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Michael Swanson

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  1. Eugene Rostow's brother was of course Walter Rostow. He also became a leader of the neocon movement in the 1970's...lobbying for more nuclear arms. I'd guess he was talking with his brother and Alsop about the commission idea with Katzenbach before or after this phone call. It seems that he is clearly calling on behalf of others. I need to read the Gibson book. I got it laying in my pile. If you read Walter Rostow's oral history interview to the LBJ and JFK libraries he tells a lot of lies about JFK's foreign policy. Well, he either is telling lies or totally delusional. He claims that he was practically JFK's best friend and JFK agreed with everything he thought when it came to Vietnam and the Cold War and would have done everything LBJ did.
  2. My new book on the Kennedy era with new info on the Cuban Missile Crisis, the JCS, and the arms race is available here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00EWLGXHW/
  3. There has always been interservice rivarly in the military between the different branches of the armed services. You have the "admirals revolt" during Truman, the Taylor fight against Ike and his flexible response etc as two examples... I haven't read the Rhodes book need to.. Daniel Ellsberg's book talks about how under Eisenhower some of the nuclear commanders had the ability to use the weapons on their own authority and that this was changed by McNamara... http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Memoir-Vietnam-Pentagon-Papers/dp/0142003425/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370699467&sr=8-1&keywords=daniel+ellsberg
  4. They did not immediately lay a lot of blame for him for the BOP apparently... However, it contributed to bad relations between the two... page: 216 of this book states: "Despite the study group’s findings, Kennedy never publicly blamed anyone other than himself for the debacle. Seeking to avoid similar incidents, he told the chiefs that in the future he expected them to provide “direct and unfiltered” advice and to act like “more than military men.” 20 All the same, it was Taylor’s impression that the whole experience “hung like a cloud” over Kennedy’s relations with the JCS. Attempting to clear the air, Kennedy met with them in the Pentagon on May 27, 1961. Though no detailed records of the meeting survived, Kennedy at one point apparently lectured the chiefs on their responsibility for providing him with unalloyed advice, drawing on a paper Taylor wrote earlier. But the response he got was “icy silence.” 21 Henceforth, Kennedy remained respectful but skeptical of JCS advice." I do not believe the JCS was angry at Kennedy immediately after the BOP, seeing it as mainly a CIA fiasco, but they saw the Laos settlement as a defeat and then in the aftermath of that interpreted the BOP more negatively. I have evidence, everything in my book that is quoted is sourced, that will be in my book that shows that at the start of the Berlin Crisis the JCS blamed Kennedy for it even happening, claiming that due to the BOP and Laos the US even though it was more powerful than the Soviets had lost its "credibility" believing that now the Soviets doubted the US would be able to use this force against them. They had Lemntizer go to McNamara and read him a memo stating this. SAC was targeting Soviet nuclear missiles for destruction. In the Fall of 1962 after the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy made a pass at changing this and cutting missile production. I think Douglas has some details on this. The next year McNamara changed targeting to cities and ended any possibility of carrying out what was termed a "coercive" nuclear strike. When I say JCS in this reply I mean as a body - I have the impression that not all individual members of the JCS held extreme views during the entire JFK presidency, but I think it was dominated by those that did. The Marine Corps head David Shoup disagreed, but went along with them, then after LBJ got in he retired he began to organize an opposition against the Vietnam war, rumors spread that he was crazy and he had an FBI file opened on him. Interestingly, below him was Victor Krulak, and Fletcher Proutry served below him. I spent the about six months researching the Cuban missile crisis, the tapes etc... but am still doing more research with an aim to eventually do a follow up book to the one I have finished about the Vietnam War and even more new material. I started with the aim of focusing on McNamara and Bundy and why they recommended escalation to LBJ after McNamara worked on the withdrawal plan, but am now also focusing on the JCS and am shocked by it. There is lots of interesting info not out yet to the public, tapes not transcriped, but can be listened to: This is a tape that has not been published nor a transcription made available to the public yet of JFK's meeting over the Taylor/McNamara report, in which McNamara and Kennedy make a policy of getting out withdrawing advisers from Vietnam by 1965, this tape is absolute proof of JFK had a withdrawal plan...also proof are the memo packets of the Honolulu conference handed out to attendees with info on the planned withdrawals - this is at the Mary Ferrell site... the tape: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-MTG-114-A49d.aspx Here is another interesting tape, not published in a book or transcriped yet on October 1, 1963 over wheat sales to the Soviet Union. LBJ expresses his displeasure and issues something like a warning about the "potentially dangerous" situation Kenendy is putthing himself in with these decisions, which puts a chill in the meeting, at beginning of recording... http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-MTG-114-A49a.aspx Thanks for the response, Michael. I was also curious whether the history acknowledged that the JCS wanted U.S. troops to attack Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which, in hindsight, would almost certainly have ended up in disaster. Most historians now acknowledge JFK was wiser than his generals during the crisis. What say the military's historians? This textbook acknolwedges that they wanted to attack and invade Cuba, but doesn't mention the full consequences that would have came as a result.
  5. They did not immediately lay a lot of blame for him for the BOP apparently... However, it contributed to bad relations between the two... page: 216 of this book states: "Despite the study group’s findings, Kennedy never publicly blamed anyone other than himself for the debacle. Seeking to avoid similar incidents, he told the chiefs that in the future he expected them to provide “direct and unfiltered” advice and to act like “more than military men.” 20 All the same, it was Taylor’s impression that the whole experience “hung like a cloud” over Kennedy’s relations with the JCS. Attempting to clear the air, Kennedy met with them in the Pentagon on May 27, 1961. Though no detailed records of the meeting survived, Kennedy at one point apparently lectured the chiefs on their responsibility for providing him with unalloyed advice, drawing on a paper Taylor wrote earlier. But the response he got was “icy silence.” 21 Henceforth, Kennedy remained respectful but skeptical of JCS advice." I do not believe the JCS was angry at Kennedy immediately after the BOP, seeing it as mainly a CIA fiasco, but they saw the Laos settlement as a defeat and then in the aftermath of that interpreted the BOP more negatively. I have evidence, everything in my book that is quoted is sourced, that will be in my book that shows that at the start of the Berlin Crisis the JCS blamed Kennedy for it even happening, claiming that due to the BOP and Laos the US even though it was more powerful than the Soviets had lost its "credibility" believing that now the Soviets doubted the US would be able to use this force against them. They had Lemntizer go to McNamara and read him a memo stating this. SAC was targeting Soviet nuclear missiles for destruction. In the Fall of 1962 after the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy made a pass at changing this and cutting missile production. I think Douglas has some details on this. The next year McNamara changed targeting to cities and ended any possibility of carrying out what was termed a "coercive" nuclear strike. When I say JCS in this reply I mean as a body - I have the impression that not all individual members of the JCS held extreme views during the entire JFK presidency, but I think it was dominated by those that did. The Marine Corps head David Shoup disagreed, but went along with them, then after LBJ got in he retired he began to organize an opposition against the Vietnam war, rumors spread that he was crazy and he had an FBI file opened on him. Interestingly, below him was Victor Krulak, and Fletcher Proutry served below him. I spent the about six months researching the Cuban missile crisis, the tapes etc... but am still doing more research with an aim to eventually do a follow up book to the one I have finished about the Vietnam War and even more new material. I started with the aim of focusing on McNamara and Bundy and why they recommended escalation to LBJ after McNamara worked on the withdrawal plan, but am now also focusing on the JCS and am shocked by it. There is lots of interesting info not out yet to the public, tapes not transcriped, but can be listened to: This is a tape that has not been published nor a transcription made available to the public yet of JFK's meeting over the Taylor/McNamara report, in which McNamara and Kennedy make a policy of getting out withdrawing advisers from Vietnam by 1965, this tape is absolute proof of JFK had a withdrawal plan...also proof are the memo packets of the Honolulu conference handed out to attendees with info on the planned withdrawals - this is at the Mary Ferrell site... the tape: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-MTG-114-A49d.aspx Here is another interesting tape, not published in a book or transcriped yet on October 1, 1963 over wheat sales to the Soviet Union. LBJ expresses his displeasure and issues something like a warning about the "potentially dangerous" situation Kenendy is putthing himself in with these decisions, which puts a chill in the meeting, at beginning of recording... http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-MTG-114-A49a.aspx
  6. Ever wonder what people at the top of the defense establishment are taught about JFK and Vietnam? This book is published by the National Defense University. It appears to be a textbook used at this National Defense University college based in DC and most likely at West Point, Naval Academy etc, but commission by the Pentagon historical department...... It is an overview history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1942-1991. I would bet members of congress involved in defense matters would read this too.... There are things in this book that are not in normal academic scholarship and it is using sources not available to the public in some instances. That does not mean it is wrong and academics are right - it means that it is based on materials that go beyond the professor in the university. it is not written for the general public. You read this book and you are reading a real history of the American empire and defense establishment written for future leaders of the pentagon and armed forces. There are things in this book not in regular history books: http://www.ndu.edu/press/lib/pdf/books/council-of-war/council-of-war.pdf This is what the book has to say about Vietnam and Kennedy, it is pretty chilling: page. 281: knowing the Presidents aversion to... 281 the use of combat troops, the Joint Chiefs, CINCPAC, and the CIA came up with a plan (later designated OPLAN 34A) to bring the war home to North Vietnam through a campaign of sabotage and covert operations. However, it was too late for any improvement in the course of the war to save Diem’s crumbling regime, which fell victim in early November 1963 to a bloody coup d’état fomented, with American encouragement, by disgruntled South Vietnamese generals. Weapons, tac tics, and equipment meant to fight the Viet Cong were used instead to settle old scores and to prop up the new military junta. Shortly before his death, President Kennedy said publicly that he was confident most U.S. advisors could leave Vietnam in the foreseeable future and turn the war over to the ARVN. But he had no fall-back strategy in case he found withdrawal ill advised and remained averse to putting pressure on North Vietnam, other than through limited, indirect means, to cease and desist its support of the Viet Cong. Though the Joint Chiefs grudgingly accommodated themselves to the President’s wishes, they had yet to be convinced that a policy of restraint would succeed. What they saw evolving was an ominous repetition of the stalemate in Korea—a remote war, offering no sign of early resolution, consuming precious resources, and diverting attention from larger threats. Hence their support for a more aggressive, immediate strategy to confront the enemy directly with strong, decisive force. Militarily, the chiefs’ solution had much to recommend it. The United States still possessed overwhelming strategic nuclear superiority and could have used that power as an umbrella for large-scale conventional operations against North Vietnam. But it was a strategy fraught with enormous political risks that Kennedy was unwilling or unpre pared to take. It would be up to his successor to try to find a more durable solution. ....... I am publishing a book about the Cold War from 1945-1963, the second half of the book deals with JFK and his dealings with the JCS with new information on the Bay of Pigs not written before - based on recently declassified Pentagon histories, JFK tapes - some that I have listened to that have not been transcribed yet(you can listen yourself, everything in the book is sourced), and other material that has been released on the internet and not in books. Book will reveal knew details - some shocking - about the Cuban Missile Crisis and nuclear defense strategy not published before. Book is in final edit and will be released in September. For details drop me a message or email. I have done a lot of work on it and am taking a bit of a vacation, I plan on becoming more active in the JFK community contributing articles etc.
  7. I saw this on c-span last night, this event was held several months ago at the "sixth floor museum." Two professors. One that toes the single bullet line and another that refuses to take an opinion and appeared to not want to.... to be afraid to do so - the single-bullet guy may have been cowered into taking it.... The key is I think the tone of this event is what Dallas is going to want on Nov 22, 2013: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/311009-1 One of the professors said someone could write a book about how people interpret and deal with the assassination this year - he is certainly right about that....
  8. The assassination was 50 years ago. At this point perhaps the most important question to ask isn't even who killed Kennedy or even why - but how was it possible that whoever was involved was able to get away with it? Why did they know they would be able to cover it up and why is it still covered up to this day? I think there is answer looking back to the history of Rome. This is a passage from Tacticus about the second emperor of Rome after Augustus: .......... The first crime of the new reign was the murder of Postumus Agrippa. Though he was surprised and unarmed, a centurion of the firmest resolution despatched him with difficulty. Tiberius gave no explanation of the matter to the Senate; he pretended that there were directions from his father ordering the tribune in charge of the prisoner not to delay the slaughter of Agrippa, whenever he should himself have breathed his last. Beyond a doubt, Augustus had often complained of the young man’s character, and had thus succeeded in obtaining the sanction of a decree of the Senate for his banishment. But he never was hard-hearted enough to destroy any of his kinsfolk, nor was it credible that death was to be the sentence of the grandson in order that the stepson might feel secure. It was more probable that Tiberius and Livia, the one from fear, the other from a stepmother’s enmity, hurried on the destruction of a youth whom they suspected and hated. When the centurion reported, according to military custom, that he had executed the command, Tiberius replied that he had not given the command, and that the act must be justified to the Senate. As soon as Sallustius Crispus who shared the secret (he had, in fact, sent the written order to the tribune) knew this, fearing that the charge would be shifted on himself, and that his peril would be the same whether he uttered fiction or truth, he advised Livia not to divulge the secrets of her house or the counsels of friends, or any services performed by the soldiers, nor to let Tiberius weaken the strength of imperial power by referring everything to the Senate, for “the condition,” he said, “of holding empire is that an account cannot be balanced unless it be rendered to one person.” Meanwhile at Rome people plunged into slavery- consuls, senators, knights. The higher a man’s rank, the more eager his hypocrisy, and his looks the more carefully studied, so as neither to betray joy at the decease of one emperor nor sorrow at the rise of another, while he mingled delight and lamentations with his flattery. Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Apuleius, the consuls, were the first to swear allegiance to Tiberius Caesar, and in their presence the oath was taken by Seius Strabo and Caius Turranius, respectively the commander of the praetorian cohorts and the superintendent of the corn supplies. Then the Senate, the soldiers and the people did the same. For Tiberius would inaugurate everything with the consuls, as though the ancient constitution remained, and he hesitated about being emperor. Even the proclamation by which he summoned the senators to their chamber, he issued merely with the title of Tribune, which he had received under Augustus. The wording of the proclamation was brief, and in a very modest tone. “He would,” it said, “provide for the honours due to his father, and not leave the lifeless body, and this was the only public duty he now claimed.” .... In the original Latin Tacitus uses the phrase “Arcana imperii” to explain what is happening in these passages. Renaissance political philosophers were captivated by it. In English it means empire/power as a hidden thing.
  9. never mind I found the connection, Dan Carter book on George Wallace... Bunker Hunt gave Lemay one million dollars retirement fund after he lost a $50k a year consulting/board job.
  10. I just joined the forum. Been lurking for months. I was reading today the Air Force One tapes after the assassination, and at one point Lemay calls to ask if the body is on the plane or not. Once he finds out he changes his flight path. In the calls there is a question of whether the autopsy will be done at Bethesda or Walter Reed. Eventually Bethesda is chosen, but when that is decided is not in the tape. Find it interesting that Lemay wants to make sure the body is going to DC. Do you have a source for his connection to H.L. Hunt and Byrd? Would like to read that. Great oral history interview, people should read the whole thing. I'm new to the forum, but not to the subject. Actually working on a book about the Cold War and Military-Industrial Complex. Thanks.
  11. Do you have a source for this. Would like to see that. Thanks.
  12. My name is Michael Swanson. I have a Masters Degree in history from the University of Virginia. I was in the PhD program over ten years ago, but dropped out to start my own business, which is a financial newsletter and publishing company. I have published a book on local history and one on investing and have one about the Cold War and the Kennedy administration due to be out in September 2013. I'm currently working on a sequel about the Vietnam War. I have been interested in the JFK assassination and the era for a long time. When I was in high school at the time of the JFK movie came out I hosted an old computer bulletin board usenet group about the assassination. That was before the time of the Internets. You can find my writings at my site http://www.writermichaelswanson.com
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