Foreign Relations: Suspicions of a Moonless Night


Emerging from a closed session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Eugene McCarthy was besieged by reporters. What, they clamored, had Defense Secretary Robert McNamara said about the Gulf of Tonkin? "It was," deadpanned McCarthy, "a dark and moonless night." That climactic note, 3½ years after the encounter that overtly set the stage for the all-out U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, was one of the few certitudes about an incident that seems destined to rank in history with such hoary whodunits as the War of Jenkins' Ear.

That the Senators should care...

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