In the discussion thread: Generals mocking JFK behind his back during Cuban Missile Crisis caught on tape... [View all]
Response to MinM (Reply #12)
Thu Sep 27, 2012, 12:04 PM
Octafish (37,048 posts)
22. Thank you for the heads-up, MinM! Interesting Times, indeed: ''A U-2 has been lost off Alaska.''
I look forward to re-watching those films.
Regarding Gen. LeMay, it may be he was doing a little freelance warmongering to speed up the communist removal Thing:
Lost in Enemy Airspace
It became known around the Kennedy White House as “Black Saturday”: the closest the world has ever come to nuclear annihilation. On October 27, 1962, at the peak of the Cuban missile crisis, with Strategic Air Command at defcon 2 and Soviet nuclear weapons in ﬁring position 15 miles from Guantánamo Bay, an American U-2 spy plane blundered deep into Russian airspace. In an excerpt from his new book, Michael Dobbs mines newly uncovered government documents, as well as the unpublished journals of the plane’s 36-year-old pilot, to reveal for the first time the full story of that 10-hour, white-knuckle flight.
by Michael Dobbs
Vanity Fair June 2008
Excerpted from One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War, by Michael Dobbs, to be published this month by Knopf; © 2008 by the author.
Returning from his midday swim, Kennedy passed by the Oval Office before heading up to the residence for lunch. The phone rang at 1:45 p.m. It was Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and the news he reported could hardly have been worse: an American U-2 spy plane had gone missing off Alaska and may have strayed into Soviet territory. This was more than just an unfortunate incident: the intrusion into Soviet airspace by an American military plane at the height of a nuclear showdown between the two superpowers was a dangerously provocative act.
Robert McNamara was tired. The past two weeks had been an ordeal. He slept on a cot in the dressing room of his Pentagon office, and had managed to get home for dinner only once, on Friday evening. He rose by 6:30 a.m. and worked as late as 11 p.m. or midnight. His sleep was often interrupted by calls from the president and his senior advisers. He was losing some of his trademark sharpness and no longer dominated White House strategy meetings with his crisp analyses and multi-point options.
The defense secretary was jerked back to the here and now by an urgent message handed to him by General Curtis LeMay, the chief of staff of the air force, with whom Kennedy clashed repeatedly throughout the Cuban missile crisis. McNamara looked at the message.
“A U-2 has been lost off Alaska.”
The Maultsby incident had one salutary result: it reminded both superpower leaders of the growing risk of an accidental nuclear war. The following day, October 28, Khrushchev announced that he would withdraw his missiles from Cuba. But in a private message to Kennedy he expressed alarm at the American overflight: “One of your planes violates our frontier during this anxious time we are both experiencing when everything has been put into combat readiness. Is it not a fact that an intruding American plane could be easily taken for a nuclear bomber, which might push us to a fateful step?”
According to his written reminiscences, Maultsby went to his death angry at the air force for failing to “give me a steer” as soon as it found out that he was off course. His bosses never told him how they knew that he had penetrated Soviet territory: the fact that the National Security Agency was able to intercept the communications of Soviet air defenses remained a closely guarded intelligence secret for many decades. The former U-2 pilot was also upset with the president for referring to him as the “son of a bitch” who never got “the word.” He blamed his navigation error on the aurora borealis. “I wish that S.O.B. was sitting in my lap during that whole ordeal,” Maultsby grumbled to his wife, Jeanne. “It wasn’t a stupid mistake on my part. It was an act of nature.”
We really are fortunate to be here -- me, especially, to have a Friend like you, MinM.
'Those of us who had worked for the Kennedy election were tolerated in the government for that reason and had a say, but foreign policy was still with the Council on Foreign Relations people.' -- J.K. Galbraith
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Replies to this discussion thread
|Norrin Radd||Sep 2012||#2|
|loli phabay||Sep 2012||#14|
Thank you for the heads-up, MinM! Interesting Times, indeed: ''A U-2 has been lost off Alaska.''
|loli phabay||Sep 2012||#28|
|loli phabay||Sep 2012||#30|
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