as a postscript to my last post, let me add two more items. today’s news (emphasis mine):
With tensions already running high, the United States has bolstered its naval forces in the Persian Gulf in a show of strength directed at Iran. There is concern that with so much military hardware in the Gulf, a small incident could escalate dangerously.
Afshar, the Iranian officer, warned the United States would not be able to control the consequences if it attacks Iran.
“The United States and its allies know that if they make any mistake in their calculations … they will not be able to control the dimensions and limit the duration of a war,” Afshar said.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader,warned this week that Western countries “must know that the Iranian nation and authorities will use all their capacities to strike enemies that attack.”
and a history lesson:
Gulf of Tonkin Incident was an alleged pair of attacks by naval forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (commonly referred to as North Vietnam) against two American destroyers, the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy. The attacks occurred on 2 August and 4 August 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin. Later research, including a report released in 2005 by the National Security Agency, indicated that the second attack most likely did not occur, but also attempted to dispel the long-standing assumption that members of the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson had knowingly lied about the nature of the incident.
The outcome of the incident was the passage by Congress of the Southeast Asia Resolution (better known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution), which granted Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression”. The resolution served as Johnson’s legal justification for escalating American involvement in the Vietnam Conflict.