Whether or not Captain Herrick knew about the South Vietnamese commando raids, the administration knew very well that the North Vietnamese attack on the Maddox was provoked by these raids. At a National Security Council meeting in which the events of August 2 were reviewed, CIA director John McCone explained that the North Vietnamese “are reacting defensively to our attacks on the off-shore islands. They are responding out of pride and on the basis of defense considerations.” That understanding was never shared with the public. The U.S. had thrown the first punch and North Vietnam had punched back, without effect; but the public was led to believe that North Vietnam had attacked the strongest nation on earth without provocation.
Moralists will often end up frustrated by their ventures into politics. They need to understand that they serve as a leavening effect on the political culture even when they do not prevail. They need to measure their effectiveness through a realistic understanding of the nature of politics.
Ur-Fascism | by Umberto Eco | The New York Review of …
We should never doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step toward totalitarianism.Kenneth Minogue, [Encounter Books, 2010, pp.2-3]The great liberal political philosopher Isaiah Berlin has popularized Immanuel Kant's "crooked timber of humanity" phrase.