The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution granted LBJ the power to order aggressive military action against any South East Asian country in order to stop “communist aggression.” It came about as a reaction to an incident where three North Vietnameese torpedo boats allegedly fired on two American destroyers. It was seen as an aggressive act and gave the politicians the support of the American populace to get really, really involved in Vietnam.
Other accounts say the US destroyers fired first, unprovoked, while others say they fired warning shots.
LBJ was later quoted as saying “For all I know, our navy was shooting at whales out there.”
Apparently, a radar operator read his gauges wrong and determined that a torpedo had been fired at US ships. Ok, fine, human error, it can happen, right?
Yeah, well, error is probably forgivable. Taking that error and deliberately acting like it actually happened isn’t. That’s what occurred. It’s disputed whether the National Security Agency lied to cover up their goofiness or to get the war they wanted.
Regardless, it was after the resolution that we started pouring soldiers into the war.
Declassified NSA and CIA documentation clearly shows that our military knew nothing had happened.
Yet, LBJ went on TV and said these suckers had to be stopped.
58,260 US soldiers were killed in action in Vietnam
According to the Vietnamese government, 1,100,000 Vietnamese were killed.