August marks the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. I recommend this short and typically awesome Andrew Bacevich article on the groupthink that led America to create such catastrophe in Vietnam:
The further the Vietnam War recedes into the past, the more preposterous it becomes. How could Americans have allowed President Lyndon Johnson to drag the United States into such a needless and futile struggle? Sending hundreds of thousands of US troops to fight in Southeast Asia turned out to be a monumental blunder. Was there no one in a position of influence or authority who could see that at the time? Where were the voices of sanity and reason?
Fifty years ago this month, in August 1964, Johnson offered the sane and reasonable a chance to make their case. What followed was a stupefying demonstration of groupthink. The guardians of conventional wisdom in the United States — its leading public officials and its major news outlets — all but automatically accepted the premise that the United States could, and should, determine the course of events in faraway Vietnam...
A few thoughts:
Wouldn't it be nice if next time a president went to Congress for one of those "All necessary measures" resolutions, Congress responded, "Tell us how that's different from a declaration of war? And since it's not, why don't you just come out and say what you're really asking for?"
Look at this quote from then-Senator George Aiken, Republican of Vermont: “As a citizen, I feel I must support our president whether his decision is right or wrong.”
If that's your view, you're not a citizen, you're a subject. Probably not a good sign that we have so many senators who think like subjects...
It's amazing how tragically relevant it all remains.