Herblock, Washington Post, 1965
After the State Department announced the possibility of a direct American combat role in Vietnam, the White House issued "clarifications," insisting that there had been no change in policy.
On June 16, 1965, the Defense Department announced that 21,000 additional soldiers including 8,000 combat troops would go to Vietnam, bringing the total U.S. presence to more than 70,000 men. President Lyndon Johnson continued to obscure the extent of American involvement, contributing to a widespread perception of political untrustworthiness.
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, based on a never-verified report of an attempted attack on an American ship, passed the Senate with only two dissenting votes, and gave Johnson all the authority he felt he needed to proceed with the escalation.