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Avoiding Needless Wars, Part 2: The Second Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The first and second Gulf of Tonkin incidents, on August 2 and August 4, 1964, provided the legal basis for the Viet Nam war, yet neither was the “unprovoked aggression” that the Johnson administration portrayed them to be. Continue reading

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Avoiding Needless Wars, Part 1: The First Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Wednesday marks the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, a very appropriate time to reexamine ways that we have been fooled – or even worse, fooled ourselves – and gotten into needless wars. Avoiding such debacles is key to Defusing the Nuclear Threat because every war has at least a small chance of escalating to the use of nuclear weapons. The Vietnam War serves as Exhibit A in this argument since Nixon’s “Madman Nuclear Alert,” explained in a later installment in this series, added needless nuclear risk and was motivated by his desire to end the war on terms favorable to him. Continue reading

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