There has been a significant war approximately every 30 years, often initiated (overtly or covertly) by the USA, and more often than not sparking a further expansion of US power and US-based elite interests. Whilst such aggression is not particularly unusual among nations; what is different is the propaganda mythology that successfully defined the US as always acting in defense of "freedom and democracy." Again and again, the use of outrage-incidents triggered the war spirit, and channeled the resulting wrath toward the nominated enemy. It concentrated power in the executive branch, where elite control was (and is) usually most undiluted by popular influence. This process is exemplified by the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which enabled full-scale US military involvement in Vietnam. The incident itself was faked, but Congress promptly issued its usual knee-jerk resolution, authorizing the president to "act in defense." The "authorized actions" were then incrementally escalated into a full-scale war, with Congress having minimal additional influence and popular will finding expression only in the streets. Even when the hoax was exposed, it was too late to put the genie back in the bottle.