“Old men lie and young men die.”
— A saying among soldiers
The U.S. war in Vietnam essentially began on August 4, 1964 when North Vietnam made an unprovoked torpedo boat attack upon two Navy ships, the destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy, while they were steaming peacefully on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin. At least, that is what President Lyndon Johnson reported to Congress the next day.
Although there was a U.S. military presence in Vietnam before then, the soldiers were called military advisors. The August 4 attack reported by Johnson led to congressional action that allowed him (and, later, President Richard Nixon) to escalate our military presence enormously and to wage full-scale war not only in Vietnam but also covertly across Southeast Asia. That action was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, passed on August 7, 1964. It stated:
Whereas naval units of the Communist regime in Vietnam, in violation of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law, have deliberately and repeatedly attacked United States naval vessels … and Whereas these attacks are part of a deliberate and systematic campaign of aggression … and Whereas the United States is assisting the peoples of southeast Asia to protect their freedom and has no territorial, military or political ambitions in that area … Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and the 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.
It is important to note that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was predicated on the August 4 attack, not an earlier attack that took place. There had been an attack on the Maddox on August 2, which North Vietnam acknowledged. But on that date, the Maddox was conducting spying electronic countermeasure studies on North Vietnam’s radar system for coastal defense, and its tactics involved going close to shore — several miles inside the territorial limit claimed by North Vietnam — to provoke and capture the electronic signals. Simply put, the North Vietnamese repelled an act of aggression on the part of the United States. In response to American incursions, several North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched several torpedoes, which the Maddox dodged. The torpedo boats were repelled by the Maddox’s gunfire and by fighters from the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga.
However, accusations leveled against North Vietnam stating that it attacked U.S. Navy ships in international waters two days later were strongly denied by North Vietnam, which claimed that the United States was using that claim as a pretext to go to war. What really happened on August 4, 1964? Did President Johnson report the truth to Congress?
The answer: No, it was a lie. There was no August 4 attack, and in fact, Defense Department planning for war had begun weeks, even months, earlier.
I know it was a false-flag operation from personal experience.
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Photo of USS Maddox: AP Images