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Michael Griffith

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  1. Regarding what Robert Kennedy may have said in a 1964 interview, There's no "may" about it. The interview was recorded. it worthwhile to recall he was still, at that point, Attorney General and member of LBJ’s cabinet, thus subject to direction as set out in paragraph 4 of NSAM 273: 4. The President expects that all senior officers of the Government will move energetically to insure the full unity of support for established U.S. policy in Vietnam. Both in Washington and in the field, it is essential the Government be unified. Oh, please. This is a truly lame argument. That paragraph would not have prevented RFK from truthfully discussing his brother's intentions regarding the war. Furthermore, even after RFK left the Johnson Administration, he never, ever, ever claimed that JFK planned on withdrawing from Vietnam without victory. But just never mind that inconvenient fact, right? Indeed, as late as March 1968, just three months before his death, Bobby opposed a unilateral withdrawal and called the idea "unacceptable": I do not want, and I do believe that most Americans do not want, to sell out America's interest to simply withdraw -- to raise the white flag of surrender in Vietnam -- that would be unacceptable to us as a people, and unacceptable to us as a country. (“Remarks at the University of Kansas, March 18, 1968,” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website, https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/the-kennedy-family/robert-f-kennedy/robert-f-kennedy-speeches/remarks-at-the-university-of-kansas-march-18-1968) There is a huge difference between saying that JFK did not want to send in U.S. "combat troops" and saying that he intended to withdraw without victory. You guys also keep ignoring the fact that Bobby said that JFK would have provided air attacks to defend South Vietnam if necessary, and that JFK felt we "had" to win the war. More detail on the development of NSAM 263, including more information on McNamara’s input both at the time and his recollections afterwards, can be found in James Galbraith’s Boston Review article "Exit Strategy" from 2003: https://www.bostonreview.net/articles/galbraith-exit-strategy-vietnam/ Yeah, I've cited that article and given that link several times. Noam Chomsky published a reply shortly after, many of which talking points have been repeated by the dissenting voice on this thread. Galbraith in turn replies to Chomsky: https://www.bostonreview.net/articles/chomsky-galbraith-letters-vietnam-jfk-kennedy/ Yes, and anyone see that Galbraith ducked most the evidence that Chomsky presented and resorted to more special pleading and cherry-picking. The "dissenting voice on this thread" represents the position of 99% of scholars who have written on the subject. The majority voice in this thread represents a fringe viewpoint that was conceived by the anti-Semitic crackpot and fraud Fletcher Prouty and that is rejected even by the vast majority of liberal scholars.
  2. It should be noted that the Dallas authorities were originally going to charge Oswald with taking part in a conspiracy but that the LBJ White House pressured them to drop the conspiracy claim and to assert that Oswald acted alone. IOW, before the Dallas authorities knew what they were supposed to say, they believed Oswald had been part of a conspiracy. I should add that Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry later revealed that he believed Oswald was part of a conspiracy and that one of the shots came from the front.
  3. JFK supposedly said this to Salinger two days before the assassination, huh? Well, that's mighty curious. Salinger said nothing about this alleged statement in his 1966 memoir With Kennedy. He devoted several pages to describing his last encounters with JFK before JFK left for Texas, but he said nothing about Kennedy making any such statement. Not one word. Not even about Vietnam in general. Nothing. Why didn't Bobby Kennedy ever claim that JFK had said anything like this to him? Huh? When Bobby was asked specifically about this issue in his April 1964 oral interview, he flatly rejected the idea that JFK was going to withdraw from Vietnam or settle for anything other than victory. JFK never said anything about withdrawal without victory to William Bundy, either, nor to Dean Rusk, nor to McGeorge Bundy. Not one shred of evidence for such an intention is found on the JFK White House tapes. Not one syllable. This is not to mention the fact that every single firsthand statement from JFK himself flatly contradicts the Stone-Prouty-Newman myth. But you guys just don't care. You brush aside all this and much more evidence and instead rely on hearsay statements made years after the fact and on McNamara's fraudulent "secret debrief" (which he inexplicably failed to mention in his memoir or in any recorded White House discussion before or after JFK's death). And, just to be clear, we're talking about the same Pierre Salinger who claimed in 1996 that an intelligence agent had sent him a document that proved that TWA Flight 800 was shot down by friendly fire. The document was a hoax that had been circulating on the Internet for weeks and had been emailed to him by a former airline pilot. This sad episode spawned the term "Pierre Salinger syndrome" to describe people who believe that everything on the Internet is reliable. In 2000, Salinger further embarrassed himself by claiming that the two Libyans on trial for the bombing of Pan Am 103 were innocent and that he knew who the real bombers were. Incredible. The two men were tried because Qaddafi had handed them over, and they were found guilty at their trial in the Netherlands.
  4. The double-density explanation for the white patch does not work. Not even close. The OD measurements of the white patch prove that the patch would have to be bone from nearly one side of the skull to the other if the patch actually represented bone. To put it another way, if the white patch was not added to the lateral x-ray, the bone behind it would have to be much thicker than that area of the right skull table plus a frontal fragment blown to a point within the image of the patch. Even four skull fragments within the image of the white patch would not produce the patch's OD measurements. We have to keep in mind that when the x-rays were altered, (1) everyone thought the x-rays would remain sealed for at least a few decades, and (2) the science of optical density measurement was barely in its infancy.
  5. Given replies such as this one, I find it increasingly hard to take you seriously. I think it should be mentioned that you continue to defend Prouty's ludicrous claim that Chiang attended the Tehran Conference, that he flew the Chinese delegation to the Tehran Conference, that Churchill didn't have any ID on him when he disembarked in Tehran because he was wearing a pocketless flight suit, that a Soviet checkpoint held up the British delegation in Tehran because of Churchill's alleged lack of ID, that Stalin discussed Mao's military operations at the Tehran Conference, that Elliott Roosevelt saw the Chinese delegation at Habbaniya Airport in Iraq en route to Tehran, that Elliott Roosevelt saw the Chinese delegation in Tehran, etc., etc. This is all just abject nonsense peddled by a fraudulent storyteller. No historian takes these claims seriously. I've already refuted your false claim that your side (such as it is) does not claim that JFK intended to unconditionally withdraw from Vietnam after the election. I don't understand how you can float such a denial. Your side's most prominent spokesmen, James Galbraith and John Newman, make exactly this claim. Go back and re-watch Newman's segment in JFK Revisited, where Newman, citing McNamara's fraudulent "secret debrief," claims that JFK was going to withdraw even if it meant South Vietnam fell to the Communists. You can't get more unconditional than that. As for Galbraith, see his articles on the subject wherein he argues that JFK ordered a "complete withdrawal" and that it did not depend on conditions on the ground, such as this one: LINK. (For interested readers, here's Noam Chomsky's demolition of Galbraith's arguments: LINK.) I see no point in repeating facts and sources to you because you are beyond persuasion on this issue. There is a reason that even ultra-liberals like Moise, Bird, Chomsky, and Karnow have rejected your side's ahistorical interpretation of NSAMs 263 and 273 and of JFK's Vietnam intentions. Anyone can read the background documents for those NSAMs and readily see that they flatly contradict your spin on them. And anyone can read Bobby's April 1964 oral history interview and see where he flatly rejected the idea that JFK was going to withdraw from Vietnam without winning first.
  6. Just SMH. You're citing a news story that was based on statements made by a handful of Dallas officials. Sixteen years later, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that two gunmen fired at JFK, that four shots were fired, that one of the shots came from the grassy knoll, that JFK was hit at a time when the sixth-floor gunman's view of the limo would have been obstructed by the intervening oak tree, that Ruby had extensive underworld ties, that Ruby lied about how he entered the police basement, that Ruby lied about why he shot Oswald, that Silvia Odio's account was credible, etc., etc. And, it's worth noting that polls continue to show that 65% to 85% of the American people do not buy the lone-gunman theory.
  7. I am in disbelief that people are still using the tramp photo showing a man with his back to the camera as "evidence" of Prouty's nutty claim that Lansdale was in Dealey Plaza on 11/22. Anyway, one of the facts that Dr. Berman notes in his 29-page critique of Newman's theory is that McGeorge Bundy, i.e., the guy who drafted NSAM 273 for JFK, told LBJ, in writing, under the heading of "Can this be ended by 1965?" that 1965 has never been anything more for us than a target for the completion of certain forms of technical training and assistance. A struggle of this kind needs patience and determination. ("NSAM 263 and NSAM 273: Manipulating History," in Vietnam: The Early Decisions, Kindle edition, loc. 3585) William Bundy, another JFK aide, rejected Ken O'Donnell's claim that JFK intended to withdraw from Vietnam without victory/regardless of the consequences. He noted that this claim and similar claims surfaced "at the height of anti-Vietnam sentiment" and "go alongside other literature . . . that President Kennedy would have acted very differently from what was done later" (Ibid., loc. 3537). William Bundy continued: But I think this line of thought is open to grave doubt. Was President Kennedy affirming an intention to withdraw under any and all circumstances? I do not believe that, not at all. (Ibid., loc. 3537) When Senator Mike Mansfield was asked about Ken O'Donnell's famous account of one of JFK's meetings with Mansfield, during which JFK supposedly said he was going to withdraw from Vietnam no matter what after the election, Mansfield contradicted O'Donnell's account. Said Mansfield, The only thing discussed at that meeting . . . was the President's desire to bring about a withdrawal but recognizing that it could not be done precipitately but only over a period of months. The election was not even mentioned nor thought of and I must disassociate myself with any inference that the President and I agreed that "the party image" would or should be taken into account. What conversations Mr. O'Donnell and the President had after my meeting, I am not aware of. (Ibid., loc. 3528) Finally, let's remember what Bobby Kennedy, who knew JFK better than any other man, said in his April 1964 oral history interview about his brother's views on Vietnam: The President felt that he had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam. (Ibid., loc. 3546) This is exactly what we see in every public and private firsthand statement that we have from JFK during the last few months of his life, including the day of his death.
  8. Wow. You believe Prouty was credible after all we now know about him? Really? Sheesh, that's just sad and discrediting. Yes, I am in the minority in this forum when it comes to Prouty, and that is big black mark on this forum's credibility. Outside this forum, I am part of the 99.9% of scholars and researchers who acknowledge that Prouty was a crackpot. Given what we know about him, there is no excuse for defending him. You think Lansdale was involved in the plot? Based on what? This is sheer fantasy that no reputable historian takes seriously. I just have to wonder about your basis for believing that JFK was getting out of Vietnam when every single firsthand statement that we have from JFK himself contradicts this theory, when all the primary source documents make it clear that victory was the goal and the main criterion for any action regarding Vietnam, when there is not one shred of support for this theory on the JFK White House tapes, and when Bobby Kennedy expressly rejected the theory during his April 1964 oral history interview when he was specifically asked about it.
  9. Dr. James Giglio, a historian and author of the book The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, provided a good summary of some of the problems with using the 1,000-man withdrawal/NSAM 263 to support the unconditional-withdrawal myth, in an article he wrote for the American Historical Association's magazine Perspectives on History in 1992: The 1,000-force cutback slated for the end of 1963 mostly involved a construction battalion that had completed its work; it was understood that it would be replaced by other troops. Moreover, the testimony of several contemporaries and Kennedy's own statements suggest that he intended no pullout after the 1964 election. In a 1964 oral history interview, Robert Kennedy, who knew his brother best, confirmed that the administration had not considered a withdrawal. When asked what the president would have done if the South Vietnamese appeared doomed, Robert answered in a way that truthfully expressed the ad hoc nature of the Kennedy presidency: "We'd face that when we came to it." The recently published Foreign Relations of the United States, Volume 4, Vietnam, August-December 1963, further affirms the no-pullout conclusion. (Oliver Stone's JFK in Historical Perspective | Perspectives on History | AHA (historians.org) Far-left author and Noam Chomsky disciple Andy Piascik discussed some of the reasons that even most ultra-liberals reject the myth that JFK was determined to unconditionally withdraw from Vietnam after the election: This fixation on what he might have done is understandable, for the historical record -- what JFK actually did -- is quite horrifying and laid the groundwork for the decade of slaughter that followed. First was the escalation in Laos, accompanied by diplomatic shenanigans that undermined coalition governments that included the Pathet Lao revolutionaries despite they're being the most popular force in the country. The goal, as always with empire, was victory and the annihilation of anyone who favored national liberation. In Vietnam, a similar approach led to massive devastation. In the winter of 1961-62, Kennedy initiated the full-scale bombing of those parts of South Vietnam controlled by the National Liberation Front (all but Saigon and its immediate surroundings). The justification that bombing was needed to defeat the revolution masked the indiscriminate nature of the aerial assault, which resulted in casualties that were overwhelmingly civilian. And so the tone was set for the next eleven years of war. It was also Kennedy who authorized the first use of Chemicals of Mass Destruction in Southeast Asia, with napalm the best-known and most deadly. Never had chemical warfare been used so extensively, though the U.S. had also used napalm in Korea in the early 1950's. Again, the tone was established as massive amounts of phosphorous, Agent Orange and other chemicals were used for the rest of the war, chemicals the deadly affects of which are being felt to this day throughout Indochina. And it was under Kennedy that the notorious strategic hamlets were set up throughout South Vietnam. "Strategic Hamlets" is a term worthy of Orwell at his best or Madison Avenue at its worst, designed to induce thoughts of happy, grateful peasants gathered around a campfire. The more accurate phrase would be Concentration Camps, as Vietnamese by the thousands were rounded up at gunpoint and forced to live behind barbed wire. . . . As each of these moves failed and the NLF grew stronger, Kennedy ordered ground troops to Southeast Asia in the spring of 1962 and gradually increased their numbers until his death. There is no evidence to indicate any plan for withdrawal short of victory. . . . Significantly, Schlesinger and the many other memoirists, biographers and historians of Camelot never mentioned withdrawal short of victory until domestic opinion had turned dramatically against U.S. aggression long after Kennedy's death. Only then did the myth of "Kennedy the Peacemaker" emerge. (https://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/kennedy-s-never-ending-cult-5076200.php)
  10. Given your refusal to concede the obvious fact that Prouty clearly fabricated his tale about Chiang and the Chinese delegation secretly attending the Tehran Conference, I suspect that nothing I say will cause you to change your position, but I offer this response for the sake of visitors and others. Relying solely on public statements from the time, one could make a case for either withdrawal or engagement simply by cherry-picking from the self-contradictory record. One, we’re not just talking about his public statements. We’re also talking about the JFK White House tapes and meeting minutes. Did you read Dr. Berman’s chapter? Two, the record is not “self-contradictory.” In every single firsthand statement from JFK himself we see him reaffirming his determination to win the war. You cannot cite a single firsthand statement from JFK to support your view. Critics such as Prouty and Newman look closely at what was done rather than what was said. They give more weight to the production of NSAM 263 - culminating a period of intense concentration on a strategic plan for Vietnam led personally by Kennedy - rather than discourse which may have been subject to electioneering and political persuasion. The intention of 263 is not ambiguous. You are citing Prouty?! Anyway, as dozens of scholars have noted, NSAM 263 simply does not support the unconditional-withdrawal myth. In fact, it refutes the myth. NSAM 263 itself is less than one page long and merely announces the 1,000-man withdrawal and refers to sections of the Taylor-McNamara report. If you read that report and the instructions that JFK himself gave to Lodge afterward, it is crystal clear that the withdrawal was conditioned on the situation on the ground and did not even involve the withdrawal of all troops. Moreover, the background documents prove that even if ground conditions permitted the gradual, phased withdrawal of “the bulk” of U.S. troops, we would continue to aid South Vietnam, and that the goal was to win the war. What is notable with the argument that “JFK never faced” what LBJ “had to confront” – which was first broached in Les Gelb’s NY Times op-ed December 1991) – is that rhetorically it dismisses the withdrawal argument for its presumption regarding the “unknown”, while simultaneously presuming to in fact “know” the “unknown” (i.e. JFK would have reacted the same as LBJ). It also fails to factor the escalatory measures initiated by the Johnson administration, beginning with NSAM 273. I know some here will never abandon this mythical spin. A few facts: One, it is simply a fact that JFK never faced the kind of escalation and precarious situation that LBJ faced. Two, some of the loudest voices for deploying combat troops to Vietnam were the JFK aides who remained in the White House under LBJ. Three, the draft of NSAM 273 that was prepared for JFK made it abundantly clear that every action was to be judged by whether or not it helped to defeat the Communists. Four, the indisputable and profusely documented facts are (1) that LBJ was reluctant to deploy combat troops, (2) that he was even reluctant to substantially escalate the war in any way because he wanted to focus on his domestic agenda, (3) that he only changed his mind when faced with the dire situation that developed in early 1965 and after former JFK aides and others repeatedly urged him to send combat troops, and (4) that even after he agreed to the first deployment of combat troops, he hoped they could return within a year. These facts are a matter of record. They have been acknowledged, documented, and discussed by scholars from all across the political spectrum and on both sides of the Vietnam debate. Only a tiny handful of scholars/authors deny these facts, and only a tiny minority of scholars/authors still peddle the unconditional-withdrawal myth.
  11. Oh, I totally agree that Stone's movie deserves great credit for causing the passage of the JFKA Records Collection Act and the creation of the ARRB. I've said the same thing many times, including in my book and in my podcast interviews. But Stone's movie was very much a two-edged sword because it also discredited the case for conspiracy among the vast majority of academics and journalists, including among some who had previously at least been open to the possibility of a plot. And, yes, diehard WC apologists would have attacked Stone's film had there been no Prouty content in it, but they would have had a much harder time attacking it absent the Prouty claims. The Prouty claims presented WC apologists with low-hanging fruit, with easy targets, and made the film seem reckless and fringe. To put it another way, think how much harder it would have been for critics to attack the film if it had not included Prouty's debunked claims that JFK had decided to abandon the Vietnam War, that Edward Lansdale was one of the plotters, that the DC telephone system was taken offline for an hour shortly after the shooting, that Prouty (Mr. X) was sent to the South Pole to prevent him from helping with presidential security, that someone ordered the 112th MI Group to stand down on 11/22, etc.
  12. I think the speculation that Nixon knew of the plot or was involved in the plot is the kind of speculation that does great harm to the case for conspiracy. If we assume the plotters were right-wingers, they would have been furious with Nixon and would not have let him get reelected. Why? Between January 1969 and October 1972, Nixon -- began withdrawing large numbers of troops from South Vietnam five months after taking office--by December 1971, he had withdrawn nearly 400,000 troops -- created the EPA in 1970 -- tried hard to push through Congress a huge expansion of federal welfare called the Family Assistance Program (FAP) that would have made 13 million more people eligible for federal assistance--the FAP passed the House in April 1970 but Southern conservatives killed it in the Senate (twice) -- earmarked $100 million for cancer research, far more than any other president had spent on such research -- initiated the desegregation of Southern schools -- increased funding for the Bureau of Indian Affairs by 225 percent, doubled funds for American Indian health care, and established the Office of Indian Water Rights -- extended Affirmative Action in federal employment -- restrained defense spending so that by August 1972 defense spending took the lowest percentage of GNP since the early 1950s -- substantially increased Social Security benefits.
  13. I don't think anyone would mistake a Harrier for a UFO unless they saw it from so far away that they could not even see its basic shape and components (i.e., wings, tail, cockpit, and fuselage). A Harrier looks like any other military fighter jet. Plus, no Harrier, nor any other jet, could perform the gravity-defying flying maneuvers that so many witnesses (including my wife) have seen and described.
  14. Critics pounced on three blunders in Stone's 1991 JFK to discredit the movie in the eyes of most journalists and academics. Those three blunders were (1) the claim that Ed Lansdale was one of the plotters, (2) the claim that JFK was determined to abandon the Vietnam War after the election, and (3) Stone's use of Fletcher Prouty as a source. One of Stone's own aides, Jane Rusconi, who checked into Prouty, warned Stone five months before the movie's release that Prouty must have known about Liberty Lobby's "unsavory" nature: “Basically, there’s no way Fletcher could be unaware of the unsavory aspects of the Liberty Lobby. The Anti-Defamation Leagues keeps a close watch on the Liberty Lobby and are very aware of Fletcher’s involvement. It could come back to haunt us if we don’t find a way to deal with this.” And Rusconi was apparently unaware that Prouty had actually spoken at an IHR Holocaust-denial conference and had written a letter praising the primary goals of the IHR's Holocaust-denying journal. Yet, just the information that Rusconi found on Prouty should have been enough to cause Stone to drop him, but Stone decided to use Prouty as a source anyway. This decision came back to haunt Stone in a major way when critics pounced on Prouty's bogus claims and documented Prouty's record of prolonged and close associations with anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and white supremacists.
  15. Has the Stone-Prouty-Newman camp ever responded to Dr. Larry Berman's 29-page critique of Newman's case for the unconditional-withdrawal myth? I'm referring to Dr. Berman's 29-page chapter titled "NSAM 263 and NSAM 273: Manipulating History" in the roundtable book Vietnam: The Early Decisions (University of Texas Press, 1997, pp. 177-206), edited by Dr. Lloyd Gardner and Dr. Ted Gittinger. Among many other things, Berman documents that JFK clearly expressed his intention to win the war in both public and private statements that he made in the last four weeks of his life. Indeed, in the speech that JFK was going to give at the Trade Mart, he warned that we "dare not weary of the task" of supporting nations that were threatened by communism, and that reducing our aid to those nations would be dangerous: Our security and strength, in the last analysis, directly depend on the security and strength of others, and that is why our military and economic assistance plays such a key role in enabling those who live on the periphery of the Communist world to maintain their independence of choice. Our assistance to these nations can be painful, risky and costly, as is true in Southeast Asia today. But we dare not weary of the task. . . . Reducing our efforts to train, equip, and assist their armies can only encourage Communist penetration and require in time the increased overseas deployment of American combat forces. Berman also documents that when LBJ was faced with Hanoi's vast escalation in South Vietnam in the 14 months following Diem's death, his holdover JFK aides were among those who recommended sending combat troops to stabilize the situation. To get some idea of how drastically Hanoi's leaders escalated their war effort after Diem's death, the first division-sized battle did not occur in Vietnam until late 1964. Until then, the Communists had never deployed more than a regiment or a battalion into battle--they usually only deployed a company or two. Yet, in late 1964, they attacked Binh Gia with a division (a typical division contained three regiments or nine battalions). This brings us back to the key point that LBJ and JFK faced very different situations--JFK was never faced with the kind of massive escalation that LBJ had to confront. And, Berman documents that LBJ was initially reluctant to send combat troops to South Vietnam, and that it took considerable persuasion from former JFK aides and others to get him to change his mind.
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