Author Topic: RFK Jr.: John F. Kennedy's Vision of Peace  (Read 6613 times)

echelon

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 80
RFK Jr.: John F. Kennedy's Vision of Peace
« on: November 24, 2013, 08:25:53 AM »
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. writes in the December 2013 edition of Rolling Stone (selected highlights).

On relations with the hawks in the military (and in his own government):

JFK's predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had finalized support on March 17th, 1960, for a Cuban invasion by anti-Castro insurgents, but the wily general left its execution to the incoming Kennedy team. From the start, JFK recoiled at the caper's stench, as CIA Director Allen Dulles has acknowledged, demanding assurances from CIA and Pentagon brass that there was no chance of failure and that there would be no need for U.S. military involvement. Dulles and the generals knowingly lied and gave him those guarantees.

When the invasion failed, JFK refused to order airstrikes against Castro. Realizing he had been drawn into a trap, he told his top aides, David Powers and Kenneth O'Donnell, "They were sure I'd give in to them and send the go-ahead order to the [U.S. Navy aircraft carrier] Essex. They couldn't believe that a new president like me wouldn't panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong." JFK was realizing that the CIA posed a monumental threat to American democracy. As the brigade faltered, he told Arthur Schlesinger that he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." [...]

About six months into his administration, JFK went to Vienna to meet Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev with high hopes of beginning a process of d├ętente and mutual nuclear disarmament. Khrushchev met his proposals with bombast and truculent indifference. The Joint Chiefs and the CIA, which had fulminated about JFK's notion of negotiating with the Soviets, were relieved by the summit's failure. Six weeks later, military and intelligence leaders responded by unveiling their proposal for a pre-emptive thermonuclear attack on the Soviet Union, to be launched sometime in late 1963. JFK stormed away from the meeting in disgust, remarking scathingly to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, "And we call ourselves the human race." [...]

My father was not exaggerating to Dobrynin the fragility of White House control over the military. During the 13 days [of the Cuban Missile Crisis], the president's hold on power became increasingly tenuous as spooks and generals, apoplectic at JFK's reluctance to attack Cuba, engaged in dozens of acts of insubordination designed to trigger a nuclear exchange. CIA spymaster William Harvey screamed at the president and my father during a White House meeting: "We wouldn't be in such trouble now if you guys had some balls in the Bay of Pigs." Defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who years later leaked the Pentagon Papers, reported, "There was virtually a coup atmosphere in Pentagon circles." Incensed brass were in a state of disbelief at what they considered bald treason by the president. Spoiling for a war to end all wars, Gen. Curtis LeMay, the man who pioneered the use of napalm against civilians in Tokyo during World War II, found consolation by allowing himself to believe all was not lost. "Why don't we go in there and make a strike on Monday anyway?" LeMay said, as he watched the crisis subside. [...]

For three years, that refusal to send combat troops [into Vietnam] earned him the antipathy of both liberals and conservatives who rebuked him for "throwing in the towel" in the Cold War. His critics included not just the traditionally bellicose Joint Chiefs and the CIA, but also trusted advisers and friends, including Gen. Maxwell Taylor; Defense Secretary Robert McNamara; McNamara's deputy, Roswell Gilpatric; and Secretary of State Rusk. JFK's ambassador to South Vietnam, Frederick Nolting Jr., reported a "virtually unanimous desire for the introduction of the U.S. forces into Vietnam" by the Vietnamese "in various walks of life." When Vice President Lyndon Johnson visited Vietnam in May 1961, he returned adamant that victory required U.S. combat troops. Virtually every one of JFK's senior staff concurred. Yet JFK resisted. Saigon, he said, would have to fight its own war. [...]

The Joint Chiefs, already in open revolt against JFK for failing to unleash the dogs of war in Cuba and Laos, were unanimous in urging a massive influx of ground troops and were incensed with talk of withdrawal. The mood in Langley was even uglier. Journalist Richard Starnes, filing from Vietnam, gave a stark assessment in The Washington Daily News of the CIA's unrestrained thirst for power in Vietnam. Starnes quoted high-level U.S. officials horrified by the CIA's role in escalating the conflict. They described an insubordinate, out-of-control agency, which one top official called a "malignancy." He doubted that "even the White House could control it any longer." Another warned, "If the United States ever experiences a [coup], it will come from the CIA and not from the Pentagon." Added another, "[Members of the CIA] represent tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone."  [...]


And in the final, poignant paragraph ... almost as far as anybody could expect a Kennedy to go in public:

JFK's capacity to stand up against the national-security apparatus and imagine a different future for America has made him, despite his short presidency, one of the most popular presidents in history. Despite his abbreviated tenure, John F. Kennedy is the only one-term president consistently included in the list of top 10 presidents made by American historians. A 2009 poll of 65 historians ranked him sixth in overall presidential performance, just ahead of Jefferson. And today, JFK's great concerns seem more relevant than ever: the dangers of nuclear proliferation, the notion that empire is inconsistent with a republic and that corporate domination of our democracy at home is the partner of imperial policies abroad. He understood the perils to our Constitution from a national-security state and mistrusted zealots and ideologues.

(Emphases added).

www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/john-f-kennedys-vision-of-peace-20131120


This seems to me to be the most outspoken contribution ever from any member of the family.  And it contains yet another plug from this author for James Douglass's The Unspeakable.

Stirring stuff.


TLR

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 216
Re: RFK Jr.: John F. Kennedy's Vision of Peace
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 09:43:16 AM »
That was very good. He actually mentions James Douglass'  book.

I can hear the right-wingers saying, Of course, RFK Jr. is an environmental wacko lefty, so we don't need to take him seriously. 

I wish Rolling Stone would gather all of their political articles from the last 45 years and publish them in one book. I remember in the November 1988 issue there was an article called "The Dirty Secrets of George Bush" by Howard Kohn and Vickie Monks, which I clipped and saved and later lost. It's not available online.