This is an interesting historical perspective of the Gulf of Tonkin incident by a CIA insider, Ray McGovern. He writes this article in view of the Hormutz Gulf incident with the Iranians last Sunday and says that this sort of thing is very serious in that an incident, either real or imagined by Bush, could lead to support for a war against Iran. Check out the article and this short excerpt:
By the afternoon of Aug. 4 (Washington time), the CIA’s expert analyst on North Vietnam (let’s call him “Tom”) had concluded that probably no one had fired on US ships in the Tonkin Gulf over the past 24 hours. He included a paragraph to that effect in the item he wrote for the Current Intelligence Bulletin, which would be wired to the White House and other key agencies and appear in print the next morning.
And then something unique happened. The Director of the Office of Current Intelligence, a very senior officer whom Tom had never before seen, descended into the bowels of the agency to order the paragraph deleted. He explained:
“We’re not going to tell LBJ that now. He has already decided to bomb North Vietnam. We have to keep our lines open to the White House.”
“Tom” later bemoaned-quite rightly: “What do we need lines open for, if we’re not going to use them, and use them to tell the truth?”