Tonkin Resolution

This post is about something that is near to my heart…..

Ever wonder what it was that got the US ass deep on the Vietnam War?

Well August is a busy month….we have had bombs and Marilyn and in 1964 Pres. Johnson got his wish and the US was thrust into the armed conflict in Southeast Asia…..

It was 56 years ago today that a joint session of Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, an act that led to the Vietnam War’s escalation and the eventual passage of another measure seeking to curb presidential powers.

The incident between the USS Maddox and several North Vietnamese torpedo boats remains hazy today. On August 4, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson told a national audience that the North Vietnamese had engaged the U.S. Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin. He then asked Congress to approve retaliatory attacks on North Vietnam.

“After consultation 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,” Johnson said the next day.

“As I have repeatedly made clear, the United States intends no rashness, and seeks no wider war. We must make it clear to all that the United States is united in its determination to bring about the end of Communist subversion and aggression in the area,” Johnson added.

On August 7, 1964, Congress approved a resolution that soon became the legal rationalization for the Vietnam War.

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-gulf-of-tonkin-and-the-limits-of-presidential-power

This resolution sent many Americans like myself into a meat grinder…..a situation that took years to work through.

It took 5 days from the incident to the resolution….and then war comes to us all….

On 2 August 1964, North Vietnamese patrol torpedo boats attacked the USS Maddox (DD-731) while the destroyer was in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. There is no doubting that fact. But what happened in the Gulf during the late hours of 4 August—and the consequential actions taken by U.S. officials in Washington—has been seemingly cloaked in confusion and mystery ever since that night.

Nearly 200 documents the National Security Agency (NSA) declassified and released in 2005 and 2006, however, have helped shed light on what transpired in the Gulf of Tonkin on 4 August. The papers, more than 140 of them classified top secret, include phone transcripts, oral-history interviews, signals intelligence (SIGINT) messages, and chronologies of the Tonkin events developed by Department of Defense and NSA officials. Combined with recently declassified tapes of phone calls from White House officials involved with the events and previously uncovered facts about Tonkin, these documents provide compelling evidence about the subsequent decisions that led to the full commitment of U.S. armed forces to the Vietnam War.

https://www.usni.org/magazines/naval-history-magazine/2008/february/truth-about-tonkin

As usual for those that are allergic to the printed word I present a short video that will help in the understanding of this situation.

 

 

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The Trumpian Foreign Policy

I admit it…..foreign policy is one of the major areas that I use to pick which candidate will get my vote….

Trump has had some good moves in my opinion….wanting to bring our troops home is an excellent start to possibly ending our many wars. Then his withdrawal from most international treaties I do not agree with on any level……

To me he does not have a solid foreign policy…it is more like a hit and miss one…..a policy of uncertainty…..

I recently read a paper from a grad student that covers this uncertainty…..

Donald Trump’s foreign policy is a matter of continuous controversy and intense scrutiny. This interest stems from the fact that the arena of international relations and the field of American foreign policy are witnessing significant alterations as a consequence of the actions of the Trump administration. The objectives of this article are to identify the defining characteristics of Trump’s foreign policy and to assess their faithfulness to traditional and modern-era foreign policy schools. The analysis puts the nature of Pax-Americana and US exceptionalism face to face with the assumption of a post-American world. It also examines the ‘Trump Doctrine’ as what Trump himself described as a ‘brand new’ foreign policy (Curran). Thus, this article reflects on the extent to which Trump is establishing a new school of American foreign policy.

Trump’s Foreign Policy Doctrine of Uncertainty

While I do not agree with much in the Trumpian foreign policy…..I would like to give a look at what a Russian “research” has to say about this foreign policy……

Trump routinely talks up both sides of every issue, and the corporate media still judge him more by what he says (and tweets) than by his actual policies. So it isn’t surprising that he is still trying to confuse the public about his aggressive war policy. But Trump has been in office for nearly three and a half years, and he now has a record on war and peace that we can examine.

Such an examination makes one thing very clear: Trump has come closer to starting new wars with North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran than to ending any of the wars he inherited from Obama. His first-term record shows Trump to be just another warmonger in chief.

Trump’s Record on Foreign Policy: Lost Wars, New Conflicts and Broken Promises

I agree with the student that wrote about the uncertainty…..while some of his promises were good to hear….his actions do not give me confidence in his ability to deal with international situations.

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The Sixth Of August

On this day in history, and it was a busy one, many historic events took place……

1888–Martha Turner is murdered by Jack the Ripper

1904–Japanese army in Korea surrounds the Russian army

Then there was 1945……

But one of the biggest events was the first A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Even by the heightened standards of a nation’s capital during wartime, the gathering of generals, admirals, and high government officials in the White House Cabinet Room on the afternoon of Monday, June 18, 1945, was impressive. Only one, however, could claim resident status—the newly sworn in president of the United States, Harry S. Truman.

A veteran of the First World War and a long-serving Democratic senator from the state of Missouri, Truman was an unlikely candidate for the job he now held. A compromise candidate for the office of vice president in 1944, Truman was no close confidant of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Indeed, he had little insight into Roosevelt’s thinking about postwar relations with the Soviet Union and no knowledge of the existence of a major program—the Manhattan Project—to produce an atomic bomb.

In a series of meetings conducted shortly after being sworn in as president, Truman overcame this deficit, maintaining a pledge to adhere as closely as possible to the policy directions set forth by President Roosevelt. But some decisions would have to be taken by the new president, which is why he had convened the Cabinet Room meeting.

ATOMIC BOMBINGS AT 75: The Decision to Drop the Bomb on Japan and the Genesis of the Cold War

More on this event in previous post……

But for the US it was the passing and signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965…..that gave alienated Americans free use of the ballot.

Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which aimed to increase the number of people registered to vote in areas where there was a record of previous discrimination. The legislation outlawed literacy tests and provided for the appointment of Federal examiners (with the power to register qualified citizens to vote) in certain jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination. In addition, these jurisdictions could not change voting practices or procedures without “preclearance” from either the U.S. Attorney General or the District Court for Washington, DC. This act shifted the power to register voters from state and local officials to the federal government.

Because the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction era, it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of the law [See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966) and Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969)].

https://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/voting-rights-1965

More information…..https://www.justice.gov/crt/history-federal-voting-rights-laws

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The August Bombings

No this is not a post about the blast that recently hit Beirut, Lebanon……

Some say that these bombings saved lives (still working on that statement) and 75 years ago the Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima and let fly the living Hell that Japan had to live with.

Today marks the 75th anniversary of one of the most terrible war crimes ever carried out by imperialism against a defenseless civilian population, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

There is little indication that the anniversary of this criminal act, which introduced humanity to the horrors of mushroom clouds, radiation poisoning and the prospect of global annihilation, will receive any significant official commemoration. Yet, its relevance has never been greater as, behind the backs of the people of the United States and the world, US imperialism is steadily building up a massive nuclear arsenal and pursuing a doctrine of aggressive nuclear war.

At 8:15, out of the clear morning sky of August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay, a US B-29 Superfortress bomber, dropped an atomic bomb, code-named “Little Boy”, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima and its quarter of a million people.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/06/pers-a06.html

Some of the last survivors of those dark days are remembering the horror and the hints for tomorrow…..

Jiro Hamasumi’s mother was pregnant with him when the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killing tens of thousands instantly.

Today, at 74, Hamasumi is one of the remaining survivors of the attack pleading with world leaders to abolish nuclear arms.

“Hibakusha want the United States to apologize to us,” Hamasumi told Agence France-Press this week. “But the proof of the apology is nuclear abolition, we’re not after vengeance.”

AFP estimates there are about 136,700 living survivors of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which ended the second World War in 1945.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/05/after-75-years-last-survivors-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-atomic-bombings-says-nuclear

I have worked for decades to help bring about the end of the “Nuclear Age”….we already have enough weapons to destroy our fellow humans why do we need more nukes?

The horrible experiment still continues today…..experiments that are NOT needed for national defense (the excuse for a continuing program)…..

The “experiment” continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years.

The human and environmental consequences were catastrophic. During the filming of my documentary, The Coming War on China, I chartered a small aircraft and flew to Bikini Atoll in the Marshalls. It was here that the United States exploded the world’s first Hydrogen Bomb. It remains poisoned earth. My shoes registered “unsafe” on my Geiger counter. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations. There were no birds.

Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now

The US needs to return to the high ground and work to eliminate nukes from the world’s armories…..these weapons are NOT needed for security.

Only laziness pretends that nukes are the answer to national security.

Form god sake LEARN STUFF before it is too late!

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Egypt–WTF?

As a foreign policy geek I am always looking for situations that are a problem to our policies…..

Using Open Source intel….I have found a problem with our foreign policy and as a geek in international situations this worries me.

The country is a strong ally to the US right? Has been since Saddat was the leader.

As a friend they are entitled to certain perks…..like aid from the US…..in 2020 to the tune of $297.9 in economic aid in 2020 and $1.55 billion in military aid.

That much cash should give the US some pull on the actions of our ‘friends’, right?

To take a different track here…..the US is NO friend of Assad of Syria, right?  As a matter of fact we are trying everything we can short of all out invasion to end Assad’s rule of Syria, right?

Then why is a ‘friend’ sending troops to Syria to help Assad?

Egypt has reportedly sent 150 soldiers to fight alongside Bashar al-Assad‘s regime in a planned operation against against rebel forces in northwestern Syria.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency on Thursday quoted “reliable military sources” claiming that the soldiers have been sent to Aleppo and Idlib provinces, in coordination with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),

Iran has been a key backer of the Syrian regime since an uprising against Assad’s rule started in March 2011, sending client militias from around the world such as the Afghan Fatemiyoun and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The Egyptian troops have been deployed to the Khan Al-Asal area of western Aleppo province and around the town of Saraqeb in southern Idlib province, the agency reported.

Saraqeb was captured by the regime in late 2019 and is on the frontline between regime and rebel forces.

The Syrian news agency Shahed also reported a Syrian opposition military source as saying that “Egyptian mercenaries had arrived to fight alongside regime forces and sectarian militias in northern Syria”.

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/7/30/egypt-sends-troops-to-syria-to-fight-for-assad

Basically, our taxpayer money is inadvertently being used to prop up Assad in Syria.

Just another case for a program to upgrade our foreign policy….but sadly that will not happen any time soon…..

Not to worry though……Egypt will spend cash with Russia for fighter planes……

Russia Today quoted military sources July 27 as saying that the Egyptian army will acquire the Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet, a first for Egypt, after photos emerged of five of them heading to Egypt. Neither the Russian nor the Egyptian side has so far made any official comments on the alleged acquisition, while the United States objects to any such deals.

According to Russia Today, “The sources indicated that these heavy and long-range fighter jets would give the Egyptian army superiority in the regional sky, which is why the US strongly objected.”


Russia’s Top War website, which focuses on defense affairs, reported July 23 that the first batch of Su-35 fighters took off from the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant and headed to the European side of Russia, from where they will be delivered to Egypt.

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04 August 1914–Guns Of August–Part One

On this day in history…….Germany invades Belgium causing Great Britain to declare war on Germany. Germany had declared war on France the day before.

This became known as the Guns Of August……

What could drive a world mad to the point of wasting so many lives?

We’ll start with the facts and work back: it may make it all the easier to understand how World War One actually happened.  The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic case of “one thing led to another” – otherwise known as the treaty alliance system.

The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.  (Click here to view film footage of Ferdinand arriving at Sarajevo’s Town Hall on 28 June 1914.)

Ferdinand’s death at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world’s first global war.

Austria-Hungary’s Reaction

Austria-Hungary’s reaction to the death of their heir (who was in any case not greatly beloved by the Emperor, Franz Josef, or his government) was three weeks in coming.  Arguing that the Serbian government was implicated in the machinations of the Black Hand (whether she was or not remains unclear, but it appears unlikely), the Austro-Hungarians opted to take the opportunity to stamp its authority upon the Serbians, crushing the nationalist movement there and cementing Austria-Hungary’s influence in the Balkans.

It did so by issuing an ultimatum to Serbia which, in the extent of its demand that the assassins be brought to justice effectively nullified Serbia’s sovereignty.  Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, was moved to comment that he had “never before seen one State address to another independent State a document of so formidable a character.”

Austria-Hungary’s expectation was that Serbia would reject the remarkably severe terms of the ultimatum, thereby giving her a pretext for launching a limited war against Serbia.

https://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm

A war that cost so many lives and accomplished very little in the end.

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On The Border

I could go off on a tangent about the Trump Wall but in this case it is a conflict in the making in the Caucuses of Central Europe…… between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

History of the Caucasus - Wikipedia

There has always been an animosity between the two……Armenia is a Christian country while Azerbaijan is Muslim…..read about the two countries here (if interested)……

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17398605

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-17043424

Years ago I wrote about this region as a possible linch pin event that could start a major world incident that may lead to a war…..FYI my post on the subject and region……https://lobotero.com/2013/06/13/looking-for-the-linchpin/

The war of words between Armenia/Azerbaijan has almost always been a part of the region’s history……but there have been several border clashes between the two and they are still readying themselves for the possibilities….

The senior adviser to Azerbaijan’s president said the situation at the border with Armenia reminded him of World War I between France and Germany, with heavily armed soldiers facing each other in border trenches. Hajiyev warned that any spark could lead to a full-blown conflict. He accused Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of advancing a bellicose nationalist agenda despite claims when he was elected that he wanted to achieve peace with Azerbaijan.

Hajiyev said the threat by Azerbaijan to strike a civilian nuclear plant in Armenia had been made by a low-level military officer and did not reflect his country’s official stance. He went on to accuse Armenia of targeting civilian targets in his country.

He brushed aside claims that Turkey was the reason for the recent flare-up of tension and said that Baku was ready to address and resolve the long-standing conflict with Armenia. 

https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20200722-interview-adviser-to-azerbaijan-s-president-we-are-expecting-provocation-from-armenia-at-any-moment

Things are getting more and more heated between the two nations…..

The mid-July 2020 escalation on Armenia and Azerbaijan’s densely populated state border, which killed over a dozen people and sent women and children fleeing, should sound as a warning. Villagers on both sides of the 230km, trench-lined border have long lived in fear of clashes and landmines. Three decades after the 1992-1994 war over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, children go to schools behind ever-thicker cement walls, farmers shun fertile but mine-riddled fields and young people seek their future elsewhere. International mediation efforts have largely ignored the border regions, focused on untangling disagreements over Nagorno-Karabakh itself. But July’s violence shows how critical it is to pay attention to the safety of more than 150,000 civilians living there. Yerevan and Baku should keep channels open to find mutually beneficial ways to cooperate along the border. The shooting should not stop them from exploring collaboration on narrow initiatives to allow children to attend school, farmers to harvest crops, herders to put livestock to pasture, and water to flow to taps and fields.

For both sides, the potential cost in lives and property of violence is higher along the border than in other areas. Neither side has a clear military advantage in the border zone. Military positions and front-line trenches are so close in places that residents can shout to soldiers on the other side. The border is at the crossroads of the three post-Soviet states of the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. As such, it is criss-crossed by key roads, railways and pipelines pumping natural resources from Russia to the region or from Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea to Europe. Both sides not only have an interest in avoiding disruptions to this infrastructure but also stand to benefit from repurposing and repairing sundered cross-border Soviet-era water supply networks

https://www.crisisgroup.org/europe-central-asia/caucasus/nagorno-karabakh-conflict/259-preventing-bloody-harvest-armenia-azerbaijan-state-border

I still believe that this region holds the key to a wider war……another region is the Pakistan/India/China in the Himalayas…..

I will be watching!

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Defund Afghanistan

These days there is lots about defunding this or that…from the police to the Pentagon……check what was written about this…….

https://lobotero.com/2020/06/09/de-fund-the-pd/

As long as we are calling for all this defunding….why not defund the US longest and costliest war…Afghanistan?

As the coronavirus pandemic overwhelmed the Afghan health system in June, doctors rallied in Kabul, calling upon the International Monetary Fund to rescind a recently granted $220 million emergency loan to the Afghan government to help with the COVID-19 crisis. In support, Sayed Ekram Afazali, head of Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a local group fighting corruption, said that such “monopolization in the spending of the aid . . . creates severe vulnerabilities and it removes the trust” in the government owing to embezzlement and mismanagement. The Kabul rally is just one of many protests against government corruption in Afghanistan. Doctors in Herat, for instance, protested against unpaid salaries. In remote Ghor Province, security forces killed six protesters angry at the distribution of food aid.

These and other similar actions acknowledge a counterintuitive but simple truth: Aid to Afghanistan is accelerating state collapse because it is channeled through a government that is dysfunctional and corrupt. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said the Taliban and other insurgents draw attention to government corruption and use it to “undermine public support for the government, garner recruits to their cause and weaken the government’s bargaining position during future peace negotiations.” We believe that the current system of centralized government is the cause of systemic injustices that drive this current conflict. After 20 years of this system, there are no technical fixes to corruption that could win public trust. Rather, the entire government must be defunded, dismantled, disbanded, and rebuilt anew by the Afghan people. The coming intra-Afghan dialogue will be an opportunity to do just that.

https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/commentary/defund-afghanistan

This makes perfect sense….Trump is trying to end this costly war and the Congress and Hawks are fighting that tooth and nail…..

Time for the US to come home and save the cash spent on Afghanistan….this country needs the money to repair itself and yet those idiot warmongers are looking for other spots for their expansionism.

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The Guns Of August–Part Two

A little history for this Sunday…..

The original Guns of August referred to the beginning of the Great Wat, World War One…..but this is a bit different……

30 years ago today Saddam turned his forces loose on Kuwait…and thus began the first Gulf War…..

The consequences are still reverberating three decades on, obviously in Iraq and the Middle East but also further afield, after Saddam Hussein became the first Arab leader to invade another Arab nation. On Thursday, August 2, 1990, at about 2am, 100,000 Iraqi troops and 700 tanks smashed through Kuwaiti border posts. Saddam then announced that the emir of Kuwait had been deposed and the emirate was now Iraq’s nineteenth province.

This was his second invasion of a neighbor. In September 1980 he invaded Iran believing that the rule of the ayatollahs, and their Shia branch of Islam, posed a clear and present danger to Iraq’s Sunni-dominated government.

Much of the Iranian army and air force was dependent on US spare parts and these had dried up after the fall of the Shah in 1979. Saddam believed it would be a piece of cake as much of Iran’s heavy weaponry and air power would be unusable. Initially his forces were successful, driving deep into Iran. But the Iranians fought back, launched human wave attacks against Iraqi artillery and trench warfare, reminiscent of WWI, ensued. Stalemate. The war finally ended in 1988 under a United Nations-brokered ceasefire with neither victorious, both exhausted. Kuwait had initially lent the Iraqi leader US$14 billion to help finance the conflict. Saddam believed that this debt should be written off. Kuwait refused and demanded prompt payment.

The Gulf War, 30 Years and Counting

For those that are not capable of learning with our visuals…..

Just because I can…..a look at this war from Iraq’s perspective…..it is about 20 minutes if your attention span will allow it……

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How About Defunding The Pentagon

We have lots of talk these days about defunding the police…..but for me the debate should be about defunding the Pentagon……why? So much of the problems we face revolves around a department in government that is out of control….it is wasteful and corrupt.

Yes I said corrupt!

Because the defense industry owns our Congress, both Houses, it is obvious when a bill came up that would cut just 10% of the budget….read my thoughts on this……https://lobotero.com/2020/07/22/2021-ndaa/

Now to the meat of the post…..there has been calls for the defunding the Pentagon (something I can agree with but that would be another post)………

n just the past few months, Congress has appropriated nearly $3 trillion dollars to fight the economic and public health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of a terrible budget deal last year that blew through spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. With little end in sight to the pandemic and its associated recession, Congress is likely to spend even more in the months to come.

With resources more limited than ever, areas of the budget that were off-limits for years should now be more closely scrutinized. At the top of that list should be the single largest part of the federal discretionary budget, an entire category of spending that has long been off the table: the Pentagon.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/07/16/defund-the-pentagon-the-conservative-case-366066

I agree that the Pentagon could use some tweaking and scrutiny….it has gotten away with wasting taxpayer money for decades….time for it to tighten up……

To be fair……something more bloggers need to try…..I will give the rebuttal to the defunding call…..

Recently Politico published two opinion pieces claiming that it’s time to “defund” national defense: “Defund the Pentagon: The Conservative Case by Andrew Lautz and Jonathan Bydlak, and “Defund the Pentagon: The Liberal Case by Sen. Bernie Sanders. A provocative suggestion, but both pieces lack some information that would contribute to a richer, more informed discussion of this critically important topic.

Although sharing similar headlines, the articles advance different arguments for why defense spending should be reduced. The self-described “conservative case” argues Pentagon spending has become “bloated” and “wasteful” and that Americans can no longer afford national security at the level currently funded. The other, “liberal view” proposes that instead of funding national defense, America should focus inwardly and take care of pressing internal problems.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/07/25/what_the_defunding_the_pentagon_articles_dont_tell_you_115494.html

I am with those that are calling for the defund…..put of control M-IC has given us endless war and wasted money…..and unless we voters pay attention and vote these toads out of control we will continue to have endless wars and pissed away cash.

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