On October 27th, 1962, “The U.S. side had just received two conflicting messages from Moscow about how to resolve the crisis, and did not know which one to accept. Ultimately, President Kennedy decided to respond only to the first one, with the most favorable terms for our side, namely: removal of all the missiles and nuclear weapons in exchange for a no-invasion pledge and (eventual) removal from Turkey ) the USSR’s immediate neighbor) of the 15 U.S. IRBMs stationed there. But communications were very slow on both sides, and no response had been received from the USSR by late Saturday night.”
“President Kennedy decided…” When what has become known as the “911” crisis occurred and POTUS George Dubya Bush
infamously said, “I am the decider,” chills ran up and down my spine. It has never been explained how a group of rag-headed Muslims could thwart the defenses of the United States of America and allegedly bring down several massive steel beamed buildings with a couple of airplanes…Dubya wanted to be the commissioner of Major League Baseball but lost out to Bud Selig,
the man who is responsible for the 1994 strike and the later ‘Ragin ‘Roids era., and the man who enriched himself and his family at the expense of the great game of Baseball.
POTUS John F. Kennedy made many decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis and evidently all of them were good because you are here to read these words. If the leaders of the powerful military had made the decisions there would be no humans left alive on the planet because, “…the most dangerous miscalculation of all was everyone’s ignorance of (in 1962) of the concept of “nuclear winter,” what most scientists now acknowledge would be the inevitable result of a full scale nuclear exchange on the earth’s climate. A hypothesis first introduced in the early 1980s, nuclear winter posits that even a limited nuclear conflict (and certainly a large one) would so befoul the earth’s atmosphere with smoke and dust from the massive firestorms around cities produced by strategic nuclear weapons, that the result would be cataclysmic climate change – a significant reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching the earth’s surface, and a reduction lowering of the earth’s temperature for years – causing loss of most plant life in the absence of sunlight, the resulting failure of agriculture, and the collapse of the food chain. Without even considering the inevitable and poisonous results of nuclear fallout on animal life, the sure result of nuclear winter alone would have been mass starvation.” (pg. 117)
“Initial reactions by virtually everyone (except Adlai Stevenson) were that a massive air strike would be necessary to destroy the Soviet missiles…” (pg. 101) Only three people in the United States government were against blasting the hell outta the Russians. Fortunately, one of those people was the President of the United States. The other two were his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, and UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson. Those three gentlemen were all that stood between the human race and oblivion.
“We avoided nuclear war in 1962 only because the 35th President of the United States possessed a farsighted view of the global chessboard in the Cold War, rather than a myopic one; and because JFK believed “a primary responsibility of a President – indeed, the primary responsibility of a President” (as McNamara said in the documentary The Fog of War was “to keep the nation out of war, if at all possible.” [This is one of the principal differences between President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and both Bush presidents; and is one of the reason JFK’s approval rating is now at an astounding 85% in the minds of the American people.]”
How close were we humans to oblivion when JFK and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev were “eyeball to eyeball”?
“First, there was considerable harassment by the U.S. Navy of the 4 Soviet diesel-electric submarines escorting several of the Soviet ships. Unknown to President Kennedy or to anyone else on the U.S. side that day, on one of these subs, the Captain – stressed out by a multi-hour barrage of under water explosive charges from U.S. Navy ships above, designed to get him to the surface and give away his position – ordered the one torpedo he had onboard with a nuclear warhead – a relatively small 10 kiloton device – to be loaded into its torpedo tube; he then gave the order to fire the torpedo at the harassing U.S. Navy ships on the surface. Only the bold refusal of the political commissar on this submarine to confirm the order to fire [the Soviets had a two-man consent system in place] prevented the launching of this nuclear torpedo against U.S. warships. If this device ( or any other nuclear device) had been required to retaliate with nuclear weapons against the forces of the Soviet Union, somewhere and in some way – and “the balloon would have gone up.” (pg 106)
“Second, as revealed by Richard Rhodes in Dark Sun,
at the height of the crisis, according to a retired SAC wing commander, SAC airborne alert bombers deliberately flew past their turnaround points [popularly known as “Fail Safe” points, after the 1964 film of the same name] toward Soviet airspace, an unambiguous threat which Soviet radar operators would certainly have recognized and reported. “I know what my target was,” the SAC general adds: “Leningrad.” The bombers turned around only when the Soviet freighters carrying missiles to Cuba stopped dead in the Atlantic. No SAC wing commander would have performed this action on his own authority, since it risked nuclear war. This order could only have come from the head of SAC, General Thomas Power – a man considered a “sadist” by Curtis LeMay himself, and considered unstable by others who worked under him.”
General Curtis LeMay saying General Thomas Power was a “sadist” is like the kettle calling the pot black. During “JFK’s Meeting With the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday, November 19th, 1962” (pg.119) the following exchange took place between the POTUS and the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Curtis Emerson LeMay.
General LeMay: …And you [addressing President Kennedy] have made some pretty strong statements…that we would take action against offensive weapons. I think that a blockade and political talk would be considered by a lot of our friends and neutrals as being a pretty weak response to this. And I’m sure a lot of our own citizens would feel that way, too. In other words, you’re in a pretty bad fix at the present time.
President Kennedy: What did you say?
General LeMay: You’re in a pretty bad fix.
President Kennedy: You’re in there with me. [An outburst of forced laughter can be heard in the background] Personally.
(Note; LeMay’s presumption in lecturing the President on domeastic and international political considerations – and in such a gloating manner – is stunning, even 51 years later.] (pg 130)
Who was General Curtis LeMay?
After retiring from the Air Force in 1965, LeMay agreed to serve as Democratic Governor George Wallace’s running mate in the 1968 United States presidential election.
For the 1968 presidential election, LeMay originally supported former Republican Vice President Richard Nixon; he turned down two requests by former Alabama Governor George Wallace
to join his newly formed American Independent Party, that year, on the grounds that a third-party candidacy might hurt Nixon’s chances at the polls. (By coincidence, Wallace had served as a sergeant in a unit commanded by LeMay during World War II before LeMay had Wallace transferred to the 477th Bombardment Group.)
Subsequently LeMay, while being fully aware of Wallace’s segregationist platform, decided to throw his support to Wallace and eventually became Wallace’s running mate.
Wallace’s staff began to consider LeMay to be “politically tone-deaf” and the former Air Force General did nothing to diminish the perception of extremism that some American voters had of the Wallace-LeMay ticket.
The “bomb them back to the stone age” comment received significant publicity but LeMay disclaimed the comment, saying in a later interview: “I never said we should bomb them back to the Stone Age. I said we had the capability to do it”.
The Wallace-LeMay AIP ticket received 13.5% of the popular vote, higher than most third party candidacies in the US, and carried five states for a total of 46 electoral votes.
From page 121 of JFK’s War it is written, “I have already written much, in the previous essays in this book, about General Curtis LeMay, the Air Force Chief of Staff. Dino Brugioni wrote that LeMay “was characterized by one observer as always interjecting himself into situations ‘like a rogue elephant barging our of the forest.” Brugioni wrote in Eyeball to Eyeball “Petulant and often childish when he didn’t get his way, LeMay would light a cigar and blow smoke in the direction of anyone challenging his position.” LeMay, a combat aviator, was uneasy in Washington. Brugioni continued: :He saw himself as an outsider, yet continually prided himself as the only authority on warfare available to the JCS. Most of all, he felt that the Joint Chiefs of Staff dallied over vital decisions and were not responsive.” General Taylor told Brugioni that “as a bomber commander there was none finer….But a good bomber commander doesn’t automatically make a good Chief of Staff, and appointing Curtis LeMay as Chief of Staff of the Air Force was a big mistake…LeMay would ‘jam that damn cigar in his mouth and place a chip on his shoulder and parade through the Pentagon looking for a fight.”
Third, concurrent with the implementation of the naval quarantine that morning, on October 24th, General Thomas Power, LeMay’s hand-picked head of the Strategic Air Command, on his own authority, placed all of SAC (all Air Force nuclear bombers and all of our ICBMs) at DEFCON-2. This was only one step away from nuclear war, and he did this without consulting President Kennedy or obtaining his permission. General Power – apparently intent not only upon frightening the Soviet Union into submission, but perhaps equally desirous of stimulating a Soviet response that might have given him an excuse to launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack – sent out not only the usual unencrypted SAC telegram to all units, but ALSO sent a follow-on, plain-English voice transmission (both surely monitored by the USSR) announcing the upgrade in posture to DEFCON-2, which dramatically began, “This is General Power…”
There is another paragraph here but because this is a blog post it must be skipped. Please read the book!
“President Kennedy was furious, for Powers’ actions could have signaled to the USSR that the U.S. was about to launch the long-dreaded first-strike on the USSR; if they had been so persuaded, JFK knew that the Soviets themselves might have pre-emptied what they thought was coming with their own first-strike on the United States.. or they might have reacted precipitately in Berlin. Fortunately, instead, the Soviet Union grounded its own long-range bomber force throughout the remainder of the Cuban Missile Crisis to ensure that they did not give the U.S. an excuse for a pre-emptive first-strike.”
From what you have read of what I have written certainly you can understand why it is a miracle you are reading these words. As the two nuclear armed nations stood “eyeball to eyeball” any of a number of things could have happened to precipitate a full scale nuclear war. For example, “Furthermore, on October 27th, Soviet missile troops, egged-on by their Cuban comrades and unable to reach their commander for instructions, decided on their own authority to launch SA-2 missiles and shoot down an American U-2 surveillance flight. this was supposed to trigger automatic retaliatory airstrikes by the U.S. side the next day, but JFK refused to do, fearing that the chain of escalation, the inevitable strike-counterstrike syndrome, would lead to nuclear conflict. His refusal to launch the previously agreed-upon retaliatory strike greatly angered the Pentagon.”
“On this same day another American U-2 which was aloft near Siberia, sampling the atmosphere for any evidence of Soviet nuclear testing, got lost and strayed into Soviet airspace, triggering an attempt by several Soviet fighter planes to shoot him down. He eventually made it home to Alaska safely, but JFK and his advisors feared that the Soviets interpret this incursion of their airspace as the prelude to a U.S. nuclear strike.”
October 28th: “The thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis came to an end on Sunday, with the public and private assurances of Moscow that the nuclear missiles and their warheads would all be withdrawn from Cuba, in exchange for a no-invasion pledge.”
The powerful military men did not care for JFK for many reasons, one of which was that they were trained to fight and make war. To some powerful military men the problem was with civilian control of the government. To them JFK was a failed PT Boat commander, the only Captain of a PT Boat to have had his ship hit and destroyed by a much larger vessel. Some laughed at the story written about JFK being a “hero” by swimming to shore with a wounded sailor attached to his back. JFK had a bad back that had put him into the hospital on many occasions, and myriad other heath problems that should have kept him out of the service, but his father, the former bootlegger turned Ambassador managed to get his son into the Navy even though there was no way he could ever pass physical exam. The hero was his older brother, Joe,
who volunteered for a suicide mission and unsurprisingly, died. Joe was to become a politician; Jack wanted to be a writer.
During the course of my life there has been a concerted effort by those responsible for the death of JFK to malign and disparage his name and reputation. The media has done a hatchet job on JFK for decades. They have their reasons. Still, the fact remains that you are here reading these words only because of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who may have had a weak body, but fortunately for us, he had an extremely strong mind. JFK is the best and brightest POTUS in the history of the United States of America. Everyone alive should thank their lucky stars that JFK was sitting in the Oval Office during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Over the course of my life I have read an astounding number of books on the assassination of JFK. A friend, a Democrat and very much a part of the establishment, would smirk at my spending so much time reading so many books about the subject. As far as Mike was concerned it happened just like the government said. On one visit I was surprised to see this book on the shelf in the library:
It was the only JFK book I had ever seen in his house. He refused to discuss it and we never, ever spoke of the assassination again.
When reading the very first book about the assassination of JFK there was only one question on my mind. Why was JFK killed? The answer is contained in the book upon which these two posts are based.
If you have any interest in why a POTUS was so brutally slain in the company of HIS WIFE, (Mob hits do not take place around family; there is a reason), then I urge you to read the book and EVERYTHING Douglas P. Horne has written. There was a driving force behind the cold blooded murder of the President of the United States of America that irrevocably altered the course of world affairs. Those responsible for the coup d’état on November 23, 1963 have thus far gotten away with murder, but those of us who have devoted so much time to reading about one of the most, if not the worst moments in our history know there was a driving force behind the brutal, cold blooded MURDER MOST FOUL of POTUS John F. Kennedy that day. If you have limited time, then please read the last volume of the five volume set and you, too, will know who was that driving force:
French President Charles de Gaulle
had some strong words about the assassination of JFK. It is in my memory that he said something about, “His security was compromised.” The best evidence of that fact can be found in this book: