Just as Senators Byrd and Kennedy, the only two remaining in the Senate who voted for the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, learned from an error they have regretted for almost 40 years and tried to warn their current colleagues against repeating it last fall, so can insiders such as I once was do better than I did then. Individuals inside government, from low-level clerks to Cabinet members, have the power - to be sure, at the risk of their careers - to tell the truth. There are surely drawers full of documents in Washington right now - the Pentagon Papers of Iraq - that, if leaked in bulk, would drastically alter the public discourse on whether we should have sent our children to kill and to die in Iraq, and more urgently, whether we should continue to do so.
Congress was given no hint of this recommendation (which his superiors ignored) or the uncertainties emphasized by [Herrick], in the top secret testimony it received from [Robert McNamara] and Secretary of State Dean Rusk before it passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution three days later with only two dissenting votes. In hearings in February 1968, Senator J. William Fulbright said that if he had known of the Herrick cable alone, he would not have managed the Senate passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, "a great disservice to the Senate" which he regretted "more than anything I have ever done in my life."