Monday, December 05, 2005

Vietnam War Revelations

No doubt about it that the war in Iraq is walking the same footsteps.

US Vietnam intelligence 'flawed'
USS Maddox attacked by a North Vietnamese motor torpedo boat in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964. Picture from US Navy
A US ship was attacked on 2 August 1964. But was there a second?
Newly-released US documents suggest the US escalated the war in Vietnam based on skewed intelligence.

The documents cast doubt on the existence of an attack on a US warship by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin on 4 August 1964.

The incident prompted President Lyndon Johnson to ask Congress, in effect, to declare war on Vietnam.

The revelations, released by the National Security Agency, were written by its own historian in 2001.

Robert Hanyok declares his review of all the intelligence shows beyond doubt that "no attack happened that night". The USS Maddox had been attacked two days earlier.

He claims errors were made in the translation of the intercepted signals from the North Vietnamese, and officials gave too much weight to flimsy evidence.

But he clears President Johnson and his ministers of any blame. They were only shown intelligence supporting the claim of an attack, not a wealth of contradictory material, he says.

Instead, he blames the intelligence-gathers. "They walked alone in their counsels," he wrote.

Three days later, President Johnson asked Congress to empower him to take "all necessary steps" in the region, opening the way for a war that resulted in the deaths of 58,000 Americans and three million Vietnamese.

The US government is said to have fought the declassification of the documents over fears of comparisons with the handling of Iraq, says the BBC's defence and security correspondent Rob Watson.


Blogger hurtleg said...

This is pretty old news. This has been known/suspected for years.

It certainly does NOT prove in any remote way that Bush 'lied' about Iraq.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"It certainly does NOT prove in any remote way that Bush 'lied' about Iraq."

No, the Downing Street Memo pretty much handles that. Of course, it depends on which set of lies we're talking about...

2:30 PM  
Blogger Pete Sampras said...

My apologies, I didn't realize I was using current white house adminstration tactics by reiterating old information. I won't "stay the course".

This article indeed does not prove that Bush lied about Iraq, but it is significant in that the US has gone to war on mis-intelligence before and has done it again. Johnson was cleared of any blame, but that remains to be said about Bush.

3:25 PM  

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