Jump to content
The Education Forum

Why Should We Study the Assassination of JFK

Recommended Posts

In another thread Maggie Jarvis, a science teacher, has criticised those historians who have spent a lot of time studying the assassination of John F. Kennedy: "I cannot support the level and type of discussion that you are all so keen on. Why do you not pool your collective intelligence and tackle something more relevant to today - the atrocities that are taking place at this very moment could do with serious investigation. Perhaps that would lead to fewer people alive at this moment losing them before they should! I repeat - John Kennedy is dead."

The study of history is always about the present and not the past. Historians help us understand the situation we find ourselves in. It is because we need to understand the situation in Iraq today that we need to study events like the assassination of JFK.

Here are a few quotations that make this very important point:

“The aim of the historian, like that of the artist, is to enlarge our picture of the world, to give us a new way of looking at things.” (James Joll)

“The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present.” (G. K. Chesterton)

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe” (H. G. Wells)

“More history is made by secret handshakes than by battles, bills and proclamations.” (John Barth)

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” (Voltaire)

Over the last few years I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to understand current events without understanding our “secret history”. Since the emergence of democracy and the mass media it has become vitally important for those in power to hide certain information from the public. The intelligence services have played a very important part in this attempt to conceal this information from the public. So much so that they have become an important political force. In fact, they have become a crucial aspect of what Dwight Eisenhower called in January, 1961 the military-industrial complex.

I am afraid most of the general public have not grasped this point and still believe the information provided by the government. I think there are psychological reasons for this desire to believe that our government tells us the truth. If the government is using the intelligence services to manipulate the truth, do we actually live in a democracy?

The war in Iraq is a good example of this. Blair would never had been able to order troops into Iraq if the British people had the full facts about WMD. Anybody who has spent anytime at all in studying this issue will be aware that MI5 and MI6 worked closely with the Blair government to conceal the truth about WMD. The CIA and FBI did similar things in the United States.

In most cases the security services work in the interests of the government of the day. However, on occasions, these organizations have worked independently of the government. In some cases, they have followed a policy that has attempted to undermine the government. For example, we now have evidence that this happened in Britain during the governments of Ramsay MacDonald (1923-24) and Harold Wilson (1964-70) and (1974-76).

It is clear that a similar thing was going on during 1962-63 in America. This resulted in the assassination of the democratically elected president. To my mind you could not have a more important event to study. Not because it is vitally important to find out who fired the actual shots. The most important aspect of this case is to find out who ordered this assassination and who was involved in covering it up. Until this is done the CIA and the FBI will not be brought under democratic control. The same is true in Britain. MI5 and MI6 and our corrupt government will not be brought under control until we find out the full facts about how they manipulated public opinion over WMD in Iraq.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi John.

...and of course, don't forget your George Orwell...

"Those who control the past, control the future; Those who control the future, control the present; Those who control the present, control the past."

Agreed on all points. Seems that our 2 Nations have worked together on many occasions in the past; particularly in the Middle East, when 'black gold' is at stake.

How can one promote widespread change without first concluding, with consensus, that a problem exists to begin with?

Empire and Nationhood

by Mary Ann Heiss

"In 1951 prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh seized British oil holdings in Iran. The move set in motion four years of bitter political and strategic battles between a United Kingdom desperate for an economic rebound and an increasingly anti-Western regime in Teheran. The Eisenhower administration tried to broker a settlement, but Mossadegh was overthrown by an Anglo-American operation and replaced by the Shah. Mary Ann Heiss provides the most detailed account available of this turning point in cold war history. The first American effort to bolster a crumbling British Empire; and the first effort by the CIA to overthrow a popular nationalist regime."

The end result was a shared portion of the profits in what was before a Dutch / British concern. When the US whisked away the despot, the Shah, after a brutal campaign of terror and execution, the Iranians responded in the only way they could - through the taking of hostages at the US Embassy. No one seemed to know the reason as I recall, only that the Iranians were fanatics and that the Ayatollah Khomeini was Satan.

Here's an interesting one:

Britain Says U.S. Planned to Seize Oil in '73 Crisis

by Lizette Alvarez

LONDON — The United States government seriously contemplated using military force to seize oil fields in the Middle East during the Arab oil embargo 30 years ago, according to a declassified British government document made public on Thursday.

The top-secret document says that President Richard M. Nixon was prepared to act more aggressively than previously thought to secure America's oil supply if the embargo, imposed by Arab nations in retaliation for America's support for Israel in the 1973 Middle East war, did not end. In fact, the embargo was lifted in March 1974.

The declassified British memorandum said the United States considered launching airborne troops to seize oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, but only as a "last resort."

President Nixon's defense secretary, James R. Schlesinger, delivered the warning to Lord Cromer, the British ambassador in Washington at the time. In the document, Lord Cromer was quoted as saying of Mr. Schlesinger, "it was no longer obvious to him that the United States could not use force."

The seizure of the oil fields was "the possibility uppermost in American thinking when they refer to the use of force," the memorandum said.

The potential for such a military action was taken so seriously by British intelligence services that a report was written listing the most likely scenarios for the use of American force in the Middle East and the consequences of each. The report, dated Dec. 12, 1973, was titled "UK Eyes Alpha" and was sent to Prime Minister Edward Heath.

The memorandum was one of hundreds of documents released by Britain's National Archives under a law that makes government papers public after 30 years. Details of the document were reported on Thursday by The Washington Post.

The exchange between Mr. Schlesinger and Lord Cromer came on the heels of the war between Israel and Egypt and Syria that began in October 1973. As retaliation for American support for Israel in the war and in an effort to sway world opinion, Arab members of OPEC imposed the oil embargo.

The embargo led to petroleum shortages around the world and to sharp increases in the price of gas in the United States.

As recounted by Lord Cromer, Mr. Schlesinger told him the United States was unwilling to abide threats by "underdeveloped, underpopulated" countries.

The document did not rule out the possibility that Washington would consider pre-emptive strikes if Arab governments, "elated by the success of the oil weapon," began issuing greater demands.

"The U.S. government might consider that it could not tolerate a situation in which the U.S. and its allies were in effect at the mercy of a small group of unreasonable countries," the document said.

As outlined in the memorandum, military action would be relatively straightforward: two brigades were estimated to be needed to seize the Saudi oil fields and one each for Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. In the case of Abu Dhabi, the Americans might ask for British military cooperation.

The greatest threat would arise in Kuwait, the document said, "where the Iraqis, with Soviet backing, might be tempted to intervene."

The British warned in their assessment that any occupation of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi might have to last as long as 10 years. The use of force would also alienate Arab countries and irritate Moscow, although a military confrontation with the Soviet Union would be unlikely, the document said.

Discontent among Western allies was also cited as a possible consequence of military action. "Since the United States would probably claim to be acting for the benefit of the West as a whole and would expect the full support of allies, deep U.S.-European rifts could ensue," it said.

A separate document, also just released, illustrated Mr. Heath's profound anger toward Mr. Nixon, when the American president failed to inform the British prime minister he was putting American forces on a global nuclear alert during the Middle East war.

Mr. Heath went so far as to suggest that Mr. Nixon issued the alert in an attempt to deflect attention away from Watergate, which was in full swing in the fall of 1973.

"An American President in the Watergate position apparently prepared to go to such lengths at a moment's notice without consultation with his allies," Mr. Heath wrote in the second document, adding that there was no "military justification" for putting American forces on a nuclear alert at the time.

The alert was ordered after Leonid I. Brezhnev, the Soviet leader, warned that he might send Soviet troops into the Middle East after Israel crossed the Suez Canal.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


Bush failed utterly to convince me that the Iraqi people required our help. I scoffed at the WMD. I said, and it's nice to be right, that Iraq was part of his political agenda the day he was sworn in to office.

Reminds me of the essence of the Pentagon papers.

- lee

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

"Ok, if it as proven he was killed by someone else, in 2007 would it even matter?"

It certainly mattered in 1963/64 when John McCloy told the Warren Commission that it was their duty to show the world that America is not a banana republic where the government can be changed by a conspiracy.

Among other dark places, the question goes to the dark side of nationalism and false political consciousness, recently discussed on the Members Behaviour thread.

It will be a tough day for the U.S. establishment when it is forced to acknowledge the truth about the JFK assassination, and anyone who suggests that it doesn't matter in 2007, or won't still matter in 2107, is whistling in a graveyard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The JFK assassination was the seminal event of my generation (the "Baby Boomers" who are now ruling, or misruling the world). A political crime of such magnitude, that is inadequately explained, will have ramifications forever afterwards. Certainly there were high crimes and conspiracies prior to November 22, 1963, and there have obviously been many since then, but that day in Dallas effected the American people, and their political system, like no other in modern times. Every election since then has been tainted by what happened in Dealey Plaza. Like a complicated math formula, where an early part of the equation is wrong, and thus the final answer can never be correct, the much needed reforms to our political system will never come until an honest accounting of what really happened to John F. Kennedy is conducted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...