Thursday, January 20, 2011

JFK Amnesia - How Bad Can it Get?

As we mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural speech, Jan. 20, 1961, I cannot believe how vast the ignorance is and how rapidly it grows - concerning what he did during his brief (~1000 days) presidency. This was brought to light on reading an article by Robert Dallek on

'Why do we admire a president who did so little?'

The fact this insane gibberish could even gain a remote footing in a so-called "liberal forum" discloses how far we've fallen in our knowledge and understanding of recent national history. Well, given that two years ago a national history test showed that nearly 70% of graduating college seniors FAILED, this isn't surprising. Indeed, it doesn't make a difference whether one attends "Ivy League" schools or not, the results are all pretty dismal.

Dallek begins his article by writing:

"True, his brilliant handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis resolved the greatest Soviet-American confrontation threatening a nuclear disaster in the 45-year history of the Cold War".

Yet Dallek can't or won't process that by admitting this, JFK ALREADY had effectively done more than any ten presidents combined by the singular action of NON-action! Because, had Kennedy not used his brain and resisted the Joint Chiefs (particularly Gen. Curtis LeMay) , none of those other presidents would have been around to even be elected!

One wonders if Dallek or his equally clueles cohort even knows any of the background and how close we came to actual obliteration. Do they know that 90-odd IRBMs (intermediate range ballistic missiles) were actually ARMED and ready to be fired at U.S. east coast cities had Kennedy tried to invade or bomb Cuba ? (This according to a 1993 NBC Today interview with Robert McNamara I still have on tape.)

As per the article, 'Bomb Cuba! Le May Urged JFK', The Baltimore Sun, Oct. 26, 1996, p. 2A) Kennedy's Joint Chiefs, especially Air Force General Curtis LeMay and Lyman Lemnitzer, insisted Kennedy invade Cuba and take out the Soviet nuclear missile batteries and installations with bombs.

Kennedy was suspect, and at some deep level, understood a serious and monumental danger if he acted precipitously. He chose instead to initiate a naval blockade, even as Lemnitizer
then compared JFK to Neville Chamberlain, and referred to his actions as “appeasement”.

But had JFK carried out the JCS plans, all our then civilization would have been reduced to ashes. The U.S. bombing would have triggered the firing of 90-odd intermediate nuclear missiles on U.S. east coast cities, whereupon the U.S. would have rendered a nuclear retaliation on the Soviets, and vice versa. Given some 27,000 nuclear delivery systems- it is plausible that everything on Earth would have been reduced to cinders within a few hours.

For this alone, it is idiocy to claim "JFK did little"

Dallek, then, like so many ignoramuses before him, goes on to lay the Bay of Pigs blame on Kennedy:

"But his failed assault on Fidel Castro’s Cuban government at the Bay of Pigs....add to the puzzle about Kennedy’s high standing."

Clearly Dallek (as well as all other JFK critics for the Bay of Pigs) never read the CIA's own report that actually blamed the CIA for lying to Kennedy on this issue.

"Operation Zapata” (aka 'The Cuba Project') was actually initiated and developed during the Eisenhower administration and pushed on Kennedy. (Telling him it was in the national security interest to do it) Most of this didn’t come to light until the discovery of an internal CIA Report on the “Cuba Project”, which had been kept hidden for over 35 years. I first saw it in a Baltimore Sun article(, p. 6A, Feb. 22, 1998.), headlined : 'Internal Probe Blamed Bay of Pigs Fiasco on CIA’

And it went on to state:

The 150-page report, released after sitting in the CIA Director's safe for nearly three decades, blames the disastrous attempt to oust Fidel Castro not on President John F. Kennedy's failure to call airstrikes, but on the agency itself.

The CIA's ignorance, incompetence, and arrogance toward the 1,400 exiles it trained and equipped to mount the invasion was responsible for the fiasco, said the report, obtained by the Associated Press yesterday.

The document criticized almost every aspect of the CIA's handling of the invasion: misinforming Kennedy administration officials, planning poorly, using faulty intelligence and conducting an overt military operation beyond 'agency responsibility as well as agency capability'."

The actual document, which appeared in the book, The Bay of Pigs Declassified, edited by Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive, gave all the sordid details behind the scheme and how Kennedy got sucked into it. In particular, the Report noted that The Agency committed at least four extremely serious mistakes:

i)Failure to subject the project, especially in its latter, frenzied stages to a cold and objective appraisal by the best talent available before submitting the final plan to Kennedy

ii)Failure to advise the President, at an appropriate time, that the mission’s success had become dubious- and to recommend the operation therefore be canceled.

iii)Failure to recognize the project had become overt and that the military effort had become too large to be handled by the Agency alone

iv)Failure to reduce successive project plans (dating back to 1959) to formal papers and to leave copies with the President and his advisors, to request specific written approval, confirmation thereof.

Dallek then adds more grievous revisionist bunkum on Vietnam:

"and his expansion of the U.S. military’s advisory role in Vietnam and the toppling of the Ngo Dinh Diem government, which many see as the preludes to Johnson’s war, add to the puzzle "

But left unsaid by Dallek, Actually, is that it was actually LBJ who expanded the Vietnam war and theater, not JFK. JFK actually issued National Security Action Memorandum 263 to pull all personnel out by 1965, as per Freedom of Information Act released files. ('Documents Show JFK Planned Viet Pullout tby '65, The Baltimore Sun, p. 3A, December 23, 1997).

Meanwhile, after the assassination, LBJ issued NSAM-273 to retract and nullify Kennedy's NSAM -263, setting the stage for the Vietnam War ramp up - which was activated via the phony, alleged firing (in international waters) on the Turner Joy and Maddox in August, 1964.
Re: the Diems, it was the CIA that instigated their killings, not JFK. (See also James Douglass' chapter on this in his book, JFK and the Unspeakable).

Kennedy got his wake up call on who was controlling his government when, in an early September, 1963 meeting he was informed by a David Bell of AID (a CIA cover organization) that the funds from the Commodity Import Aid program had “already been cut off” – essentially assuring a coup would ensue with the Diem government in South Vietnam(JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, p. 192. )

Kennedy was evidently livid and directly asked Bell who had told him to do that, to which he replied, “No one” (ibid.). The will to power disclosed here indicates the CIA felt it more powerful than Kennedy’s government or his decision-making. If they felt that way, there is nothing that they wouldn’t do to prevent the President from getting in their way.

Kennedy, for his part (as Douglass notes) realized that the cut off of Commodity Import Aid would send a message to the Diems that they were no longer supported, and also signal their opposition that a coup was called for. JFK attempted to warn the Diems, but the CIA sabotaged the communications with the assistance of the then ambassador to S. Vietnam (Henry Cabot Lodge- who kept JFK's communications from getting to the Diems)

The CIA killed the Diems in cold blood on Nov. 2, which was actually the original day they'd planned to also eliminate JFK in Chicago - using a lone sniper named Thomas Arthur Vallee.
Had a phone call warning the Chicago FBI not been made in time, JFK would likely not have cancelled his trip there, and we'd be hearing only of Thomas Arthur Vallee and not Lee Harvey Oswald. As Douglass shows, using FOIA files, the call came from someone who only referred to himself as "Lee".

Now, what other contributions did JFK make in his short time:

1) He first proposed old age medical care operating under Social Security (MEDICARE)

2) JFK in his Inaugural made the original call to service ('Ask not...etc.) which led to the organization of the Peace Corps - which was headed by Sargent Shriver. More than 200,000 Americans (including yours truly) have served in over 57 nations.

3) JFK faced down the attempted price hike of steel (by U.S. Steel) by threatening them with no defense contracts if they went through with it. They never forgave him. Had he not done so, the economy would have been wrecked.

4) JFK established and promoted the "Alliance for Progress' to enable low-interest loans for Latin American American nations, thereby outraging the 'Street" and the other capitalist bastions of thought (e.g. FORBES) which believed this to be a "giveaway" to the third world.

5) In August, 1963 he outraged the extreme right fringe by signing the Nuclear test Ban Treaty with Nikita Krushchev. (They were particularly enraged at the ban on anti-missile systems) The Treaty stopped the regular atmospheric testing of multi-megaton bombs which had been delivering enormous amounts of Sr-90 for years.

6) In the fall of 1963, JFK took the bold initiative (though he knew the Southern Dems would later pay) to nevertheless federalize the Alabama national guard, to protect black students trying to attend academic institutions, thereby enabling integration.

7) JFK provided the initiative, vision and basis for the Apollo Moon Program, which energy not only drove the U.S. to achieve a lunar landing by 1969, but also revved up our academic system to retool to enable math and physics to be taught on scales hitherto unseen. We became a nation able to compete with the Soviets, instead of a nation left intheir dust.

No similar vision has been proposed, for such a mammoth project that engaged the imagination of the country, before or since.

It is time that more would-be pundits and pronouncers, before they purport to proclaim how "little" JFK did, appraise themselves of the historical record for once!

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