The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a lie to get us into the Vietnam War

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,990 times Debate No: 46296
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (1)




It has been confirmed by the Secretary of Defense at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin that the event did not happen. Also, isn't it ironic that JFK, who didn't want to go to war in Vietnam, was assassinated in a pretty obvious conspiracy. Then, as we all know LBJ, took over and guess what his first meeting was as president. It was over Vietnam. I can hardly see how this is debatable because the Secretary of Defense even admitted the event never occurred.


I accept this debate. I ask however that everyone know that we are not debating wether or not JFK was assassinated by the US government/associates and that incident, regardless of wether or not it is true or false, has no impact on wether or not the Gulf of Tonkin (GoT from here on out) was a false flag attack. As long as my opponent accepts this and we both refrain from making any such arguments related to the JFK assassination (or any other conspiracies unrelated to this specific event such as 9/11 or Pearl Harbor) in this debate then we are 100% go. However. Since my opponent has already made some comment to this issue I feel inclined to briefly counter what he has already said somewhat.

Yes it is true that when LBJ took office one of the first things he started working on was the issue of Vietnam. Regardless of wether or not the whole JFK thing is true or not, at the time LBJ took office Vietnam was one of the nations most important if not THE most important issue the nation currently had. Is it really so surprising that when he took office one of the first things he worked on was the most important issue going on at the time? That would be like saying that had George W. Bush been killed during the September 11th attacks and the first thing Dick Cheney did was have a meeting about 9/11 that there must have been some government conspiracy to kill Bush so that Cheney could rule and invade Iraq. Sounds ridicules right. Could it have simply been a coincidence. Perhaps. Perhaps not. The reader can decide.

Anyway good luck to my opponent and let's have a goodn.
Debate Round No. 1


I do think other events pertain to this like the JFK assassination so I could include that in an argument. So when LBJ took office you think the first meeting would be about the assassination that took place. I would think he would plan to launch an official investigation on the assassination. JFK didn't want to go to war in Vietnam or Cuba which ticked off a lot of people like the military industrial complex. So when LBJ took over his first actions were to go to war and was Vietnam a major threat to us at the time? No, it's not like if LBJ didn't address Vietnam right away it would result in major danger for our country. You can't compare 9/11 to Vietnam either they are different things and you know I have my doubts about 9/11 too. So then we lied about GoT to get us into the Vietnam War. Then in 2004 the secretary of defense at the time of the incident said it never happened. So how could you even say the incident was legitimate if the secretary of defense said it never happened.


First let it be known that so far my opponent has offered no evidence, facts or even presented an argument on whether or not the GoT was a lie to get us involved in Vietnam. He has talked about the JFK assassination and involvement of LBJ and other wars that he believes to have been lies as well but to this point he has barley said anything in regards to the subject at hand. The GoT. If he wishes to win this debate then he actually needs talk about GoT. Why is it a lie, who made the lie, what really happened, did anything happen? These are questions he has thus far left unanswered and thus he has no case.

Now on to my arguments.
First off please provide proof that the very first thing LBJ did after assuming the presidency was work on Nam. It was among the first, but prove that it WAS the first. Second at the time there was no need to put much effort into any investigation because the perpetrator was already apprehended so what would be the point? An investigation was in fact already accruing, so why would LBJ need to put much focus in this?

"So when LBJ took over his first actions were to go to war"

This is so unbelievable false its sickening that you wrote it and I can defeat your entire argument with one blow. A simple Google search will show you that JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963 at 12:30 PM.[1] LBJ was sworn in 2 hours later.[2] The GoT did not accrue until August 2, 1964.[3] A full 10 months AFTER the JFK assassination and LBJ became president. The GoT Resolution allowing military action in Southeast Asia was not passed until August 7, 1964.[4] Ladies and gentlemen. Pro has officially lied and thus has lost this argument.

"and was Vietnam a major threat to us at the time?"

No not a direct threat. However this was during the height of the Cold War and thus the US was doing everything it could to halt the spread of Soviet power and communism. I'm not going to waste time getting into the importance of this since most of you all showed know this already. Furthmore the US had obligations to defend its ally, South Vietnam, by way of the South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).[5] So we had every right and reason to get involved in Vietnam.

"Then in 2004 the secretary of defense at the time of the incident said it never happened."

Please source.

I was not comparing GoT to 9/11 I was giving you an example akin to the JFK assassination.

Alright now that I have countered what little you have thrown at me I will now tell everyone what DID happen August 1964. On August 2nd the USS Maddox performing a signals intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations, engaged three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron. A sea battle resulted, in which the Maddoxexpended over two hundred and eighty 3-inch and 5-inch shells, and in which four USN F-8 Crusader jet fighter bombers strafed the torpedo boats. One US aircraft was damaged, one 14.5 mm round hit the destroyer, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed and six were wounded; there were no U.S. casualties. Even Hanoi has confirmed that this event undeniably accrued. Are you going to suggest that the US government some how convinced the North Vietnamese government to collaborate in this false flag attack so that the US could wage war against North Vietnam??? Because if so that's the stupidest thing iv EVER heard.

Now the part where this gets interesting is what happened on August 4th another DESOTO patrol off the North Vietnamese coast was launched by Maddox and the Turner Joy, in order to "show the flag" after the first incident. This time their orders indicated that the ships were close to no more [less] than 11 miles (18 km) from the coast of North Vietnam. During an evening and early morning of rough weather and heavy seas, the destroyers received radar, sonar, and radio signals that they believed signaled another attack by the North Vietnamese navy. For some two hours the ships fired on radar targets and maneuvered vigorously amid electronic and visual reports of enemies. Despite the Navy’s claim that two attacking torpedo boats had been sunk, there was no wreckage, bodies of dead North Vietnamese sailors, or other physical evidence present at the scene of the alleged engagement. At 01:27 Washington time, Herrick sent a cable in which he acknowledged the attack may not have happened and that there may actually have been no Vietnamese craft in the area: "Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonar men may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken". One hour later, Herrick sent another cable, stating, "Entire action leaves many doubts except for apparent ambush at beginning. Suggest thorough reconnaissance in daylight by aircraft." In response to requests for confirmation, at around 16:00 Washington time, Herrick cabled, "Details of action present a confusing picture although certain that the original ambush was bona fide." At 18:00 Washington time (05:00 in the Gulf of Tonkin), Herrick cabled yet again, this time stating, "the first boat to close the Maddox probably launched a torpedo at the Maddox which was heard but not seen. All subsequent Maddox torpedo reports are doubtful in that it is suspected that sonar man was hearing the ship's own propeller beat. Within thirty minutes of the 4 August incident, President Johnson had decided on retaliatory attacks. That same day he used the 'hot line' to Moscow, and assured the Soviets he had no intent in opening a broader war in Vietnam. Early on August 5, Johnson publicly ordered retaliatory measures stating, "The determination of all Americans to carry out our full commitment to the people and to the government of South Vietnam will be redoubled by this outrage." One hour and forty minutes after his speech, US aircraft reached North Vietnamese targets. On 5 August at 10:40 these planes flying from US aircraft carriers, bombed four torpedo boat bases, and an oil-storage facility in Vinh. (I am pressed for time so I had to take this directly from the source so sorry if anyone doesn't like that.)

Now the question that comes out of all this is, what did happen on that night? This is where the majority of the "conspiracy theories and false flag attack" ideas come from, though of course they do everything they can to twist and contort facts into some crazy idea that is nowhere near the truth turning it into something like how there never was any incident what so ever or that the US navy attacked itself. What experts have theorised is that what the Maddox and Turner Joy saw that day were actually what is refereed to as "radar ghosts". Also refereed to in this instance as the "Tonkin Ghosts". Now what these are essentially are "memories" of the enemies vessels radar pings that the radars on board picked up just a few days prior when the actual attacked accrued. This is not an uncommon occurrence especially with the older versions of radar used in that time. The stormy weather and foggy conditions may have also played a part in this event. But you must note that it is still to this day not 100% confirmed what happened that day, though more then likely no actual battle occurred. This however makes no difference since the events that occurred on August 2nd was more then enough reason to push the US into war with North Vietnam. It should also be noted that LBJ made the decision to begin military operations in Vietnam 30 minutes after learning of the 2nd incident, long before anyone figured out that the battle may not have occurred. (Please refer to source [1] for my last 3 paragraphs.)

So there you have it people. Any questions?

Debate Round No. 2


gkoz23 forfeited this round.


Oh for gods sakes. Don't challenge someone to a debate if you can't see it thorough. TWICE! And if it's time constraint reasons maybe you should have made it 72 hours between post and not 24
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Jifpop09 6 years ago
The Vietnam war started because France called in a favor.
Posted by gkoz23 6 years ago
I set it at 72 hours
Posted by gkoz23 6 years ago
I set it at 72 hours
Posted by ararmer1919 6 years ago
What assurance do I have that this won't happen a third time?
Posted by gkoz23 6 years ago
I'll start another debate can you just copy and paste everything sorry about that
Posted by ararmer1919 6 years ago
im sorry but i was a thousand characters over so i had no choice but to post my sources here in the comment section. I hope that is ok and if not feel free to hit me on points for sources.



1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff's, effectively dropping every point and losing conduct.

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