fear of reprisals from “the big forces” that run the media and
Thursday, Jul 15th, 2010
Over 1,100 pages of previously classified Vietnam-era
transcripts released this week by the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee highlight the fact that several Senators knew that the
White House and the Pentagon had deceived the American people
over the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident.
The latest releases, which document skepticism over the pretext
for entry into the Vietnam war, date from 1968.
Four years into the war, senators were at loggerheads with
Lyndon B. Johnson. At the time Foreign Relations Committee
meetings were held behind closed doors.
It would take over thirty years for the truth to emerge that the
Aug. 4, 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, where US warships were
apparently attacked by North Vietnamese PT Boats – an incident
that kicked off US involvement in the Vietnam war – was a staged
event that never actually took place.
However, the records now show that at the time senators knew
this was the case.
In a March 1968 closed session of the Foreign Relations
Committee, Senator Albert Gore Sr. of Tennessee, the father of
former vice president Al Gore, noted:
“If this country has been misled, if this committee, this
Congress, has been misled by pretext into a war in which
thousands of young men have died, and many more thousands have
been crippled for life, and out of which their country has lost
prestige, moral position in the world, the consequences are very
Senator Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho, said in an executive
session in February 1968:
“In a democracy you cannot expect the people, whose sons are
being killed and who will be killed, to exercise their judgment
if the truth is concealed from them,”
Other senators were keen to withhold the truth about Tonkin in
order not to inflame public opinion on the war:
Senator Mike Mansfield, Democrat of Montana, stated, “You will
give people who are not interested in facts a chance to exploit
them and to magnify them out of all proportion.”
Mansfield was referring to the proposed release of a committee
staff investigation that raised doubts over whether the Tonkin
incident ever took place.
The committee decided in the end to effectively conceal the
truth, with Senator Church noting that if the committee came up
with proof that an attack never occurred, “we have a case that
will discredit the military in the United States, and discredit
and quite possibly destroy the president.”
He also noted that if the senators were to follow up on their
skepticism over Tonkin, “The big forces in this country that
have most of the influence and run most of the newspapers and
are oriented toward the presidency will lose no opportunity to
thoroughly discredit this committee.”
The LBJ Presidential tapes, declassified and released in 2001,
prove that LBJ knew the Tonkin incident never happened. After
dressing down his Defence Secretary Robert McNamara for
misleading him, Johnson then discussed how to politically spin
the non-event and escalate it as justification for air strikes.
“You just came in a few weeks ago and said they’re launching an
attack on us – they’re firing at us,” Johnson tells McNamara in
one conversation, “and we got through with the firing and
concluded maybe they hadn’t fired at all.”
The NSA also deliberately faked intelligence data to make it
appear as if two US ships had been lost in the “attack”.
Johnson used the 1964 false flag event to expand dramatically
the scale of the Vietnam War by ushering in the Gulf of Tonkin
Resolution, as well as to rope in much needed domestic support
with the Congress and public.
Perhaps if the Foreign Relations Committee hadn’t been so afraid
of “the big forces” controlling America, a large percentage of
the almost 60,000 American soldiers and 2 million Vietnamese
people wouldn’t have lost their lives.
Sadly, modern day elected representatives have failed the
American people in exactly the same way over the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq.