Perhaps Playing Another Round of Gulf
By ice rivers
Just in case racism or nativism backfires or Mueller becomes scrutable or fifteen more women come forward, two of whom have had an abortion, President Trump needs Plan B. Donald's a golfer so no wonder he's looking to another Gulf as a source of possible distraction. After all, it's nearly August again and nothing unifies a country in the short term more than a war. A war president can get almost anyhing passed.
This time the Gulf is the Persian gulf.
Last time it was the Gulf of Tonkin.
Let's go back a minute and check the rhyme of history, a subject Trump certainly has failed.
Return with me now to 1964, when almost all of the Nam soldiers were high school guys or younger, minding their own business and still buzzing on the Beatles.
Our president was Landslide Lyndon Johnson who had ascended to the presidency, having it thrust upon him by the mischievous, muderous marksmanship in Dallas and the death of our perceived Camelot. Camelot still had a lot of unfinished business, including an undefined mess in Viet Nam along with a bunch of the best and brightest who meshed with Johnson like a foot in a glove, like a fish in a tree.
Johnson had a few domestic pots remaining on the fire: the Economic Opportunity Act, the creation of Meidcare, the Head Start Program, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Voting Righs Bill among many others which came to be known as The Great Society. Simultaneously, the civil right movement and MLK had their eyes on the prize.
This all seemed a little soft to Barry Goldwater who, along with his hard ass partner Curtis Lemay was running against Johnson and interested in in heating up the Cold War and throwing a few nukes around.
Johnson and his footgloves figured the Great Society could get even greater as long as Goldwater didn't paint them as wimps soft on Communism. We could win this War on Poverty.
Enter Plan B.
Johnson and pals started pushing the edge of the envelope with a few, exploratory, clandestine raids on North Viet Nam to collect intelligence and conduct military as well as psychological operations against the North Vietnamese. These raids, like the war that ensued didn't work according to plan.
One of those raids took place on or about August first 1964.
School was out for me and my high school graduating class of 64. We didn't know much if anything about Viet Nam. We would come to know a lot about it. Many of us gave our lives for it. We were the first wave of Baby Boomers and we were about to be divided and sacrificed,
August second a US destroyer, the Maddox--seemingly cruisin' for a bruisin' was approached by several Vietnamese PT boats in the Golf of Tonkin. All of the boats were either driven away or sunk. The whole deal was seemingly unexplainable other than as a justification to kick tail, take names, whip poverty and reap political reward.
A couple of days later, same waterway, another even more confusing incident occurred. When Johnson got the shaky details of that fiasco, he ordered America's first direct military attack on North Viet Nam. We'd teach those yella fellas a lesson and then they'd back off and those good Catholic boys from South Vietnam would pick up the slack.
Ah, yeah, uh huh.
Johnson decided to go on the air at eleven o'clock to announce the bombings. He wanted to make sure that the American people and Goldwater got the news of the action from him before the world learned of it from the recipients of the bombs. The problem was time. LBJ would have liked to come on at six o'clock with Uncle Walter Cronkite but at US Dinner time, the mission had not yet begun so Lyndon had to wait.
Johnson wanted to show Goldwater and the rest of those Republican screwballs that he was a Texas asskicker. He didn't like to wait. He wanted to be a war president right now. A war president can get just about anything passed and Lyndon had a lot that he wanted passed.
A drunk George Dubya Bush was getting ready to go to college, along with the rest of us.
Meanwhile, half a world away, the planes were scheduled to launch at 10:43 Eastern Time and wouldn't be able to reach their targets for at least an hour and fifty minutes.
Johnson grew frantic as the last possible news cycle of the day approached. He didn't want to go on early because he didn't want to tip off the enemy. He waited until the last possible moment, 11:36 to be exact,before announcing that airstrikes had already taken place "against guboats and certain supporting facilities in North Viet Nam".
Take that Barry.
In actuality, no planes had taken off yet. A half hour later, Big Bob McNamara (one of the brightest of the best) briefed the press on exactly what targets had been hit, even though he knew damned well that the planes were still on their way.
Johnson's broadcast was, of course, monitored in Hanoi and that monitor warned the air defense systems of the targetted areas to expect an impending Amerivan attack. A radar station picked up the incoming planes and managed to shoot down two of the attacking aircraft.
Lt. Everett Alvarez ejected from one of those planes and fractured his back as he fell to the earth. On earth, with a broken back, Alvarez was tacapture and taken to a prison camp in Hanoi where for the next eight years he suffered physical and mental abuse.
Johnson used all of this to activate trhe Gulf of Tonkin resolution which enabled hin to wage war without actually declaring war.
School was definitely out and many of us would be pulled out of school over the next eight years as we too along with America in general suffered our own national version of physical and mental abuse.
So now, here' comes another August. We're gonna make damned sure that America stays great as we drone dance with the Iranians in the Persian Gulf.
We'll show those bastards.
And then we'll pass a few things. Maybe even build us a wall.