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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Report reveals Gulf of Tonkin incident never occurred

The 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which two American destroyers were attacked by North Vietnamese forces, was the catalyst for the United States' invasion of Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson used the attack to convince Congress to give him approval for the war. For years, people have speculated that the incident never occurred. Turns out, they were right: in a report released by the NSA, it is revealed that "no attack happened that night."

The "most historically significant feature" of the declassified report was the retelling of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident.

That was a reported North Vietnamese attack on American destroyers that helped lead to president Lyndon Johnson's sharp escalation of American forces in Vietnam.

The author of the report "demonstrates that not only is it not true, as (then US) secretary of defense Robert McNamara told Congress, that the evidence of an attack was 'unimpeachable,' but that to the contrary, a review of the classified signals intelligence proves that 'no attack happened that night,'" FAS said in a statement.

"What this study demonstrated is that the available intelligence shows that there was no attack. It's a dramatic reversal of the historical record," Aftergood said.

It's troubling that our most damaging war was fought under completely false pretenses. The Christian Science Monitor doesn't blame LBJ, though: They say that the president was misled by their intelligence agencies.


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