The North Vietnamese surprise attack on dozens of military sites in South Vietnam, including the US embassy in Saigon, had a seismic impact on the US public. While a military failure for the North, it was a huge propaganda success. Attitudes in the US towards the war and toward President Lyndon Johnson were never the same.
In an April 1965 address to the nation, President Lyndon Johnson laid out his argument for expanding US involvement in Vietnam. From archival audio, we now know that Johnson had believed for at least a year that the conflict was a disaster in the making. Why did he continue to push for escalation in a war he didn't think was worth fighting?
Historians still argue about what exactly happened in the Gulf of Tonkin in August of 1964. What’s not in dispute is the aftermath: A resolution from the Senate passed by a vote of 98 to 2 authorizing President Lyndon Johnson to use whatever force he thought he needed against North Vietnam. The resolution was a major escalation of US involvement in Vietnam and helped Johnson win the presidential election. But it was built on a lie.
Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, died early Monday morning. Joining The Takeaway to discuss the man and his legacy is Larry Korb, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, who has known McNamara for over two decades.
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