The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

1964 Election:
Presidential Lies Preparing to Go to War

Nov 10, 2014

50 years ago, in the presidential election of 1964, Lyndon Johnson campaigned for the presidency by calling his opponent, Barry Goldwater, a warmonger. And he promised that his administration would not gsend American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.h Based on his promise not to go to war in Viet Nam, he won the election by a huge margin.

Having won, Johnson began almost immediately to order the bombing of North Viet Nam, and to send troops, arms and money to carry out an ever widening war on the Vietnamese people.

In fact, Johnson and the whole state apparatus had intended to go into that war before the elections. The proof is that, under a pretext, he got the tacit approval of Congress for that war in the summer before the election.

In August, the U.S. warship Maddox sailed into the Gulf of Tonkin, close to the capital of North Viet Nam, provoking an incident. The U.S. news reported that the Maddox had been fired upon. The U.S. used it as a justification to pass a resolution to allow the president to conduct whatever actions he saw fit in Viet Nam, without ever calling it a war. The U.S. could pretend it was never gofficiallyh at war.

But the Vietnamese paid an enormous cost as the U.S. war tore that country apart for the next nine years.

The U.S. government would spend the equivalent of 900 billion dollars, drop 6,727,000 tons of bombs (twice as many as were dropped during World War II), and spray 19 million gallons of poisonous chemicals over Viet Nam. The U.S. casualties numbered 58,200 soldiers dead, 304,000 wounded, 23,000 completely disabled, and a minimum of 70,000 suicides afterwards.

Even worse, Vietnamese casualties were estimated at more than three million, soldiers and civilians, not counting casualties afterwards from unexploded bombs and poisonous chemicals. The population of the country was some 35 million in the 1960s, meaning at least one tenth of the population in Viet Nam was killed by this war.

Lying presidents and going to war are hardly new. In the 20th century, Woodrow Wilson lied about World War I and Roosevelt lied about the reasons for World War II. In the 21st century, Bushfs cabinet spouted lies about gweapons of mass destructionh as the excuse to enter into war in Iraq.

Obama, who promised he would get the U.S. troops out of Iraq, is now taking the U.S. back into war in that country.

Lies are told by politicians, Democrat and Republican, to justify one war after another, carried out to allow U.S. corporations to profit from and control over whole areas of the world.

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