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JFK gravesite, May 29, 2013
Wreath at the JFK gravesite, May 2013.
Unsurprisingly, the past month has been saturated with JFK memorials and memories, as well as histories revised and re-revised on the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Dallas in 1963 when he himself was not yet 50 years old.

For those of us old enough to remember the actual event, or at least the actual event as shown to us on (mostly) black-and-white network television and in the newspapers at the time (of which there were twice as many as now), what may be most remarkable is how etched in our minds are those four days between the bullets finding their mark and President Kennedy's burial. Some will argue that the '60s began that dreadful weekend. Certainly the hagiography did. But nearly 70 percent of Americans alive now weren't yet born when the events took place.

What if they hadn't taken place? What if the Zapruder film had long ago been discarded because it contained nothing more notable than smiling Jack and Jackie waving to the Dallas crowd of well-wishers on a cool, forgotten day. What if there had been no swearing in of LBJ? No John-John saluting the funeral cortege in Dan Farrell's iconic photo? What if Kennedy had continued as president, not leaving office until January 1969, living to see Neil Armstrong on the moon and daughter Caroline as ambassador to Japan? How different would things have been, would be today, if butterfly wings had changed some small event that led to those shots never having been fired in Dealey Plaza?

There's been a gigaton of speculation about that for the past half-century. Here's a bit more from James G. Blight at Britain's New Statesman:

A previous project of ours, Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived (released as a film in 2008, published as a book in 2009), examined in some detail the distinction between counterfactual history, whose purpose, with few exceptions, is purely to entertain, and virtual history, which can yield important insights into history as it happened, and can lead to lessons applicable to the present and future. Virtual history requires the historian to move more deeply into the experience of a historical character (or characters) and/or events of interest. The focus is on what happened, how what happened forms a recognisable pattern, and why it makes sense to project that pattern cautiously into an account of the subsequent history that did not happen, but perhaps could have happened.

JFK’s well-documented record of his decisions on matters of war and peace is as astonishing as it is unambiguous. We now know that no American president was ever pressured more intensely or more often to take the US to war. His advisers lobbied him, attempted to intimidate him and schemed throughout his presidency to force him to authorise direct US military interventions.

The pressure was most intense over Cuba (twice, in April 1961 and October 1962), Laos (spring 1961), the Berlin Wall (summer and fall 1961) and in South Vietnam (twice, November 1961 and October 1963). In each case, Kennedy successfully resisted their pressure to intervene militarily even though, on each occasion, intervening would have been politically popular, at least initially. The declassified documents and oral testimony that have become available over the past quartercentury (much of it produced by our own research projects on the Cuban missile crisis, the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Vietnam war) are unequivocal – JFK was regularly out in front of his advisers in articulating what might go wrong if military force was used as an early option rather than, as he believed, an option of last resort, and how such action, if taken, could escalate into a disaster.

A half-century after JFK’s assassination in Dallas, we know that he was right, and that those counselling the use of force were wrong. This is because, during the past 25 years, we have gained access to a trove of important documents and oral testimony from former cold war adversaries: from Russia, Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere. We now have the data necessary to calculate with confidence the probable result if JFK had ordered, for example, the demolition of the Berlin Wall after 13 August 1961, when its construction by the East Germans and Soviets began; or the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam in November 1961 to an American war by despatching US combat personnel to South Vietnam; or an invasion of Cuba during the October 1962 missile crisis.

Had Kennedy caved in to his hawkish advisers on any of these occasions, the probable result would have been a disastrous war that would have been much bloodier and more costly than his hawkish advisers estimated. Today, we know what Soviet leaders were thinking during the Berlin Wall and Cuban missile crises, and what they were prepared to do in the event of a US military intervention.

As Blight notes, it's all speculative. But it's more than mere entertainment. In that history, and that alternate history, are lessons for the present and the future.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (122+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:03:35 PM PST

  •  so unfortunate that Niall Ferguson got in on the (9+ / 0-)

    counterfactual history cottage industry early, giving it a bad name in methodological circles, although aside from the delusions of 'baggers the remaining years of PBO's administration have useful speculative outcomes... the dominant success of ACA, peace in West Asia and Saharan Africa, meeting the carbon targets, a liberal SCOTUS....

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:11:25 PM PST

    •  The question is: would Goldwater have won in '64? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CoyoteMarti, Jeff Y

      That was the whole point of JFK being in Dallas on that fateful day; fear that a feud among state Democrats might give the state - and 25 electoral votes - over to the Republicans.

      Goldwater as 35th President: no Voting Rights Act, No Civil Rights Act, Vietnam?

      "Goodness and karma bat last." - Anne Lamott

      by Superskepticalman on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:33:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Look for a link to this (13+ / 0-)

    in my Top Comments diary for tomorrow night. I couldn't write about anything else, could I? (I was 14).

  •  Stephen King's recent book was neat (8+ / 0-)

    if not entertaining speculation on what might have been, (although there was some bizarre SciFi consequences thrown in there as well), and unfortunately he makes it appear as though it was a good thing that Kennedy died.

    •  That wasn't how I read it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, Buckeye Nut Schell, Nowhere Man

      Trouble in the book stems from two sources: trying to make the past something it was not, and focusing on history to the exclusion of living in the present.

      So ... my interpretation of the book is "don't dwell in the past" and "revisionist history is bad".

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:35:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was about to make the same comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM

      I LOVED that book, but the end was bizzare. He explains in the comments at the end of the book that two historians helped him come up with a lot of that world, it sounded god awful!

      It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

      by lawstudent922 on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:45:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have wondered how civil rights would have (9+ / 0-)

      turned out had LBJ not become president. Johnson really seems to have taken a moral stand and he had the practical congressional experience to bring it about. I'm not sure what would have happened had JFK lived.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:48:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Johnson was able to use JFK's martyr status (7+ / 0-)

        to do a lot of that stuff.  His death, ironically, may have served the civil rights movement more than what he might have accomplished as a normal president.

        But then, if JFK would have resisted escalation in Vietnam (which is a big if; there's tremendous dispute on that), much of the turbulence in American liberalism in the late 1960s doesn't happen, which has huge, huge implications for the direction of the country.

      •  Certainly LBJ (8+ / 0-)

        gained the power and prestige to push the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act through Congress after JFK's assassination.

        The War on Poverty, on the other hand, was Johnson reverting to his New Deal roots. I have deep doubts if we'd have gotten Medicare, Medicaid or the many anti-poverty programs of the Great Society under JFK.  When my biological parents divorced, I got my first job because of CEPAD, one of the Great Society programs that no longer exist. It probably kept my siblings and I from being split up and fostered out.

        "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. http://www.kynect.ky.gov/ for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

        by SouthernLeveller on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:38:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I feel the same. The Great Society was (0+ / 0-)

          a product of LBJ and the Kennediys didn't respect the vice president. He probably would have remained a largely untapped resource had JFK lived.

          "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

          by Lily O Lady on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:03:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The very last notes JFK wrote (0+ / 0-)

          on a notepad in the Oval before leaving for Texas had the word Poverty written several times and highlighted.  Notes are in the JFK Library.

          JFK tried to get his medicare bill thru Congress in '62, falling short by a vote.  He was going to try again.  And why wouldn't he -- it was a key part of his domestic program, and after the expected Dem victory in '64, he would be working with a more liberal Congress.

          Towards the latter half of '63, JFK privately predicted it would take up to 18 months for his entire domestic program to get enacted.  He turned out to be right.

      •  that is very interesting. LBJ had a solid, if (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        viral, Lily O Lady

        often secret record of supporting civil rights. And not just civil rights -- the War on Poverty was his also. He wasn't born rich and didn't identify with the rich and classy.
        So -- it's possible that if JFK had lived, we might have had far less substantial programs than Medicare, Medicaid, Headstart; maybe we wouldn't have had the amazing (and now endangered) Voting Rights Act, but maybe also no Vietnam war?
        I wonder if Kennedy's stance against war is because, unlike G.W. Bush and Cheney, he didn't view it as a video game. He had experienced the awfulness of war. Johnson, OTOH, though in uniform, was never in combat.

        While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

        by Tamar on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:42:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of that stuff would likely have happened (6+ / 0-)

          at some point, even if not in the same way or at quite the same time.  Civil rights, in particular, was exploding onto the national stage regardless, and the federal government was going to have to act eventually.

          It's also not just a question about what Kennedy would have done, but, if American liberalism took a very different path (one that avoids Vietnam), what future Democratic (and Republican, for that matter) presidents would do.  We often talk about what the Democratic Party would look like if RFK hadn't been assassinated, but JFK's living would have changed it a lot more, and quite possibly for the better.

          •  I'll give you civil rights, but I'm not so sure (0+ / 0-)

            about the social programs LBJ created. His legislative chops and common roots made him more likely to create the Great Society. Kennedy called on all Americans to support their government. Johnson knew that some people truly needed help from their government.

            "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

            by Lily O Lady on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:08:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Expanding social programs is a general liberal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lily O Lady

              ideal.  Whether or not Kennedy did it, a future president likely would have, in some form or another.  LBJ was hardly the only Democrat (or Republican, in ye old days) to be interested in that sort of thing.

              •  Who? Nixon? Maybe if Humphry had been (0+ / 0-)

                nominated and elected it could have happened. But the Powell Memorandum was written in 1971 and the rightward lurch begun. I'm not sure JFK, while compassionate, could understand how people might need to look to their government for help. I'm giving LBJ his Great Society.

                "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

                by Lily O Lady on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:35:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Are u unaware of JFK (0+ / 0-)

                  visiting with poor whites in WVA during the '60 primaries?  Quite a few in that state and unemployment was quite here there at the time, and he needed their votes.  He couldn't help but notice, and be personally affected by, the depth of their poverty.

                  Also scenes of JFK getting up early, before dawn, to greet the working man at his factory.

                  One of his first acts upon taking over as president was to increase the federal assistance to states for the needy to obtain surplus food.  Not a tax cut for the rich, but a needed govt step up in assistance for the poor.

                  Matter of fact, all the Kennedys have consistently been in touch with the plight of the poor.  Ted famously fought often, for instance, for regular and substantial increases in the minimum wage, along with battles for universal health care as a right for all.

                •  If JFK had lived, there wouldn't have been a (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jsmagid

                  President Nixon, most likely.  The whole direction of American politics would be different.

    •  I wouldn't call it bizarre - it's by Stephen King. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM

      He simply extrapolated what history might have been like if there had been no assassination.  What I liked is that the book focused on the known facts, and didn't include any 2nd gunman theories or Mafia conspiracies.

      I see you drivin' 'round town with the girl I love / And I'm like / Please proceed, Governor. - Dave Itzkoff

      by Jensequitur on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:40:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Red Dwarf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM

      did something similar.  They travel back in time, save JFK, travel forward in time to a dystopia, and after a conversation with a convicted JFK, he is convinced that the best thing to do is go back and assassinate him.  It is set up so that Oswald is at too high a trajectory and misses, but the lead character is on the grassy knoll. Basically the silliness asks the question of what would happen to the ability of the president to push legislation if his behavior and medical conditions became common knowledge.

      On a more serious note I think everyone needs to watch 13 Days.  Awesome film.  The drama with Stevenson(?) at the UN was incredible.  I have also read some of the book referenced in the film, The Guns of August, but I am not enough of a history buff to really get into it.

      What I cant really get into is a government that is competent enough or with enough motive to create a conspiracy of the depth that some suggest.  This morning of StoryCorp there was a recording of, I guess, a relative of the person who prepared the body and sat with Jackie.  I suspect that we are looking at an explosion in forensic investigation, something that did not really exist at the time.  From what I know the 1950's began an explosion really bore fruit in the 1970's, perhaps peaking with Quicy, if we allowed to go back to a bit of silliness.

      My father was certainly convinced that something else was going on, along with many people I know well over 50.  I suppose we might know more in 10 years of so.

      •  they already had the assassinate heads of state (0+ / 0-)

        setup already in place for Castro. All the players for the conspiracy. Ironically/sadly, Bobby Kennedy was running that directly or indirectly.

         They didn't have to set things up from scratch to kill JFK. The groups that wanted JFK dead overlap those that wanted Castro dead by a very large degree. That's the argument, anyway.

        I think wondering how and why JFK was murdered IS a serious note ('on a more serious note" you say. It isn't a joke to wonder who did it. IT is the biggest unsolved crime of the century or perhaps in all of American history even.) Unless you mean Red Dwarf, lol...there is silliness there but not in the topic.

        I point it out because I'm tired of people rolling their eyes at "crazy conspiracy theorists" and then dismissing them and am getting a bit of that in your post's lightness on the subject. The US government itself, the last time it officially "spoke", decided it was a conspiracy but did not name the players. The desire to figure out who those players were is only natural after the House Select Committee on Assassinations said it was a conspiracy.

        Sorry to be all vehement and all. The autopsy was botched and the doctors who did it were not pathologists. No one now disputes it was a debacle. And we can go from there.

        •  The key acoustic evidence from the HSCA... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          UbuRoi

          ...supposedly proving a fourth shot has been debunked many times over.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:26:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Up until a year ago, I used to be one of (0+ / 0-)

          those 'crazy conspiracy theorists' myself, both with regard to JFK and to 9-11. Then I read Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History and am now firmly convinced Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to assassinate President Kennedy.

          Bugliosi's book is that magisterial. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Do set aside some time to read it, though, as it is quite lengthy.

          I still retain some doubts about the official narrative re 9-11, especially Bush's remark to his CIA briefer on August 8 that the briefer had covered his ass. Just so flippant and insouciant and, of course, Bush was not compelled to answer questions under oath, in public and alone before the 9-11 Commission. Nor was Cheney.

          On a lighter note, if such is permitted, I would point out that the official narrative of 9-11 is itself a conspiracy theory, since it posits a conspiracy of the 19 hijackers and their various supporting elements. I'm reminded of that quip (attributed IIRC to Paul Thompson): "You can cal me a 'conspiracy theorist' if I can call you a 'coincidence theorist.' :)

        •  JFK was murdered because Oswald was mad about (3+ / 2-)
          Recommended by:
          Otteray Scribe, WakeUpNeo, ek hornbeck
          Hidden by:
          scoop, despaminate3000

          the Bay of Pigs.

          Oswald was a rabid Communist - he had gone to live in the USSR and even that experience had not opened his eyes.

          It is also worth remembering that Bobby Kennedy was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist angry about the US sending weapons to Israel. - http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          After his arrest, Sirhan said, "I can explain it. I did it for my country."[17] Sirhan believed he was deliberately betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel in the June 1967 Six-Day War,[26] which had begun exactly one year to the day before the assassination. During a search of Sirhan's apartment after his arrest, a spiral-bound notebook was found containing a diary entry which demonstrated that his anger had gradually fixated on Robert Kennedy, who had promised to send 50 fighter jets to Israel if he were elected president. Sirhan's journal entry of May 18, 1968, read: "My determination to eliminate R.F.K. is becoming the more and more of an unshakable obsession...Kennedy must die before June 5th".[13][17] They found other notebooks and diary entries which contained his growing rage at Zionists, particularly at Kennedy;
          M.T. Mehdi, then secretary-general of the Action Committee on American-Arab Relations, believed that Sirhan had acted in justifiable self-defense, stating: "Sirhan was defending himself against those 50 Phantom jets Kennedy was sending to Israel." Mehdi wrote a 100-page book on the subject called Kennedy and Sirhan: Why?[28]
          •  Uprated to counter the bots. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WakeUpNeo, ek hornbeck, Sylv

            I think this HR is a mistake. I heard the same story from the son of one of the high ranking Cuban politicians of the day.  He was convinced, and in fact my Cuban friend told me that many Cubans on both sides of the fight were really mad at JFK. The Castro people because the US had instigated the Bay of Pigs, and the patriots were angry because they felt betrayed. They understood they were supposed to have American support and didn't get it.

            Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

            by Otteray Scribe on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 11:15:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  You wonder if the US military (6+ / 0-)

    is still so hot to invade other countries and if Bush the younger just didn't understand that part of his job was to stand up to them.

    When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

    by amyzex on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:32:48 PM PST

    •  Yes. And, Yes. (16+ / 0-)

      The MIC exists for conflict.

      And W neither understood, nor cared. He is JFK's polar opposite.

      "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. But we can't have both." - Justice Louis Brandeis

      by flitedocnm on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:29:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The MIC, yes... (2+ / 0-)

        ...the Military itself (apart from a cadre of Dominionist general staff) not so much.

        "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

        by CanisMaximus on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:40:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obama faces the same pressures (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SouthernLeveller, Tamar, RainyDay, jayden

        Until recently, he's gone along with everything the MIC wanted.  

        Obama is fortunate in that today's post 911 MIC is able to  minimize US mortality (though not the financial cost) and manipulate public opinion so that political blowback is non-existent.  

        Perhaps in his second term, Obama will display more of the political courage to resist the pressure for unnecessary war as did JFK and subsequent Dem presidents.

        If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:17:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "A half-century after JFK’s assassination in... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLeveller, RainyDay, jayden

          Dallas, we know that he was right, and that those counselling the use of force were wrong."

          At least, some of us do.

          "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." --Townes Van Zandt

          by Bisbonian on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:20:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have to, sadly, agree with you. Two big (0+ / 0-)

          weaknesses of Obama at the start of his presidency were his lack of confidence and understanding of military and financial policies and his decision to rely on people who had a stake in bad old military and financial policies. Most of them are OWM who could have been in any administration, e.g. Clapper. Others may have been Democrats but of the Wall Street variety (Summers and Gaithner).
          In his defense, much as I love Hillary, I don't think she would have been any better. My guess is that she would have come on strong militarily because the Republicans would have gone after her for being (horrors) a woman and therefore wimpy. Actually, one reason I supported Obama over Hillary in the primaries is that I thought there would be too much pressure on her to be hawkish. Of course it turned out that there was that same pressure on Obama.

          While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

          by Tamar on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:53:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Half agree, Hillary would have been better (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jeremimi

            She had much more experience and enough confidence to make her own decisions, regardless of what her advisors recommended.

            OTOH, Obama was completely green.  He made no decisions on his own.

            If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

            by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:08:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  OBL-he decided against most others advice to (0+ / 0-)

              go after Bin Laden given the only moderate assurance that they'd found him. IIRC even Biden advised against it.

              I think that's a good example. It is the only one I can think of but it's a big one.

              Also how he refused to go at it alone and resisted pressure to go it alone around Libya and made it a real coalition.

            •  The pressure wouldn't have been necessary (0+ / 0-)

              She was a foreign policy hawk then and remains one to this day.

              The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

              by chuckvw on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:48:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Obama didn't pull troops out of Iraq? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sybil Liberty, viral, chuckvw

          Obama ordered military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities?

          Obama sent troops to Syria?

          "Everything" used to mean "everything". When did the meaning change?

          Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

          by Bob Love on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:17:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Obama also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RainyDay

      doesn't stand up to the hawks near enough.

      "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. http://www.kynect.ky.gov/ for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

      by SouthernLeveller on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:39:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Bush the younger" was dying to invade Iraq. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, chuckvw

      My memory is that the military wasn't that happy with the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld war.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:45:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In April of 2001 Bush said "Being CiC is easy - (4+ / 0-)

      you just listen to your generals."

      Of course when General Shinsecki told him invading and holding Iraq would take 300,000 troops, Bush retired him.

      Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

      by Bob Love on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:12:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you so much for this, MB. (35+ / 0-)

    If President Kennedy had listened to his Joint Chiefs of Staff, much of the earth would still be a radioactive ruin.

    We were damn lucky to have him when we did.

    There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    by Onomastic on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:35:21 PM PST

  •  Unfortunately LBJ didn't resist the same advisers (8+ / 0-)

    who pushed both presidents toward war.

    Kennedy, I believe, had the self-confidence that LBJ lacked to both resist the Joint Chiefs and to find a way to make decisions that would lead us toward peace---not war.

    Nixxon was similarly lacking. But that's another story.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:42:22 PM PST

    •  See for instance McNamara and McGeorge Bundy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, YucatanMan, Meteor Blades

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:53:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The big difference was that Johnson (13+ / 0-)

      was an entrenched beltway insider accustomed to listening to the Pentagon and others.  JFK was a relative outsider who learned the hard way, with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, that the Pentagon and beltway insiders generally were full of shit.

      He picked great personal advisers and listened to their advice and insights.  He also brought a fresh perspective and a new way to do business in Washington.  It showed.

      It's sad to think of everything he could have accomplished.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:26:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and as I said earlier, he had been in combat and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Puddytat, laurnj, jplanner

        probably didn't think of it as glorious.

        While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

        by Tamar on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:56:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  like Chuck Hagel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tamar

          I remember during his confirmation how reluctant he was to go to war. He wants to be very sure something is absolutely necessary before he sends young Americans in to die. I was very happy in hearing that. No one could call him a coward, he'd been there. And learned something. Eisenhower as President, I've read somewhere recently, was appropriately reluctant in a similar way.

    •  Pursuing peaceful diplomacy is difficult (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      laurnj, willyr

      but well worth the effort.  It requires a great deal of skill, focus, strategy, good communications skills, vision and patience, among other things.  

      It also requires a POTUS be willing to ignore critics and be willing to make difficult decisions.   It's a rare politician who has that level of intelligence and good judgment.

      If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:38:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think Obama has gotten better with this over (0+ / 0-)

        time. He's done well resisting the pressure to get all military with Iran. He took his time in Syria (much to the dismay of my husband who has been complaining bitterly about it) which I think was exactly right. His engagement in Libya was much more subtle and thoughtful than anything this country has done --- well ever?

        While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

        by Tamar on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:58:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He should have waited a few more terms (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          atana

          before running.  He wasn't ready for the job and, as such, his legacy will suffer.

          Of course, that was his choice.

          If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:03:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think he thought the timing was right/ripe (0+ / 0-)

            for him to win, the country was ready.

            I think he had a worse deck stacked against him than many other Presidents. I see what you mean but also know their are huge mitigating circumstances. Worst recession since Depression for example. It seems there is more political upheaval and change in other countries/regions than usual, such as the Arab Spring (huge). And then he did inherit two wars and associated tax cuts. Much easier not to cut taxes in the first place than raise them later. It may be partly my perception but it does seem to me that Obama had a much harder job. Part of it of course is unprecedented opposition in Congress (first term from the start Reps pledged to block everything Obama wanted no matter what its merit. That never happened before).

            I don't think Clinton for example had this much on his plate when he took office. GWB didn't when he first came in.

            •  didn't see your comment before the rec-time-limit (0+ / 0-)

              kicked in, but it deserves a big recommendation. I think you nailed it.

              While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

              by Tamar on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 11:15:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  LBJ- I will not seek the nomination (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CharlesInCharge

      I remember the TV broadcast, of LBJ, saying that he would not seek the nomination nor serve if nominated for President for his first term. What  I saw  was a tired, broken man.  I know the presidency ages men faster but his face looked so haggard and old.   I wonder if the Vietnam experience and his escalation of it, a trap Jack Kennedy didn't fall into, weighed on his soul.  Just speculation but a picture is worth a thousand words.

      •  Kudos to you for the mention. We know Vietnam (0+ / 0-)

        weighed on LBJ's soul, b/c after Cronkite's post-Tet 'stalemate' speech, LBJ turned to an aide and said, "If we've lost Cronkite, we've lost America."

        That's in addition to all the conversations that have come to liight between LBJ and various poiticians like GA Senator Richard Russell where he mourns the quagmire he knows he's entering but somehow cannot resist the pull of the Big Muddy.

      •  LBJ feared he'd be blamed for "losing Vietnam" (0+ / 0-)

        to the Communists if he pulled out. He was deeply scarred by McCarthyism and the "who lost China" fiasco, and viewed 60s politics through that lens.

        When we actually left Vietnam in the 70s, the country was so glad to be rid of it that we basically forgot about it for a few years.

        Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here: http://bettysrants.wordpress.com

        by Kimball Cross on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:20:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  America and the world would be radically different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, Just Bob

    Johnson and his Vietnam build up brought us Reagan IMO.  And Reagan brought us "blue dogs" and "blue dogs" got us W. I believe nothing like this would have happened if JFK was not assassinated.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:54:01 PM PST

    •  It really is extremely hard to predict (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hester, Shockwave, CharlesInCharge

      these sorts of things.

      Who knows what might have happened.   One could argue that much of the Kennedy's legacy was fulfilled by Johnson which is what I believe.   Kennedy was good at thinking long term and setting a vision but might not have been able to get the legislation passed while Johnson wasn't so much a visionary but was excellent at getting bills passed through Congress.

  •  Trying to recall a science fiction show/movie (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, artmartin

    where someone from the future substituted himself through some sort of transporter technology at the final instant so that JFK would be sent to the future where he would be a professor and have fulfillment of his promise as a leader and thinker.  Was this a Twilight Zone episode?

  •  Kind of ironic that he's buried in the shadow (5+ / 0-)

    of Robert E Lee's old house, seized by the federal government during the Civil War for use to bury war dead (that's it on top of the hill behind the wreath in the photo above, although technically it belonged to his wife, Martha Custis, who was a descendant of and was bequeathed it from Martha Washington).

    Ironic because JFK was a WWII war hero who died in a former Confederacy state 100 years and 3 days after the Gettysburg Address was delivered, by a president who himself would be assassinated less than a year and a half later, while Lee was a traitor who suffered his worst defeat at Gettysburg, who had things gone differently might himself have been president someday.

    American history is full of such ironies. Anyway, what can one say on this day, except that had he lived, things might have gone better. Or not. Who knows.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:04:34 PM PST

  •  Thank you for this. (5+ / 0-)

    I remember reading in a book that one of the last orders JFK gave was to start pulling US advisers out of Vietnam and one of the first things LBJ did was stop the order. It said that after the Bay of Pigs JFK lost all appetite for conflict. I also think that, because JFK was actually in combat, he was super cautious about sending young men off to war. Wish I could remember the book.
    What a family the Kennedys were/are. Joe, the oldest son killed in a bombing run. JFK severely wounded. All avoidable with their wealth.

    I remember Mom crying when John and then Bobby were murdered.

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:06:13 PM PST

  •  Did Dubya learn? (0+ / 0-)

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:08:19 PM PST

  •  Stephen King posited a very grim "what if" (0+ / 0-)

    11/22/63

    Probably not too surprising, that.

  •  Blight's piece shows why conspiracy theories stick (9+ / 0-)

    Since JFK was gunned down the U.S. has been dragged into conflict after conflict with only a few years of peace.

    Coincidence?

    Most likely, but it sure doesn't feel that way. It feels like our peace loving nation was hijacked and turned into a war loving empire.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:18:32 PM PST

    •  I Have an Uninformed Hypothesis That the M-I-C (7+ / 0-)

      looked at Ike pulling out of N Korea and JFK reneging on Bay of Pigs and refusing to fight over the Cuban missiles, and it vowed to itself "never again."

      Just from a feeling, I think they may have decided they weren't going to take this civilian bullshit any longer.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:29:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I recently saw a Nova program on the (7+ / 0-)

      assassination itself, and came away convinced that there was probably a single shooter and that it was probably Oswald. However, that doesn't explain motivation, and whether he acted on his own, or there was more to it. So many people hated JFK and his family and there was so much mystery and weirdness surrounding the whole thing even without Oliver Stone trying to shove it in your face. We'll never really know, even if we do know.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:32:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw that same excellent show on Nova (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kovie

        and also came away convinced for the first time in my life that it was a single gunman and the magic bullet truly was "magic".

        The preceding two nights on Nova had shows on JFK's life which I also thought were well done.

        •  Not magic, but physics (4+ / 0-)

          There were three shots. The first missed, the second passed through JFK, the front seat and Connolly, and the third took off part of JFK's head and was the kill shot. All three bullets did what you'd expect them to do per their materials, design and rate and the nature of the things they passed through.

          The only mystery was how Oswald got off all three rounds so quickly with that rifle, a bolt action design that was hard to fire this rapidly, AND be so accurate on the second two shots. But he did have excellent marksmanship scores as a Marine and apparently regularly practiced dry shooting and reloading with it.

          To me, the real mystery is the backstory that led to his actions. Did he act alone, or was there a lot more to it? It's hard to believe that he did.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:16:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's more than one kind of "conspiracy"-- (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Betty Pinson

            there's conspiracy to act, and there can also be conspiracy to enable.

            The evidence is pretty overwhelming that Oswald was the lone gunman and was acting on his own volition. But what hasn't been discussed enough is the possibility that J Edgar Hoover knew Oswald was stalking JFK and did nothing to alert Kennedy.

            •  LIHOP? (0+ / 0-)

              I honestly have never studied the whole thing enough to be able to decide for myself, mostly because the data and theories are overwhelming and in the end it doesn't really matter because it's already happened and we've had so many other things to deal with since. We are awash in CTs.

              "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

              by kovie on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:36:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I doubt Oswald even fired a shot, let alone killed (0+ / 0-)

              JFK, but I don't buy any of the CT's. Plenty of speculation, not enough evidence.

              Who killed Kennedy and why? I have no idea, and I don't think we'll ever know. 50 years is plenty of time to conceal the evidence.

              Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here: http://bettysrants.wordpress.com

              by Kimball Cross on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:39:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  another mystery (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            solliges, devtob

            is that the throat wound was reported to be a wound of entry by ALL of the Parkland ER doctors, who were quite used to bullet wounds. Some had been combat MDs.

            yet another is that more than a dozen Parkland doctors and also some nurses (that's the ER they took JFK to immediately after the shooting for those who don't know)...and this is 100% of the medical people who saw mortally injured JFK....ALL say that the back of his skull was blown out with a large (about 10 x 10cm) hole in the lower back, which they said was an exit wound. They all said this when interviewed around the time of the shooting.

            In the 1990s, Clinton convened the Assassination Records Review Board. The looked through Warren Report and House Select Committee on Asssasinations (1970s) interviews with these medical people and re-interviewed the ones who were still alive. ALL of the Parkland interviews, old and new, ALL of the people, agreed about Kennedy's wounds

            Small wound of entry, R forhead/temple. Small wound of entry, throat, which was then enlarged to a tracheotomy when they were working on him. Large exit wound in right lower rear of skull.

            It's available at the ARRB (assassinations records review board) websites...

            People pronounce on the Kennedy Assasination based on the data that they have. Understandable. Problem is they often don't have all the data on which to make a conclusion. It is available, though. If someone wanted to look.

            but "Oswald did it" sources don't go into the wounds (unbiased well motivated) healthcare workers saw and what they mean about how JFK was killed.

            Why did Oswald not have gunpowder residue on his cheek if he recently had fired a rifle? He Passed that test, was negative, which in that day at least meant he did not recently fire a rifle.

            No one questions this. It is widely available. One can only conclude that people putting together documentaries books etc that will conclude Oswald was a lone gunman certainly do not want to report that he likely hadn't fired a rifle that day. Nor that all the hospital staff who worked on Kennedy when he was dying said he was shot from the front.

            I don't have any conclusions who shot JFK or from where. BUT I know that concluding Oswald was a lone gunman is not supported by the evidence. I started thinking Oswald did it and that people that believed some sort of conspiracy murdered the President were like 9/11 truthers or believed theories about area 51 and aliens.

            •  You should watch the Nova special (0+ / 0-)

              The bullets used were very unique and after much analysis behaved exactly as those bullets did in tests.

              Also, the X-rays of the skull were consistent with a bullet from the back of the head and the head exploding.

              It was a very thorough and scientific examination of the evidence.

              •  I'm persuaded that this is what happened (0+ / 0-)

                In this sort of shooting, it makes sense that the entry wound would be much cleaner and smaller than the exit wound. Bullets lose their directional and rotational stability upon impact with soft tissue, as multiple experiments show, and act more like shrapnel than bullets.

                Whether or not Oswald acted alone is a different matter.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:45:49 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Uh, no, just no. (0+ / 0-)

            (1) The alleged murder weapon was an Italian WW2 surplus rifle called the Mannlicher-Carcano. Its bolt caught in three places. An FBI ballistics expert couldn't fire it even once in the seconds when Oswald was alleged to have fire 3 shots. This has been well known since Mark Lane's book Rush to Judgment was published before the end of the 60s.

            (2) From Oswald's vantage point in the Textbooks Depository, he could see the motorcade come toward him before the cars turned left into Dealy Plaza. After the turn, JFK was moving away from Oswald. Why wouldn't Oswald shoot at JFK when he was coming toward him? If he missed, the target would be closer. I admit to getting this second point from Stone's JFK, but it is something to think about.

            Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here: http://bettysrants.wordpress.com

            by Kimball Cross on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:32:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The empty cartridges matched the rifle (0+ / 0-)

              Oswald practiced dry shooting this rifles for weeks prior to the shooting. How many time did this expert practice? Are you actually suggesting that there was a second shooter standing right next to Oswald who did the actual killing? Why? What purpose did that serve? Why a patsy and the real shooter, to make us think it was Oswald and let the real shooter get away? Then why did Ruby shoot Oswald, to prevent him from telling us what really happened?

              Silliness upon silliness. Ockam's Razor still applies.

              "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

              by kovie on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:38:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  About that "marksmanship" score. (0+ / 0-)

            In the Marine Corps, there are three ratings for marksmanship. Marksman is the lowest. Sharpshooter is above that and Sniper is the highest.

            Oswald was a Marksman in that sense.

            Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here: http://bettysrants.wordpress.com

            by Kimball Cross on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:34:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He got the 2nd highest ranking, not third (0+ / 0-)

              I'm guessing that the Marines have extremely high standards such that even the lower-rank is quite skilled. Plus he had years to practice, especially with this rifle, both loading and shooting.

              "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

              by kovie on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:40:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  I saw that to.They didn't show quite a bit of (0+ / 0-)

        real evidence that shows Oswald was not a single shooter.

        Here is one simple fact available easily to check. Oswald's cheeks did not have nitrates(?)-the residue left if you fired a rifle. He PASSED that test by being negative, showing he had Not fired a rifle recently.

        Yet ,he had nitrate on his hands. That was expected of workers in a book depository because the ink has nitrates. But since his hands had nitrates it meant he had NOT washed any nitrates (gun powder residue) off his face! It would mean that the negative result for his cheek was real.

        Just a small thing I didn't notice them mentioning and explaining how the "lone gunman" never fired a rifle yet killed Kennedy, gravely wounded Connelly, and nicked a bystander on the cheek with yet another bullet fragment.

        •  Um, sorry to point out that Oswald's fingerprints (0+ / 0-)

          were on various parts of the rifle found in the sniper's nest at the Book Depository, the bullets from which were determined conclusively to have been the ones that struck JFK.

          •  I believe it was a palm print on the rifle (0+ / 0-)

            I'm sorry, I don't trust Dallas police. They had no prints, then suddenly they did.
            I don't trust them because of their report on Oswald's arrest saying he killed the President. This was in an hour or so after the shots were fired.
            How the heck was it possible to already know that then?
            Dallas was a hotbed of extreme right wing opposition and hatred toward this President.
            I don't trust that palm print as evidence. I do trust the gun powder tests because the results wouldn't be tainted because they point in the opposite direction of the finders of the test wanted...ie they reported evidence that did not support their own conclusion.

            Here is the arrest report:

            City of Dallas Archives: http://jfk.ci.dallas.tx.us/...

            Arrest Report On Investigative Prisoner, by M. M. McDonald.  Arrest  report  identifies Oswald as the assassin of President John F. Kennedy and Police Officer J. D. Tippit.  Copy marked  'deceased', (Photocopy Annotated), 11/22/63. 00002104       1 page  07  02  001  2104-001.gif
            .
            I am sure you can agree that it is very unusual that they knew Oswald killed Kennedy within about an hour. Think about even now...when does that happen when someone shoots someone without a direct eye witness?

            •  It's been at least a year since I last spent any (0+ / 0-)

              significant time on this matter (when reading Bugliosi's Reclaiming History), so my memories have grown a ltitle rusty. IIRC, though, LHO's prints (fingerprints, that is) were found in at least two places on the Mannlicher-Carcano rife: on the magazine and a partial on the stock. (Not sure about the palm print.)

              Same goes for the DPD's ID of LHO as the principal suspect so quickly. Again, IIRC, a duty roster was compiled of all Texas Book Depository emloyees and LHO was the only one who had vanished (all other TBD employees present and accounted for). Flight can show an awareness of guilt and desire to evade arrest.

              I'll have to defer to you on the nitrates and their significance (or lack thereof). Much as I think this investigation and debate are worthwhile, I cannot find the time to do it well. And if I can't do it well, I'd just as soon not do it at all.

      •  Vincent Bugliosi offers what I think is the (0+ / 0-)

        most compelling explanation of Oswald's motive(s), specifcially as they involved Oswald's romanticization of the Cuban Revolution, his anger at JFK and the U.S. government over its ongoing attempt to destabilize Castro's regime, his desire to emigrate to Cuba to join the Revolution and his crazy thought that assassinating JFK would help him curry favor with Castro so he and Marina could emmigrate. Just a month earlier, LHO tried to get a 'transit visa' to Cuba in Mexico City and was rejected.

    •  I am not sure how to take your description (4+ / 0-)

      of the U.S. as a "peace loving nation." We must have read very different histories.

      Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:41:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd Never Reflected But Maybe His War Experience (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willyr, sneakers563, Betty Pinson

    gave him an orientation toward the military that allowed him to think more skeptically than others.

    He's our last combat veteran President isn't he?

    This diary certainly lends credibility to the somewhat informed speculation that he would've reduced or pulled the advisors out of Vietnam at some near future point.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:26:59 PM PST

  •  The main wasn't a saint (6+ / 0-)

    It's unclear to me whether Kennedy would have handled Vietnam differently, though he might have.  But I seriously doubt if he would have been as effective as LBJ was in getting civil rights legislation enacted.  As a southerner and former Senate majority leader, LBJ knew what it would take to get it done.

    •  Totally agree. (4+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, Johnson doesn't get the credit he deserves for doing the hard work to get Kennedy's vision enacted such as the Space Program and Civil Rights legislation.

      •  As do I. nt (0+ / 0-)

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:17:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agree, LBJ was bold and highly experienced (0+ / 0-)

        on pushing an excellent domestic agenda through Congress.   It's hard to imagine where we would be without his list of legislative accomplishments.

        No Medicare or Medicaid, no social safety net, Voting Rights Act or Civil Rights Act, etc, etc.  And in the Dem presidential tradition, he presided over a healthy, productive economy that saw major growth in the middle class.

        Vietnam was a mistake, but he has many great accomplishments that are often overlooked.  

        If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:58:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  some of them he got because JFK was martyred (0+ / 0-)

          but of course he's likely the most skillful President in history in getting what he wanted out of Congress. But didn't he have Dem majorities in both Houses, too?

          Vietnam was a huge turning point in our country. If we didn't have the Vietnam war there would be a huge rippling effect in subsequent history. Maybe Gore would have won for all we know! Maybe we'd not have had a Republican dominated SC so if he didn't they wouldn't have decided the 2000 election. If he did, maybe they wouldn't have succeeded in swiftboating Kerry and he'd have won.
          No Iraq War. Who knows if they'd have been even a 9/11?

          Without the Vietnam War and Iraq war thousands of Americans and at least hundreds of thousands (I don't know Vietnamese statistics) of civilians would not have been killed.

          Maybe without Iraq and Vietnam and a string of Dem Presidents the whole place the USA occupies in the world would be different.

          Saving all those innocent lives would be a big deal...if JFK were not killed so many Vietnamese would be alive today

          •  Um, about a 2-1 Dem majority (0+ / 0-)

            following the 64 election.  Gee, even I could pass legislation with that kind of advantage.

            And before that, the CR bill of 64, maj leader Mansfield played a huge role in the nifty strategy of taking the bill directly to the floor for debate and vote -- contra the traditionalist approach thru committee contemplated by Johnson.  Sen Humphrey also was crucial, buttering up the skeptical, reluctant minority leader Dirksen, who had to be catered to mightily for months before he got on board to vote for cloture.

            Not saying Johnson didn't play a role, but his effort was probably not the deciding factor.  And given the alleged magical persuasive power of LBJ, I don't recall him swaying any southern Dems to do the right thing.  Didn't they have skeletons in their closet?

            •  have you meant to respond to someone else? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not the one who's heavily arguing for Johnson.

              I've read historians who say Johnson was incredibly skillful in dealing with Congress. I think it was a recent biographer who said that Johnson had the goods on people, and had done other's favors that still counted back then.

              He can still be incredibly skillful and also have the fortune of a hefty Dem majority. I wasn't saying he did it on his own. I was affirming the parent comment that Johnson was skillful because he was. Before I launched into my own speculation

              If you were replying to me, I'll say I don't understand why so often people here have to be condescending and say "Um, Gee..." I usually save that for Republicans who do not share good intent or well meaningness when they express their opinions. Or, for someone who is being completely insulting.
              You know more about the details of things. I was just being agreeable to the prior/parent poster by using what I'd heard about Johnson's skills as a politician, at least in the Senate.

    •  JFK living has a lot of implications for the civil (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lakehillsliberal

      rights movement.  Johnson was a very effective wrangler of congressional action, and he also was very good at using the political goodwill engendered by JFK's assassination to get that stuff done (calling passing the Civil Rights Act the most fitting tribute Congress could give to Kennedy, for instance).

      Conversely, if the US had stayed out of Vietnam, there'd have been no anti-war movement, no 1968 convention brawls, probably no President Nixon, no Watergate, etc.  The future of American liberalism would have been very different, and probably for the better.

      •  I think so too. The Dixiecrats would have switched (0+ / 0-)

        parties because of Civil Rights, and that would have hurt the party, but it would have been less of a blow than what actually happened, with the Democratic party losing support in all directions, thanks to Vietnam.

        Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here: http://bettysrants.wordpress.com

        by Kimball Cross on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 06:48:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And then there's the Red Dwarf take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    certainot
  •  Neoliberal dictatorship threatens Venezuela (0+ / 0-)

    Indications that the US incite a Chile-type coup

    http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/...

  •  No Voting Rights Act? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, laurnj

    No Civil Rights Act? How about the Great Society Programs, Medicare and Medicaid, Fair Housing Act, Food Stamps, creation of HUD, the Wilderness Act, Clean Water Act and much more?

    The what-ifs focus on the negative. Yet, we might also have missed out on a long list of some of the most important legislation in American history. Other than the disaster of Vietnam, Johnson was a more effective President than Kennedy and the '64 Congressional landslide produced a tremendous opportunity that Johnson seized.

  •  The country was on a strong economic trajectory (0+ / 0-)

    in the early 60's.  The space program helped to drive innovation.  Kennedy and his democratic successor would have continued that trajectory.  Kennedy would have been President during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War which humilated the Arab world and facillitated the Arab oil embargo which helped push our economy into stagflation which set us up for the 80's and the boom and bust economies we have experienced over the last 30 years.   We could go on and on....

  •  Johnson taking over Air Force One. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Here is a very fascinating and detailed article from Esquire documenting moment by moment the activities on Air Force One on the day of the assassination.

    http://www.esquire.com/...

    Romney's whole business was about maximizing debt, extracting cash, cutting head counts, skimping on capital spending, outsourcing production, and dressing up the deal for the earliest, highest-profit exit possible. -- David Stockman.

    by CupofTea on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 04:24:08 PM PST

  •  It's not even entertainment, it's delusion. (0+ / 0-)

    Please spare us all this crap about the Good Czar who was struck down before he could deliver his people from war and oppression. Kennedy was the most right-wing senator outside of the Deep South, a warmonger who ran to the right of Richard Nixon. An appealing man, someone I would have liked to have a beer with? Sure. A great president? No way.

    •  I strongly recommend rereading exactly... (5+ / 0-)

      ...who the senators were who served when Kennedy was in the Senate. He certainly was far from the most liberal, but your hyperbole is way off the mark.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:15:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But i'd wager, w/o seeing the rankings, (0+ / 0-)

        that Sen Kennedy was still up there with most of the liberal Dem senators in terms of votes.

        And you could not get elected dog catcher back then w/o espousing strong anti-communist views, along with (for most) a belief, however skeptically and cynically held, in Ike's Domino Theory.

        JFK was also to the left of most senators in speaking out for emerging countries under colonial rule, including Algeria.

      •  Apologies - I should have said the most right (0+ / 0-)

        wing DEMOCRATIC senator outside of the Deep South. (And he probably did not come out terribly well against Republican senators like Jacob Javits either. ) I believe that makes it completely correct.

        Kennedy's rivals for the Democratic nomination were Lyndon Johnson, Stuart Symington, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey and Wayne Morse. All of these were arguably more liberal than JFK. JFK's crucial win over Humphrey in the West Virginia primary was at the best procured by a flood of Kennedy money, at worst by Joe Kennedy's Mob ties.

        IMHO, Edward Kennedy is the only one of the brothers on whom history will look kindly when we have a little perspective.

    •  I think you should be ashamed of this slander. JFK (0+ / 0-)

      was a 'warmonger'??? Now I've heard it all and to think it's on DKos of all places.

      •  You need to get out more often. Have you (0+ / 0-)

        heard of the imaginary "missile gap" that Kennedy used against Nixon? He argued that the Republicans were endangering the country through insufficient defense spending. It was Eisenhower who warned about the "military-industrial" complex. JFK never met a weapons system he didn't like.

        •  JFK ran on a putative 'missile gap' in 1960. Once (0+ / 0-)

          in office, he did almost nothing to justify the label of warmonger. Indeed, when presented with several opportunities to earn the label you so eagerly bestow, JFK demurred (Laos 1961, Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis).

          If you want to call JFK a 'warmonger,' are you going to go all in and call FDR a 'warmonger'?

  •  I know next to nothing about whether JFK.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater

    ..assasination meant an escalation of war or not.

    This article Dangerous History of Regime Change by By Beverly Deepe Keever | October 25, 2013
    ..explores this question from a different angle.

    Exclusive: Official Washington justifies military and political interventions in other countries under the theory of “U.S. exceptionalism.” But these “regime changes” often have unexpected results, as with the bloody coup d’etat that removed South Vietnamese President Diem a half-century ago, recalls Beverly Deepe Keever.
    Details of the Diem killing remained something of a mystery for years until the leaking of the secret Pentagon Papers in 1971 cleared some of that up.
    On Nov. 1, 1963, a half-century ago, the South Vietnamese government that the United States had backed for nearly a decade was toppled in a military coup d’etat, an act of regime change approved by President John F.  Kennedy.
    Then this bit of politicking caught my attention (not the focus of the article, just a small bit):
    I eventually concluded that Diem, who was a Catholic in a predominantly non-Catholic country, had become a political liability for America’s first Catholic president gearing up for re-election the next year. Whether the U.S. could or would have prevailed in South Vietnam with Diem as president is still debated, though – like all “alternative history” – unanswerable.
    But from a complete JKF ignoramus (me) regime change is or has always been involved when there is war.

    Add a hungry MIC and our system of capitalism it protects; it's hard to see how any one man or woman as President makes enough of a difference to phase the imperialistic roots - (1970) we inherited long ago.

    Thx MB
    ...................................................  

    With more from the same author:
    November 1963: Days of Murder: talking about LBJ, Catholsism (as was Diem) and what effect that had. Plus a bunch of stuff too

    •  Paying out 3-million piasters ($42,000) (0+ / 0-)

      made Kennedy, McNamara and Lodge murderers. They likely thought of themselves as patriots, cold warriors.

      One thing: the military attache in Saigon limited the killings to the two brothers. It could have been worse.

      It's possible that other U.S. clients worried about who could be next. Kennedy had brought Diem over to the U.S., including a ticker tape parade on Broadway in New York City.

      Then offed him.

      Kennedy looked great, sure thing. But a lunatic like that, who's next ???

  •  Brazil (0+ / 0-)

    Would JFK have backed the coup against João Goulart?

    Quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

    by Sura 109 on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 07:31:07 PM PST

  •  Do you know? (0+ / 0-)

    Do you know the woman who knew both Lee Harvey Oswald and JFK? Read more here: http://lovingtheclassicsreviewsite.net/...

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