Kennedy Assassination...Three comments
"Wake Up America! Did you know...."
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY WAS ASSASSINATED AFTER
HIS DECISION TO WITHDRAW U.S. FORCES FROM VIETNAM?
KENNEDY, CRONKITE, AND GALBRAITH
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
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In September of 1963, two months before John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he gave an interview to Walter Cronkite of CBS News on the lawn of the Rose Garden at the White House. There had been "expeditionary forces" in South Vietnam since 1961. The information that had been gathered in the past two years had convinced JFK that a major war in Vietnam was not in the national interest. He remembered what General Mark Clark had advised about the 1950-53 Korean campaign, when General Douglas McArthur promoted an invasion of Red China:
"The United States must not become involved in a war on the mainland of Asia."
General McArthur was fired from his post as Commander, United Nations Forces, Korea, by President Harry Truman for trying to politically push his invasion proposal past the Commander-in-Chief.
For two years before his death, Kennedy had convened, in the basement of the White House, over fifty meetings of the National Security Council. The leading consensus, fostered by the President, was that the U.S. should eventually pull its troops out of Vietnam. This he told Cronkite during the interview. When the CBS anchorman then asked Kennedy if he would ever consider sending more troops to Vietnam in the interim, Kennedy said:
"I am not going to send American boys to do what Vietnamese boys ought to do."
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In 1961, economist John Kenneth Galbraith was asked by President John F. Kennedy to become the ambassador to India. He accepted. Forty-one years later, at the age of 93, Galbraith gave an interview to Esquire magazine. He was asked to give synoptic statements about "What I've Learned" in life. Among his remarks were the following about John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy's Vice-President who became President when Kennedy was assassinated:
"One of the characteristic features of John F. Kennedy was his wonderful commitment to the truth. We had breakfast together on the day I left to be ambassador to India in 1961. The New York Times was on the table and there was a story on the front page about the new ambassador to India. Kennedy pointed to it and said, "What did you think of that story?" which, needless to say, I had read. It wasn't unfavorable. I said I liked it all right but I didn't see why they had to call me arrogant. Kennedy said, 'I don't see why not. Everybody else does.'"
"Kennedy sent me to Vietnam in 1961, and I concluded from that visit that this was a hopeless enterprise. The jungle was something with which we could not contend. I saw John Kennedy on the Cape a few weeks before his death. We spent a day together. Much of that was on: a) that he was going to get out of Vietnam, and: b) the pressures that he was under from the military."
"LBJ and I were both from rural backgrounds; he in Texas and I in Canada. That was the origin of a closer relationship than if I had spent my life as a Harvard elite. We'd been friends for many years, back when he was in Congress. It was very sad that we clashed on Vietnam, but it was an overriding issue. Johnson had one answer which was not entirely unpersuasive. I recall his exact words: 'Ken, if you knew what I have to do to contend with the military, you would be glad for what I do.' The pressures of the military were very powerful. More powerful than most of us then realized."
Reference: Esquire Magazine, January, 2002
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Our Loving Mother told Nancy Fowler in 1993:
"Please, children, it is time to wake up."
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