Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Tonkin Incident

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Tonkin Incident

    This evening there was a documentary about the CIA on Arte, a Franco-German channel, more exactly the first part of three broadcasts, one each Wednesday. Among other thing it was said that the Tonkin incident in 1964 which permit to Johnson to take any necessary measures in Vietnam, didn’t never really happen, and was more or less an invention. The Army and the CIA wanted that the US get more involved in Vietnam, and want an excuse. The Tonkin incident would have give them it.
    I would have liked to know if it is only a theory or something is recognized now. In the documentary they spoke about it as it was sure, but it was the first time I heard this thing.
    So what do you think about it ?

    LaPalice.
    Monsieur de La Palice est mort
    Mort devant Pavie.
    Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
    Il était encore en vie...

  • #2
    For context for those who wonder what LaPalice is referring to.

    Article here

    It appears to be a case of misinformation and confusion being conveniently being marketed as the truth at that time.

    Comment


    • #3
      Those who don't learn from history's mistakes, are doomed to repeat them.

      Another parallel to the Iraqi Fiasco that many of us have been trying to point out...
      I have no problem at all with being proved wrong. Especially when being proved wrong leaves the world a better place, than being proved right...

      Comment


      • #4
        Hello,

        The Tonkin incident did really happen. It has two parts, the first part involved an actual North Vietnamese attack on the US naval vessel. It was confirmed and has since been vertified as accurate. It was the result of the US covert operations along the North Vietnamese coast. Moreover, recent evidence point that the US naval vessel may have entered the North Vietnamese territorial sea limit, rather than staying in the international waters.

        The second part is a bit more complicated, the second attack took place in stormy weather, which the US navel vessel's radar operator mistakely took vague blips on his radar screen as an enemy patrol about to launch few torpedoes at the US vessel. Some spotted lights flashing in midst of fiery storm, it was not until recent evidence that came to light that it turned out these lights were probably false. The captain of the US naval vessel did genuinely thought his warship was under attack. However, this attack went unconfirmed.

        Dan
        Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

        "Aim small, miss small."

        Comment


        • #5
          The first incident did occur. The second didn't. Johnson made his decision before the investigation was complete. McNamara ignored a request from senior commanders to wait. Both men were convinced North Vietnam had retaliated in response to an O-32 operation conducted a few nights before.

          The Chinese monitored the traffic of the second incident. Mao thought the US picked the fight, but believed the US didn't lie. It was a local mistake. Johnson was eager to win re-election. In tape recordings, following the attack, he spoke of how the Republicans wanted to "blow them (North Vietnam) to the moon," and how his firm response would halt it.

          I'm not too certain the Gulf of Tolken Lessons apply to the situation in Iraq. The greatest lesson taken from the incident was the faults and risk of the prerogative theory of Presidential powers.
          "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

          Comment


          • #6
            I think the country was going to war with North Vietnam no matter what. If it wasn't Tonkin it would of been something else.
            "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

            Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

            Comment


            • #7
              Deltapooh is right. The first incident did happen, but the second never happened.

              I read a couple of months ago "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam", from former Secretary of Defense McNamara. He gives convincing details about both events and his explanations have been in fact confirmed by the enemy itself, former General Giap, in a cordial meeting with McNamara just a few years ago after McNamara published the first edition of his book in which he said that the second event might have happened but remains unconfirmed. In the second edition (which I have), he says in the preface that the most important change to this edition is the fact that Giap confirmed the first attack, but said the second one was never ordered by Hanoi and never happened.

              I am surprised to see that this report seems to say that NONE of the incidents happened. If they would have done a bit more research, they would have found out this confirmation from the North Vietnamese.

              In any case, McNamara also says that the Tonkin Gulf Resolution would have passed anyhow, given the political context of the time (at the time, no American knew that Vietnam would become the useless nightmare it became later).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Chuck
                I think the country was going to war with North Vietnam no matter what. If it wasn't Tonkin it would of been something else.
                This is a correct assessment. The United States had been on a war path with North Vietnam at least since the French withdrew. Both Eisenhower and Kennedy could not find the justification necessary to warrant ordering hundreds of thousands of troops to save South Vietnam. Johnson was faced with the difficult task of deciding to go forward with the a nearly 20 yr old foriegn policy, or withdraw. I believe it took him 21 or 25 days to decide to commit combat troops.

                As I stated earlier, the most important lesson learned was the consequences of providing the Commander-IN-Chief the latitude to exercise powers greater than the Constitution might have intended. The prerogative theory of presidential powers promotes the ideal that the President alone has the authority to commit to military action and decide foriegn policy. In its earliest forms, the prerogative theory was limited to conditions of crisis. President Abraham Lincoln was the first to acknowledge this concept. His motivation was the concern of whether or not a president could save the Constitution, yet loose the country. In later years, it has evolved to the state as we know it.

                Was the Congressional Resolution supporting Bush's policy on Iraq similar to that of the Gulf of Tonkin?

                In some ways, the answer is yes. Opposition to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was suppressed by the political concerns of being soft on communism. The resolution supporting war with Iraq also drew acceptance because of the post-9/11 climate.

                Unlike Johnson, Congress, and the American people are more prepared to challenge Bush's policies on Iraq. This makes a long-bloody quagmire less likely (or at least less costly). Yet, the stakes are higher in Iraq. People might be willing to tough it out a while longer to improve our strategic situation. Even if terrorists were not in Iraq before the invasion, they are present now. Combatting terrorism continues to enjoy broad support.

                If Iraq is America's new Vietnam, the world is in deep trouble. In 1967, the United States' international doctrine began to fall out of favor with the people. By 1973, the US had entered an isolation period, which saw communism gain strength globally. Returning the situation to America's favor did not occur until the mid-1980's. It was an expensive effort, which damaged the economy for years to come.

                If operations in Iraq fail, the UN and our allies will likely find themselves addressing global issues with little ro no support at all. The end result could be chaos coupled with chaos.
                "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Deltapooh
                  The first incident did occur. The second didn't. Johnson made his decision before the investigation was complete. McNamara ignored a request from senior commanders to wait. Both men were convinced North Vietnam had retaliated in response to an O-32 operation conducted a few nights before.

                  The Chinese monitored the traffic of the second incident. Mao thought the US picked the fight, but believed the US didn't lie. It was a local mistake. Johnson was eager to win re-election. In tape recordings, following the attack, he spoke of how the Republicans wanted to "blow them (North Vietnam) to the moon," and how his firm response would halt it.

                  I'm not too certain the Gulf of Tolken Lessons apply to the situation in Iraq. The greatest lesson taken from the incident was the faults and risk of the prerogative theory of Presidential powers.
                  One of the reasons given for Johnson jumping the gun the way he did was that he was trying to prove that he wasn't soft on communism. A charge leveled by the Goldwater faction.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thank you for the link, Black Moria.
                    So apparently, and it was how I understood the documentary, something happen, even if the ship commander didn’t know really what (the name of the ship is Maddox ). and then the CIA, and Johnson used this event at their profit, if I can speak like that. It is not a story completely invented, but an opportunity.

                    Deltapooh, you say that Johnson wanted to be reelected. In the documentary explain that he would have said to the militaries and the CIA : “reelect me and you have your war”, something like that.

                    LaPalice.
                    Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                    Mort devant Pavie.
                    Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                    Il était encore en vie...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tzar
                      I am surprised to see that this report seems to say that NONE of the incidents happened. If they would have done a bit more research, they would have found out this confirmation from the North Vietnamese.
                      It was not the report which say that, but me in fact, my mistake. I didn’t even know that there were two incidents. I presume that they spoke about the second one more particularly.

                      LaPalice.
                      Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                      Mort devant Pavie.
                      Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                      Il était encore en vie...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LaPalice
                        Deltapooh, you say that Johnson wanted to be reelected. In the documentary explain that he would have said to the militaries and the CIA : “reelect me and you have your war”, something like that.
                        Johnson certainly was prepared to increase our role in Vietnam. However, throughout the 1964-1965 period, he time and again expressed displeasure with the hand he'd been dealt. Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked The Pentagon Papers suggested there was a plan for the war to begin shortly after the 1964 elections. However, audio tapes recently released by the Johnson Library show the President remained undecided.
                        "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cheetah772
                          Moreover, recent evidence point that the US naval vessel may have entered the North Vietnamese territorial sea limit, rather than staying in the international waters.
                          My understanding is, that the territiroal sea limit was then under a process of change. The North Vietnamese (and most of the rest of the world) recognized the newer and larger limit (putting the US vessels in North Vietnamese waters), while the USA recognized the older and smaller limit (putting the vessels in international waters). Perhaps the USA recognized the older limit as a matter of 'convenience'?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The US Navy regularly violated North Vietnamese terroritorial waters between 1963-1964. McNamara went on television to claim the attacks were unprovoked. Yet, hours earlier, he and Johnson are heard on tape discussing how the O-32 raids might have backed fired.

                            Paraphrasing Johnson: "It's like those times when you were in a movie with beautiful girl. First you put your hand on knee, then on her lower thigh. Then you place your hand on her upper thigh, when all of a sudden YOU GET SLAPPED. Well, we just got slapped."

                            Had the US not been conducting those raids into North Vietnam, they would probably have avoided attacking our naval vessels. There was a steady, ever increasing, series of military actions that were designed to force the North to the negotiating table. Instead it exasperated the situation. At the Gulf of Tokin, the North slapped us, and to be honest, we probably deserved it.
                            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Was this kind of event permitting to send more troops in Vietnam waited by the American administration from a long time ? Or did they understand that it could be a good opportunity just after it occurred ?
                              And who wanted a war in Vietnam in America : Johnson, the Army, the CIA, everybody… ?

                              LaPalice.
                              Monsieur de La Palice est mort
                              Mort devant Pavie.
                              Un quart d'heure avant sa mort
                              Il était encore en vie...

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X