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JFK's Vision of Peace

Douglas Caddy

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A classic article by the only member of the Kennedy family that seems to still care.  Amazing what after living through tragedies then tripping and junking can lead to, with help.

Edited by Ron Bulman
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I agree with RFK Jr. about many things, but I disagree with him about JFK's handling of Laos. Says RFK Jr.,

"The next confrontation with the defense and intelligence establishments had already begun as JFK resisted pressure from Eisenhower, the Joint Chiefs and the CIA to prop up the CIA’s puppet government in Laos against the communist Pathet Lao guerrillas. The military wanted 140,000 ground troops, with some officials advocating for nuclear weapons. . . . JFK instead signed a neutrality agreement the following year and was joined by 13 nations, including the Soviet Union."

In actuality, JFK's decision to agree to a coalition government was a costly blunder.  The coalition government ended up essentially being a tool of the Communists, and North Vietnam quickly occupied eastern Laos (and then eastern Cambodia). JFK then compounded his mistake by failing to challenge North Vietnam's occupation of eastern Laos, which was a violation of the neutrality agreement.

Because of JFK's failure to make any kind of a stand in Laos, the North Vietnamese were able to build the Ho Chi Minh trail through eastern Laos and Cambodia, which vastly improved their ability to move weapons, supplies, and troops into South Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese also established large bases and depots in eastern Laos and Cambodia. Those two regions became a huge staging area and a valuable sanctuary for North Vietnamese forces. This made our task of protecting South Vietnam a lot harder, partly because it gave the North Vietnamese a 640-mile frontier bordering South Vietnam instead of just the 40-mile frontier at the DMZ. 

If the North Vietnamese had been unable to occupy eastern Laos, it would have been virtually impossible for them to have occupied eastern Cambodia.

Without the supply routes and sanctuaries in eastern Laos and Cambodia, North Vietnam's ability to move weapons, supplies, and troops into South Vietnam would have been drastically curtailed, and many thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of South Vietnamese lives would have been saved. 




Edited by Michael Griffith
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