JFK and Air Force General Curtis LeMay. (Associate Press)
In an intriguing new piece for the Atlantic, “JFK v. the Military,” historian Robert Dallek picks up on one of the most important JFK revelations to emerge since Oliver Stone’s “JFK.”
But Dallek also avoids its implications. And therein lies a tale of how historians — and the general public — think about JFK’s assassination 50 years later. Read more
What would President John F. Kennedy have thought about the enigmatic circumstances of his murder?
Alternative history (courtesy of Stephen King’s book cover)
Fifty years later, I think we don’t ask this question often enough. Instead we argue about what Rachel Maddow and Bill O’Reilly think. Media criticism is important, but it is no substitute for historical analysis. There are certainly other ways to think about the story.
Counterfactually, for example.
Imagine JFK had survived the gunfire in Dealey Plaza. What would he have said about its causes?
Kennedy, of course, did not have time to comment on the gunfire that claimed his life, other than to say, after a bullet struck him in the back, “My God, I’m hit.” But that exclamation illuminated his instantaneous awareness of a lethal situation. JFK had been a soldier/sailor in World War II. Twenty years before he had faced gunfire. He had seen men die from it. He knew that he had been shot. Before he could say anything more another bullet struck him in the head, fatally wounding him.
That was not inevitable.
Operation Northwoods was a Pentagon plan to provoke a U.S. invasion of Cuba in 1963 through the use of deception operations. First disclosed by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1997, the Northwoods plans are among the most significant new JFK documents to emerge since Oliver Stone’s “JFK” movie.
Operation Northwoods envisioned U.S. intelligence operatives staging violent attacks on U.S. targets and arranging for the blame for the mayhem to fall on Fidel Castro and his communist government. The idea, wrote one planner, was to creates a “justification for U.S. intervention in Cuba,” by orchestrating a crime that placed the U.S. government “in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government” in Cuba.
These plans included the use of violence on American soil against American citizens.
The JFK assassination story is bleeping complicated.
From Indy Week, the North Carolina alt-weekly, comes a useful guide for making sense of it all: 13 documents you should read about the JFK assassination. Read more