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The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

            The Vietnam War happened to be a thorn in the flesh for the United States of America President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and that made the president to have to power to control the army without the approval of the Congress as empowered by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. As a result, the government spent most of its resources on war and was unable to implement the Great Society Program. The Great Society Program was a strategy by the United States aimed at improving the quality of education and guarantying natural beauty and also ensured that income was distributed evenly among the American. However, although the Vietnam War was important to the American, it affected their lives negatively. This essay evaluates the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

            The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave the United States of America power to control the military and this resolution was approved by the Congress. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was created after North Vietnam arm attacked the US destroyer. After these attacks, the resolution was passed by the Congress. To date, whether these attacks were factual or fiction still remains a debatable issue. This resolution empowered the president to declare war any time he found it necessary. Even though the attacks were controversial, Johnson employed the power bestowed to him by the congress to send the United States of America troops to Vietnam. About four hundred soldiers were sent to the war front.

            As Johnson sent the soldiers to Vietnam, power conflicts emerged between the president and the congress. The power conflict was created by the fact that before the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, it was the congress that had the sole power to declare war. After some struggles between the president and the congress, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution empowered the president to have the power to declare war any time he found it necessary. Another cause of power struggle was the amount of money that could be spent on war. The President, Johnson, also won, and made a decision to spend the whole amount on the Vietnam War. It is this decision on spending that resulted to abandonment of the Great Society Program.  It is Johnson who created the Great Society Program and ended up neglecting it. The Great Society program was aimed at improving the living standards of the Americans through equal distribution of wealth, improved education programs, and maintenance of the environment through preservation of natural beauty. However, the decision by Johnson to engage in the Vietnam War left limited or no resources for the program to be implemented.

            The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution adversely affected the lives of the Americans. As the war escalated, conflicts of interest between the congress and the president continued to be evident. The involvement of the United States of America troops in the Vietnam War left permanent scars on Johnson’s presidency. There are a number of reasons why Johnson along with the majority of Americans were scared by the Vietnam War. It is these fears that made the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to make a haste decision and the president made a decision to attack Northern Vietnam. While making the decision to attack Northern Vietnam, he had to forego the Great Society Program. The Great Society Program was a vision by Johnson for the American people. Through it poverty would be eradicated, there would be improved health care, and unemployment rates would decline. Nonetheless, both the Great Society Program and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution had great effect on the American society (Dare, 2010).

Although Johnson was focused on protecting the United States of America citizens, he should have made some efforts to confirm the American destroyers had actually been attacked. More so, decision by the congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was a big mistake. While passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the congress was not clear whether the United States of America destroyers has actually been attacked. Mores, the Congress did not know whether the United States of America President had drafted the resolution three months prior to the destroyers being attacked. As a result, there was suspicion of foul play between the Congress and the presidency (Moise, 1996).

            As the American troops joined the Vietnam War, there were major conflicts between the US president and the government’ legislative branch. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator William Fulbright was against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution because the president gained so much power. In his opposition to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, he organized a public congressional hearing to enable the citizens to  have first hand information about what was happening in Vietnam. Many cabinet members were asked to provide the information they knew about the war. The audience asked many questions in respect to the tactics, strategies, and expenses being employed in Vietnam. Most of the cabinet members refused to respond appropriately, while other claimed to have had very little information about the war. The failure by Johnson to implement the Great Society Program and the decision to engage the American troops in the Vietnam War made Johnson to leave the Whitehouse a discouraged and disappointed man. Many Americans do not find the justification of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

 

 

References

Dare, L. (2010). CIA's Gulf of Tonkin secrets: A novel based on true events. New York ; Bloomington: iUniverse.

Moise, E. E. (1996). Tonkin Gulf and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Chapel Hill [u.a.: University of North Carolina Press.