chapter  9
The Vietnam War: The Opening Phases, 1955–1967
ByAdrian R. Lewis
Pages 299

The American strategy for the conduct of the war in Vietnam failed. The United States lost the war-an artificial limited war. The Army fought the entire war on the strategic defensive. The Vietnam War was ultimately lost in the United States. The American people were unwilling to fight a protracted war of attrition with a conscripted army against a nation that could not pose a direct threat to the security of the United States. Vietnam is a long, narrow "S"-shaped country that stretches approximately 850 miles from north to south. It varies in width from fifty to 350 miles, and has a land mass of about 330,000 square miles. In August 1964, two US destroyers, on patrol in the Gulf of Tonkin, reported coming under attack. North Vietnamese patrol boats had allegedly fired on the USS Maddox on 2 August, and the Maddox and Turner Joy on 4 August, "without provocation".