Another fiftieth anniversary is coming in August, the fiftieth anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that passed the Senate on August 7, 1964 with famously only two senators, from Oregon and Alaska, voting against it. The Vietnam War was a multi-administration project, with the start of our involvement under the Truman administration, as he increased support for the French in Vietnam at the same time as he engaged in the Korean War; and it picked up under Eisenhower; and all the basics of the Vietnam War we know and love were set by the Kennedy administration; but the “crossing the Rubicon” moment is the passing of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in the first year of the Johnson administration. Supposedly the North Vietnamese attacked two U. S. destroyers that were near the country, and this was the casus belli need for the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, but it was later revealed that the two destroyers were spying on North Vietnam and that at least one of the attacks did not happen. As has happened so often in American history (cf. USA PATRIOT Act) things are rushed through Congress in the heat of the moment with no reflection of the consequences.
The tightest aspect in the chart of the United States is Pluto semisquare Ascendant. The epithet I give to this aspect is “My Way or the Highway”. It is worth quoting at length what Ebertin says about this combination of planets. Keep in mind that Ebertin was basically talking about human beings, and with a semiquare the negative interpretation is the more likely one: Ebertin’s mother famously did a horoscope for Hitler so he knew what he was talking about.
Will-power, ambition, the striving for power, the utilisation of magic or psychic forces. The display of an unusual personal influence.
Dictatorship or rule by force. The desire to bring other people under the rule of one’s own will. A repulsive behavior.
The striving for the attainment of power and authority. The tendency to suppress or to oppress others. The attainment of success in life by brutal and ruthless means.
This is not the type of behavior any politician will admit to in this, the most exceptional of all nations. While this behavior was demonstrated early on, it did not reach full maturity until after the Second World War. The Dulles Brothers in that period most demonstrated this behavior and the Vietnam War was one of the most obvious early manifestation. A recently published book The Brothers by Stephan Kinzer details the strong involvement of the Dulles Brothers with the growing Cold War, including Vietnam.
So let’s take a look at the chart for this event.
Since this event only occurred a few months after the Beatles concert, several transits are the same: There is the approaching Uranus-Pluto conjunction – it is the Sixties after all – almost exact in another three months, and there is the Uranus square natal Uranus, showing that it is a quarter Uranus cycle after World War II. It might be tempting to relate outbreaks of hostility by the United States to Uranus hard aspects with its natal position, but since the United States is involved in so many violent conflicts this is a unhelpful search. Then there is the loose Saturn conjunct the natal Moon – the people are still depressed – Kennedy was assassinated nine months previously, as we also saw in the Beatles chart. And Pluto is still sextile the Sun of the United States.
This event took place at a New Moon. Minor perhaps, but New Moons signify the start of a new project. And the project we started at this New Moon turned out to be a doozy! The New Moon was exact at about three that afternoon.
And then there was a transiting Sun square transiting Neptune. This quadrature – squares, opposition, conjunction – to transiting Neptune happens four time a year, fairly common. The Sun moves so fast that the keyword for it is “day of” (just as aspects from the Moon are “hour of” and from the transiting Midheaven are “minute of”) so this particular day could be called the day of deception or the day of illusion. This aspect was exact at about the time of the New Moon. Thus the Moon was also square Neptune. Only two Senators saw that, but in retrospect it is obvious. And to further emphasize this we also have Neptune loosely trine the Sun of the United States. And indeed the government was deceived but few knew it at the time. Neptune was also semisquare the Midheaven, which represent the outward expression of the United States.
Another minor point is that Mars – the planet of war – was conjunct natal Jupiter, suggesting “lots of war”. Jupiter is part of the important Sun-Venus-Jupiter triple conjunction that is so important to the American Character. Mars is also square the Midheaven, again emphazing War into the world.
But the “money aspects” are the Mercury-Pluto conjunction square the the Ascendant and sesquiquadrate to Pluto. These tight aspects emphasize the Pluto Ascendant semisquare mentioned at the beginning, the aspect that strongly defines America. The Pluto aspect was exact two weeks before the vote, and it was still quite close. The fact that it is Pluto even more highlights the Plutonian nature – big, brutal – of the whole Vietnam War, and the fact that Mercury is closely conjunct Pluto – less than half a degree — suggests the nature of the war. The Vietnam War is considered the first television (communications, Mercury) war, where the nightly news had graphic images of soldiers wounded and bodies counted. Just what you want to see when you are eating dinner! This turned many people off to the war, and some even consider a “stab in the back” from the media, which is why we lost the war. The end of the war is assumed to have come when preeminent nightly newscaster Walter Cronkite denounced it.