The resource has been added to your collection
In August 1964, a small military engagement off the coast of North Vietnam helped escalate the involvement of the United States in Vietnam; the Vietnam War would become the longest military engagement in American history prior to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Many historians now agree that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which many believed North Vietnamese ships had attacked American naval forces, may not have occurred in the way it was described at the time. The decisions made by President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top advisors, and the Congressional debate that ensued, resulted in a resolution giving LBJ authority to pursue a military policy in Vietnam that many people have come to believe was flawed and misguided.
This lesson raises a number of questions relating to the Gulf of Tonkin incident and subsequent decisions. How important was flawed, manipulated, or disregarded intelligence in the American decision to escalate our military involvement in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964? Did American officials, including President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, intentionally manipulate the information they were receiving to reach the conclusion they wanted? What does historical hindsight teach us about this one specific event and, more broadly, about presidential decision-making in times of crisis? What lessons can be learned that have bearing on current and future policies?
Not Rated Yet.