What's Past is Prologue

Not that it matters or anything, but it turns out that the 58,000 Americans and millions of Southeast Asians killed in the Vietnam War died for a lie. And Bush has tried to bury the latest official confirmation of this bloody falsehood for years. Why? Because the deliberate manipulation of intelligence involved in sucking the United States into the Vietnam hellstorm was too close to the deliberate manipulation of intelligence that Bush employed to suck the United States into the Iraqi hellstorm.

We've said it before and we will keep on saying it, again and again and again: What quadrant of hell is hot enough for such men?

The NYT reports (with typically demure headline): Vietnam Study, Casting Doubts, Remains Secret. Excerpts: The National Security Agency has kept secret since 2001 a finding by an agency historian that during the Tonkin Gulf episode, which helped precipitate the Vietnam War, N.S.A. officers deliberately distorted critical intelligence to cover up their mistakes, two people familiar with the historian's work say.

The historian's conclusion is the first serious accusation that communications intercepted by the N.S.A., the secretive eavesdropping and code-breaking agency, were falsified so that they made it look as if North Vietnam had attacked American destroyers on Aug. 4, 1964, two days after a previous clash. President Lyndon B. Johnson cited the supposed attack to persuade Congress to authorize broad military action in Vietnam, but most historians have concluded in recent years that there was no second attack.

The N.S.A. historian, Robert J. Hanyok, found a pattern of translation mistakes that went uncorrected, altered intercept times and selective citation of intelligence that persuaded him that midlevel agency officers had deliberately skewed the evidence….

Mr. Hanyok's findings were published nearly five years ago in a classified in-house journal, and starting in 2002 he and other government historians argued that it should be made public. But their effort was rebuffed by higher-level agency policymakers, who by the next year were fearful that it might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, according to an intelligence official familiar with some internal discussions of the matter.