Foreign Relations: A Measured & Fitting Response

"Repeated acts of violence against the armed forces of the United States," said the President, "must be met not only with alert defense but with positive reply." Even as Lyndon Johnson spoke to the nation in a late-evening television appearance, U.S. naval air craft were hurtling through the South east Asian skies to attack selected tar gets in Communist North Viet Nam. That was the reply about which the President spoke, a reply to one of the most ill-considered Communist moves against the U.S. in recent years: two torpedo-boat attacks against U.S. destroyers that had been steaming in inter national...

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