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Gulf Of Tonkin
The Gulf of Tonkin
During the Vietnam war everyone had a different idea of what was right and wrong. Some
people wanted a war and others didn't.. One thing for sure whatever side people were on they were
willing to fight for what they believed in. People would protest the war and others would lie to help us
get into the war. When the Gulf of Tonkin incident happened it was one of the most controversial
things that had ever happened. The President of the United States went in front of Congress and the
American people and lied about what had actually happened in the Gulf of Tonkin.
In July 1964 the U.S. was patrolling the Gulf of Tonkin in North Vietnam. The destroyer was
patrolling the coast seeking reconnaissance on the North Vietnamese. At the same time the Maddox
was seeking reconnaissance, a number of smaller ships were conducting covert operations in the gulf
against the North Vietnamese. These smaller ships were shelling the offshore islands. (Microsoft
Encarta) On August 2nd while the Maddox was on so called ?patrol duty? they were attacked by North
Vietnamese patrol boats. That is what was claimed by the crew and captain of the ship.(the war in
Vietnam Pg24) On August 4th the USS C. Turner Joy, another U.S. destroyer, reported that their ship
had been fired upon. (Microsoft Encarta) The two destroyers believed they were under attack and
called two nearby U.S. aircraft carriers, the Ticonderoga and the Constellation, for retaliatory air
strikes. (Microsoft Encarta) Fighter planes from the two aircraft carriers bombed North Vietnamese
navel vessels and also a major petroleum storage center in the city of Vinh. (Vietnam Wars pg. 118)
Later there would be serious doubts about whether the Maddox or the C. Turner Joy had ever even
been attacked at all. Neither ship had been at all damaged and there had been no US casualties.
When a ship is under attack from another ship there will be signs of an attack; A hole in the ship or a
dead gunman. Neither of the two vessels even had a scratch. After Johnson had ordered the first air
strikes against the North Vietnamese territory he went on television telling the American people about
the ?alleged? attacks so he could gain their support. (Microsoft Encarta) After he had gained
everyone's support the US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which effectively handed
over war-making powers to Johnson until such time as ?peace and security? had returned to Vietnam.
Later after all of the major parts of the war had declined a lot of things were found out. First
of all it was found that the real reason that the US Maddox was in those waters was because they were
involved in electronic espionage. (Grolier's) It was found that the second attack on the Maddox and
the Turner Joy was erroneous. These facts would later lead to the Congress passing the war powers
When President Johnson went before Congress to try to get the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
passed he lied to Congress and the American people. Here is the speech he gave to Congress. ?Last
night I announced to the American people that the North Vietnamese regime had conducted further
deliberate attacks against US naval vessels operating in international waters and I therefor directed air
action against gunboats and supporting facilities used in there hostile operations. After consulting
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. The 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 in Congress. 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 process to meet
communist aggression against any parties or protocol states. Our policy in Southeast Asia has been
consistent and unchanged since 1954. I summarize it on June 2 in four simple propositions:
1. America keeps her word. here as elsewhere, we must and shall honor our commitment.
2. 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
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Vietnam War, Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Gulf of Tonkin incident, Gulf of Tonkin, War Powers Clause, USS Turner Joy, War Powers Resolution, South Vietnam, Lyndon B. Johnson, Vietnam, Indochina War timeline
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