NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
7st August, 1964 : With the smoke still rising from North Vietnamese installations bombed and rocketed by US carrier-borne planes, President Johnson has asked for and received approval from Congress to take “all necessary action” against the Communist regime in North Vietnam. Both Houses voted almost unanimously to give the President the powers he wanted, but some members, while feeling duty-bound to approve the resolution, expressed fears that it would be used to commit US troops to an unwanted war.
The crisis arose from an attack by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats on the US destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin last Sunday. The attack, with torpedos and gunfire, did no damage and the torpedo boats were driven off by the Maddox and rocket fire from carrier aircraft. One of the Russian-built torpedo-boats was heavily damaged and lay dead in the water, while the other two, also damaged, limped to safety under cover of darkness.
President Johnson immediately ordered a retaliatory strike by carrier aircraft from the Ticonderoga and the Constellation. The Americans claim that 25 torpedo boats at four naval bases were destroyed or damaged and an oil installation was wrecked.
[ Had this happened today Obama would have apologised and offered to replace the North Vietnamese torpedoes. ]