President Lyndon Johnson wanted to step up the war in Vietnam, and the U.S. Navy gave him exactly what he needed.
An alleged attack by the North Vietnamese Navy on Aug. 2. 1964 justified sending hundreds of thousands of American military to Vietnam.
Questions were raised about what really happened and later historians determined the North Vietnamese had done nothing.
Imagine what a President Donald Trump’s Tweet would have been like.
“Commie North Vietnamese attack brave American sailors. Nuke them. Show them what real power is.”
And it would probably have gotten the same reaction LBJ’s phony declaration did.
Just this week shortly after an Egyptian Air Airbus crashed en route from Paris to Cairo a tweet was posted by Trump, or more likely one of his Twitter staff.
CNN reported Trump said: "Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!"
Hillary Clinton waited six more hours before saying the Egyptian government feared it was a terrorist attack.
“It does appear that it was an act of terrorism — exactly how, of course, the investigation will have to determine,” Clinton told CNN.
President Obama made no immediate statement, though his spokesman said the U.S. would provide any help it could.
American TV media met to praise Trump, including Chris Matthews, perhaps the most popular MSNBC anchor.
They said that even though there was no information to back up his claim he showed his willingness to say what people are thinking.
How things have changed in 50 years.
We used to fear “the finger on the button would be German…” That lyric appeared in a song, the “MLF Lullaby by Tom Lehrer, after the creation of NATO.
Now the fear is that the button-pushing finger will be a reality TV show host who has never served in the military, not even in government.
He dodged the draft during the Vietnam War to spend time with girl playthings while married.
2016 US election news and other news from the USA
Worked in journalism, including on the Internet, for more than 40 years. Started as a news editor at the Colorado Daily at the University of Colorado, joined a small Montana newspaper, the Helena Independent-Record, and then United Press International.