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Why the Bay of Pigs failed


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Here's an interesting piece penned by Phillips in the mid 1980's.

FWIW.

James

*********************************

The Bay of Pigs revisited—25 years later

By David Atlee Phillips

Twenty-five years ago today the worst cover-action fiasco in American history occurred when a brigade of CIA-sponsored Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs.

The memory of that day haunts me because I was one of the CIA officers who planned the operation. But I recall more vividly and painfully the 19th of April, 1961, when after two days we knew the defeat was beyond salvage. In Washington we listened to the final radio report from the Cuban commander on the beach. His invasion force of 1,400 Cuban exiles had been routed. He reported that he was standing in the shallows, that he was about to abandon his gear and head for the swamp.

Then he cursed the U.S. government, and he cursed us as individuals.

The question about the Bay of Pigs most frequently asked—particularly by those who were young or not even born at the time—is a simple one: Why did it fail?

There is no simple, single answer.

Some history should be set straight. It has often been argued that the root cause for the disaster was that the CIA promised President Eisenhower and, after his inauguration, President John Kennedy, that a spontaneous uprising would be sparked in Cuba by the landing at the Bay of Pigs. That has become a durable myth; but it is a myth.

The Bay of Pigs operational plan was based on the 1954 successful covert action, in which I was also involved, that led to the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala. No one in a responsible position ever contemplated a sudden victory in the Guatemalan endeavor. And it didn’t occur until enough Guatemalans were convinced the invading army was well entrenched the time had arrived to hop on the bandwagon. Nor, in the Cuban operation, did anyone from the lowest operator to CIA Director Allen Dulles believe that immediate uprisings would topple the charismatic Fidel Castro.

Then why did it fail? For the first few years after the Bay of Pigs my observation were too subjective to be trusted. In 1975, however, I mustered as much objectivity as I could to list four principal reasons for the failure:

First, the successful argument made to President Kennedy by his political advisers that the CIA’s original plan to land at a small town called Trinidad near Cuban mountains would make the operation unacceptably "noisy"; thus the change to the isolated, swampy landing site at the Bay of Pigs.

Next, Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson was not thoroughly informed of pre-invasion air strikes against Cuba, CIA sorties by exile pilots who claimed they were defecting from the Castro’s air force. Stevenson was understandably incensed after he denied charges by Cuba’s foreign minister that the planes were on CIA-supported missions. His protest to Kennedy, who admired him, might have been critical in the decision to truncate the operation.

Then, those of us within CIA—including Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell, the senior acting officer of the operation—should have ignored the agency’s "can-do" and "good-soldier" tradition and told the White House that an operation of the dimensions of the Bay of Pigs, if to be conducted at all, should be managed openly by the Pentagon and not by a secret army.

Finally, the decision by President Kennedy to cancel at zero hour the air cover that the 1,400 Cuban exiles in the amphibious force had been promised.

Now, after pondering the sad event for another decade, I must add a fifth element to the list of reasons the Bay of Pigs operation failed: There was a tacit assumption among those concerned with the operation in CIA—an assumption that hardened into certainty by D-Day—that John Kennedy would bail out CIA if things went awry.

Everyone, including Richard Bissell and Allen Dulles, believed deep down that Kennedy would rescue the operation with U.S. armed forces if need be. There had to be some sort of overt military option ready in the wings if defeat loomed. (Surely Eisenhower would have had one in reserve and used it.) But there was no contingency plan in fact or in Kennedy’s mindset. Those involved in the project, from top to bottom, ignored an intelligence basic: Don’t assume; know.

For those who demand a simple explanation of the Bay of Pigs debacle and for those who will not entertain the thesis that there was sufficient blame to share among everyone concerned, perhaps the curious incident of Fidel Castro’s not making a speech should be recalled.

In a crowded press conference, one of the first American newsmen to visit Havana after the Bay of Pigs asked Castro, "Why did the Americans fail?" Everyone expected one of Castro’s customary lengthy political diatribes. Instead, Castro shrugged and replied, simply, "They had no air support."

Years after the event, a man who had worked with me on the project explained what he had decided about the Bay of Pigs. ""t was inevitable," he said . "The fiasco, I mean. The disaster. If it hadn’t been the Bay of Pigs it would have been something else sometime in the future. In 1953 Kermit Roosevelt and a few fellows manipulated that crowd that toppled Mossadegh in Iran without any trouble at all. Then in 1954 we took care of Eisenhower’s little problem in Guatemala. So easy, it seemed. All those successes just had to lead to a failure eventually, because the system kept calling on us for more and more even when it should have been obvious that secret shenanigans couldn’t do what armies are supposed to do.

"If it hadn’t been that time at the Bay of Pigs," he concluded, "it would have been somewhere else at some other time."

We didn’t call them that in 1961, but the exiles stranded on the beach at the Bay of Pigs were our contras. We should have scrapped the operation or, once committed to it, followed through with enough support that our contras would never have only one option of heading for the swamp.

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Here's an interesting piece penned by Phillips in the mid 1980's.

FWIW.

James

*********************************

The Bay of Pigs revisited—25 years later

By David Atlee Phillips

Twenty-five years ago today the worst cover-action fiasco in American history occurred when a brigade of CIA-sponsored Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs.

The memory of that day haunts me because I was one of the CIA officers who planned the operation. But I recall more vividly and painfully the 19th of April, 1961, when after two days we knew the defeat was beyond salvage. In Washington we listened to the final radio report from the Cuban commander on the beach. His invasion force of 1,400 Cuban exiles had been routed. He reported that he was standing in the shallows, that he was about to abandon his gear and head for the swamp.

Then he cursed the U.S. government, and he cursed us as individuals.

The question about the Bay of Pigs most frequently asked—particularly by those who were young or not even born at the time—is a simple one: Why did it fail?

There is no simple, single answer.

Some history should be set straight. It has often been argued that the root cause for the disaster was that the CIA promised President Eisenhower and, after his inauguration, President John Kennedy, that a spontaneous uprising would be sparked in Cuba by the landing at the Bay of Pigs. That has become a durable myth; but it is a myth.

The Bay of Pigs operational plan was based on the 1954 successful covert action, in which I was also involved, that led to the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala. No one in a responsible position ever contemplated a sudden victory in the Guatemalan endeavor. And it didn’t occur until enough Guatemalans were convinced the invading army was well entrenched the time had arrived to hop on the bandwagon. Nor, in the Cuban operation, did anyone from the lowest operator to CIA Director Allen Dulles believe that immediate uprisings would topple the charismatic Fidel Castro.

Then why did it fail? For the first few years after the Bay of Pigs my observation were too subjective to be trusted. In 1975, however, I mustered as much objectivity as I could to list four principal reasons for the failure:

First, the successful argument made to President Kennedy by his political advisers that the CIA’s original plan to land at a small town called Trinidad near Cuban mountains would make the operation unacceptably "noisy"; thus the change to the isolated, swampy landing site at the Bay of Pigs.

Next, Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson was not thoroughly informed of pre-invasion air strikes against Cuba, CIA sorties by exile pilots who claimed they were defecting from the Castro’s air force. Stevenson was understandably incensed after he denied charges by Cuba’s foreign minister that the planes were on CIA-supported missions. His protest to Kennedy, who admired him, might have been critical in the decision to truncate the operation.

Then, those of us within CIA—including Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell, the senior acting officer of the operation—should have ignored the agency’s "can-do" and "good-soldier" tradition and told the White House that an operation of the dimensions of the Bay of Pigs, if to be conducted at all, should be managed openly by the Pentagon and not by a secret army.

Finally, the decision by President Kennedy to cancel at zero hour the air cover that the 1,400 Cuban exiles in the amphibious force had been promised.

Now, after pondering the sad event for another decade, I must add a fifth element to the list of reasons the Bay of Pigs operation failed: There was a tacit assumption among those concerned with the operation in CIA—an assumption that hardened into certainty by D-Day—that John Kennedy would bail out CIA if things went awry.

Everyone, including Richard Bissell and Allen Dulles, believed deep down that Kennedy would rescue the operation with U.S. armed forces if need be. There had to be some sort of overt military option ready in the wings if defeat loomed. (Surely Eisenhower would have had one in reserve and used it.) But there was no contingency plan in fact or in Kennedy’s mindset. Those involved in the project, from top to bottom, ignored an intelligence basic: Don’t assume; know.

For those who demand a simple explanation of the Bay of Pigs debacle and for those who will not entertain the thesis that there was sufficient blame to share among everyone concerned, perhaps the curious incident of Fidel Castro’s not making a speech should be recalled.

In a crowded press conference, one of the first American newsmen to visit Havana after the Bay of Pigs asked Castro, "Why did the Americans fail?" Everyone expected one of Castro’s customary lengthy political diatribes. Instead, Castro shrugged and replied, simply, "They had no air support."

Years after the event, a man who had worked with me on the project explained what he had decided about the Bay of Pigs. ""t was inevitable," he said . "The fiasco, I mean. The disaster. If it hadn’t been the Bay of Pigs it would have been something else sometime in the future. In 1953 Kermit Roosevelt and a few fellows manipulated that crowd that toppled Mossadegh in Iran without any trouble at all. Then in 1954 we took care of Eisenhower’s little problem in Guatemala. So easy, it seemed. All those successes just had to lead to a failure eventually, because the system kept calling on us for more and more even when it should have been obvious that secret shenanigans couldn’t do what armies are supposed to do.

"If it hadn’t been that time at the Bay of Pigs," he concluded, "it would have been somewhere else at some other time."

We didn’t call them that in 1961, but the exiles stranded on the beach at the Bay of Pigs were our contras. We should have scrapped the operation or, once committed to it, followed through with enough support that our contras would never have only one option of heading for the swamp.

there is also a sixth possibility (tho I admit it is very negligible as it depends on Cuban people being able to think, and to know which is the business end of a gun, plus the rather strange notion that they (if one assumes they actually are human beings) can differentiate between a brutal regime that hangs poor children from lamp-posts and a group of guerrillas that gets rid of that brutal regime) being the remote possibility that the americans lost because they lost. The converse of that of course being that the Cuban people won. Decisively. And, like the Vietnamese people, would have done so no matter what (short of nuclear annihalation of course.

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In his criticism of the CIA's attitude, Phillips is actually mouthing Lyman Kirkpatrick's IG Report that was pretty much banned. If Phillips was capable of realizing the level of the CIA's responsibility, maybe he did express some regrets about the Kennedy assassination, as reported.

Edited by Pat Speer
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Now, after pondering the sad event for another decade, I must add a fifth element to the list of reasons the Bay of Pigs operation failed: There was a tacit assumption among those concerned with the operation in CIA—an assumption that hardened into certainty by D-Day—that John Kennedy would bail out CIA if things went awry.

This is definitely the main reason why it failed. It is clear from reading Richard Bissell’s account (Reflections of a Cold War Warrior) that the CIA expected that JFK would rescue the operation they knew would fail by ordering a full-scale attack.

There is of course another reason that David Phillips does not mention. The failed attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro just before the invasion.

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Now, after pondering the sad event for another decade, I must add a fifth element to the list of reasons the Bay of Pigs operation failed: There was a tacit assumption among those concerned with the operation in CIA—an assumption that hardened into certainty by D-Day—that John Kennedy would bail out CIA if things went awry.

This is definitely the main reason why it failed*. It is clear from reading Richard Bissell’s account (Reflections of a Cold War Warrior) that the CIA expected that JFK would rescue the operation they knew would fail by ordering a full-scale attack.

There is of course another reason that David Phillips does not mention. The failed attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro just before the invasion.

Obviously Fidel would disagree with that statement. These 5 excuses sound like the ones that US tried to generate to explain 'how they were not allowed to win' in Vietnam. Is their ego so blind that they cannot accept that they are capable of just plain old fashioned defeat?

http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/castro/1961/19610423

-DATE-

19610423

-YEAR-

1961

-DOCUMENT_TYPE-

SPEECH

-AUTHOR-

F. CASTRO

-HEADLINE-

CASTRO DENOUNCES U.S. AGRESSION

-PLACE-

CUBA

-SOURCE-

HAVANA DOMESTIC SVC

-REPORT_NBR-

FBIS

-REPORT_DATE-

19610424

-TEXT-

CASTRO DENOUNCES U.S. AGGRESSION

Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 1830 GMT 23 April 1961--E

(Speech by Premier Fidel Castro on the Popular University program)

Invasion Analyzed

Let us now analyze the plan of attack by imperialism against Cuba, and why they landed where they did, and why they did not land on the other side. In the first place they exaggerated the number of mercenaries. Instead of fouror five thousand they did not have anywhere near that number. What they landed here was the group they had in Guatemala.

They have another in Caimanera, but it is smaller and not armed as well. The group that had the most arms, were better trained, and had air cover, was the Guatemala group. At first it appeared that the intentions were to take the Isle of Pines, to take it and free the war criminals imprisoned there and add them to their ranks and to take a piece of national territory and then give us the problem of dislodging them.

They were to direct their efforts toward gaining a piece of territory to establish there a provisional government from which to operate. The establishment of a base on our territory would have given them a base to bomb our country and would have created a difficult situation for us. We

had to stop this at all costs. The Isle of Pines was ideal for the establishment of a base on our territory which would open the road for aid on territory of Cuba and make unnecessary to use of other countries to launch aggressions. But here is what we did. We filled the Isle of Pines

with tens of batallions of cannon and tanks, we posted a force in the Isle of Pines that make the Isle of Pines invulnerable. A huge army would have been needed to attack it. They could not count on Escambray after it had been cleaned out. Would imperialism land mercenaries with just one combat

force, or would it split its force into several groups, that was the problem if faced. Would it try to introduce groups and send them arms from the air, to establish many counterrevolutionary networks. We took measures to counter multiple landings, concentrating on logical points, in case they divided force into many groups. We concentrated especially on places giving access to the mountains.

A few days before the aggression, many U.S. papers carried the report that imperialism had decided on splitting up the force and opening different fronts in Cuba. That could be true. It could also be true that the rumors were intended to throw us off the track. Events later showed that they had

decided to send the whole force together and seize a point of our territory. Among the rumors in the U.S. press, it was said that it was risky to send all forces against one point and expose them to a crushing defeat and strengthening the revolution.

If they had split up their forces in many landings, they could have used it for much propaganda. A defeat in that case would have been diluted. I believe they could have chosen either tactic. We trusted that we would defeat them wherever, they came. For us it would be best if they all came

against the same point but we did not think they would do this. They chose something that offered more but also was much more risky for morale and prestige. They should have been worried about the blow to the morale of imperialism and counterrevolution. For us it was better for them to come in

one force, but we thought they would avoid that mistake. But we were still ready with adequate force if they all came together.

Preparations for Invasion

A series of facts showed that the time was near: statements; formation of council of worms in exile; the famous White Book from Kennedy. A whole series of political facts and statements plus the indications in the U.S. press, including discrepancies about possible tactics. We heard that the last shipments of arms and men had gone to Guatemala. We increased our vigilance. On 15 April, because of a report from Oriente, we had not gone to bed. Everything indicated the attack might come at any minute; we got news from Oriente that many groups of ships were off Baracoa. Our forces were put on the alert.

It was necessary to be very careful because American ships often came close to the coast trying to cause trouble. One American ship without any flag was very close to the coast. It was detained by our craft. Then U.S. planes came, apparently to provoke an incident, so our vessel was ordered to let the ship proceed to avoid an incident. In connection with the mercenary landing, Americans carried out some ship movements to throw us off the track. The Baracoa battalion was waiting for a landing so there could be no doubt as to what kind of a ship it was. But in the end there was no landing at Baracoa. We still did not know what group of ships that was. It may have been mercenaries who never landed, it may have been U.S. ships; anyway, nothing happened.

We heard bombs and ack-ack. We saw it was a bombing raid in Ciudad Libertad. We decided it was definite that the aggression was beginning. We tried to get in touch with San Antonio to get our planes up and found that a simultaneous attack was going on there; and Santiago was attacked too.

We had taken measures at the air base. We have few planes and even fewer pilots. We were taking care of those planes. We wanted to be sure they would not be destroyed. So our planes were kept scattered. At San Antonio they managed to destroy one transport plane and one fighter; that was not

much. At (Santiago?) they destroyed one fighter and several civilian planes.

They had hoped to destroy our air force. Imperialist aggressions are characterized by an attack on aviation to immobilize it. Our force is small, but we expect to make good use of those few planes and pilots.

At San Antonio the ack-ack reaction was formidable. Planes were driven off and our planes took off in pursuit of the enemy till he was on way to Miami. The first step of aggression--to destroy our planes on the ground--had failed. We reinforced our ack-ack but they did not come back. They had attacked with six planes. Some did not get back, others were riddled. Our air force was intact and ready. And our pilots wanted revenge. That was Saturday. All forces were alerted. Sunday the funeral services were held, our own planes kept guard.

An ammo truck has been set afire by the attack but the people kept calm. They drove the other trucks away while the ammo on the first one was exploding. (Applause) Of course no trucks with ammo should have been there but those things do happen. We were alert all day Sunday. We slept in the

afternoon and not at night. We figured that the air raid was not just harrassment but had a military objective, to destroy our air force. Therefore we figured the aggression would come soon. We reinforced our measures after the air attack.

Invasion Comes

Why was this attack made two days early? Tactically speaking it was an error because we had a chance to take some measures. We mobilized all combat units. On Sunday nothing happened. On Monday morning at 3:15 I was informed that fighting was going on at Playa Giron and Playa Larga. We confirmed this. Then came the report that an invading force was bombing heavily with bazookas and cannons at the two beaches. There was no doubt of a landing attempt at that point--one supported by heavy equipment. Resistance began. Results of the attacks came. The microwave system was cut off. Communications were then cut off. This was the situation.

Here is Cochino Bay and here is Cienfugeos. There was a Cienfugeos battalion at the Central Australia. These were the first to meet the aggression. Here is Playa Larga and here Playa Giron. Here is Zapata Peninsula. This piece of impassible swamp land was the sole communication available to peasants. This area bothered the revolution most.

(Editor's Note: At this point Castro discusses for approximately six

minutes the Zapata swamp area and tells what the revolution has done for it

and its people, the building of schools, roads, and medical facilities. He

then spends about five minutes giving in some detail a list of the weapons

captured in this area, apparently reading from a report. Then during a

period of bad reception of approximately 10 minutes, he discusses the

invader miscalculations of the Castro air force and, in some detail, the

battle plans and the tactical situation during the early stages of the

invasion. During much of the time Castro seems to be referring to maps.)

That was the plan. They put two battalions here, and five further back; here were four and six, that was very early in the morning. Then planes were to drop paratroops. They began landing very well. But at Playa Larga and Playa Giron they met resistance. They began losing time. They got two

battalions ashore. Paratroops began operating. As they dropped paratroops at these spots, our troops were caught between the main force and the paratroops. Our first measures were to alert all commands and the air force. Orders were given to disperse planes and have ack-ack ready if an attack was made on the airstrip.

We had planes ready for defense against air attack. The battalion at the Australia central was ordered to Playa Larga to fight. It was an infantry battalion recently formed. At the same time an order given to mobilize Matanzas militia battalion and advance to here. Orders were given to other

forces. We had two battalions in Las Villas. The problem first of all was to keep a beachhead here. The main thing was to keep a bit of Playa Larga here, on this side. The Cienfuegos battalion got there before dawn and began fighting. But then came time another group of our forces was fighting

at Cayo Ramona. The air force was ordered to take before dawn and attack

all ships off Giron and Playa Larga. Our battalion prevented battalion five from getting ashore. Our planes began attacking the ships and doing much damage. Meanwhile our battalion was facing strong fire, and was taken from the rear. It fell back fighting the paratroops. A battalion was sent from Matanzas to reinforce it.

Enemy planes were painted with revolutionary armed forces insignia. They attacked our advancing troops. We were most interested in keeping this bit of territory. When we saw paratroops dropped we realized that the attack would come against a single point and any other move would be for

diversion. Mobilization of two combat columns of the army was ordered; also of a company of tanks and anti-tank batteries and mortars. Since they controlled the air, the first day our forces had to wait till night to advance. Our planes could not shift from attacking the ships.

Our planes continued to attack the ships. They did wonderful work. Besides attacking the ships, they fought with enemy planes. But they kept hammering the ships until not much was left of their fleet. We lost two planes the first morning. Five enemy planes were downed. Four ships were sunk. That was the first day.

They had an unexpected surprise. They had thought our air force was knocked out, and so the first day ended. They lost more than half of their ships. Our pilots acted with special courage. What they did was incredible.

The militia attacked the Playa Larga position. The battalion had only a narrow road to attack from. On the first day they deployed forces. They were attacking with planes here, and here. We tried to approach the enemy as close as possible under B-26 fire. The battle was accompanied by tanks. So we attacked them all day without respite, fighting constantly. An early morning tank attack came from the same beach with antiair fire support. One of our tanks was damaged. An antitank battery hit us and also another entrenched tank. The goal was to take Playa Larga beach.

U.S. Sabre Jets Involved

They then began to flee. Here a tank surrendered. At dawn on 19 April the planes bombed the Australia central. On the 19th we had antiaircraft in position. This column, when in movement, was attached by American Sabre planes. They (the invaders--Ed.) had B-26's, not jets. Then, this column of ours, when it advanced between Playa Larga and Playa Giron during the afternoon, suffered many casualties under attack of American Sabres. Those planes were at high altitudes, and on that day when it was already dusk on the 18th, they attacked our column, with Sabres, with jet planes, and they caused many casualties in the column. That was one of the cases in which American planes participated directly. They attacked the column coming from Playa Larga to Giron. At dawn on 19 April a plane attacked the Australia central and was downed and then two more planes. Our planes downed more B-26's. We downed 10 planes during the entire fighting. On the 19th none of their planes returned and we did not see the enemy anymore.

List of Casualties

On 19 April there were losses, as they were well entrenched. Our people had to fight facing heavy mortar fire and anti-tank guns. There were 87 dead on our side and 250 wounded. That means that our combat units paid a high price in lives while they were on the offensive and that was due to the fact that we were on the offensive constantly until the last position was taken. It is possible that the dead on our side will amount to 100. That indicates the heroism of our troops. They fought constantly without relief against an enemy with relief and more planes than we had. (Castro confers

with one of his aides on figures--Ed.) An exact figure cannot yet be given on losses because many of those who came in ships were drowned. According to date here 88. One cannot count those lost in bombing and sunken ships. This will be possible only after identification and a check of personnel

lost from each unit. There are some 450 prisoners. We cannot study all data of units and determine how many men were in ships which were sunk. One cannot give an exact figure on that. As I said, one of the basic principles of battle was the courage with which our men fought. It is one thing to

defend a position and another to attack without protection under heavy fire. Of course, under such circumstances the losses increase. In the future, we shall be able to have more officers, Battalion chiefs are learning more. The training of units and officers will be better. All kinds of personnel -- mortar, shell, cannon--will be specialized. The fact have shown us the necessity of using our knowledge to defend the revolution. The units have acquired considerable experience.

Decorations and Pensions

The government plans to create a decoration--to decorate as "Hero of the Revolution" those who were outstanding for valor; and another type of decoration to reward acts of valor in battle. Meanwhile the government will pass a pension law to give a pension to kin of militia and soldiers who fell in this fighting. The least the revolution can do for those who fell is to protect their families who depended on them. This will be done as soon as the cabinet meets.

If our troops had had more experience, we could have had fewer casualties. When imperialism found what had happened, it had no army left here. The enemy is still dumbfounded.

Counterrevolutionary Suspects Rounded Up

The committees for defense of the revolution acted too. There was a needed to arrest anybody who for one reason or another might help the counterrevolution. That kind of measure always entails some injustice, but that is inevitable. The country faced aggression and had to take any measure for defense. Those persons will be released unless there are charges against them other than that they were considered suspect. Those who have counterrevolutionary activity proven against them or are well known will continue to be held. Since yesterday, those arrested as a precaution have started being released. This does not mean that the danger is past. We think the danger is great, especially of direct aggression from the United States.

At Mesa, Arizona, Senator Goldwater said he had recommended direct intervention if all else failed. That is the idea of right that this ultra has. What respect for sovereignty of other countries and international law! How calmly they speak of direct military intervention. They respect nothing. And they talk as if it were so easy. They do not learn. They should think of the sorrow military aggression causes--and all to restore privileges here. What need was there to bring this bloodshed to our country? What need to threaten us with intervention? They are so irresponsible that after causing bloodshed here, they threaten with more intervention. The reply is our determination to resist; and if they attack, it will be the end of imperialism. Better to die than live under the yoke of those gentlemen.

First Imperialist Defeat in America

Glorious death fighting to defeat imperialism deserves a monument. There should be a big monument in Zapata swamps with the names of the fallen on it, to tell the world that on that day Zapata imperialism sustained its first great defeat in America. Precious lives were given in this battle. The militia performed countless feats of prowess. The people defended their land, honor, rights. They have earned the admiration of the world and prestige. They waged a battle for peace.

Just think, during these past days the literacy campaign was not halted; the lifestock fair is opening; the Conrado Benitez literacy brigade is about to set forth. This work did not stop in the midst of tension. This shows the stuff the revolution is made of.

The comrades who fell saved tens of thousands of lives. Their service to the nation is incalculable. The pilots who fought so steadily and eagerly have created the air force. I am sure no air force ever did before what they have done. We believe 17 April should be made Cuban revolutionary air force day.

Mansfield said the Cuban crisis is very grave. The Vermont senator said Cuba is a permanent threat to the hemisphere. If that means they will invade Cuba, nobody here is frightened at all. We will give them a great reception. The might of an empire cannot go as far as the dignity of the

people. It will collapse when it runs into the will of the people.

Latin American War

It is regrettable that U.S. leaders make so many mistakes, such as this one. Why did the U.S. Government need to make itself so ridiculous? It calculated a lot but it calculated badly. In Latin America, there will be war by all who support our revolution. Latin American forces would have a hard time to protect U.S. ambassadors. They should reflect on that. It is too bad they are playing with the idea of attacking us. Such a mistake--nobody knows where it would end. It is too bad the world has to be exposed to the mistakes of those men who know nothing about politics.

Kennedy's speeches and his threats are similar to Hitler's. Hitler threatened the small neighboring countries, and Kennedy is threatening Cuba and is saying that he will intervene. He says that his patience is coming to an end. Well, what about our patience, with all the things we have had to endure? In attacking Cuba, they shall unmask themselves more and arouse more revolutionary spirit in Latin America and they will only increase their own future worries. We want them to leave us alone. We want to live in peace with our revolution without losing any more sons. They should stop supplying the counterrevolutionaries with weapons. We will simply have to use a heavy hand. (Applause)

The imperialist powers use the method of surprise attacks, the same method of Hitler and Mussolini. We wish they would reconsider things, take a cold or a hot shower, anything. Let humanity, let history, end a system which is outdated now. Imperialism must pass just as feudalism did, just as slavery did.

The wars of 1914 and 1940's were bad. Nazism didn't save itself. The forces in the world in favor of peace are great. They know history is with them. They need not fight against history to preserve their system and privileges. It will be a sorry day for the world if those gentlemen are not able to reconsider. This is the question we must consider quietly. Cuba is part of the world today and there can be no discussion with Cuba that do not effect the world. (Applause)

We shall keep all the revolutionary forces mobilized and we shall plan for the May Day celebrations and we shall work for the victory of the revolution. We shall prepare ourselves to make the necessary sacrifices. The people have tasted victory. Victory is based upon sacrifices, on the basis of the 87 who died to guarantee the future of the country. They sacrificed themselves for the rest, for the independence and sovereignty of the nation and to obtain a better nation. This joy of today we owe it to those who fell and we hope that the future generations will enjoy their

lives for today's sacrifices.

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Here's an interesting piece penned by Phillips in the mid 1980's.

FWIW.

James

*********************************

The Bay of Pigs revisited—25 years later

By David Atlee Phillips

Twenty-five years ago today the worst cover-action fiasco in American history occurred when a brigade of CIA-sponsored Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs.

The memory of that day haunts me because I was one of the CIA officers who planned the operation. But I recall more vividly and painfully the 19th of April, 1961, when after two days we knew the defeat was beyond salvage. In Washington we listened to the final radio report from the Cuban commander on the beach. His invasion force of 1,400 Cuban exiles had been routed. He reported that he was standing in the shallows, that he was about to abandon his gear and head for the swamp.

Then he cursed the U.S. government, and he cursed us as individuals.

The question about the Bay of Pigs most frequently asked—particularly by those who were young or not even born at the time—is a simple one: Why did it fail?

There is no simple, single answer.

Some history should be set straight. It has often been argued that the root cause for the disaster was that the CIA promised President Eisenhower and, after his inauguration, President John Kennedy, that a spontaneous uprising would be sparked in Cuba by the landing at the Bay of Pigs. That has become a durable myth; but it is a myth.

The Bay of Pigs operational plan was based on the 1954 successful covert action, in which I was also involved, that led to the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala. No one in a responsible position ever contemplated a sudden victory in the Guatemalan endeavor. And it didn’t occur until enough Guatemalans were convinced the invading army was well entrenched the time had arrived to hop on the bandwagon. Nor, in the Cuban operation, did anyone from the lowest operator to CIA Director Allen Dulles believe that immediate uprisings would topple the charismatic Fidel Castro.

Then why did it fail? For the first few years after the Bay of Pigs my observation were too subjective to be trusted. In 1975, however, I mustered as much objectivity as I could to list four principal reasons for the failure:

First, the successful argument made to President Kennedy by his political advisers that the CIA’s original plan to land at a small town called Trinidad near Cuban mountains would make the operation unacceptably "noisy"; thus the change to the isolated, swampy landing site at the Bay of Pigs.

Next, Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson was not thoroughly informed of pre-invasion air strikes against Cuba, CIA sorties by exile pilots who claimed they were defecting from the Castro’s air force. Stevenson was understandably incensed after he denied charges by Cuba’s foreign minister that the planes were on CIA-supported missions. His protest to Kennedy, who admired him, might have been critical in the decision to truncate the operation.

Then, those of us within CIA—including Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell, the senior acting officer of the operation—should have ignored the agency’s "can-do" and "good-soldier" tradition and told the White House that an operation of the dimensions of the Bay of Pigs, if to be conducted at all, should be managed openly by the Pentagon and not by a secret army.

Finally, the decision by President Kennedy to cancel at zero hour the air cover that the 1,400 Cuban exiles in the amphibious force had been promised.

Now, after pondering the sad event for another decade, I must add a fifth element to the list of reasons the Bay of Pigs operation failed: There was a tacit assumption among those concerned with the operation in CIA—an assumption that hardened into certainty by D-Day—that John Kennedy would bail out CIA if things went awry.

Everyone, including Richard Bissell and Allen Dulles, believed deep down that Kennedy would rescue the operation with U.S. armed forces if need be. There had to be some sort of overt military option ready in the wings if defeat loomed. (Surely Eisenhower would have had one in reserve and used it.) But there was no contingency plan in fact or in Kennedy’s mindset. Those involved in the project, from top to bottom, ignored an intelligence basic: Don’t assume; know.

For those who demand a simple explanation of the Bay of Pigs debacle and for those who will not entertain the thesis that there was sufficient blame to share among everyone concerned, perhaps the curious incident of Fidel Castro’s not making a speech should be recalled.

In a crowded press conference, one of the first American newsmen to visit Havana after the Bay of Pigs asked Castro, "Why did the Americans fail?" Everyone expected one of Castro’s customary lengthy political diatribes. Instead, Castro shrugged and replied, simply, "They had no air support."

Years after the event, a man who had worked with me on the project explained what he had decided about the Bay of Pigs. ""t was inevitable," he said . "The fiasco, I mean. The disaster. If it hadn’t been the Bay of Pigs it would have been something else sometime in the future. In 1953 Kermit Roosevelt and a few fellows manipulated that crowd that toppled Mossadegh in Iran without any trouble at all. Then in 1954 we took care of Eisenhower’s little problem in Guatemala. So easy, it seemed. All those successes just had to lead to a failure eventually, because the system kept calling on us for more and more even when it should have been obvious that secret shenanigans couldn’t do what armies are supposed to do.

"If it hadn’t been that time at the Bay of Pigs," he concluded, "it would have been somewhere else at some other time."

We didn’t call them that in 1961, but the exiles stranded on the beach at the Bay of Pigs were our contras. We should have scrapped the operation or, once committed to it, followed through with enough support that our contras would never have only one option of heading for the swamp.

The Bay of Pigs had it's roots in an operation which for all purposes was based on what Castro had achieved.

The initial plan was for a "guerilla" warfare type operation which would be lead by Cubans who would, just as Castro had done, live in the mountains and conduct insurgency type operations.

Thus, the initial training of the limited Cubans who could be the cadre and leadership of this type operation was begun.

Thereafter, it was fully determined that these "leaders", could not survive their own "jungle training" even with US assistance. At least one of whom actually fell and was killed during training.

In addition to failing to meet the needs of a guerilla leader, as well as survive in the jungle environment, there were far too many of them who wanted to be the next "Fidel", and their own infighting and political maneuevering of their supporters prevented any single faction from being able to secure the cooperation, support, and assistance of the other groups.

In other words, ever "Man" (and his respective followers) for himself.

Since Fidel Castro had effectively eliminated most cubans, within Cuba, who could be recruited into, and counted on for support, there was little hope of such a "second" guerilla warfare operation having any success.

Especially since Castro and his cadre/core had probably forgotten more about guerilla warfare operations than the new cuban ("Second Guerilla") invaders had learned in their "jungle warfare" training.

Had this type operation continued, then we would have placed a group of persons into Cuba, who, not unlike Castro's initial group, would have been virtually destroyed.

Thereafter, any remaining survivors, who actually did make it to the mountains and survive to conduct guerilla operations, would have been entirely dependent upon US assistance in providing arms and supplies.

(Actually, from all indications, it would have been a "rescue us" operation)

Just as was Castro during his preliminary operations.

So! Exactly how many years was the US to continue to supply an ineffective guerilla force operating inside Cuba??? Assuming that some even survived, ceased their own infighting, and actually became an effective guerilla force.

Thankfully, those at Ft. Bragg, NC who had the background in such operations, fully recognized that those persons who were thinking along the lines of this great plan, were not living in reality world of the 1960's.

Thus, the "Second Guerilla" invasion of Cuba was thrown away!

Now what????????

The U.S. has helped foster a group of rabid dogs, who are old as well as having no teeth with which to bite, and many of whom wish to be the next "FIDEL"!

The pack can not be controlled to cease their own infighting, and their "mosquito bite" antics against Cuba have become an annoyance and embarrasment to the US in regards to Foreign Policy in Latin America; the Soviet Union; and even local politics.

That the Bay of Pigs operation had absolutely no "contingency plan" should tell someone something.

That even when authorized, continous changes to further delete the possibility of any success of the operation occurred, should tell someone something.

That the final assault location was finally chosen, and it happened to be a location with which Fidel Castro was personally, fully acquainted with the entire geography, (it was one of his favorite fishing locations), should tell someone something.

That the final assault location was eventually changed to an area in which access roads existed and there was full access to the battlefield area by convoy and wheeled equipment, should tell someone something, especially since Castro had armor/tanks.

As much as I personally disliked conventional "Tactics" training, it at least dawned into my skull that one does not send ground infantry up agains Armor/Tanks, in an Armor environment, with any expectation of winning.

Exactly how much anti-armor weapons was it that the attacking force had??

Exactly why was the landing area in an area of swamp from which there was no way for the attacking force to escape if the plan failed?

Exactly why was the radio communications equipment not adequately dispersed among the attacking force.

etc; etc; etc.

Tom

P.S. Not to mention the fact that Castro/Cuba was fully aware of the training of the group in Guatemala, to include the planned invasion.

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I have just finished reading the Philips piece and generally would agree. I would add - or at least both Esterline and Hawkins were convinced - that the change in landing site a month before the invasion was another significant factor.

One could also continue to speculate as to the rationale behind loading virtually all of the ammunition/ordnance on a single ship, which conveniently was eliminated by "airpower".

Of course, the confirmation that aircraft are responsible for this is only marginally more convincing than the claim that Cubans blew up the Battleship "Maine" in Havanna harbor.

On the other hand, in the event the Cuban air forces knew exactly which vessel had to ordnance, then it would also be logical to concentrate on that ship.

The taking of prisoner of Brigade 2506, certainly curtailed "mosquito" activities against the Castro government for a period of time which allowed this government to fully entrench itself in control of Cuba.

It also either eliminated or locked up the most agressive of the various members of the "Anti-Castro" elements, who were so dedicated that they actually volunteered for the mission.

Tom

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In addition to the Phillips article, here is a very interesting piece by Col. Jack Hawkins. He makes no secret about who he believes was to blame.

James

**************************************

The Bay of Pigs operation was doomed by presidential indecisiveness and lack of commitment.

By JACK HAWKINS

THIRTY-FIVE years ago, 1,500 exiled Cuban patriots landed on the south coast of their country, at the Bay of Pigs, in a gallant effort to free Cuba from Communist rule. They were abandoned on the beach without the supplies, protection, and support that had been promised by their sponsor, the Government of the United States. They had no chance of succeeding in their mission, and nearly all of them were captured or killed.

For 35 years, bound by my oath not to reveal classified information, I kept silent about the fatal errors in judgment that led to this disaster. Now this information is no longer classified, and I believe the facts should be reported.

My involvement with the Cuba Project began during the Eisenhower Administration. In late August of 1960, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David Shoup, told me that the CIA had requested the services of a Marine officer to assist in the landing of a small force of Cuban exiles. I had the required experience in amphibious operations, and also in guerrilla warfare (Philippines, 1943), and so he was assigning me to the job. I reported to the CIA on September 1.

At the CIA, I was assigned duty as Chief of the Paramilitary Staff of the Cuba Project, responsible directly to the Chief of the Cuba Project, Mr. Jacob Esterline.

I soon learned that the Cuba Project had been initiated by President Eisenhower in January 1960, when it had become clear that Castro was a Communist bent not only on establishing a Communist state in Cuba but also on subverting other Latin Arnerican countries. President Eisenhower decided that Castro should be overthrown and directed the CIA to prepare plans to that end.

The concept of the operation, developed by the CIA before involved training paramilitary teams of Cuban exiles to be introduced secretly back into their country for purposes of intelligence, sabotage, propaganda, and political and guerrilla activity. Each team would have a radio capable of communicating with the United States. It was planned also to form a small infantry force of 200 to 300 men that could be sent in to augment guerrilla activity fostered by the teams.

The project was flawed from the outset owing to diplomatic/political considerations. The safest and most efficient venues for both training camps and bases of operations would have been in the United States or Puerto Rico. However, the CIA was anxious not to have the operation appear to be run by the United States, and so training camps and airfields were established in Guatemala and Nicaragua, at extremely unsuitable locations. The training camp in Guatemala was located on the side of a remote volcano with very little level ground. Conditions there were extremely crowded and became health-threatening as additional recruits arrived. And from the airfield in Nicaragua chosen for tactical air operations, Cuba was just barely within range of the B-26 bombers procured by the CIA for the exile air force.

If the Cuban forces had been trained here, they could have been ready for action months earlier than they were, an important consideration. While the preparations continued, the Soviet Union was pouring great quantities of arms and other matCriel into Cuba, enabling Castro to organize and equip large militia forces and consolidate his security system for control of the Cuban people. In view of these rapidly growing capabilities, the Deputy Director for Plans at the CIA, Mr. Richard Bissell, decided that the planned infantry force of 200 to 300 would not be large enough; more like 1,500 men would be needed to establish a serious presence in Cuba. I expressed reservations about a force this large in view of the increased difficulties in recruiting, training, and providing support. However, President Eisenhower directed that preparations be made for a larger force.

In late 1960 and early 1961, teams of paramilitary agents were landed in many places on the Cuban coast. Most of the teams established radio communication with the CIA, but some were captured immediately and never heard from again. The surviving teams reported that there were large numbers of men in all provinces of Cuba who were willing to fight against Castro if they were armed. The CIA tried to supply arms and ammunition to some of the teams by nocturnal parachute drops, but without success. The Cuban pilots were not experienced enough for these difficult missions, and our request for permission to use American contract pilots was denied, again so that the U.S. would not appear to be too deeply involved. The only sizable delivery of arms through the efforts of the agent teams was made by sea to a 400-man guerrilla unit operating in the Escambray mountains of central Cuba. About 1,000 guerrillas operated in this area in separate groups for many months.

Soon after President Kennedy's inauguration, Mr. Bissell briefed him about the Cuba Project. The new President was interested and scheduled a series of meetings at the White House involving the Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk; the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Robert McNamara; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer; and Mr. Bissell. Each of these officials brought assistants to these meetings, and I usually accompanied Mr. Bissell.

President Kennedy emphasized that operations would have to be conducted in such a way that U.S. involvement could be "plausibly deniable." This was the fundamental mistake underlying the other fatal errors that led to the failure of the operation. It should have been apparent to all concerned that the recruiting of large numbers of Cubans in Miami, followed by the landing of a well-armed Cuban exile force in Cuba with air support, would be attributed to the United States. If that was held to be unacceptable, the operation should have been canceled; if it was not canceled, it should have received the support required for success. As it was, the Administration neither escaped blame nor succeeded in liberating Cuba.

THE crucial point at issue was air support. Throughout my participation in the Cuba Project, I frequently emphasized, both orally and in formal correspondence, the absolute necessity for complete destruction of the opposing air force at the outset of the operation. In January 1961, in a memorandum to higher CIA authority, I recommended that the landing operation be canceled if sufficient air operations were not to be allowed. In another memorandum in early 1961, I stated flatly that if Castro's aircraft were not all destroyed before the troop transports arrived at the landing beaches, a military disaster would occur. An unarmed freighter cannot approach a hostile shore, drop anchor, and unload troops, supplies, and equipment while under fighter and bomber attack. Mr. Rusk did not seem to grasp this point. At the White House meetings, it became clear that he was unalterably opposed to any air operations whatsoever. To my surprise and chagrin, neither Mr. McNamara nor Gen. Lemnitzer spoke up in these meetings in defense of the necessity of eliminating Castro's air force completely by preliminary air strikes. And so, when the recommendations of the State Department conflicted with those of the CIA, the President usually adopted Mr. Rusk's position.

Absolute control of the air was essential not only for the landing but also for further operations in Cuba. Our Cuban Brigade was small and could not be expected to undertake operations beyond its initial lodgement unless the strength of the opposing militia was seriously reduced by combat losses-or by defection to our side. Many of the militia were of dubious loyalty to Castro and might well have turned against him had this operation been properly launched.

As the spring of 1961 approached, the Brigade, now up to planned strength, and its supporting tactical air force of 16 B-26s were nearing readiness for combat. Commercial freighters were chartered for the operation, four for the assault phase and three for follow-on delivery of supplies. Meanwhile, the time element was becoming critical. The Soviet Union continued delivering arms and equipment to Cuba and was training jet pilots for Castro in Eastern Europe. Soon Castro would have a modern jet air force, and a paramilitary effort to overthrow him would have no chance of success.

After long study, the Paramilitary Staff had concluded that by far the best place, and probably the only place, where a successful landing (i.e., one likely to lead to the overthrow of Castro) could be made was at Trinidad near the middle of the southern coast of Cuba. Good landing beaches were available very near the Escambray mountains, where, as noted above, anti-Castro guerrillas were already operating. The Brigade could quickly establish itself in these mountains and incorporate the guerrillas already there.

Trinidad itself had a population of about 18,000, offering the possibility of recruiting additional volunteers. Our agent teams had informed us that most of the people in the area were opposed to Castro.

The Paramilitary Staff prepared a complete plan for the Trinidad operation, which was presented to the President and his advisors. Mr. Rusk strongly opposed the plan, saying that it was too much like an invasion and too easily attributable to the United States. He thought the Soviet Union might be provoked to the extent of taking action against the United States in Berlin o elsewhere in the world.

Once again, the President agreed with Mr. Rusk. He rejected the Trinidad plan and directed that a plan be developed that would be less noisy and less like an invasion. He also adopted the restriction advanced by Mr. Rusk that an airfield capable of supporting B-26 operations would have to be captured on the first day so that all air operations could be attributed to that field.

This was the first fatal error made by President Kennedy:

Rejecting a plan that offered a good chance of success and placing "plausible deniability" ahead of military viability.

Pursuant to Mr. Bissell's oral instructions to me, the Paramilitary Staff studied the entire coast of Cuba in an effort to find a landing area that would satisfy the President's requirements. We found that the only place on the Cuban coast which did so and could be held even for a minimal time was at the Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs).

I reported this orally to Mr. Bissell and briefly described the area. Behind the beach lay a long narrow strip of flat, scrub-covered land from three to six miles in depth and forty miles wide. This land was cut off from the interior by a great swamp, impassable except for three narrow causeways approaching the beach from the north and a coastal road from the east, all of which could probably be blocked for a time by the Brigade (and on the other side of the swamp by Castro's militia).

I pointed out to Mr. Bissell that the Brigade could hold on there for only a limited time and would have no hope of breaking out through the swamp and reaching guerrilla country in the Escambray mountains eighty miles away. However, since the Bay of Pigs was the only place that met the President's requirements, Mr. Bissell decided on the spot that we would have to go ahead on that basis. This was another fatal error, as Mr. Bissell later acknowledged, lamenting that he had never informed the President that landing at the Bay of Pigs ruled out the possibility of guerrilla warfare in the Escambray mountains.

Our plan for the Bay of Pigs landing provided for an attack on three Cuban military airfields by 16 B-26 bombers on April 15, the landing itself during darkness in the early morning of April 17, and a second 16-bomber attack against the military airfields at first light on April 17. The President approved the plan and directed that all preparations continue. However, he also stated that he would not finally decide whether to execute the operation until 24 hours before it was scheduled to begin.

Not long after this, the Chief of the Cuba Project, Mr. Esterline, and I had a serious talk about the outlook for the Bay of Pigs operation and found ourselves in complete agreement that it was certain to fail. We went to Mr. Bissell at his home on a Sunday to attempt to dissuade him from continuing with the operation. We even went so far as to say that we did not want to be parties to the disaster we believed lay ahead.

Mr. Bissell tried to reassure us and implored us not to let him down. He said he thought he could persuade the President to permit an increase in our air capability to ensure destruction of Castro's air force. But he gave no assurance about other weaknesses of the plan.

I thought that after hearing unequivocal predictions of complete disaster from his two principal staff officers who were most familiar with the military aspects of the plan, Mr. Bissell would re-examine the whole operation. It had become obvious that the military requirements for a successful operation and the President's insistence on plausible deniability were in irreconcilable conflict. However, Mr. Bissell could not bring himself to give up on the plan. This was another fatal error.

On April 14, devastating instructions me from the White House. The President informed Mr. Bissell that he wanted the number of participating aircraft reduced to the minimum. Mr. Bissell, without consulting Mr. Esterline or me, volunteered to cut the number by half, from 16 to 8 -- although 16 was considered the minimal number for destroying 18 opposing aircraft scattered on three different fields. The President accepted Mr. Bissell's offer. Military failure was now virtually assured.

The attack was carried out the next morning with only eight B-26s, and our fears were confirmed when post-strike photography revealed that half of Castro's military aircraft, including five fighters, had escaped destruction. These posed a deadly threat to the landing and to our B-26s as well.

News of the attack spread rapidly. At the United Nations, Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, a leading figure in the Democratic Party, who had not been informed about the operation, denied U.S. involvement. When he learned the truth, he was outraged and protested to the President that this affair was extremely embarrassing both to the President and to him. He was reinforced in that position by Mr. Rusk.

This led the President to make another decision, which made disaster absolutely certain. I was in the CIA operations room at about 10 P.M. on April 16, three hours before the troops were to commence landing, when Mr. Esterline hurried in with an ashen face and told me that the President had canceled the second attack on Castro's air force, the one scheduled for first light the next morning. Appalled, I rushed to the telephone and called Mr. Bissell, who was at the State Department, and urged him in the strongest terms to call the President and explain that the invasion force faced certain destruction unless the order was reversed. I predicted that our troop transports would be under air attack and some or all would be sunk.

After my plea, Mr. Bissell and General C. P. Cabell, the Deputy Director of the CIA, spoke to Mr. Rusk. He telephoned the President, who had left Washington, and told him that the CIA wanted to reinstate the air strike that he believed the decision should be changed. McGeorge Bundy, the National Security Advisor, seconded Rusk's advice. The cancellation remained in effect.

This final incredible mistake doomed Brigade 2506. The President himself had initially approved the original operation plan, which provided for forty B-26 sorties in preliminary air strikes. After his last-minute cuts, only eight sorties were flown, a reduction of 80 per cent.

While Washington floundered, the troops of Brigade 2506 landed successfully in darkness. But when morning came, Castro's fighters and bombers attacked, and they continued to attack all day. Unloading supplies from the ships was impossible. Two ships were sunk, and the remaining two had to flee at top speed.

The Brigade fought hard and well for three days and was not overrun or driven from its position. With their supply ships either sunk or chased away, the troops eventually ran out of ammunition and had to surrender.

During three days of combat, from 3,000 to 4,000 casualties were inflicted upon Castro's hard-core militia, mostly by B-26 attacks on troop convoys. The hard-core militia, the only troops trusted by Castro, were limited in number and could not long have endured casualties of such magnitude.

Before the surrender, Admiral Arleigh "31-knot" Burke, the Chief of Naval Operations, requested permission from the President to have carrier aircraft eliminate the rest of Castro's air force and fly cover and support for the Brigade, and to use Navy landing craft to evacuate the troops from the beach. The President refused.

It was noteworthy that when the Brigade landed, the defending militia unit fought little and surrendered quickly. About 150 men were captured, and nearly all volunteered to join the Brigade and fight against Castro. Civilians in the landing area also volunteered to help the Brigade.

THESE facts confirmed that our concept of the operation had merit, and that, if the landing had been made at Trinidad as recommended, and with adequate air support, the objective of overthrowing the Communist government might well have been accomplished.

But, as things turned out, Brigade 2506 was left stranded on the beach, shamefully misled and betrayed by the Government of the United States. The last message from Jose "Pepe" San Roman, the Brigade Commander, was, "How can you people do this to us?"

Less than four months into the Kennedy Administration, the Bay of Pigs fiasco caused the U.S. Government to be perceived as weak, irresolute, and inept. Undoubtedly, Chairman Khrushchev was reassured that he had little to fear from the United States as he pressed on with his plans to turn Cuba into a Soviet armed camp.

If those plans had been aborted at the outset, there would have been no missile crisis bringing us to the brink of nuclear war, and Cuba would be a free and prosperous country today.

Jack Hawkins is a retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps.

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"The project was flawed from the outset owing to diplomatic/political considerations."

The inability of the losers in Vietnam and Cuba despite decades of sabotage, economic terrorism, assassination attempts, and lies, to reinstall a corrupt regime economically favourable to a minority of wealthy Americans is not due to these excuses. The people of Cuba and Vietnam, free from this corruption and with a remarkable degree of prosperity considering the terror that the United Stetes government continues to inflict on these small nations, are the reason for failure. They don't want it, they're not buying.

This refulsal to face facts and to try to construct reasons for failure that ignores the rights of self determination of nations who choose to not live under the umbrella of US imperialism serves a very useful purpose in allowing future such ventures.. 'if only...' bla bla bla.

This debate is particularly interesting bearing in mind the paper prepared in Geneva recently by the Buxxxxes on a new wave of disruption, giving instructions on how to provoke a wide range of pressures on this small independent nation.

If instead of denying trade, medicine, oil, travel etc to Cuba and showing a friendly respectful attitude, it's possible that the people of Cuba and its armed forces would have some sympathy to US opinion. I feel that Kennedy at least was willing to explore this approach. He spoke and through his action showed that he regarded presenting the benefits of a capitalist system is ultimately far more effective.

However, and this is where I think the critical point lies, to accept the right of any people to make its own choices outside the control of the US right wing implies a degree of freedom for its own people. At a time of severe internal strife, I suspect this was simply unacceptable to the assassins.

Edited by John Dolva
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Just adding something...

In Grayston Lynches book, The battle of the BOP, it appears that the effort of he and Rip Robertson were in some part deliberately sabotaged.

The JCS sent down an 'expert' in boats who immediately took control of their effort. The first thing he attempted to do was to completely redesign the boats steering capability - from the stern. They explained why this made no sense, and showed him that the 'handles' on the motors were present only for assisting in hoisting the engines - not steering. The next, he wanted to completely reconfigure the built-in, electric start engines for pull-start. This also made no sense, as these engines were designed to be started with the electric start that was built-in, and as Grayston put it, only King Kong would have been capable of starting these engines with a pull-start, due to the high compression. After being laughed at, and told he clearly knew nothing about boats - he grew very angry and left, and then there were some repercussions.

Page 99:

"Later a Jeep drove up with two of Gar's command staff. They told us, 'You guys are in deep xxxx. That expert from the JCS is at headquarters raining all kinds of hell.'

We explained what had happened and our reasons for objecting to his orders. They were on our side. They said, 'We may not be experts, but you're right. This guy must be stupid. The only problem is, Gar can't help you. I'm sure that he would agree with you, but the expert answers only to the JCS, or maybe only to God. He may be wrong, but he has the authority to do what he pleases.'

Anyway - after some time, he returned, only to take charge of the fueling of the engines. He demanded a mix ratio one quart oil to six gallons of gas. They attempted to reason with him, stating that this was not in line with the manual, which called for much less. That the engines would smoke like hell, be hard to start, and would never reach full power. They were told to mind their own business and they did.

'...but we knew for sure that this fool's mistake would cost us somewhere down the line.'

This is only one item, and perhaps it doesn't belong on a thread about David Lee Phillips, but it occurs to me that a very good case can be made which suggests that the BOP plan was never about success.

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Just adding something...

In Grayston Lynches book, The battle of the BOP, it appears that the effort of he and Rip Robertson were in some part deliberately sabotaged.

The JCS sent down an 'expert' in boats who immediately took control of their effort. The first thing he attempted to do was to completely redesign the boats steering capability - from the stern. They explained why this made no sense, and showed him that the 'handles' on the motors were present only for assisting in hoisting the engines - not steering. The next, he wanted to completely reconfigure the built-in, electric start engines for pull-start. This also made no sense, as these engines were designed to be started with the electric start that was built-in, and as Grayston put it, only King Kong would have been capable of starting these engines with a pull-start, due to the high compression. After being laughed at, and told he clearly knew nothing about boats - he grew very angry and left, and then there were some repercussions.

Page 99:

"Later a Jeep drove up with two of Gar's command staff. They told us, 'You guys are in deep xxxx. That expert from the JCS is at headquarters raining all kinds of hell.'

We explained what had happened and our reasons for objecting to his orders. They were on our side. They said, 'We may not be experts, but you're right. This guy must be stupid. The only problem is, Gar can't help you. I'm sure that he would agree with you, but the expert answers only to the JCS, or maybe only to God. He may be wrong, but he has the authority to do what he pleases.'

Anyway - after some time, he returned, only to take charge of the fueling of the engines. He demanded a mix ratio one quart oil to six gallons of gas. They attempted to reason with him, stating that this was not in line with the manual, which called for much less. That the engines would smoke like hell, be hard to start, and would never reach full power. They were told to mind their own business and they did.

'...but we knew for sure that this fool's mistake would cost us somewhere down the line.'

This is only one item, and perhaps it doesn't belong on a thread about David Lee Phillips, but it occurs to me that a very good case can be made which suggests that the BOP plan was never about success.

Glad that it has dawned on those who have taken a closer look.

A review of a few basic "Tactics" concepts, along with the attached map, will demonstrate many other reasons why this thing was a "lose/lose" situation.

Tom

Just adding something...

In Grayston Lynches book, The battle of the BOP, it appears that the effort of he and Rip Robertson were in some part deliberately sabotaged.

The JCS sent down an 'expert' in boats who immediately took control of their effort. The first thing he attempted to do was to completely redesign the boats steering capability - from the stern. They explained why this made no sense, and showed him that the 'handles' on the motors were present only for assisting in hoisting the engines - not steering. The next, he wanted to completely reconfigure the built-in, electric start engines for pull-start. This also made no sense, as these engines were designed to be started with the electric start that was built-in, and as Grayston put it, only King Kong would have been capable of starting these engines with a pull-start, due to the high compression. After being laughed at, and told he clearly knew nothing about boats - he grew very angry and left, and then there were some repercussions.

Page 99:

"Later a Jeep drove up with two of Gar's command staff. They told us, 'You guys are in deep xxxx. That expert from the JCS is at headquarters raining all kinds of hell.'

We explained what had happened and our reasons for objecting to his orders. They were on our side. They said, 'We may not be experts, but you're right. This guy must be stupid. The only problem is, Gar can't help you. I'm sure that he would agree with you, but the expert answers only to the JCS, or maybe only to God. He may be wrong, but he has the authority to do what he pleases.'

Anyway - after some time, he returned, only to take charge of the fueling of the engines. He demanded a mix ratio one quart oil to six gallons of gas. They attempted to reason with him, stating that this was not in line with the manual, which called for much less. That the engines would smoke like hell, be hard to start, and would never reach full power. They were told to mind their own business and they did.

'...but we knew for sure that this fool's mistake would cost us somewhere down the line.'

This is only one item, and perhaps it doesn't belong on a thread about David Lee Phillips, but it occurs to me that a very good case can be made which suggests that the BOP plan was never about success.

Glad that it has dawned on those who have taken a closer look.

A review of a few basic "Tactics" concepts, along with the attached map, will demonstrate many other reasons why this thing was a "lose/lose" situation.

Tom

Edited by Thomas H. Purvis
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