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President Kennedy dictates notes regarding Vietnam (Nov. 4, 1963)

Douglas Caddy

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Perhaps two weeks before this tape was made there was a meeting at the White House attended by RFK, which also was recorded. In this recording, RFK takes the stance that the only question regarding the proposed coup is whether it will "work".

It saddens me to hear John-John's voice on this tape. It saddens me to think the U.S. Government so badly handled his, his wife's, and his sister-in-law's deaths.

This tape speaks to several large issues.

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This tape is as old as the hills.

It goes back at least as far as 2007. And I actually think its goes back further than that.

The fact of its date, robs it of its context. And the fact that is essentially a stream of conscious diary, robs it of any analytical value.

Kennedy refers here to the badly drafted cable which was sent out over the late August weekend, and he says it should have never been sent. In fact, if Taylor had called him when he saw it--as he should have--it would not have been sent. Because according to his book, he understood it for what it was--an end run around the president planned and executed at the optimal moment of weakness. Kennedy was enraged when he got back and realized he had been lied to in order to hatch the plot against Diem.

He then tried to cancel the cable, but since Lodge had taken complete power in Saigon--by getting CIA station chief Patterson out--that did not work. So then it became a matter of when and how. When Kennedy realized what had happened, the murders of Diem and his brother, he then decided to recall Lodge and fire him. And he told Forrestal, there would be a compete review of Vietnam policy, including how we got there.

But he was murdered first. LBJ did not fire Lodge. He let him stay on. There was no review of Vietnam policy from the start.

We all know what happened after.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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