10. Fact: American combat presence and strategy was determined before the election of 1964
During the 1964 election campaign, Republican Barry Goldwater openly called for widespread and open bombing of North Vietnam, while Johnson – on the stump, anyway – called for restraint. According to documents declassified and released later, the decision to escalate American commitment to Vietnam, and the bombing of targets in North Vietnam, was reached in the autumn of 1964, six weeks before Election Day. Despite the decision, Johnson informed the American people in August 1964 that the American presence in Vietnam was to, “furnish advice, give counsel, express good judgment, give them trained counselors, and help them with equipment to help themselves”.