On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox, a US Navy destroyer patrolling in the waters of Gulf of Tonkin, reported that it was under attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Maddox returned fire and sank one and damaged several enemy boats. With the aid of another US destroyer and jet fighter bombers taking off from an aircraft carrier, the skirmish continued the next two day. In response to the incident, the US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution authorizing President Lyndon B. Johnson to send ground troops to South Vietnam. By 1975 there were nearly two hundred thousand Americans deployed in this Southeast Asian country, thus starting a war that resulted in over 57,000 US casualties and ended disgracefully ten years later.
In recent years more and more declassified information revealed that the US military had exaggerated the North Vietnamese naval attacks to lure the public into supporting the escalation of conflicts.
The US has been inclined to practicing such game. For example, by claiming that he owned mass destructive weapons, the US invaded Iraq and toppled down its dictator Saddam Hussein. Up until today none a piece of mass destructive weapons has yet been found.
How about the excuse the Japanese had used to escalate the Second Sino-Japanese War on July 7, 1937? They claimed one of their men was missing during a war game and demanded the Chinese garrison to let them enter Wanping, a town of Hebei province to search for the missing soldier. The Chinese commander refused and that was how the Marco Polo incident, the blasting fuse of an eight-year long war, was triggered.