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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 06:12 PM
Original message
'Arrogant' CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam

A bit of history from the last weeks of President Kennedy's life,
courtesy of The Education Forum by DUer John Simkin :


'Arrogant' CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam

Richard Starnes
The Washington Daily News, Wednesday, October 2, 1963, p.3

SAIGON, Oct.2 - The story of the Central Intelligence Agency's role in South Viet Nam is a dismal chronicle of bureaucratic arrogance, obstinate disregard of orders, and unrestrained thirst for power.

Twice the CIA flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, according to a high United States source here.

In one of these instances the CIA frustrated a plan of action Mr. Lodge brought with him from Washington because the agency disagreed with it.

This led to a dramatic confrontation between Mr. Lodge and John Richardson, chief of the huge CIA apparatus here. Mr. Lodge failed to move Mr. Richardson, and the dispute was bucked back to Washington. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and CIA Chief John A. McCone were unable to resolve the conflict, and the matter is now reported to be awaiting settlement by President Kennedy.

It is one of the developments expected to be covered in Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's report to Mr. Kennedy.

Others Critical, Too

Other American agencies here are incredibly bitter about the CIA.

"If the United States ever experiences a 'Seven Days in May' it will come from the CIA, and not from the Pentagon," one U.S. official commented caustically.

("Seven Days in May" is a fictional account of an attempted military coup to take over the U.S. Government.)

CIA "spooks" (a universal term for secret agents here) have penetrated every branch of the American community in Saigon, until non-spook Americans here almost seem to be suffering a CIA psychosis.

An American field officer with a distinguished combat career speaks angrily about "that man at headquarters in Saigon wearing a colonel's uniform." He means the man is a CIA agent, and he can't understand what he is doing at U.S. military headquarters here, unless it is spying on other Americans.

Another American officer, talking about the CIA, acidly commented: "You'd think they'd have learned something from Cuba but apparently they didn't."

Few Know CIA Strength

Few people other than Mr. Richardson and his close aides know the actual CIA strength here, but a widely used figure is 600. Many are clandestine agents known only to a few of their fellow spooks.

Even Mr. Richardson is a man about whom it is difficult to learn much in Saigon. He is said to be a former OSS officer, and to have served with distinction in the CIA in the Philippines.

A surprising number of the spooks are known to be involved in their ghostly trade and some make no secret of it.

"There are a number of spooks in the U.S. Information Service, in the U.S. Operations mission, in every aspect of American official and commercial life here, " one official - presumably a non-spook - said.

"They represent a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone," he added.

Coupled with the ubiquitous secret police of Ngo Dinh Nhu, a surfeit of spooks has given Saigon an oppressive police state atmosphere.

The Nhu-Richardson relationship is a subject of lively speculation. The CIA continues to pay the special forces which conducted brutal raids on Buddhist temples last Aug. 21, altho in fairness it should be pointed out that the CIA is paying these goons for the war against communist guerillas, not Buddhist bonzes (priests).

Hand Over Millions

Nevertheless, on the first of every month, the CIA dutifully hands over a quarter million American dollars to pay these special forces.

Whatever else it buys, it doesn't buy any solid information on what the special forces are up to. The Aug. 21 raids caught top U.S. officials here and in Washington flat-footed.

Nhu ordered the special forces to crush the Buddhist priests, but the CIA wasn't let in on the secret. (Some CIA button men now say they warned their superiors what was coming up, but in any event the warning of harsh repression was never passed to top officials here or in Washington.)

Consequently, Washington reacted unsurely to the crisis. Top officials here and at home were outraged at the news the CIA was paying the temple raiders, but the CIA continued the payments.

It may not be a direct subsidy for a religious war against the country's Buddhist majority, but it comes close to that.

And for every State Department aide here who will tell you, "Dammit, the CIA is supposed to gather information, not make policy, but policy-making is what they're doing here," there are military officers who scream over the way the spooks dabble in military operations.

A Typical Example

For example, highly trained trail watchers are an important part of the effort to end Viet Cong infiltration from across the Laos and Cambodia borders. But if the trailer watchers spot incoming Viet Congs, they report it to the CIA in Saigon, and in the fullness of time, the spooks may tell the military.

One very high American official here, a man who has spent much of his life in the service of democracy, likened the CIA's growth to a malignancy, and added he was not sure even the White House could control it any longer.

Unquestionably Mr. McNamara and Gen. Maxwell Taylor both got an earful from people who are beginning to fear the CIA is becoming a Third Force co-equal with President Diem's regime and the U.S. Government - and answerable to neither.

There is naturally the highest interest here as to whether Mr. McNamara will persuade Mr. Kennedy something ought to be done about it.


ADDENDUM from Education Forum writer:

The most important consequence of the Cold War remains the least discussed. How and why American democracy died lies beyond the scope of this introductory essay. It is enough to note that the CIA revolt against the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy the single event which did more than any other to hasten its end was, quite contrary to over forty years of censorship and deceit, both publicly anticipated and publicly opposed.

No American journalist worked more bravely to thwart the anticipated revolt than Scripps-Howards Richard Starnes. His reward was effectively to become a non-person, not just in the work of mainstream fellow-journalists and historians, but also that of nominally oppositional Kennedy assassination writers. It could have been worse: John J. McCone, Director of Central Intelligence, sought his instant dismissal; while others within the agency doubtless had more drastic punishment in mind, almost certainly of the kind meted out to CBS George Polk fifteen years earlier.

This time, shrewder agency minds prevailed. Senator Dodd was given a speech to read by the CIA denouncing Starnes in everything but name. William F. Buckley, Jr., suddenly occupied an adjacent column. In short, Starnes was allowed to live, even as his Scripps-Howard career was put under overt and intense CIA scrutiny - and quietly, systematically, withered on the Mockingbird vine.

From Light on a Dry Shadow, the preface to Arrogant CIA: The Selected Scripps-Howard Journalism of Richard T. Starnes, 1960-1965 (provisionally scheduled for self-publication in November 2006).

As far as I am aware, the remarkable example (above) of what Claud Cockburn called preventative journalism has never appeared in its entirety anywhere on the internet. Instead, readers have had to make do with the next-day riposte of the NYTs Arthur Krock. The latter, it should be noted, was a veteran CIA-mouthpiece and messenger boy.

Dick Starnes was 85 on July 4, 2006. He remains, in bucolic retirement, a wonderfully fluent and witty writer; and as good a friend as any Englishman could wish for.

I dedicate the despatchs web debut to Judy Mann, in affectionate remembrance.


The Education Forum is an outstanding resource for those interested in President Kennedy, his administration, and his assassination.

From what we've learned in the last few years is that Lodge also was disregarding orders -- from President Kennedy.

More here:

Vietnam and Iraq Wars Started by Same People

Know your BFEE: Hitlers Bankers Shaped Vietnam War

JFK Would NEVER Have Fallen for Phony INTEL!
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. Papers reveal JFK efforts on Vietnam
In 1963, President Kennedy asked Averell Harriman, his Ambassador for Far Eastern Affairs and former business partner of Prescott Bush, to get word to the North Vietnamese that the U.S. wanted OUT OF VIETNAM and was willing to negotiate. Harriman appears to have ignored tabled the order...

Papers reveal JFK efforts on Vietnam

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff
Boston Globe June 6, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Newly uncovered documents from both American and Polish archives show that President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union secretly sought ways to find a diplomatic settlement to the war in Vietnam, starting three years before the United States sent combat troops.

Back-channel discussions also were attempted in January 1963, this time through the Polish government, which relayed the overture to Soviet leaders. New Polish records indicate Moscow was much more open than previously thought to using its influence with North Vietnam to cool a Cold War flash point.

The attempts to use India and Poland as go-betweens ultimately fizzled, partly because of North Vietnamese resistance and partly because Kennedy faced pressure from advisers to expand American military involvement, according to the documents and interviews with scholars. Both India and Poland were members of the International Control Commission that monitored the 1954 agreement that divided North and South Vietnam.


But the documents, which came from the archives of then-Assistant Secretary of State W. Averell Harriman and the communist government in Warsaw, demonstrate that Kennedy and the Soviets were looking for common ground.

They also shed new light on Galbraith's role. The Harvard economist was on friendly terms with India's prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and a close confidant of Kennedy's. Galbraith sent numerous telegrams to the president warning about the risks of greater military intervention.

Galbraith told the Globe last week that he and Kennedy discussed the war in Vietnam at a farm in rural Virginia in early April 1962, where Galbraith handed the president a two-page plan to use India as an emissary for peace negotiations.

Records show that McNamara and the military brass quickly criticized the proposal. An April 14 Pentagon memo to Kennedy said that ''a reversal of US policy could have disastrous effects, not only upon our relationship with South Vietnam, but with the rest of our Asian and other allies as well."

Nevertheless, Kennedy later told Harriman to instruct Galbraith to pursue the channel through M. J. Desai, then India's foreign secretary. At the time, the United States had only 1,500 military advisers in South Vietnam.

''The president wants to have instructions sent to Ambassador Galbraith to talk to Desai telling him that if Hanoi takes steps to reduce guerrilla activity , we would correspond accordingly," Harriman states in an April 17, 1962, memo to his staff. ''If they stop the guerrilla activity entirely, we would withdraw to a normal basis."

A draft cable dated the same day instructed Galbraith to use Desai as a ''channel discreetly communicating to responsible leaders North Vietnamese regime . . . the president's position as he indicated it."

But a week later, Harriman met with Kennedy and apparently persuaded him to delay, according to other documents, and the overture was never revived.


President Kennedy, Ambassador Galbraith and Prime Minister Nehru aboard the presidential yacht, Sequoia.

This ancient history, believe it or not, impacts us still. Ask yourself:

Why does the U.S. Treasury contain no money for health insurance or public education or jobs, yet finds plenty of money to be had for Wall Street and War Inc?
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-03-09 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. Tapes show Kennedy was conflicted over Saigon coup
DUer Ardent15 found this important article that I didn't see mentioned in today's Corporate McPravda:

Tapes show Kennedy was conflicted over Saigon coup

By BARRY SCHWEID AP Diplomatic Writer
Posted: 11/03/2009 11:12:22 AM PST
Updated: 11/03/2009 11:12:22 AM PST


Forty-six years ago this week, Vietnamese generals, confident they had the support of their U.S. allies, overthrew Diem's government in Saigon. But Kennedy, conflicted by a State Department green light to the generals in their coup, questioned the move.

"I don't see any reason to go ahead unless we think we have a good chance of success," Kennedy told his advisers a few days after the department's cable was sent in August 1963 to Saigon.

Audio tapes and transcripts of four days of White House meetings released this week by the JFK Presidental Library in Boston reflect uncertainty over what steps to take to try to bolster Saigon's government, riddled with corruption and out of touch with its citizens.

Diem, the South Vietnamese president, and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were killed in the coup. The assassinations were not discussed in the White House meetings, Kennedy Library Archivist Maura Porter said Tuesday.
While the released tapes showed his reservations, the tapes did not show whether Kennedy tried to stop the coup.

Cable 243 was transmitted by the State Department without the direct approval of key presidential advisers. It said "if Diem remains obdurate and refuses" to remove his brother, who was his security adviser, "then we must face the possibility that Diem himself cannot be preserved."

But Kennedy, according to a transcript, said: "I don't think we ought to just do it (the coup) because we feel we have to now do it. I think we want to make it our best judgment because I don't think we have to do it."


For 46 years, Corporate McPravda -- Cough, MOCKINGBIRD -- has made out that JFK wanted Diem booted out and killed.

The record now clearly shows, President Kennedy, in his own words, did not want that.

From DU:

Tapes show Kennedy was conflicted over Saigon coup
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 01:19 AM
Response to Original message
3. In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam
Imagine if Kennedy had run against Barry "Extremism Is No Vice" Goldwater as the "Peace Candidate" in 1964?

Ambassador Galbraith's son, James, makes the case JFK would not have committed the U.S. to an unwinnable civil war in Vietnam.

Exit Strategy

In 1963, JFK ordered a complete withdrawal from Vietnam

James K. Galbraith

Forty years have passed since November 22, 1963, yet painful mysteries remain. What, at the moment of his death, was John F. Kennedys policy toward Vietnam?

Its one of the big questions, alternately evaded and disputed over four decades of historical writing. It bears on Kennedys reputation, of course, though not in an unambiguous way.

And today, larger issues are at stake as the United States faces another indefinite military commitment that might have been avoided and that, perhaps, also cannot be won. The story of Vietnam in 1963 illustrates for us the struggle with policy failure. More deeply, appreciating those distant events tests our capacity as a country to look the reality of our own history in the eye.

One may usefully introduce the issue by recalling the furor over Robert McNamaras 1995 memoir In Retrospect. Reaction then focused mainly on McNamaras assumption of personal responsibility for the war, notably his declaration that his own actions as the Secretary of Defense responsible for it were terribly, terribly wrong. Reviewers paid little attention to the books contribution to history. In an editorial on April 12, 1995, the New York Times delivered a harsh judgment: Perhaps the only value of In Retrospect is to remind us never to forget that these were men who in the full hubristic glow of their power would not listen to logical warning or ethical appeal. And in the New York Times Book Review four days later, Max Frankel wrote that

David Halberstam, who applied that ironic phrase to his rendering of the tale 23 years ago, told it better in many ways than Mr. McNamara does now. So too, did the Pentagon Papers, that huge trove of documents assembled at Mr. McNamaras behest when he first recognized a debt to history.

In view of these criticisms, readers who actually pick up McNamaras book may experience a shock when they scan the table of contents and sees this summary of Chapter 3, titled The Fateful Fall of 1963: August 24November 22, 1963:

A pivotal period of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, punctuated by three important events: the overthrow and assassination of South Vietnams president Ngo Dinh Diem; President Kennedys decision on October 2 to begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces; and his assassination fifty days later. (Emphasis added.)


How's that peace dividend going, America?
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951-Riverside Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 01:23 AM
Response to Original message
4. Who does the CIA work for or answer to? n/t
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 01:31 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Eugenicists, War Inc and Wall Street
Capitalism's Invisible Army
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robertpaulsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
25. 'The Whole OSS Was Really Nothing But Wall Street Bankers '
Friday, July 3, 2009
"If You Go Back To The CIA's Origins He Explained, 'The Whole OSS Was Really Nothing But Wall Street Bankers '"

You've probably heard that the CIA is looking to hire laid-off bankers.

This is nothing new.

The long-time former executive director of the CIA - Buzzy Krongard - is a former investment banker.

As Krongard told the Washington Post in March 2001:

If you go back to the CIA's origins during World War II in the Office of Strategic Services, he explained, "the whole OSS was really nothing but Wall Street bankers and lawyers."

Yeah, this Buzzy Krongard:




Michael C. Ruppert

FTW, October 9, 2001 - Although uniformly ignored by the mainstream U.S. media, there is abundant and clear evidence that a number of transactions in financial markets indicated specific (criminal) foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In the case of at least one of these trades -- which has left a $2.5 million prize unclaimed -- the firm used to place the "put options" on United Airlines stock was, until 1998, managed by the man who is now in the number three Executive Director position at the Central Intelligence Agency. Until 1997 A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard had been Chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown. A.B. Brown was acquired by Banker's Trust in 1997. Krongard then became, as part of the merger, Vice Chairman of Banker's Trust-AB Brown, one of 20 major U.S. banks named by Senator Carl Levin this year as being connected to money laundering. Krongard's last position at Banker's Trust (BT) was to oversee "private client relations." In this capacity he had direct hands-on relations with some of the wealthiest people in the world in a kind of specialized banking operation that has been identified by the U.S. Senate and other investigators as being closely connected to the laundering of drug money.

Krongard (re?) joined the CIA in 1998 as counsel to CIA Director George Tenet. He was promoted to CIA Executive Director by President Bush in March of this year. BT was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1999. The combined firm is the single largest bank in Europe. And, as we shall see, Deutsche Bank played several key roles in events connected to the September 11 attacks.

But of course, we should trust the judgment of the 9/11 Commission that A.B. Brown did nothing wrong, even though they refused to name them as they absolved them of foreknowledge.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #4
14. The Global Fascists. More widely known around here as BFEE.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam
Edited on Wed Nov-04-09 09:53 AM by Octafish
Dr. King knew who was who and understood what was what:

Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam

Martin Luther King Jr.
Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967

The sermon which I am preaching this morning in a sense is not the usual kind of sermon, but it is a sermon and an important subject, nevertheless, because the issue that I will be discussing today is one of the most controversial issues confronting our nation. I'm using as a subject from which to preach, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam."

Now, let me make it clear in the beginning, that I see this war as an unjust, evil, and futile war. I preach to you today on the war in Vietnam because my conscience leaves me with no other choice. The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free." Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence is betrayal.


Now, let me tell you the truth about it. They must see Americans as strange liberators. Do you realize that the Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation. And incidentally, this was before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. And this is a little-known fact, and these people declared themselves independent in 1945. They quoted our Declaration of Independence in their document of freedom, and yet our government refused to recognize them. President Truman said they were not ready for independence. So we fell victim as a nation at that time of the same deadly arrogance that has poisoned the international situation for all of these years. France then set out to reconquer its former colony. And they fought eight long, hard, brutal years trying to re-conquer Vietnam. You know who helped France? It was the United States of America. It came to the point that we were meeting more than eighty percent of the war costs. And even when France started despairing of its reckless action, we did not. And in 1954, a conference was called at Geneva, and an agreement was reached, because France had been defeated at Dien Bien Phu. But even after that, and after the Geneva Accord, we did not stop. We must face the sad fact that our government sought, in a real sense, to sabotage the Geneva Accord. Well, after the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come through the Geneva agreement. But instead the United States came and started supporting a man named Diem who turned out to be one of the most ruthless dictators in the history of the world. He set out to silence all opposition. People were brutally murdered because they raised their voices against the brutal policies of Diem. And the peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States influence and by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown, they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace. And who are we supporting in Vietnam today? It's a man by the name of general Ky (Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky) who fought with the French against his own people, and who said on one occasion that the greatest hero of his life is Hitler. This is who we are supporting in Vietnam today. Oh, our government and the press generally won't tell us these things, but God told me to tell you this morning. The truth must be told.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support and all the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps, where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go, primarily women, and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the towns and see thousands of thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers. We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the United Buddhist Church. This is a role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolutions impossible but refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that comes from the immense profits of overseas investments. I'm convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be changed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation. It will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Oh, my friends, if there is any one thing that we must see today is that these are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. They are saying, unconsciously, as we say in one of our freedom songs, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around!" It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo, we shall boldly challenge unjust mores, and thereby speed up the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places straight. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."


A Real Audio file hosted here.

Thank you for also knowing, blm.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #14
19. ''Money Trumps Peace.'' -- George Walker Bush
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #4
22. The exact same shadow biz interests who run our entire political show, cause that's all it is...
A show, with millions willing to believe since much of the corporate culture landscape and climate of opinion is replete with both personal and professional inducements intended to coax as many as possible into abiding the un-reality.
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 01:38 AM
Response to Original message
6. K & R
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. Afghanistan as Vietnam: Heeding George Kennan's Wise Advice
It's like all deja vu, all over again, all the time with this War Party crowd.

Afghanistan as Vietnam: Heeding George Kennan's Wise Advice

by Ray McGovern
Published on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 by

I can't remember how many times I have said that the U.S. military adventure in Afghanistan is a fool's errand.

The reaction I frequently encounter includes some variant of, "How can you blithely acquiesce in the chaos that will inevitably ensue if we and our NATO allies withdraw our troops?" While the "inevitable chaos" part is open to doubt, the question itself is a fair one.

By way of full disclosure, my answer is based largely on the fact that I asked the equivalent question 43 years ago regarding a place named Vietnam. Been there; done that.


It was Dec. 12, 1965, and there it was on the front page of the "Outlook" section - George Kennan calling for a major reality check on our involvement in Vietnam, and arguing for what he called a "simmering down" of our military adventure there as "the most promising of all the possibilities we face." He wrote:
    "I would not know what victory' means. ... In this sort of war, one controls what one can take and hold and police with ground forces; one does not control what one bombs. And it seems to me the most unlikely of all contingencies that anyone should come to us on his knees and inquire our terms, whatever the escalation of our effort. ...

    "If we can find nothing better to do than embark upon a further open-ended increase in the level of our commitment simply because the alternatives seem humiliating and frustrating, one will have to ask whether we have not become enslaved to the dynamics of a single unmanageable situation - to the point where we have lost much of the power of initiative and control over our own policy, not just locally but on a world scale."
Kennan was harshly critical of those asserting that the U.S. had no choice other than to "live up to its commitments." Commitments to whom? he asked. More pointed still, he asked if the "commitment" was conceived as "something unrelated to own performance, to its ability to command the confidence of its people?"


Would that Kennan had spoken up more about Vietnam in early 1963. President Kennedy would've appreciated the help.

Thank you for knowing what it's all about, JohnyCanuck!
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 01:57 AM
Response to Original message
7. K&R.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. The Second Biggest Lie
Some people -- cough, journalists -- have a difficult time connecting the dots or anything else, for that matter.


by Michael Morrissey

The biggest lie of our time, after the Warren Report, is the notion that Johnson
merely continued or expanded Kennedy's policy in Vietnam after the

1. JFK's policy

In late 1962, Kennedy was still fully committed to supporting the Diem regime,
though he had some doubts even then. When Senator Mike Mansfield advised
withdrawal at that early date:
    The President was too disturbed by the Senator's unexpected argument to reply to
    it. He said to me later when we talked about the discussion, "I got angry with
    Mike for disagreeing with our policy so completely, and I got angry with myself
    because I found myself agreeing with him (Kenneth O'Donnell and Dave Powers,
    Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1970, p. 15).
By the spring of 1963, Kennedy had reversed course completely and agreed with
    "The President told Mansfield that he had been having serious second thoughts
    about Mansfield's argument and that he now agreed with the Senator's thinking on
    the need for a complete military withdrawal from Vietnam.

    'But I can't do it until 1965--after I'm reelected,' Kennedy told Mansfield....

    After Mansfield left the office, the President said to me, 'In 1965 I'll become
    one of the most unpopular Presidents in history. I'll be damned everywhere as a
    Communist appeaser. But I don't care. If I tried to pull out completely now from
    Vietnam, we would have another Joe McCarthy red scare on our hands, but I can do
    it after I'm reelected. So we had better make damned sure that I am reelected'
    (O'Donnell, p. 16)."
Sometime after that Kennedy told O'Donnell again that
    "...he had made up his mind that after his reelection he would take the risk of
    unpopularity and make a complete withdrawal of American military forces from
    Vietnam. He had decided that our military involvement in Vietnam's civil war
    would only grow steadily bigger and more costly without making a dent in the
    larger political problem of Communist expansion in Southeast Asia" (p. 13).
Just before he was killed he repeated this commitment:

    "'They keep telling me to send combat units over there,' the President said to
    us one day in October (1963). 'That means sending draftees, along with volunteer
    regular Army advisers, into Vietnam. I'll never send draftees over there to
    fight'." (O'Donnell, p. 383).


You have no problem connecting the dots, or jumping through hoops, to get to the truth, OnyxCollie. Thank you!
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 02:08 AM
Response to Original message
8. What luck for the people that wanted war that JFK got gunned down in Dallas.
He was never able to finish whatever he wanted to do to extricate the US from Viet Nam.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 07:38 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Yes an amazing coincidence n/t
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #8
27. A Letter to the American People (and Myself in Particular) On the Unspeakable (James Douglass)
A scholar's excellent summation of how American Empire got that way:

A Letter to the American People
(and Myself in Particular)
On the Unspeakable

Copyright by James W. Douglass
All Rights Reserved


In 1998 I interviewed a former official in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations whom I admire greatly concerning the assassinations of Martin Luther King and John and Robert Kennedy. At one point in that interview with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, I raised the question whether the official photos and X-rays of President Kennedys body corresponded to the Presidents wounds which the doctors at Parkland Hospital in Dallas saw immediately after he was shot.

Ramsey Clark responded that there was no question in his mind that the photos and X-rays were of Kennedy. Then admitting just a scintilla of doubt, he made the following statement:

But if theyre not , then you have something of a magnitude beyond common experience that would reflect so devastatingly on our society as a whole and its corruptibility that you dont know how to deal with it.

I think Ramsey Clark summarized beautifully a problem that is not unique to him but one we have as a people when we stop short and look into the abyss of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The cover-up of the Presidents assassination is marked by one act of criminal government malfeasance after another: the deliberate burning of the autopsy notes, the counterfeit photos and X-rays, the governments cleaning and refitting of the bullet-pocked and brain-tissue-splattered presidential limousine thus eliminating vital forensic evidence, the Warren Commissions magic bullet charade, Army Intelligences arrogant destruction of its Oswald file...What the cover-up reveals as much as the murder itself is precisely what that brother who once headed our Justice Department said: something of a magnitude beyond common experience that would reflect so devastatingly on our society as a whole and its corruptibility that you dont know how to deal with it.

Since I began researching the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and John and Robert Kennedy, I have been shocked by the obvious signature that is written across all four of them. It is the signature of what President Eisenhower identified as the military-industrial complex of our government. We can read that signature at once in Dallas in the identity of the scapegoat Lee Harvey Oswald.

On November 23, l963, Fidel Castro gave a speech on Cuban radio and TV in which he analyzed the wire service reports the day before that had instantly identified Oswald as the assassin. Castro asked brilliantly obvious questions about Oswald that have been suppressed in our own media for decades.

He asked:
    Can anyone who has said that he will disclose military secrets return to the United States without being sent to jail?

    How strange that this former marine should go to the Soviet Union and try to become a Soviet citizen, and that the Soviets should not accept him, that he should say at the American Embassy that he intended to disclose to the Soviet Union the secrets of everything he learned while he was in the U.S. service and that in spite of this statement, his passage is paid by the U.S. Government...He goes back to Texas and finds a job. This is all so strange!
Fidel Castro recognized CIA written all over Lee Harvey Oswald and the press releases on him that were being sent around the world within minutes of the assassination. The whole Dallas set-up was obvious to someone as familiar with CIA assassination plots as Fidel Castro was.

When Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in Dallas after the assassination, he was carrying a Department of Defense ID card that is routinely issued to U.S. intelligence agents abroad. The FBI later obliterated the card by testing it but writer Mary La Fontaine discovered a copy of it in l992 in a Dallas Police Department photo. Oswald had been a radar operator for the CIAs U-2 spy plane while he was a Marine stationed at Atsugi Naval Air Station in Japan. The Atsugi base served as the CIAs center for its Far East operations. His fellow Marines David Bucknell and James Botelho said that when Oswald defected to the Soviet Union, he did so under the direction of U.S. intelligence. The professed traitor Oswald was given a U.S.-government loan to assist his return from the USSR. When he settled in Dallas, his closest friend and mentor was longtime U.S. intelligence operative George DeMohrenschildt.

The more one investigates the assassination of John Kennedy, the more one becomes immersed in the depths of U.S. intelligence. The American intelligence community was the sea around Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and the host of anti-Castro Cuban exiles and gun runners with whom Oswald and Ruby worked closely.

John F. Kennedy was murdered because he was turning, in the root biblical sense of the word turning --- teshuvah in the Hebrew Scriptures, metanoia in the Greek, repentance in English. John Kennedy was murdered because as president of the United States he had begun to turn away from, to repent from, his own complicity with the worst of U.S. imperialism. As a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy was exploring a policy of peace with the USSR and Cuba. He and Nikita Khrushchev had signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty. Quiet contacts were being made through the United Nations for Kennedy to negotiate with Castro on a new U.S.-Cuban relationship (a story told by Cubas then-UN ambassador Carlos Lechuga in his book In the Eye of the Storm and U.S. diplomat William Attwood in The Reds and the Blacks and The Twilight Struggle).

Kennedys best statement on his turn toward peace was his June l0, l963, American University address. It anticipates Dr. Kings courage in taking a stand against the Vietnam War in his April 4, l967, Riverside Church address. I believe they are parallel in meaning. John Kennedys American University address was to his death in Dallas as Martin Luther Kings Riverside Church address was to his death in Memphis.

When President Kennedy said at American University that the peace he sought was not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war, the priests of our national security state saw him as a heretic. When he went on in that electrifying speech to ask Americans in l963 to reexamine our attitude toward the Soviet Union and to reexamine our attitude toward the Cold War, those statements at the height of the Cold War were as courageous as Martin Luther Kings denunciation of his government at the height of the Vietnam War.

By the Fall of l963 John Kennedy had also decided to withdraw from Vietnam. Robert McNamara in his memoir In Retrospect has described the contentious October 2, l963, National Security Council meeting at which Kennedy decided, against the arguments of most of his advisors: l) to withdraw all U.S. forces from Vietnam by the end of l965; 2) to withdraw l,000 U.S. troops by the end of l963; 3) to announce this policy publicly to set it in concrete, which McNamara did at a press conference when the meeting was over. Ken ODonnell in Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye supplements McNamaras account by adding: When McNamara was leaving the meeting to talk to the White House reporters, the President called to him, And tell them that means all of the helicopter pilots, too.

After JFKs assassination, his withdrawal policy was quietly voided. In light of the future consequences of Dallas, it was not only John Kennedy who was crucified on November 22, l963, but 58,000 other Americans and over three million Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians.


Things haven't been the same since November 22, 1963. Our National Security State makes war when and where and on whom it wants -- regardless of what We the People say, do or vote.

Thank you for understanding what's going on and standing up to it, Selatius.
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Agony Donating Member (865 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-05-09 06:40 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. just finished reading: JFK and the unspeakable: why he died and why it matters By James W. Douglass
JFK and the unspeakable: why he died and why it matters By James W. Douglass

feeling like I was just run over by a truck, again. learn to love it
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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 07:49 AM
Response to Original message
10. Here's an interesting fact: Since its inception in 1947, the CIA has gotten exactly
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ieoeja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #10
16. What did they get correct? (nt)
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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. The Isreal i / Egypt/Jordan/Syria six day war.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #10
23. Thanks for reminding us of this book! Appreciate it. n/t
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-05-09 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #10
28. Who changed the coup into the murder of Diem, Nhu and a Catholic priest?
Agree completely: Weiner's is a very important book. The work chronicles the failures from the drunks running Berlin station, recruiting NAZIs infiltrated by the Soviets and all the rest through the present day.

You may also enjoy The Secret History of the CIA<[/i> by Joseph Trento who examines

Who changed the coup into the murder of Diem, Nhu and a Catholic priest?

From The Secret History of the CIA by Joseph Trento

Who changed the coup into the murder of Diem, Nhu and a Catholic priest accompanying them? To this day, nothing has been found in government archives tying the killings to either John or Robert Kennedy. So how did the tools and talents developed by Bill Harvey for ZR/RIFLE and Operation MONGOOSE get exported to Vietnam? Kennedy immediately ordered (William R.) Corson to find out what had happened and who was responsible. The answer he came up with: On instructions from Averell Harriman. The orders that ended in the deaths of Diem and his brother originated with Harriman and were carried out by Henry Cabot Lodges own military assistant.

Having served as ambassador to Moscow and governor of New York, W. Averell Harriman was in the middle of a long public career. In 1960, President-elect Kennedy appointed him ambassador-at-large, to operate with the full confidence of the president and an intimate knowledge of all aspects of United States policy. By 1963, according to Corson, Harriman was running Vietnam without consulting the president or the attorney general.

The president had begun to suspect that not everyone on his national security team was loyal. As Corson put it, Kenny ODonnell (JFKs appointments secretary) was convinced that McGeorge Bundy, the national security advisor, was taking orders from Ambassador Averell Harriman and not the president. He was especially worried about Michael Forrestal, a young man on the White House staff who handled liaison on Vietnam with Harriman.

At the heart of the murders was the sudden and strange recall of Saigon Station Chief Jocko Richardson and his replacement by a no-name team barely known to history. The key member was a Special Operations Army officer, John Michael Dunn, who took his orders, not from the normal CIA hierarchy but from Harriman and Forrestal.

According to Corson, John Michael Dunn was known to be in touch with the coup plotters, although Dunns role has never been made public. Corson believes that Richardson was removed so that Dunn, assigned to Ambassador Lodge for special operations, could act without hindrance.


The Secret History of the CIA. Joseph Trento. 2001, Prima Publishing. pp. 334-335.

Gee. Lodge, Harriman, Forrestal and Dunn. And none of them could find it in themselves to do what Kennedy ordered?
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 07:54 AM
Response to Original message
11. Whose orders?

Their purported constitutional superiors? Those are of secondary interests when the demands of class interests call. The CIA, like it's OSS predecessor, was pretty much entirely staffed by the upper class and it's children. They knew which side of the bread was buttered and acted accordingly. Anti-communism, interests of class, always trumped interests of state.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-06-09 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #11
32. Excellent point. ''Orders'' from the President and ''Orders'' from CIA's founders are another thing.
Thank you for putting it into words, blindpig. The orders seem to have emanated from the warmonger class "above," the Money trumps peace tradition, as they say.

In 2005, about 20 scholars attended a conference and discussed your question.

Virtual JFK:

Vietnam if Kennedy Had Lived

Part Two of a review by James DiEugenio


This book (JFK and Vietnam: Deception, Intrigue, and the Struggle for Power by John M. Newman) takes a leap forward. Because at the end of the conference a vote was taken on whether, if he had lived, Kennedy would have Americanized the war. Half the respondents said he would not have and would have withdrawn. Thirty percent said he would have escalated as Johnson did. And twenty percent said it was too difficult to say. (p. 210)

Let me add here, the discussion of the issue is quite wide ranging. As the film did, the book takes in the other opportunities Kennedy had to get involved in wars, which he refused to do. The authors put great weight on Kennedy's acceptance of failure at the Bay of Pigs rather than sending in American forces, which Admiral Arleigh Burke wanted him to do. As many commentators do, including myself, they see this as a defining moment in President Kennedy's presidency. In the document section of the book, they print three memoranda that depict Kennedy's reaction to the disaster he was led into by the CIA. Clearly, Kennedy went through a definite pattern after the Bay of Pigs: shock and dismay at his advisers, feedback as to what exactly had gone wrong, and how the debacle had now placed America in the eyes of its trusted allies abroad. In other words, he grew from the experience. And the book also notes briefly, the two reports that were issued as a result of the Bay of Pigs: the presidentially commissioned Taylor Report, and the internal CIA report by Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick. Both of the reports concluded that the operation was poorly planned and weakly reviewed. As writers like Paul Fay have noted, Kennedy vowed that he would never again accept the advice of his CIA and Pentagon advisers without grilling them at length and in depth.

What is important about this episode is that it occurs just seven months prior to the first dramatic milestone in Kennedy's conduct of the Vietnam War. In the fall of 1961, Maxwell Taylor and assistant National Security Adviser Walt Rostow went to Vietnam. They then delivered a report to Kennedy in late October. The recommendation was that, since the Viet Cong were gaining strength and Ngo Dinh Diem's position was weakening, the time had come for the USA to commit combat troops to the conflict. The debate on this issue lasted for over two weeks. It appears that the only person resisting the siren song of direct military intervention was President Kennedy. One of the real valued documents included in the book is what is probably the only set of notes taken on this debate. They are by White House military aide Col. Howard Burris (pgs 282-283). They deserve to be summarized and paraphrased at length. Here is the gist of it:

Kennedy stated that Vietnam is not a clear-cut case of aggression as it was in Korea. He says that the conflict in Vietnam is "more obscure and less flagrant." Kennedy notes that in a situation such as Vietnam, allies are needed even more since the USA would be subject to intense criticism from abroad. He compared the record of the past, where the Vietnamese had resisted foreign forces who had spent millions against them with no success. He then compared the situation in Berlin with Vietnam, saying that in Berlin you had a well-defined conflict whereas the Vietnam situation was obscure. So obscure that you might soon even have Democrats in his own party bewildered by it. Especially since you would largely be fighting a guerilla force, and "sometimes in a phantom-like fashion." Kennedy said that because of this, the base of operations for American troops would be insecure. At the end of the discussion Kennedy turned the conversation to what would be done next in Vietnam, "rather than whether or not the US would become involved." I should add, during the talk, Kennedy turned aside attempts by Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy and Lyman Lemnitzer to derail his thought process. Kennedy had learned his lesson well.

One of the most important discoveries in the volume is that in the mid-nineties, National Security Advisor Bundy had decided to write a book about his experience with Kennedy and Johnson over Vietnam. His co-author on that endeavor was at the Musgrove Conference. His name is Gordon Goldstein. The two had worked on the book for two years. But Bundy unfortunately passed away in 1996 before it was finished. Goldstein says that one of the great surprises he had in working on the book was that Bundy had virtually no memory of the debate in November of 1961. (p. 76) In fact, Goldstein says that Bundy was actually surprised at 1.) How hawkish he was in the 1961 debate, and 2.) How resistant at all costs Kennedy was. At this time, Bundy actually wrote a memo to Kennedy in which he recommended a force of 25,000 troops be sent because South Vietnam actually wants to be part of the USA! (pgs 280-281) How resistant was Kennedy to all this? When General Max Taylor tried to sneak 8,000 combat troops in for "flood relief" purposes, Kennedy consulted with an agriculture expert to prove you didn't need them for that purpose. (p. 77) After two years of delving into the record, Bundy had come to the conclusion that Kennedy would not have committed combat troops to Vietnam. As he told Goldstein: "Kennedy very definitely was not going to Americanize the war in Vietnam; and Lyndon Johnson very definitely, from the moment he succeeded Kennedy was going to do whatever it took to win the war in Vietnam, including sending US combat forces in large numbers ... " (p. 53, emphasis added. The phrase in italics is a key point I will return to later.) This now makes it unanimous. The three men in closest proximity to Kennedy concerning military strategy are now on record as saying that Kennedy was not going to commit troops to Vietnam: McNamara in his book In Retrospect, Taylor (pgs. 357, 365), and now Bundy.

Another point the book makes is that it nails Walt Rostow. As I said, Rostow accompanied Taylor on the Vietnam trip of 1961. Rostow was one of the biggest hawks in the White House up until Kennedy's 11/61 decision to increase the advisors but not to send in combat troops. This decision was memorialized in NSAM 111, in late November of 1961. Right after this, Kennedy got so tired of Rostow's memoranda suggesting further American commitment to Vietnam-like invading the north with a million man US armythat he took him out of the White House and placed him in the Policy Planning Department of the State Department. (p. 182) Now, Rostow writes his myriad hawkish memos for Rusk to read. And they seem to have had an effect. Because when Johnson took over, Rusk now became a real hawk on the war. (p. 154) But further, when Bundy decided to resign as National Security Advisor, he suggested two men to replace him: Thomas Hughes or Moyers. Johnson rejected them both. He placed Walt Rostow in the job. Johnson had to have known what he was getting with Rostow. Because he was around for the debates of November of 1961. He knew that the Taylor-Rostow Report recommended American combat troops. He had to have known that Kennedy argued eloquently and soundly against the commitment of combat troops. After all, Howard Burris, the man who wrote the memo containing Kennedy's argumentswhich I quoted from abovewas working for Johnson. So when LBJ rescued Rostow from his figurative Siberia in the State Department, he knew what he was getting. And he would have recalled him only if he knew that Rostow's agenda coincided with his own. Which was to escalate the war. (p. 175) In fact, when Rostow was appointed National Security Advisor, he told Johnson about Kennedy's "deep commitment to the independence of Vietnam from which he would not have retreated." (p. 152) According to Chester Cooper, Rostow looked upon negotiations as tantamount to surrender. Rostow wanted a simple goal: an independent South Vietnam. By 1965-66, the actual goal of both Johnson and Rostow was this: "Bringing the Vietnamese communists to their knees via continuously escalating the level of punishment they received from US air and ground forces until the communists gave up." (p. 179) This was nothing but a delusional fantasy. And Kennedy understood this in 1961 from 1.) His visits to Vietnam during the French imperialist war there in the fifties, 2.) Through his talks with MacArthur, and 3.) His conversations with DeGaulle.

After this November 1961 decision and the reassignment of Rostow, Kennedy went to Seattle and made a speech. This is the day after NSAM 111 is signed. He talked about how America had to be cautious on the world stage because any crisis might escalate into a catastrophic nuclear war. He specifically mentioned how the massive amount of US firepower could be rendered useless by guerilla warfare and infiltration. He then added that although the US could ship arms abroad, it was up to those peoples to use them correctly and for the right ideals. We could not impose our will on others, and there could not be "an American solution to every problem." (pgs. 287-288) These were wise and prophetic words, which Rostow and Johnson did not understand or even wish to comprehend.


One of the most fascinating parts of the book is the discussion of the role of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in Kennedy's administration. When Kennedy sent Rostow and Taylor to Vietnam in the fall of 1961, he seems to have understood what they would come back with. After all, JFK fully comprehended what Rostow was about pretty quickly. What I will discuss next reveals just how wise Kennedy had become and how smart he was at maneuvering the people in his own Cabinet after the Bay of Pigs. Almost concurrently with the trip by Rostow and Taylor, he also sent John Kenneth Galbraith to Vietnam. (p.129) He realized that what Galbraith wrote up would counter the Rostow-Taylor recommendations. It did of course. But Kennedy did not throw this report out for open discussion. He told Galbraith to give it to McNamara only. This becomes crucial in any discussion of Vietnam in the JFK administration. Because as the book notes, after the issuance of NSAM 111, the only person in the Cabinet who seems to understand what Kennedy is headed for is McNamara. And in fact, Howard Jones discovered that Roswell Gilpatric, McNamara's Deputy Secretary, talked about the fact that Kennedy eventually entrusted his boss with putting together a withdrawal plan. He referred to it as "part of a plan the president asked him to develop to unwind this whole thing." (p. 371) This began in earnest in 1962 when McNamara went to the Joint Chiefs and told them to put together a plan for withdrawal. As Jim Douglass wrote in his fine book JFK and the Unspeakable, the Chiefs dragged their feet on this one for a year. Finally at the so-called SecDef conference of May 1963, they presented a plan to the Secretary. He criticized it as being too slow. (pgs 288-291) After telling them to hurry it along, he had a taped conversation with Kennedy and Bundy in October of 1963. He told Kennedy the military mission of the US would be completed by 1965, and if it were not, the South Vietnamese would be ready by then to take it over. Bundy then interjects, "What's the point of doing that?" McNamara replies, "We need a way to get out of Vietnam. This is a way of doing it. And to leave forces there when they're not needed, I think is wasteful and complicates both their problem and ours."

The above ARRB declassified tape was heard and shown on screen in the accompanying film to this book. When played at the conference its effect was startling. (pgs 100, 124) Why? Because mainstream writers like Karnow and Halberstam had always depicted Vietnam as McNamara's War. Plus much of the documentation showing this as false had been concealed from the public. In fact, Goldstein actually asked, "Who is the Robert McNamara on these tapes?" To me the comment by Bundy"What's the point of doing that?"is the key. As Gilpatric explained, and Galbraith elucidated, McNamara was appointed by JFK to be his point man on the withdrawal. He was going to drive it home with occasional encouragement from Kennedy. This "back channel" idea was endorsed by James Galbraith, who talked about it with his father. John Kenneth Galbraith told his son that JFK often operated like this. In James Galbraith's words about McNamara at the conference: "Kennedy and he were agreed in advance that this was the course of policy they were going to follow. That was a position they didn't share ... with virtually no one else. They then imposed this, with McNamara playing the role of giving the argument he already knows Kennedy is going to accept, because Kennedy told him to do it." (p. 129) This concept was posthumously endorsed through Bundy. When co-author Goldstein talked to Bundy about why McNamara switched so quickly from endorsing combat troops in November of 1961 to being so dovish a month later, Bundy said there was only one answer to explain the apparent paradox. Kennedy had asked him to do so. (p. 125) In fact, McNamara was so immersed in making the withdrawal plan work that he asked the State Department intelligence group (INR) to give him more optimistic scenarios of what was happening on the ground. (p. 117) According to Newman, this was probably done because once the CIA and Pentagon realized Kennedy was going to withdraw, they began to change their intelligence estimates from rosy to pessimistic. And further, they backdated the revisions to July of 1963. (Newman, JFK and Vietnam, p. 425, 441 Gardner and Gittinger, p. 172) Realizing Kennedy's plan to use the false and rosy estimates to hoist them on their own petardthat is, to withdraw US forces since they were not needed anymorethe CIA and Pentagon began to fight back.

What this all says of course is that, as in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy understood that his Cabinet and military advisers were not giving him what he wanted fast enough. In October of 1962, he worked secretly through his brother Robert Kennedy, and to a lesser extent with Rusk. This time around he worked with McNamara, and to a lesser extent with Galbraith. With McNamara running interference, NSAM 263, ordering the withdrawal of the first thousand advisers from Vietnam was signed in October of 1963. (It should be added here that the death of the Nhu brothers in November of 1963 had no effect on the withdrawal plan. See page 372) The press release that announced NSAM 263 also stated that this first thousand troop draw down was part of a phased withdrawal of the major part of all US forces. And that withdrawal would be completed by the end of 1965. (p. 300)

Finally, when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Max Taylor wrote his memo on NSAM 263 to the service Chiefs, there was no mention about the withdrawal being contingent upon victory. (pgs 106, 110) This is a myth promulgated by anti-Kennedy polemicist Noam Chomsky. Virtually no one at this conference bought it.


As more information on this period is made public, the picture becomes clearer: JFK wanted out of Vietnam. The hidden powers-that-be didn't. Thanks for understanding, blindpig.

PS: As I live in metro Motown, I very much appreciate your moniker.
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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
17. K&R
side note:

never heard about Seven Days in May before.
looks like they made a movie about the book too.

i'll have to check both out.

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. JFK, FDR and 'Seven Days in May'
Interestingly, combat veteran Rod Serling transformed "Seven Days in May" from a novel into a screenplay. Lisa Pease reminds us what President Kennedy and President Roosevelt faced from Big Money and Great Power -- the spectre of treason.

JFK, FDR and 'Seven Days in May'

By Lisa Pease
February 24, 2009


The film "Seven Days in May" began as a novel by Fletcher Knebel, inspired to a great degree by Knebel's conversations with Gen. Curtis LeMay, President Kennedy's contentious Air Force Chief of Staff who was furious at Kennedy for not sending in full military support during the Bay of Pigs incident.

Additionally, LeMay infamously argued during the Cuban Missile Crisis for a preemptive nuclear first-strike against the Soviet Union, a move Kennedy abhorred.

One of Kennedy's friends, Paul Fay, Jr., wrote in his book The Pleasure of His Company how one summer weekend in 1962, one of Kennedy's friends bought Knebel's book to his attention, and Kennedy read the book that night.

The next day, Kennedy discussed the plot with friends, who wanted to know if Kennedy felt such a scenario was possible. Bear in mind this was after the Bay of Pigs but before the Cuban Missile Crisis.

"It's possible," Kennedy acknowledged. "It could happen in this country, but the conditions would have to be just right. If, for example, the country had a young President, and he had a Bay of Pigs, there would be a certain uneasiness.

Maybe the military would do a little criticizing behind his back, but this would be written off as the usual military dissatisfaction with civilian control. Then if there were another Bay of Pigs, the reaction of the country would be, 'Is he too young and inexperienced?'

The military would almost feel that it was their patriotic obligation to stand ready to preserve the integrity of the nation, and only God knows just what segment of democracy they would be defending if they overthrew the elected establishment."

After a moment, Kennedy continued. "Then, if there were a third Bay of Pigs, it could happen."


President Jordan Lyman: All right, Colonel. Let's sum it up, shall we? You're suggesting what?

Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I'm not sure, Mr. President: just some possibilities, what we call, uh "capabilities" in military intelligence...

President Jordan Lyman: You got something against the English language, Colonel?

Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: No, sir.

President Jordan Lyman: Then speak it plainly, if you will.

Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I'm suggesting, Mr. President, there's a military plot to take over the government. This may occur some time this coming Sunday.

Thanks for caring and understanding what we're really up against, Soylent Brice.

More info:

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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. holy shit dude, did you have that happydreams link bookmarked??
or was that a quick search?


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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
24. So much to learn, Octofish. I appreciate so much your encouragement to DU'ers to keep trying. n/t
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zinnisking Donating Member (294 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-04-09 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. I second that. n/t
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-06-09 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #24
30. I still find it amazing that so many don't WANT to know how and why this nation ended up under the
control of people like the Bushes. Some here act as if the GOP and Bushes' rise to power occurred in a vacuum.
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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-06-09 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
31. Check out the original movie, 'The Quiet American'
Edited on Fri Nov-06-09 09:21 AM by arcadian
The one with Audie Murphy. In the ultimate irony, the CIA got a hold of the script and changed it to better reflect U.S. foreign policy objectives in South East Asia. Graham Greene was pissed.
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