Jan. 25, 2008 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet


     When we heard about the alleged confrontation between three U.S. Navy warships and five Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz on Jan. 6, three words immediately came to mind: "Gulf of Tonkin." With the Bush administration still gung ho to go to war with Iran, it might be worth remembering how a similar confrontation was used as the pretext for going to war four decades ago.

     In the summer of 1964, the country of Vietnam was just starting to enter the consciousness of most Americans. The U.S. had about 20,000 troops there, or "advisors" as they were euphemistically known. The great escalation had yet to happen. But this changed when the U.S.S. Maddox, a destroyer on intelligence maneuvers in the Gulf of Tonkin off the North Vietnam coast, was (allegedly) fired upon by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on the afternoon of Aug. 2, 1964. Two days later, another North Vietnamese (alleged) attack occurred in the same area against another destroyer, the U.S.S. Turner Joy...

     The (alleged) attacks became the justification for escalating the war. Johnson asked for and received authority from Congress "to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was approved on Aug. 7, 1964, by a unanimous vote in the House and a nearly unanimous vote in the Senate. Sens. Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska cast the only "no" votes.

     Within a few months, the Marines were landing on the beaches of Da Nang and American troop strength tripled to 75,000 by June 1965. By the end of that year, there were 181,000 troops in Vietnam. By 1967, it was 500,000. The war that would eventually kill 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese was in full swing. Would the truth about what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin have changed the course of our involvement in Vietnam? Maybe. But we do know that the most divisive war in our nation's history started with a lie. We know the Bush administration hyped the case for war with Iraq. We know they selectively picked over the intelligence that supported their goal and ignored what did not. The supposed stash of "weapons of mass destruction" never existed. And, nearly five years after the invasion, U.S. forces remain in Iraq for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the initial justifications for war.

     Knowing this, we fear that in its final year in office, the Bush administration will find a way to justify an attack on Iran. By sheer luck, nothing happened on Jan. 6. However, given that the Strait of Hormuz is one of the busiest waterways in the world, and that there is not a lot of space for ships to maneuver, something could still happen. Even as the details of the alleged Jan. 6 confrontation started to unravel under independent scrutiny, President Bush continues to use the incident as a justification for going after Iran... Sound familiar? Bush was saying the same thing five years ago, in the runup to the Iraq invasion. ... another war in one of the most volatile regions on Earth is not a particularly good idea. (For full article see http://www.reformer.com/editorials/ci_7974064 )


1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties. 4. Oppose all discrimination: anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, etc. 5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Contact: Malu `AinaCenter for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Ola`a (Kurtistown), Hawai`i 96760.

Phone (808) 966-7622 Email ja@interpac.net http://www.malu-aina.org

Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (Jan. 25, 2008 - 332nd week) - Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office


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