I never did much reading on JFK of the contrevercial topic of how he was murdered, but I happened to hear a radio interview with Ray McGover on my local NPR station.
This excerpt of Ray McGovern´s `KUOW interview is in response to a caller`s question that mentions the Oct. article in Rolling Stone by Robert Dreyfuss (The Generals' Revolt As Obama rethinks America's failed strategy in Afghanistan, he faces two insurgencies: the Taliban and the Pentagon) where Laurence Wilkerson (former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell) states that "It's going to take John Kennedy-type courage to turn to his Curtis LeMay and say, 'No, we're not going to bomb Cuba," when Kennedy resisted the pressure from the U.S. Military to take potentially provocative actions against missile sites in Cuba.
I would refer you, and all listeners to a very important book that was put out last year without much fanfare, its called ¨JFK and the UNSPEAKABLE¨. Its an increadably well documented review of all the evidence, including all of the recently released evidence on JFK`s assassination. What the author James Douglass concludes and the evidence is very, very presuasive, is that John Kennedy was done in by a cabal comprised of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, parts of the CIA, the FBI, and even the Secret Service. Now OK, yeah, I know what you thinking, that´s what I thoughtnwhen I resisted reading this book for a year, OK, but I just completed it, and what the situation there, and the reason why Wilkerson makes the comparison, is that when JFK was deemed to be kind of wobbly on the Soviet Union. After all he was talking privately to Khrushchev, and everybody knew that. When he wouldn't back up the invasion of Cuba, and the Bay of Pigs thing. When indeed he was tempted...not tempted but took the first steps to withdraw from Viet Nam. He was adjudged to be, you know, really soft on Communism, and they went after him and they got him. Now what's the comparison? Well look at Obama...
-Ray McGovern audio link
Well this really jumped out at me, and I knew if someone with Ray McGovern's background, expertise, and stature thought that it was credible, then I had to read this book.
Who is Ray McGovern?
Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern on Torture
Ray McGovern was a CIA intelligence analyst for 27 years. He presented regular intelligence briefs to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. McGovern retired in 1990. Since then, he has been a vocal critic of U.S. policies. He spoke out against intelligence failures in the lead–up to the war in Iraq. He also co–founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in 2003. McGovern remains outspoken on matters including torture, 9/11, and America's relations with Israel.
The book proved to be a work of meticulous scholarship, exhaustively documented, compiled over 15 years of research. The author has a background of publishing books on Catholic theology, pacifism and nonviolence. This quote comes from the book's dust jacket.
"With penetrating insight and unswerving integrity Douglass probes the fundamental truths about JFK's assassination....By far the the most important book yet written on the subject."
-Gaeton Fonzi, former Staff investigator, US House Select Committee on Assassinations
I haven't read the other books but after reading this one by Douglass I suspect that this book is a watershed, a foundation to a new understanding of JKK's presidency, and how and why that presidency was brought to an abrupt end. Douglass's analysis creates a new understanding of the sobering effects of staring into the abyss during the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962 had on not only JFK but his counterpart Khrushchev as well. How following the Missile Crisis both leaders put their efforts into seek a peaceful solutions over of the options each leader's military and national security establishments were pushing them to peruse.
Kennedy was not even fully aware of some of the deliberately provocative things his military did at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis that could have triggered a nuclear war. Things like test firing a ICBM from California, and having the nuclear armed strategic bombers of SAC flying past their accustomed turn around points heading towards the Soviet Union. Kennedy's resisted the Pentagon's pressure to utilize the US's perceived advantage in nuclear weapons to attack Cuba, or attack the Soviet Union and Cuba in a massive nuclear first strike. We know now that either of those paths would have led to a war that would have been disastrous for both sides.
Douglass writes about the sobering effects of staring into the abyss during the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962 had on not only JFK but his counterpart Khrushchev as well. How following the Missile Crisis, both leaders changed by near catastrophe put their efforts toward seeking peaceful solutions over of the options each leader's military and national security establishments were pushing them to peruse.
Instead both leaders start to reach out to the other, and move away from confrontation. An indispensable part of this was a "secret" correspondence between Kennedy and Khrushchev. The two leaders used trusted back channel intermediaries to communicate directly. This built up trust and eventually bore the fruit with the two superpowers agreeing to a limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in a relatively short short time after the Cuban Missile Crisis. This Treaty was the first step towards arms control by the rival superpowers.
In a June 1963 Kennedy gave a visionary speech at American University that set a US goal of world peace. Here are a couple of excerpts:
...I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived--yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.
What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children--not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women--not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.
Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles--which can only destroy and never create--is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.
I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war--and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.
Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace-- based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions--on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace--no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process--a way of solving problems.
With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor--it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors.
So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.
No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity. But we can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements--in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of courage.
Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation's territory, including nearly two thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland--a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.
Today, should total war ever break out again--no matter how--our two countries would become the primary targets. It is an ironic but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the cold war, which brings burdens and dangers to so many nations, including this Nation's closest allies--our two countries bear the heaviest burdens. For we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counterweapons.
In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours--and even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.
So, let us not be blind to our differences--but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.
In the speech Kennedy issues a challenge to Khrushchev by promising that the U.S. would not be the first country to return to atmospheric nuclear tests. This kick started the negotiations that concluded with the Teat Ban Treaty. Kennedy then campaigned publicly for the passage of the treaty in Congress with a political coalition that included labor and peace groups. Then during a time of food shortage in the USSR Kennedy took a bold step, and sold U.S. wheat to the Soviets. When he was murdered JFK was taking the first steps to establish a dialogue with Castro.
This speech also called for complete disarmament as an ultimate goal. Khrushchev in an unusual step allowed this remarkable Kennedy speech to be broadcast to the Russian People. In the US the media downplayed the speech. Ironically probably more Russians heard this Kennedy speech than Americans did. Then during a time of food shortages in the USSR Kennedy took the bold step of selling the Soviets U.S. wheat.
Kennedy had decided to start withdrawing U.S. forces from Viet Nam, with a goal of withdrawing all U.S. forces by the end of 1965, after the 1964 election. (Instead LBJ ran as the "peace" candidate in 1964 while he planed to send a large military force into South Viet Nam following the election.)
Kennedy along with Khrushchev were on a policy trajectory that would have put an early end to the Cold War.
This all was too radical a vision for the cold warriors holding positions of power in early 1960s America. Our own president had come to be perceived by the Cold War leadership as a threat to their idea of what was vital for the nation's security. Their response was to extinguish that perceived threat by murdering the US President. That assassination involved an elaborate effort coordinated by the Joint Chiefs of the Military, and the CIA, with the cooperation of the FBI, and even the Secret Service.
Douglass writes in JFK and the UNSPEAKABLE:
...the president's break with his military establishment was even more consequential than Khrushchev's. Kennedy's declaration of peace at American University, his successful negotiation of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, his opening to Fidel Castro, and his decision to withdraw from Viet Nam added up to a presidency that was no longer acceptable to power. Kennedy had traveled past the Cold War point of no return. His journey of peace would mean that that his soon experiencing firsthand the truth he stated at American University-that we are all mortal.
After the Bay of Pigs Kennedy remarked he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds¨.
Douglass catalogs not only all of the hows, but the why of JFK's death from every perspective now available through a multitude of sources. I would challenge anyone who has read ¨JFK and the UNSPEAKABLE¨ to call it theoretical. It is a historical watershed. Douglass confronts the "UNSPEAKABLE" present in the darkest chapter of American history. A Chapter with forces at play far more sinister than a partisan Supreme Court throwing an American election into the lap of their favored candidate.
I would even go so far as to say reading this book is essential to understanding the powerful forces that shaped America in the last 4 decades of the 20th century. Douglass' book got an average of 4 1/2 stars from 82 reviews on Amazon.
Now, in his statements Barack Obama has embraced the dream of a world without nuclear weapons.
So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. (Applause.) I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly –- perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, "Yes, we can." (Applause.)
The inescapable question has to be asked: Will Obama reach a similar point of no return as well?