Us Foreing Policies: The Power Of Knowledge

1328 words - 5 pages

In order to effectively act on a controversial issue or problem, whether in a position of power over others, or simply day to day decision making, it is often essential to advancement when making decisions to gather information relevant to the decision before acting. This lesson can be learned from issues throughout the Cold War era, and used in today’s political tension and riots that are currently raging in Egypt. During the Cold War, there were incidents where United States (U.S.) intelligence could have saved many soldiers their lives, whether they were American, Cuban, or Vietnamese. Three key events in the Cold War cost lives, and aided in wrongful decision making. These events were the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, and the vague Gulf of Tonkin incident. The third event, however, demonstrates the superiority that comes with Gathering information before acting on it, and is the tense time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Bay of Pigs invasion is a prime example of where U.S. intelligence, if appropriately gathered, could have saved people’s lives. The CIA had wanted to act swiftly on the Cuban government, and had expected a quick and easy destruction of the Government under Castro, however, they were absolutely wrong. When the force of 1,400 Cuban exiles started the amphibious assault, they were met with an organized Cuban infantry force. “In the end, 1,200 Cuban exiles were captured (and remained in captivity for 20 months) and 100 were killed”(John F. Kennedy Presidential Library). The U.S Bay of Pigs Invasion plan had been leaked in papers previously, and no amount of denying the plans could cancel out the previous leaks. Had the U.S. government payed attention to these fatal leaks, the invasion could have been postponed, or perhaps changed location to save the Cuban exiles and the humiliation that comes with failure, however, since they didn’t, 100 lives were lost an 1,200 soldiers captured. the U.S government, had they employed this lesson and gathered information of the location of Cuban forces, as well as the extent of the leaks, could have easily avoided failure, without loss of life, and with favourable results for the United States. However, this event has a smaller preventable death toll than the event that launched America into the Vietnam War, for the strategic gathering of informational resources could have stopped America from entering a highly controversial and violent war, specifically had information been gathered concerning the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

Lyndon Johnson was able to launch America in war because of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, developed because a U.S. destroyer was supposedly shot down by North Vietnamese torpedo boat. It has been debated whether or not there was an actual military confrontation in the Gulf, and had it been looked into, there was no true evidence of shipwreck. If in fact there was no attack, then Johnson couldn’t have had the unconstitutional authority to declare the Vietnam War....

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