On the 51st anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy we can see how Americans revisit this traumatic event, a political wound with resulting cultural scars, and we find an unfiinished story, a wound unhealed.
A few things are known for sure. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, 34 years old and dressed in a U.S.-made knock off of a pink Chanel suit, was looking at her husband’s face with concern from inches away when a bullet shattered his head.
After that horrible moment, Jackie had to pull herself together, give Jack the funeral he deserved. She assumed that her husband’s enemies had killed him. A week after the assassination, she and her brother-in-law Robert Kennedy confided in a friend, William Walton. They said they believed Dallas was the work of a high-level domestic plot, meaning JFK’s enemies on the political right.
But mostly Jackie didn’t want to think about who killed Jack. She was close to insane with grief, clutching to her brother-in-law who was devastated as well. She was often suicidal. And so Jackie fades from the crime story. The men who dominate the discussions of JFK conspiracy theories are often united in ignoring the views of the woman closest to the crime.
Before I try to answer this most complex of questions, let me say a couple of things.
First, let us stipulate that 99.99 percent of JFK conspiracy theories are BS. Let me repeat that: 99.99 percent of JFK conspiracy theories are BS.
Four young photographers working for the daily newspaper Dallas Times Herald in 1963 were assigned to the team tasked with capturing the President’s much-anticipated visit to Dallas. They’ll be talking about their memories of that day on Tuesday, November 17 at 7 pm at The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.
Tickets are $25.
“If the CIA did find out what we were doing [talks toward normalizing relations with Cuba], this would have trickled down to the lower echelon of activists, and Cuban exiles, and the more gung-ho CIA people who had been involved since the Bay of Pigs…. Read more
At a conference on the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report in Washington in September, Cuba scholar Peter Kornbluh gave a fascinating talk on how President Kennedy pursued the idea of normalizing relations with Cuba 1963. In the bureaucracy this was known as “the sweet approach,” Kornbluh says. The idea was to lure Fidel Castro out of his alliance with the Soviet Union instead of overthrowing him.
“Kennedy had a change of heart after the missile crisis,” Kornbluh says, and he makes the case in his new book Back Channel to Cuba Kennedy pursued “the sweet approach” right up through the last 72 hours of his life, Kornbluh says.
Howard Willens writes via email to correct a couple of mistakes in my Nov. 12 post, “Howard Willens weighs in on RFK’s suspicions of conspiracy.” Let me quote him in full.
Question from a reader:
“.. Or at least knew of the plot involving Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, and Cubans associated with the Bay of Pigs project?”
John R. Tunheim, the federal judge in Minnesota who served from 1994 to 1998 as the chairman of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), says in a television program to be aired this month that while the Warren Commission “did a thorough job,” the investigation of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 was “somewhat primitive” and riddled with “too many holes.”
The famous playwright (“The Vagina Monologues”) explains why she’s supporting the stage version of James Douglass’ book “JFK and the Unspeakable.”
Howard Willens, former Warren Commission staffer, has responded to Philip Shenon’s article in Politico about Attorney General Robert Kennedy being a “conspiracy theorist” and my post, “Why RFK refused to swear there was no conspiracy.”
In a new post at HowardWillens.com, Willens says the dispute should be broken down into three questions:
“About a year ago, anticipating the John F. Kennedy assassination’s 50th anniversary, Wendell (Mass.) playwright Court Dorsey was preparing to premiere a series of public readings around the country of ‘Project Unspeakable’ — his script about governmental conspiracy in the deaths of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.” Read more
As general counsel for the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in the mid-1990s, Jeremy Gunn had unparalleled access to the government’s records on the JFK assassination. Last year he gave an interesting talk about “Seeking the Truth in the Kennedy Assassination” at the Center for Global Humanities at the University of New England in Portland, Maine.
I began writing this opinion piece in response to one specific John McAdams comment in the thread following Peter Voskamp’s interview of Richard Stolley of LIFE magazine, about his involvement with the Zapruder film the weekend of JFK’s assassination.
The response I was writing evolved and morphed into something bigger as I was composing it. It is really about much more than just the one specific comment I am rebutting; it is about a much bigger issue — namely, the negative tone and apparent intent to disrupt, and ridicule, that John McAdams too often brings to the JFKFACTS site, and to other JFK chat rooms.
“In March 1964, one hundred days after the assassination of President Kennedy, Rydberg was summoned to the office of Captain John Stover, the Commanding Officer of the Navy Medical School. It was explained to him that Commanders Humes and Boswell, two of President Kennedy’s autopsy surgeons, were about to testify before the Warren Commission and they were in need of his special talents. He was put under secret orders to prepare medical illustrations of the wounds sustained by President Kennedy.”