Gulf Of Tonkin The Gulf of Tonkin During the Vietnam war everyone had a different idea of what was right and wrong. Some people wanted a war and others didnt. One thing for sure whatever side people were on they were willing to fight for what they believed in. People would protest the war and others would lie to help us get into the war. When the Gulf of Tonkin incident happened it was one of the most controversial things that had ever happened.
The President of the United States went in front of Congress and the American people and lied about what had actually happened in the Gulf of Tonkin. In July 1964 the U.S. was patrolling the Gulf of Tonkin in North Vietnam. The destroyer was patrolling the coast seeking reconnaissance on the North Vietnamese. At the same time the Maddox was seeking reconnaissance, a number of smaller ships were conducting covert operations in the gulf against the North Vietnamese.
These smaller ships were shelling the offshore islands. (Microsoft Encarta) On August 2nd while the Maddox was on so called patrol duty they were attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats. That is what was claimed by the crew and captain of the ship.(the war in Vietnam Pg24) On August 4th the USS C. Turner Joy, another U.S. destroyer, reported that their ship had been fired upon. (Microsoft Encarta) The two destroyers believed they were under attack and called two nearby U.S. aircraft carriers, the Ticonderoga and the Constellation, for retaliatory air strikes.
(Microsoft Encarta) Fighter planes from the two aircraft carriers bombed North Vietnamese navel vessels and also a major petroleum storage center in the city of Vinh. (Vietnam Wars pg. 118) Later there would be serious doubts about whether the Maddox or the C. Turner Joy had ever even been attacked at all. Neither ship had been at all damaged and there had been no US casualties. When a ship is under attack from another ship there will be signs of an attack; A hole in the ship or a dead gunman. Neither of the two vessels even had a scratch. After Johnson had ordered the first air strikes against the North Vietnamese territory he went on television telling the American people about the alleged attacks so he could gain their support. (Microsoft Encarta) After he had gained everyones support the US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which effectively handed over war-making powers to Johnson until such time as peace and security had returned to Vietnam. (Microsoft Encarta) Later after all of the major parts of the war had declined a lot of things were found out. First of all it was found that the real reason that the US Maddox was in those waters was because they were involved in electronic espionage.
(Groliers) It was found that the second attack on the Maddox and the Turner Joy was erroneous. These facts would later lead to the Congress passing the war powers act. When President Johnson went before Congress to try to get the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed he lied to Congress and the American people. Here is the speech he gave to Congress. Last night I announced to the American people that the North Vietnamese regime had conducted further deliberate attacks against US naval vessels operating in international waters and I therefor directed air action against gunboats and supporting facilities used in there hostile operations.
After consulting with the leaders of both parties in the Congress, I further announced a decision to ask the Congress for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in Southeast Asia. The latest actions of the North Vietnamese regime has given a new and grave turn to the already serious situation in Southeast Asia. Our commitments in that area are well known in Congress. They were further defined in the Southeast Asia collective defense treaty approved by the Senate in February 1955. This treaty with its accompanying protocol obligates the United States and other members to act in accordance with their constitutional process to meet communist aggression against any parties or protocol states. Our policy in Southeast Asia has been consistent and unchanged since 1954. I summarize it on June 2 in four simple propositions: 1.
America keeps her word. here as elsewhere, we must and shall honor our commitment. 2. The issue is the future of Southeast Asia as a whole. A threat to any nation in that region is a threat to all, and a threat to the United States.
3. Our purpose is peace. We have no military or political or territorial ambitions in this area. 4. This is not just a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity.
Our military and economic assistance to South Vietnam and Laos in particular has the purpose of helping these countries to repel aggression and strengthen their independence. The threat to the free nations of Southeast Asia has long been clear. The North Vietnamese regime has constantly sought to take over South Vietnam and Laos. The North Vietnam regime has maintained military forces, used Laotian territory for infiltration into South Vietnam, and most recently carried out combat operations- all in direct violation of the Geneva Agreements of 1962. we must make it clear to all that the United States in its determination to bring about the end of communist subversion and aggression in the area.
President Lyndon Johnson August 5, 1964 (Internet Source) The Congress o the United states followed Johnsons message with the Joint Resolution. The Joint Resolution of Congress was made of August 7, 1964. it was resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives o the United States of America in Congress assembled. Section 1- That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the president , as commander and chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent future aggression. Section 2- The United States regards as vital to its national interests and to world peace, the maintenance of international peace, and security in Southeast Asia.
consistant with the Constitution of the united States and the character of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the South East Asia Collective Defense Treat., The United States is therefore prepared, as the president determines, to take all necessary steps including the use of armed forces, to assist any member of protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom. Section 3- This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United States or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress. When the act was passed by Congress it gave President Johnson the ability to make decisions about the war without consulting Congress. The law was almost giving the President all of the power. This went against everything the Constitution stood for. It completely canceled out checks and balances. The War Powers Act was written on November 7, 1973.
The act was passed to limit the presidents power during war. The act became public law 93-148. The War Power Act was as follows: Purpose and Policy: section 2(a)- It is the purpose of this joint resolution to fulfil the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgement of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of the United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicate by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations. (b)- Under article I, section 8 of the constitution, it specifically provided that the Congress shall have the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution, not only its own power but also all other powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department of officer thereof. (c)- The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to 1/ a declaration of war, 2/ specific statutory authorization, or 3/ a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, it territories or possessions, or its armed forces. Consolation section 3- The president in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with Congress until United states Armed forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations.
Reporting Section 4 (A)- In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which the United States Armed forces are introduced– 1- into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances. 2- into the territory, airspace, or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployment which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or 3- a- the circumstances necessitating the introduction of the United States Armed forces; b- the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and c- the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement. Section 4 (B)- The President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to sending the Nation to war and to the use of United States Armed forces abroad. Section 4 (c)- Whenever the United Stated Armed Forces are introduced into hostilities or into any situation described in subsection (a) of this section, the President shall, so long as such armed forces continue to be engaged in such hostilities or situation, report to the Congress periodically on the status of such hostilities or situation as well as on the …