Why do professional historians avoid the JFK case like the vampire avoids holy water? I am sure there are a congeries of reasons for this neglect. ... I think there has been a cloud over this subject in academia largely because the "Who Killed JFK" seems to attract all kinds of people who think that history is all conspiracy.
I don't subscribe to this view at all. I am convinced that, in time, professional historians, political scientists, and others with a serious interest in the history of this poor perishing republic will be forced one day to come to terms with Dallas. This is, to my mind, the beginning of America's slipping into the Dark Ages and if we want to make some sense about what brought about this decline and fall we will have to face up to the forces and motives responsible for the murder of JFK. ....
As a corellary to my signature-jingle below, I would add that there are often deep thoughts to be found in even the shallowest of media.
Take, for example, the television show '24' in which the current POTUS has apprently been complicit in several activities that could have had - and in some cases, such as the assassination of his predecessor, actually did have - dire consequences for the nation. Clearly, he doesn't want his involvement in these things known, and, while admitting to "mistakes," defends against disclosure
of these incidents because "it would cause people to lose faith in their government" and undermine if not destroy its very legitimacy.
For that reason alone, the truth will officially be denied and obfuscated at least for our lifetimes. Regardless of who killed Kennedy or who was behind it or why it was done, quite simply it was the government - through a commission appointed by, reporting to and, when all was said and done, endorsed by its chief executive - that prosecuted, promulgated and propagated what is surely the world's most expensive work of fiction.
The government - together with our "fourth estate" - that has steadfastly and emphatically denied any other possibility than the lone-Oswald theory for forty-plus years can scarcely afford to tell the world that, "heh-heh, we were only kidding" about its investigation into and solution of the murder of its own chief of state. Every word spoken in support of the Warren Report
only cements their inability to ever extract themselves from the morass.
Everyone may know that the emperor is naked, but only a few have the nerve - or little enough to lose - to fail to admire his new clothes. Besides, why belabor the obvious? And so I think it is with historians as well as lawyers: if you know you can't win the argument, at least have the good grace not to start it. Your work will not only go unheralded (no matter how true it may be), but you will be ridiculed by those who have no choice but to perpetuate the lie they'd foisted on you, if only to maintain their own credibility and seeming integrity, without which they could not survive.
In 1963, close on the heels of the Cuban Missile Crisis (and the "accession to Communist demands" with the ceding of missile sites in Turkey - which is, after all, what we
objected to, "guns" aimed so close to our own heads), in the midst of the Cold War and the Red Scare, not long after the witch hunt that was the McCarthy era (a good idea gone wrong?), there seems little doubt that many people considered JFK to be a real threat to the national security who unfortunately - and misguidedly - enjoyed the support of a majority of the American people because of his youth and charisma. If Truman and Eisenhower were "witting tools of the Communist conspiracy," what could the perception of people who believed that have been of Kennedy?
You can also toss in the "Negro situation," the imbroglio over steel prices and oil depletion allowances, Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs and myriad other misguided, "unamerican" programs and initiatives represented by JFK, and you have a sure recipe for "disaster" - after all, people (and especially institutions) do not like change - and a wider spread of support for removing the "threat" by whatever means available. God knows, we could not have depended upon the American people - the "average Joe" does not know what's good for him - to have done so at the polls in 1964, so a more dependable solution had to be found to ensure that the country would continue on the "right" course.
In 1963, it was "good for the country." If later it was a "mistake," it was nevertheless done
, and no "good" could have come out - or could still
come out of - admitting the error: we cannot and we will not. When a government admits its wrongs, its effects are far-reaching. Consider why nations don't often "apologize" when they can instead "regret" incidents, or why the Catholic Church - a nation-state itself - does not apologize for or admit to to the things it's done that seem glaring errors (to be generous) now, but may not have been at the time they were committed (the Inquisition being a good example, as might be the Pope's acquiescence to - if not downright collaboration with - Nazi Germany).
The historian must recognize this historical fact, replete with vast precedent, and in recognizing it for what it is, cannot sensibly refute the "official truth" because it would mean that he's learned nothing from his profession and therefore loses credibility - not only for being a "conspiracy theorist," but for attempting to buck the system that cannot be bucked.