New Findings on The Tonkin Gulf Incident

In History, Injustice, U.S government, Vietnam War on January 9, 2008 by Editor Z

Most likely anyone who knows me is well aware of my interest, if not fascination bordering on obsession about the Vietnam War ( a war that some would say we could learn a lesson or two from today).

Anyway the National Security Agency released a report, pertaining to the U.S involvement in the Vietnam War. One finding is that the North Vietnamese were able to infiltrate U.S communications and even leading to confusion that resulted in the U.S bombing its own military entities. Another relates to the Tonkin Gulf Incident in August of 1964.

Here is the findings on the communications infiltration.

During the war, North Vietnamese intelligence units sometimes succeeded in penetrating US communications systems, and they could monitor American message traffic from within according to the report “Spartans of Darkness”.

On several occasions “the communists were able, by communicating on allied radio nets, to call in Allied artillery or air strikes on American units,” it said.

That is an interesting look at how the North Vietnamese operated fighting the United States. Another small piece in the broader puzzle at why the North Vietnamese and Vietcong elements were able to forge ahead and fight so ably, despite the superior firepower and artillery of the United States

But in another finding in the same report, the belief and allegation that the intelligence and claims surrounding the Tonkin Gulf Incident were inflated, to allow the U.S to retaliate with Ariel strikes, is addressed and substantiated.


But he (Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists who requested the disclosure of the report), said that probably “the most historically significant feature” of the declassified report was the retelling of the 1964 Tonkin Gulf Incident.

That was a reported North Vietnamese attack on American destroyers that helped to lead 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 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.

MY TAKE: To all the “lapel pin patriots” who say that to question a government’s motives and actions in a time of war is unpatriotic and treacherous, and even to those who think we should just give the benefit of the doubt, this is the reason why we the people must keep an eye on our leaders and always question authority. All authority by its very nature must be questioned.



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