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JFK Assassination and the Vietnam War


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Why was JFK assassinated? Money. I think it's as simple as that. Lots and lots of money. They were making it, had (a) plan(s) to make more, and weren't about to let go for a no-nothing playboy like John Kennedy.

That plan remains in place today. Bankers and the military. What a racket.

I don't know what to say about this. Does that mean you keep your money under your mattress?

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Guest Stephen Turner

Why was JFK assassinated? Money. I think it's as simple as that. Lots and lots of money. They were making it, had (a) plan(s) to make more, and weren't about to let go for a no-nothing playboy like John Kennedy.

That plan remains in place today. Bankers and the military. What a racket.

I don't know what to say about this. Does that mean you keep your money under your mattress?

I believe what Stan is saying is that there was serious money to be made by the likes of Bell helicoptor, Dow chemicals, and various slime bags at the federal reserve. JFK threatened this feeding frenzy, and was removed as a result. Given your prediliction for a Vietnam solution you should like this idea. Steve.

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Did you ever dig up that book Tim? It's been a long time since I've read anything on the subject by my impression has always been that the evidence indicating that JFK was going to pull out of Vietnam was inconclusive.

Len, the evidence is rather conclusive, with regards to the fact that Kennedy was isolated from the rest of his cabinet, when it came to his commitment to withdrawl from Vietnam. That's what his schedule of withdrawal was all about, Kennedy knew that he could not accomplish his goal without a landslide in 1964, and that's what he was working towards.

Now, since he was assassinated, his critics have been free to obscure his record because he had to maintain a public, unity front for political reasons, but his intentions are very clear.

I am convinced that the only reason that his firm decision to pull out is "inconclusive" as you put it, is because his critics have deliberately distorted the record.

Kennedy's intentions re Vietnam were complicated by the behavior of the Diem Government. Images of Buddhist monks self immolating in protest at the regime horrified the world and were the last thing Kennedy wanted to see, with his Government supporting Diem. The fact that the Diem regime was Catholic probably further embarrassed Kennedy. Dallek argues in his bio of JFK that Kennedy pursued two options: imploring Diem to cease repression of the Buddhist majority while at the same time signaling the Vietnamese generals that the US remained interested in a coup. In a September 3 meeting, JFK said, "We should wait for the generals to contact us. When they come to us we will talk to them". Speculating, perhaps the US military leadership interpreted this as a green light.

In television interviews in September 1963, Kennedy said, " ...in the final analysis it is their war. They are the ones who have to win it or lose it". Historically, this statement is open to interpretation as it's not a firm commitment to withdraw from Vietnam but it tends to support the majority historical belief that Kennedy planned to act decisively on the issue after the '64 election (was won). He hated the issue as he was on a hiding to nothing. The only thing that came out of it was bad press. Further, conflicting assessments of the war added more confusion, prompting Kennedy to remark to Krulak and Mendenhall, who had submitted conflicting reports, "the two of you did visit the same country, didn't you?". There's an argument in all this that the US military leadership believed Kennedy had lost control of the situation and this could put Vietnam at the top of the reasons for JFK's assassination. If they wanted to stage this war so much, they were ruthless enough to change the leadership in both countries, IMO. They may have acted decisively before JFK had a chance to.

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In television interviews in September 1963, Kennedy said, " ...in the final analysis it is their war. They are the ones who have to win it or lose it".

Right, that is subject to interpretation but I also think it was a signal to the decision to withdraw troops and to let the Vietnamese sort out their own problems.

When Kennedy visited Canada and asked for Prime Minister Pearson's advice, Pearson said, "I think you should withdraw."

Kennedy responded by saying that any fool knows that, but the question is "how" to withdraw.

Vietnam was not an American military problem, as far as Kennedy was concerned, it was a political problem, and when you understand that, I think his September comments are much clearer.

As for all the other conspiracies that people seek to sell on this thread, I don't see ANY evidence forknocking of a fiscal conservative like John F. Kennedy.

If that was their intention, they would have killed Johnson for destroying the economy throught the massive deficit he created.

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Lynne

"Jim your research on the nuclear Test ban Treaty is very interesting and I think it is vital to a genuine appreciation about the dynamics of the Kennedy Administration. Have you noted that Kennedy relied upon Robert McNamara to ram the Treaty down the throats of his many detractors.

When it came to Vietnam however, Robert McNamara was Johnson's man [even when Johnson was VP] and Kennedy was isolated. That is why I constantly claim that Vietnam was the vital issue that left Kennedy alone and vulnerable.

If Kennedy didn't have McNamara on board, I don't think he would have gotten anywhere with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Do you agree with that?"

I would not particularly agree with your statement. As a cabinet member McNamara was going to follow the policy that was decided upon by the President. In this case it is Kennedy who actually "ram(med) the Treaty down the throats of his many detractors," many of whom had legitimate fears that a Limited Test Bay Treaty might harm the chances of non-proliferation.

At the February 13th meeting the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency we find that "the relationship between a test ban treaty and the problem of nuclear proliferation received considerable attention from the Kennedy administration. ACDA analysts did not believe that a test ban would pose a significant obstacle to nuclear proliferation; nevertheless, they believed that with a test ban in place, "the chances of taking other measures which might successfully cope with the problem of non-proliferation are significantly greater."

On February 16, 1963 "McNamara provided Kennedy with an estimate of the number of countries that had the capability to develop nuclear weapons in the coming years and the general motives for countries to or not to do so. Owing to the heavy costs of nuclear programs and the likelihood of international pressure, he believed that it was unlikely that all countries able to produce nuclear weapons would do so during the next decade. Like the ACDA analysts, McNamara believed that a comprehensive test ban was necessary but not sufficient to deter countries from developing atomic weapons. He also discussed the problem of the Chinese nuclear program. China, of course, was unlikely to sign a test ban agreement, but the possibility of Moscow putting pressure on Beijing to sign was no more likely than Washington joining with Moscow to place pressure on France to halt its nuclear program."

The "Committee of Principals" at this time was chaired by the Secretary of State who it seems would be the one that I would vote for as "most likely to have crammed" the Limited Test Ban Treaty down anyones throats.

By

April 17, 1963 you have the "... Committee of Principals discussion suggests the bleak political climate for the test ban negotiations during the spring of 1963. The U.S. negotiating position was under attack from Republican and Democratic conservatives who argued that its verification procedures were insufficiently tough. While Kennedy, Macmillan, and Khrushchev had secret exchanges of correspondence on the possibilities of further negotiations, top policymakers continued to treat the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) as a legitimate goal because they saw nowhere else to turn. (Note 58) For Rusk and McNamara a CTBT, even without ironclad verification provisions, was better than any alternative: as McNamara put it, "the risk to the United States without a test ban treaty was greater than with a test ban treaty." As bad as the problems with Congress was the opposition by the Joint Chiefs, who saw a treaty without a threshold as an invitation to cheating.

By June 10, 1963 Kennedy 'A few days after the President's speech, Kennedy's advisers discussed the significance of the Harriman mission to Moscow and the prospects for a comprehensive agreement. While Rusk had "no illusions" about the prospects, he cited Kennedy's thinking that the Harriman trip was a "last chance" for an understanding with the Soviets; Rusk also believed that the Soviet concern about "bloc problems"--which ranged from Sino-Soviet tensions to growing divergences between Eastern Europe and Moscow-- might produce some flexibility. The administration had tabled various CTBT drafts since 1961, but the Principals were now reluctant to publish the latest draft for fear that it invite controversy--a "head-on collision"--especially if the Joint Chiefs of Staff criticized the draft when testifying before Congress."

Once again we find that Rusk seemed to be the man pushing the treaty.

Jim Root

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Tim, those are the sources cited for the page and sentences that refer to Walker. I'm afraid that's it. It would be interesting to ask Mellen where she received her information on EW being at Banister's.

Dawn, that sounds great.

Mellen goes over the evidence linking Banister to Walker in a paragraph in the "An Unsung Hero..." chapter, which I have just finished reading.

IMHO, this is one of the most significant nonfiction books I've ever read. It reads very well too (not surprising, considering Mellen's profession).

Edited by Owen Parsons
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Lynne

This area of research is relatively new to me. It has peaked my interest recently because I find that the opposition to the LTBT comes from persons who should have been and were previously some of Kennedy's closest advisors. There names, General Maxwell Taylor and John J. McCloy have come to my attention because of their association or links to General Edwin Walker.

From the first two paragraphs of Kennedy's very first press conference:

"Good afternoon. Won't you be seated.

I have several announcements to make, first. I have a statement about the Geneva negotiations for an atomic test ban. These negotiations, as you know, are scheduled to begin early in February. They are of great importance, and we will need more time to prepare a clear American position. So we are consulting with other governments, and we are asking to have it put off until late March.

As you know, Mr. John McCloy is my principal adviser in this field, and he has organized a distinguished panel of experts, headed by Dr. James Fisk of the Bell Laboratories -- and Mr. Salinger will have a list of the names at the end of the conference -- who are going to study previous positions that we have taken in this field, and also recommend to Mr. McCloy, for my guidance, what our position would be in late March, when we hope the tests will resume." (State Department Auditorium, Washington, D. C. January 25, 1961, 6:00 p.m., EST)

By June of 1963 McCloy is no longer participating in the Test Ban "Principals" meetings.

By July of 1963 Kennedy would have to curtail Taylor's continuing distrurst of the Soviets and the changing US position on a Limited Test Ban Treaty.

From the Journals of Glenn T. Seaborg, Volume 6, July 1, 1963-November 22, 1963 (Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, 1989,)

Entry for 9 July 1963

"Early in the evening of 9 July, Kennedy met with the NSC to discuss the Harriman mission. Still unsure whether a limited three environments test ban treaty was negotiable, the participants briefly discussed an agreement that permitted a quota of underground tests. Nevertheless, if an atmospheric test ban was feasible, Rusk wanted Harriman to be able to conclude an agreement "on the spot." Bundy wondered whether the French should be consulted, which raised the question of whether it would be possible to induce Paris to sign a limited test ban treaty. Maxwell Taylor's comments questioning the advantages of an atmospheric test ban raised the continuing problem with the Chiefs, but Kennedy declared that the issue was settled: "such a ban is to the advantage of the U.S." Nevertheless, Taylor vainly pushed away on the issue."

Could we have a motive?

Jim Root

Edited by Jim Root
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This area of research is relatively new to me. It has peaked my interest recently because I find that the opposition to the LTBT comes from persons who should have been and were previously some of Kennedy's closest advisors.... Maxwell Taylor's comments questioning the advantages of an atmospheric test ban raised the continuing problem with the Chiefs, but Kennedy declared that the issue was settled: "such a ban is to the advantage of the U.S." Nevertheless, Taylor vainly pushed away on the issue." Could we have a motive?

On a broad level, the issue for the military was whether Kennedy could credibly represent the United States, given his record of skepticism and timidity. The gamesmanship of nuclearism requires that the president be believable when he claims that he would launch a nuclear war under conditions A, B or C. By 1963, Kennedy had proved himself too rational, if not full of fear and loathing, for the use of nuclear weapons. JFK wasn't alone in this transformation. The shift away from Eisenhower's obsolete Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) and toward Kennedy's Gradual Escalation required a new kind of demonstration of will: Vietnam.

But as conventional warfare proved ineffective in Vietnam, the former vice president of the Eisenhower administration developed his own narrowed version of the MAD policy, which he called the "Madman Theory." As H. R. Haldeman recalled:

"We were walking along a foggy beach after a long day of speech writing. He [Nixon] said, 'I call it the Madman theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that, for god's sake, you know, Nixon is obsessed about Communism. We can't restrain him when he's angry - and he has his hand on the nuclear button - and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.'"

Kennedy, in the final analysis, had proved himself too rational and potentially incapable of credibly wielding U.S. military might. He couldn't match the MAD believability of Eisenhower or Nixon. Years later, Ronald Reagan would also make strides by being sufficiently MAD as to potentially press the big button. At the least, it is essential for coercive diplomacy. At the worst, it's a formula for Armegeddon.

Tim Carroll

Edited by Tim Carroll
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Tim

I do not have the information at hand but recall that one of the arguments on why the Soviets would not have been involved in the assassination of JFK was that they felt he was easier to negotiate with than Johnson (the Texas Right Wing Conservative, anti-communist, racist, Southern Democratic war monger) would be.

Perhaps others in our own government thought the same of Johnson.

Jim Root

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My own research into the history of Dean Rusk, and the possibility of Rusk being dropped from a '64 Kennedy administration, revealed Rusk as being the front man in the push for support of the CTBT. But the fact that Rusk WAS evidently to be replaced in a second Kennedy administration, and the fact that he stayed on through the entire Johnson administration--as a defender of the administration'd Vietnam policy, first and foremost [see Rusk interviews from Johnson presidential library collection...Google it if necessary]--says something about why Rusk was to be dropped after '64 by Kennedy, but why LBJ kept him on for the duration. Let the reader draw his/her own conclusions.

My impression is that Rusk's views on Vietnam were more in line with Taylor et al than with JFK...making Rusk a perfect fit in an administration bent on escalating the war, but a liability in one intent on winding down the war.

As far as the "follow the money" idea...which money? The money the MIC made on 'Nam? The money the Fed made--and continues to make--on the national debt? The money not lost by Big Oil thru the termination of the oil depletion allowance? While the two most driving forces among men are certainly the acquisition of money and power, in the JFK assassination the case breaks down into many blind alleys and confusing trails and smokescreens when we fail to determine which money or what power [JCS? LBJ? CIA? etc] was most significant, and which was less important.

I think nuclear weapons figured significantly into the assassination equation, but to exactly what degree I have yet to determine. I believe Jim Root has as good a handle on that area as anyone, and still the evidence is more elusive than conclusive.

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Mark

"I think nuclear weapons figured significantly into the assassination equation, but to exactly what degree I have yet to determine. I believe Jim Root has as good a handle on that area as anyone, and still the evidence is more elusive than conclusive."

Perhaps it is not as "elusive" as it would seem.

Think for a moment. Oswald is a radar operator at a U-2 base and "defects" to the Soviet Union (perhaps with help from intelligence sources). While in Russia a U-2 is downed that sabotages the Paris Summit where a Limited Test Ban Treaty is to be signed. Kennedy is elected and in his first press conference he names John J. McCloy his top negotiator for nuclear arms discussions, then brings Maxwell Taylor in as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Over the next two years he reverses positions, dumps McCloy and stops taking Taylors advice. Oswald is named as the assassin of John F. Kennedy.

Do we have a complete circle?

In the past I have suggested that the 1960 election may have gone to Nixon if the Paris Summit had been successful and a thaw in the Cold War was used by the Republicans as an election platform (the Peace Party). Kennedy's platform was centered, in many ways, on the missle gap, bomber gap and that the Eisenhower presidency had gone soft on communism.

Did the same people who got Kennedy elected in 1960 feel betrayed by Kennedy in 1963? One could certainly argue that both Taylor and McCloy received prestigious positions during the earliest portion of the Kennedy administration. Were the positions that were given to Taylor and McCloy rewards for the part they played in staging the U-2 incident and his election?

I have been troubled by that question for several years now.

The opening of this discussion on the Limited Test Ban Treaty (exactly the same issue that the Paris Summit was centered on), the timing of the change of position by Kennedy (June 10, 1963), the odd timing of a letter from McCloy to General Walker (June 12, 1963) and the alienation by Kennedy of both McCloy and Taylor (and Dullas as well) seems more than coincidental. Could the motive for assassination be centered on a motive of betrayal? If this makes any sense you would have the same people working Oswald in 1959 that would work him again in 1963.

If on October 10, 1959 General Edwin Walker (Taylor's man) passed the detailed information on how to enter the Soviet Union via the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki to Oswald (provided to the State Department by our Ambassador to Finland,John Hickerson, on October 9, 1963), which I believe I have shown is possible, this may not only be a key piece of the puzzle it may focus the picture clearly upon two major conspirator, Taylor and McCloy, who have both means and motive to pull off the assassination and control the official investigation.

Jim Root

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