Zinn states in this chapter that once again the reason for the United States of America entering the war was not just. Lyndon B. Johnson entered the war over events surrounding the Gulf of Tonkin, but it is stated that there was actually no open aggression against America. American leaders often commit to wars without fully weighing the implications of the war and the impact it will have on the American people. Johnson did not ask for permission from congress before deploying troops in Vietnam, which makes the government seem like a dictatorship. Is the American government so disorganized that it can not even enforce its policies within the white house? Learning this from the reading makes me even more worried about the upcoming elections, because the wrong president has even more power than I thought. After reading this, I would like to learn more about the strength of checks and balances in the American democracy today.
I think there is an interesting connection between the actions of American military officers in Vietnam and police officers today. Zinn describes military officers murdering women, children, and elderly and trying to cover it up. Some of the officers failed to cover it up, and they were tried for their actions. Only one military officer was convicted. Police brutality in America is in the spotlight along with the black lives matter movement. It is very disappointing to know that we made these mistakes in the act of war, and we are continuing to make these mistakes within our own borders. There are clearly problems with the American legal system if people can get away with doing horrible things like the things described above. History continues to repeat itself in different forms, and it is disappointing to see we are not improving the country at a significant rate. I think Zinn’s historical book is a must read for anyone pursuing public office in America. If people in office can learn from all the many mistakes Zinn outlines throughout American history, I believe the country will be much better off.