Users Currently Browsing This Topic:
0 Members

Author Topic: Operation Tailwind  (Read 2003 times)

Online Charles Collins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3537
Re: Operation Tailwind
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2023, 02:30:22 PM »
Advertisement
Right, I never got the idea that you believed in Douglass's main claim, i.e., that JFK was going or wanted to toss out the containment/Cold War policies against the communists and that he only supported them because he was forced to by the MIC/Pentagon/CIA. Who then, according to Douglass, killed him because he was going to do just that. Saying JFK wanted to "calm" relations down with Moscow, normalize the relationship as he said in the AU speech or that he tried to probe for or find a peaceful settlement of conflicts is one thing; claiming that he didn't fundamentally believe in the necessity of containment, as Douglass appears to do, is another. And as for killing JFK: sorry, one lost angry person with a cheap rifle did that. It didn't require an army of conspirators.

In his book on the Kennedy presidency, the historian Richard Reeves mentions how the Kennedys, especially JFK, liked using back channels and promoting a two track policy. That is, negotiate and pressure, pressure and negotiate. Lots of presidents have used back channel communications but JFK seemed particularly interested in using them. During the crisis with Moscow, with Castro and others. JFK really did show an intellectual independence from his advisers - from the military in particular - that led to his probing and questioning policy. We saw this most obviously in the missile crisis. I think on Vietnam he would certainly have been more willing to ignore the "Best and Brightest" than LBJ did (in one of his letters he sent from the Pacific during the war he complained: "The military fucks up everything."). Would he escaped the trap that McNamara mentioned above? We can only guess.

It's interesting that JFK's legacy - who he was - is probably fought over more than any other president. Conservatives like to say he'd be one of theirs - tax cuts, anti-communism, et cetera - while liberals say his civil rights policies and American University speech shows he belonged to them. He really did defy an easy description or characterization. He was pragmatic but idealistic; cautious but open minded. Some of the qualities of the right and left.

Douglass' claims aren't all wrong but I think to portray JFK as some critic of containment is just flat out wrong. He may not have been a hawk - as defined by the period - but he wasn't a dove either. He was probably what political scientists called an "owl." Owls believe "the greatest risks of such war come from events getting out of control." I think JFK was terribly worried about that, about events escalating into a direct US/Soviet conflict. 

On the Cuba policy: I think they took Castro personally. They wanted him dead or certainly out of power (which almost certainly required is death). JFK reportedly thought that they could turn Castro into a Tito, that is an independent communist. I think they knew otherwise; that he was a lost cause.  After going over the Cuban policy the evidence I read shows that a lot more of the covert attacks than I realized continued after JFK's death. RFK pushed most of it but it didn't all go away after 11/22/63.


I think that the [wise] “owl” description is suitable. Here’s another snip from Douglass’ book “JFK and the Unspeakable” that I think is interesting. I do not remember seeing this, starting with the second sentence of the second paragraph, before.


   Mike Mansfield said of Kennedy’s response to his critique: “President Kennedy didn’t waste words. He was pretty sparse with his language. But it was not unusual for him to shift position. There is no doubt that he had shifted definitely and unequivocally on Vietnam but he never had the chance to put the plan into effect.” 159

  Kennedy was now on the alert to remove any obstacles from the way to a future withdrawal from Vietnam. On January 25, 1963, he phoned Roger Hilsman, the head of State Department intelligence, at his home to complain about a front-page box in the New York Times on a U.S. general visiting Vietnam. In what Hilsman remembered as “decidedly purple language,” 160 Kennedy took him to task. He ordered Hilsman to stop military visits that seemed to increase the U.S. commitment in Vietnam.

  Kennedy said, “That is exactly what I don’t want to do. Remember Laos,” he emphasized. “The United States must keep a low profile in Vietnam so we can negotiate its neutralization like we did in Laos.” 161

  After listening to the angry president, Hilsman pointed out that he had no authority as a State Department officer to deny a Pentagon general permission to visit Vietnam.

  “Oh,” said Kennedy and slammed down the phone. That afternoon the president issued National Security Action Memorandum Number 217, forbidding “high ranking military and civilian personnel” from going to South Vietnam without being cleared by the State Department office where Hilsman worked. 162 This action by JFK, reining in the military’s travel to Vietnam, for the sake of a neutralization policy, did not please the Pentagon.



JFK Assassination Forum

Re: Operation Tailwind
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2023, 02:30:22 PM »


Offline Gerry Down

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1055
Re: Operation Tailwind
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2023, 07:14:07 PM »
Thanks for the tip about this book.

Online Charles Collins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3537
Re: Operation Tailwind
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2023, 07:19:21 PM »
Thanks for the tip about this book.

You are welcome! I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Operation Tailwind”.

JFK Assassination Forum

Re: Operation Tailwind
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2023, 07:19:21 PM »