenge what he perceived as the expansionist policies of the Soviet Union. The Cold War policy of containment was to be applied to prevent the fall of Southeast Asia to communism under the precepts of the domino theory. After Kennedy's assassination, Johnson ordered in more US forces to support the Saigon government, beginning a protracted United States presence in Southeast Asia. [[File:|250px|thumb|left|250px|Chart showing the US Navy's explanation of the Gulf of Tonkin incident]] A highly classified program of covert actions against North Vietnam known as Operation Plan 34-Alpha, in conjunction with the DESOTO operations, had begun under the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1961. In 1964 the program was transferred to the US Defense Department and conducted by the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (SOG)[10]

For the maritime portion of the covert operation, Tjeld-class fast patrol boats had been purchased quietly from Norway and sent to South Vietnam. Although the crews of the boats were South Vietnamese naval personnel, approval for each mission conducted under the plan came directly from Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, Jr., CINCPAC in Honolulu, who received his orders from the White House.[11] After the coastal attacks began, Hanoi lodged a complaint with the International Control Commission (ICC), which had been established in 1954 to oversee the terms of the Geneva Accords, but the US denied any involvement. Four years later, US Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara admitted to Congress that the US ships had in fact been cooperating in the South Vietnamese attacks against North Vietnam. Maddox, although aware of the operations, was not directly involved.

What was (and is) generally not considered by US politicians at the time (and by later historians) were the other actions taken under Operations Plan 34-Alpha just prior to the incidents. The night before the launching of the actions against North Vietnamese facilities on Hon Me and Hon Ngu islands, the SOG had launched a covert long-term agent team into North Vietnam, which was promptly captured. That night (for the second evening in a row) two flights of CIA-sponsored Laotian fighter-bombers (piloted by Thai mercenaries) attacked border outposts well within southwestern North Vietnam. The Hanoi government (unlike the US government, which had to give permission at the highest levels for the conduct of these missions) probably assumed that they were all a coordinated effort to escalate military actions against North Vietnam.[12]

The incident

Daniel Ellsberg, who was on duty in the Pentagon the night of August 4 receiving messages from the ship, reported that the ship was on a secret electronic warfare support measures mission (codenamed DESOTO) near Northern Vietnamese territorial waters.[13] On July 31, 1964, USS Maddox (DD-731) had begun its intelligence collection mission in the gulf. Admiral George Stephen Morrison was in command of local American forces from his flagship USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31). The Maddox was under orders not to approach closer than eight miles (13 km) from the North's coast and four miles (6 km) from Hon Nieu island.[14] When the SOG commando raid was being carried out against Hon Nieu, the ship was 120 miles (190 km) away from the attacked area.[14]

First attack

On August 2 Maddox radioed it was under attack from three North Vietnamese Navy P-4 torpedo boats 28 miles (45 km) away from the North Vietnamese coast in international waters.[14] Maddox stated she had evaded a torpedo attack and opened fire with its five-inch (127 mm) guns, forcing the torpedo boats away. Four USN F8 Crusader jets launched from the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) then attacked the retiring P-4s, claiming one was sunk and one heavily damaged. Maddox, suffering very minor damage from a single 14.5-millimeter machine gun bullet, retired to South Vietnamese waters where she was joined by the destroyer USS Turner Joy. The North Vietnamese claimed that Maddox was hit by one torpedo, and one of the American aircraft had been shot down.

This account, however, has come into sharp dispute with an internal NSA historical study[7] which stated on page 17: [[File:|thumb|right|300px|Photograph taken from the USS Maddox August 2, 1964 and showing three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats under fire]]

At 1500G, Captain Herrick (commander of the Maddox) ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first.[7]

Even before this was revealed, however, some had held that the actions of the Maddox (i.e., merely the presence of the vessel in particular places and times) were provocative to the North Vietnamese because they coincided with the covert South Vietnamese raids. Since the DESOTO patrols were conducted in order to gather just the sort of electronic emissions that the SOG 34-Alpha raids would provoke, it was a reasonable assumption that the two were "piggybacked."

Others, such as Admiral Sharp, maintained that U.S. actions did not provoke the August 2 action. He claimed that North Vietnamese radar had tracked Maddox along the coast, and was thus aware that the destroyer had not actually attacked North Vietnam and that Hanoi (or the local commander) had ordered its craft to engage Maddox anyway. Sharp also noted that orders given to Maddox to stay eight miles (13 km) off the North Vietnamese coast put the ship in international waters, as North Vietnam claimed only a five-mile (8 km) nautical limit as its territory (or off of its off-shore islands). In addition, many nations had previously carried out similar missions all over the world, and the USS John R. Craig (DD-885) had earlier conducted an intelligence-gathering mission in similar circumstances without incident.[15]

Second alleged attack

On August 4, another DESOTO patrol off the North Vietnamese coast was launched by Maddox and the Turner Joy, in order to "show the flag" after the first incident. This time their orders indicated that the ships were to close to no more than 11 miles (18 km) from the coast of North Vietnam.[14] During an evening and early morning of rough weather and heavy seas, the destroyers received radar, sonar, and radio signals that they believed signaled another attack by the North Vietnamese navy. For some two hours the ships fired on radar targets and maneuvered vigorously amid electronic and visual reports of enemies. Despite the Navy’s claim that two attacking torpedo boats had been sunk, there was no wreckage, bodies of dead North Vietnamese sailors, or other physical evidence present at the scene of the alleged engagement.[16]

At 1:27am Washington time, Herrick sent a cable in which he admitted that the attack may never have happened and that there may actually have been no Vietnamese craft in the area: "Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonarmen may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken".[17]

One hour later, Herrick sent another cable, stating, "Entire action leaves many doubts except for apparent ambush at beginning. Suggest thorough reconnaissance in daylight by aircraft."[18] In response to requests for confirmation, at around 1600 Washington time, Herrick cabled, "Details of action present a confusing picture although certain that the original ambush was bona fide."[18]

At 1800 Washington time (0500 in the Gulf of Tonkin), Herrick cabled yet again, this time stating, "the first boat to close the Maddox probably launched a torpedo at the Maddox which was heard but not seen. All subsequent Maddox torpedo reports are doubtful in that it is suspected that sonarman was hearing ship's own propeller beat" [sic].[18]

United States response

President Johnson's speech to the American people

President Johnson went on air at 11:34[19] described an attack by North Vietnamese vessels on two U.S. Navy warships the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy and requested authority to undertake a military response.[20]

The first attack (2 August 1964) on the USS Maddox was launched by the North Vietnamese. The second attack (4 August 1964) was reported, then after air strikes were ordered by the President. The U.S. only attacked under retaliation resulting in the sinking of two Vietnamese boats.[20] Johnson's speech repeated the theme that "dramatized Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh as the aggressor and which put the U.S. into a more acceptable defensive posture."[19]

He emphasized commitment to both the American people, and the South Vietnamese government. He also reminded Americans that there was no desire for war. "A close scrutiny of Johnson's public statements...reveals no mention of preparations for overt warfare and no indication of the nature and extent of covert land and air measures that already were operational." Johnson's statements were short to "minimize the U.S. role in the conflict; a clear inconsistency existed between Johnson's actions and his public discourse."[21]

Reaction from Congress

While President Johnson’s final resolution was being drafted, Senator Wayne Morse attempted to hold a fundraiser to raise awareness about possible faulty records of the incident involving the USS Maddox. Morse supposedly received a call from an informant who has remained anonymous urging Morse to investigate official logbooks of the Maddox.[22] These logs were not available before President Johnson’s resolution was presented to Congress.[22]

After urging Congress that they should be wary of President Johnson’s coming attempt to convince Congress of his resolution, Morse failed to gain enough cooperation and support from his colleagues to mount any sort of movement to stop it.[22] Immediately after the resolution was read and presented to Congress, Morse began to fight it. He contended in speeches to Congress that the actions taken by the United States were actions outside of the constitution and were “acts of war rather than acts of defense."[22]

Morse’s efforts were not immediately met with support, largely because he revealed no sources and was working with very limited information.[22] It was not until after the United States became more involved in the war that his claim began to gain support throughout the United States government.

Distortion of the event

Evidence was still being sought at 11:37 pm on August 4, as Johnson addressed the nation, as to whether any action had taken place earlier that day. Messages recorded that day indicate that neither President Johnson nor McNamara were certain of an attack.[23]

Various news sources, including Time, Life and Newsweek, ran articles throughout August on the Tonkin Gulf incident.[24] Time reported: "Through the darkness, from the West and south…intruders boldly sped…at least six of them… they opened fire on the destroyers with automatic weapons, this time from as close as 2,000 yards."[25] Time stated that there was "no doubt in Sharp’s mind that the U.S. would now have to answer this attack", and that there was no debate or confusion within the administration regarding the incident.[25]

The use of the set of incidents as a pretext for escalation of U.S. involvement follows the issuance of public threats against North Vietnam, as well as calls from American politicians in favor of escalating the war.[26] On May 4, 1964, William Bundy called for the U.S. to "drive the Communists out of South Vietnam", even if that meant attacking both North Vietnam and Communist China.[26] Even so, the Johnson administration in the second half of 1964 focused on convincing the American public that there was no chance of war between North Vietnam and the U.S.[26]

North Vietnamese General Giap suggested that the DESOTO patrol had been sent into the Gulf to provoke North Vietnam into giving an excuse for escalation of the war.[26] Various government officials and men aboard the Maddox have suggested similar theories.[26] American politicians and strategists had been planning provocative actions against North Vietnam for some time. George Ball told a British journalist after the war that "at that time…many people…were looking for any excuse to initiate bombing".[26]

Provocative action against North Vietnam was considered after the August, 1964 incidents John McNaughton suggested in September 1964 that the U.S. prepare to take actions to provoke a North Vietnamese military reaction, including plans to use DESOTO patrols North. William Bundy’s paper dated September 8, 1964 suggested more DESOTO patrols as well.[26] Strong evidence suggests that these strategic plans may have circulated before the Gulf of Tonkin Incidents took place.[citation needed]

Consequences

US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara failed to inform US President Lyndon B. Johnson that the U.S. naval task group commander in the Tonkin Gulf, Captain John J. Herrick, had changed his mind about the alleged North Vietnamese torpedo attack on U.S. warships he had reported earlier that day.

By early afternoon of 4 August, Washington time, Herrick had reported to the Commander in Chief Pacific in Honolulu that "freak weather effects" on the ship’s radar had made such an attack questionable. In fact, Herrick was now saying, in a message sent at 1:27 pm Washington time, that no North Vietnamese patrol boats had actually been sighted. Herrick now proposed a "complete evaluation before any further action taken."

McNamara later testified that he had read the message after his return to the Pentagon that afternoon. But he did not immediately call Johnson to tell him that the whole premise of his decision at lunch to approve McNamara’s recommendation for retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam was now highly questionable. Had Johnson been accurately informed about the Herrick message, he might have demanded fuller information before proceeding with a broadening of the war. Johnson had fended off proposals from McNamara and other advisers for a policy of bombing the North on four separate occasions since becoming President.[27]

President Johnson, who was up for election that year, ordered retaliatory air strikes and went on national television on August 4. Although Maddox had been involved in providing intelligence support for South Vietnamese attacks at Hon Me and Hon Ngu, Johnson denied, in his testimony before Congress, that the U.S. Navy had supported South Vietnamese military operations in the Gulf. He thus characterized the attack as "unprovoked" since the ship had been in international waters.

As a result of his testimony, on August 7, Congress passed a joint resolution (H.J. RES 1145), titled the Southeast Asia Resolution, which granted President Johnson the authority to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without the benefit of a declaration of war. The Resolution gave President Johnson approval "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."

Later statements about the incident

In 1965, President Johnson commented privately: "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."[28]

In 1981, Captain Herrick and journalist Robert Scheer re-examined Herrick's ship's log and determined that the first torpedo report from August 4, which Herrick had maintained had occurred—the "apparent ambush"—was in fact unfounded.[18]

Although information obtained well after the fact supported Captain Herrick's statements about the inaccuracy of the later torpedo reports as well as the 1981 Herrick/Scheer conclusion about the inaccuracy of the first, indicating that there was no North Vietnamese attack that night, at the time U.S. authorities and all of the Maddox crew stated that they were convinced that an attack had taken place. As a result, planes from the carriers Ticonderoga and Constellation were sent to hit North Vietnamese torpedo boat bases and fuel facilities during Operation Pierce Arrow.

Squadron commander James Stockdale was one of the U.S. pilots flying overhead during the second alleged attack. Stockdale wrote in his 1984 book Love and War: "[I] had the best seat in the house to watch that event, and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets—there were no PT boats there... There was nothing there but black water and American fire power." Stockdale at one point recounts seeing Turner Joy pointing her guns at the Maddox.[29] Stockdale said his superiors ordered him to keep quiet about this. After he was captured, this knowledge became a heavy burden. He later said he was concerned that his captors would eventually force him to reveal what he knew about the second incident.[29]

In 1995, retired Vietnamese Defense Minister Vo Nguyen Giap, meeting with former Secretary of Defense McNamara, categorically denied that Vietnamese gunboats had attacked American destroyers on August 4, while admitting to the attack on August 2.[30][31] A taped conversation of a meeting several weeks after passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was released in 2001, revealing that McNamara expressed doubts to President Johnson that the attack had even occurred.[citation needed]

In the Fall of 1999, retired senior CIA engineering executive S. Eugene Poteat wrote that he was asked in early August 1964 to determine if the radar operator's report showed a real torpedo boat attack or an imagined one. He asked for further details on time, weather and surface conditions. No further details were forthcoming. In the end he concluded that there were no torpedo boats on the night in question, and that the White House was interested only in confirmation of an attack, not that there was no such attack.[32]

NSA report

In October, 2005 the New York Times reported that Robert J. Hanyok, a historian for the U.S. National Security Agency, had concluded that the NSA deliberately distorted the intelligence reports that it had passed on to policy-makers regarding the August 4, 1964 incident. He concluded that the motive was not political but was probably to cover up honest intelligence errors.[33]

Hanyok's conclusions were initially published within the NSA in the Winter 2000/Spring 2001 Edition of Cryptologic Quarterly, about five years before they were revealed in the Times article. According to intelligence officials, the view of government historians that the report should become public was rebuffed by policymakers concerned that comparisons might be made to intelligence used to justify the Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) that commenced in 2003.[34] Reviewing the NSA's archives, Mr. Hanyok concluded that the NSA had initially misinterpreted North Vietnamese intercepts, believing there was an attack on August 4. Midlevel NSA officials almost immediately discovered the error, he concluded, but covered it up by altering documents, so as to make it appear the second attack had happened.

On November 30, 2005, the NSA released the first installment of previously classified information regarding the Gulf of Tonkin incident, including a moderately sanitized version of Mr. Hanyok's article, "Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2–4 August 1964" Cryptologic Quarterly, Winter 2000/Spring 2001 Edition, Vol. 19, No. 4 / Vol. 20, No. 1. The Hanyok article stated that intelligence information was presented to the Johnson administration "in such a manner as to preclude responsible decision makers in the Johnson administration from having the complete and objective narrative of events." Instead, "only information that supported the claim that the communists had attacked the two destroyers was given to Johnson administration officials."[8]

With regard to why this happened, Hanyok wrote:

As much as anything else, it was an awareness that President Johnson would brook no uncertainty that could undermine his position. Faced with this attitude, Ray Cline was quoted as saying "... we knew it was bum dope that we were getting from Seventh Fleet, but we were told only to give facts with no elaboration on the nature of the evidence. Everyone know how volatile LBJ was. He did not like to deal with uncertainties."[35]

Hanyok included his study of Tonkin Gulf as one chapter of an overall history of the involvement of NSA, and American signals intelligence (SIGINT), in the Indochina Wars. A moderately sanitized version of the overall history[36] was released in January 2008 by the National Security Agency and published by the Federation of American Scientists.[37]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Moïse 1996, p. 78.
  2. ^ Moïse 1996, p. 82.
  3. ^ Moïse 1996, pp. 82, 83.
  4. ^ Moïse 1996, p. 92.
  5. ^ Moïse 1996, pp. 78, 82, 92.
  6. ^ Moïse 1996, pp. 106, 107.
  7. ^ a b c Robert J. Hanyok, "Skunks, Bogies, Silent Hounds, and the Flying Fish: The Gulf of Tonkin Mystery, 2-4 August 1964", Cryptologic Quarterly, Winter 2000/Spring 2001 Edition, Vol. 19, No. 4 / Vol. 20, No. 1.
  8. ^ a b Hanyok article (page 177)
  9. ^ Doyle, Lipsman & Weiss 1981, pp. 145–148.
  10. ^ Joint Chiefs of Staff, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group, Documentation Study (July 1970), Annex F, Appendix x.
  11. ^ MACSOG Documentation Study, Appendix C, p. 14.
  12. ^ Moïse 1996, pp. 60–61.
  13. ^ Polmar, Norman "The U. S. Navy Electronic Warfare (Part 1)" United States Naval Institute Proceedings October 1979 p.138
  14. ^ a b c d Pentagon Papers
  15. ^ Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, Strategy for Defeat — Vietnam in Retrospect (San Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1978) P. 42
  16. ^ [1], Prados, John. The White House Tapes: Eavesdropping on the President A Book-and-CD Set. New York: New, 2003. George Washington University. Web. 25 October 2009.
  17. ^ Ellsberg 2002, pp. 9–10.
  18. ^ a b c d Ellsberg 2002, p. 10.
  19. ^ a b Ball, Moya Ann (1991). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Revisiting the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis: An Analysis of the Private Communication of President Johnson and his Advisers"]. Discourse & Society 2 (3): 281–296 [p. 286]. doi:10.1177/0957926591002003002. .
  20. ^ a b "Gulf of Tonkin Incident". 04 08 1964. p. 1. http://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/speeches/rhetoric/lbjgulf.htm. Retrieved 27 October 2009. 
  21. ^ Cherwitz, Richard A. (1980). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Masking Inconsistency: The Tonkin Gulf Crisis"]. Communication Quarterly 28 (2): 27–37. doi:10.1080/01463378009369364. 
  22. ^ a b c d e Goulden, Joseph C. (1969). Truth is the First Casualty. Chicago: Rand McNally & Company. 
  23. ^ Wise, David (1973). The Politics of Lying: government deception, secrecy, and power. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0394479327. 
  24. ^ Bradlee, Ben (29 April 1987). "Deceit and dishonesty - The first James Cameron Memorial Lecture". The Guardian (London). http://emperor's-clothes.com/archive/bradlee.htm.  The Emperor's New Clothes. Web. 26 October 2009.
  25. ^ a b "Action in Tonkin Gulf". Time. 14 August 1964. http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,897225,00.html. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g Moïse 1996.
  27. ^ Porter, Gareth. "Robert McNamara deceived LBJ on Gulf of Tonkin, documents show". http://www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=4784. 
  28. ^ [|Cohen, Jeff]; [|Solomon, Norman] (1994-07-27). 30-year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War. http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2261. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  29. ^ a b Stockdale, Jim; Stockdale, Sybil (1984). In Love and War: The Story of a Family's Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years (1st ed.). Harpercollins. ISBN 0060153180. 
  30. ^ "McNamara asks Giap: What happened in Tonkin Gulf?". (November 9, 1995). Associated Press
  31. ^ "CNN Cold War - Interviews: Robert McNamara". CNN. Archived from the original on 2008-06-14. http://web.archive.org/web/20080614065921/http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/11/interviews/mcnamara/. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  32. ^ Poteat, S. Eugene (Fall 1999). "Engineering in the CIA: ELINT, Stealth and the Beginnings of Information Warfare". The Bent of Tau Beta Pi. http://www.tbp.org/pages/publications/BENTFeatures/F99Poteat.pdf. 
  33. ^ Shane, Scott (2005-12-02). "Vietnam War Intelligence 'Deliberately Skewed,' Secret Study Says". New York Times. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1202-06.htm. 
  34. ^ "Robert J. Hanyok: His NSC study on Tonkin Gulf Deception". (October 31, 2005). New York Times.
  35. ^ Hanyok article (page 39)
  36. ^ Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975, Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 2002
  37. ^ Report reveals Vietnam War hoaxes, faked attacks

References

  • Doyle, Edward; Lipsman, Samuel & Weiss, Stephen (1981). Passing the Torch. Boston: Boston Publishing Company. ISBN 0939526018. 
  • Ellsberg, Daniel (2002). Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York: Viking. ISBN 0670030309. 
  • Fletcher, Martin (November 7, 2001). "LBJ tape ‘confirms Vietnam war error’". The Times. 
  • Hanyok, Robert J. (2002). Spartans In Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945–1975. Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency. 
  • Moïse, Edwin E. (1996). Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807823007. 

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Gulf of Tonkin Incident
by Lyndon Baines Johnson
Delivered on 4 August 1964.

My fellow Americans: - As President and Commander in Chief, it is my duty to the American people to report that renewed hostile actions against United States ships on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin have today required me to order the military forces of the United States to take action in reply.

The initial attack on the destroyer Maddox, on August 2, was repeated today by a number of hostile vessels attacking two U.S. destroyers with torpedoes. The destroyers and supporting aircraft acted at once on the orders I gave after the initial act of aggression. We believe at least two of the attacking boats were sunk. There were no U.S. losses.

The performance of commanders and crews in this engagement is in the highest tradition of the United States Navy. But repeated acts of violence against the Armed Forces of the United States must be met not only with alert defense, but with positive reply. That reply is being given as I speak to you tonight. Air action is now in execution against gunboats and certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam which have been used in these hostile operations.

In the larger sense this new act of aggression, aimed directly at our own forces, again brings home to all of us in the United States the importance of the struggle for peace and security in southeast Asia. Aggression by terror against the peaceful villagers of South Vietnam has now been joined by open aggression on the high seas against the United States of America.

The determination of all Americans to carry out our full commitment to the people and to the government of South Vietnam will be redoubled by this outrage. Yet our response, for the present, will be limited and fitting. We Americans know, although others appear to forget, the risks of spreading conflict. We still seek no wider war.

I have instructed the Secretary of State to make this position totally clear to friends and to adversaries and, indeed, to all. I have instructed Ambassador Stevenson to raise this matter immediately and urgently before the Security Council of the United Nations. Finally, I have today met with the leaders of both parties in the Congress of the United States and I have informed them that I shall immediately request the Congress to pass a resolution making it clear that our Government is united in its determination to take all necessary measures in support of freedom and in defense of peace in southeast Asia.

I have been given encouraging assurance by these leaders of both parties that such a resolution will be promptly introduced, freely and expeditiously debated, and passed with overwhelming support. And just a few minutes ago I was able to reach Senator Goldwater and I am glad to say that he has expressed his support of the statement that I am making to you tonight.

It is a solemn responsibility to have to order even limited military action by forces whose overall strength is as vast and as awesome as those of the United States of America, but it is my considered conviction, shared throughout your Government, that firmness in the right is indispensable today for peace; that firmness will always be measured. Its mission is peace.

See also


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message