“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable:”
In this well-edited YouTube piece, Eytmon reminds us that President Kennedy was a “dove,” a leader more inclined to restrain U.S. military power than to unleash it. While JFK was often aggressive in rhetoric, he also emphasized peace was “necessary and rational.” It was his experience as a Navy lieutenant in World War II who repeatedly faced death in battle that made the cause of peace personally urgent to him. It also distinguished him from the hawks of his day
There people on the left (Noam Chomsky) and right (George W. Bush) insiste that JFK was a “hawk,” meaning he was a militaristic defender of American interests in the world. This caricature leaves out an important dimension of JFK’s life and his actions in office.
Consider the non-profit National Security Archive’s latest revelations about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. As the Kennedy White House debated whether to invade Cuba or blockade the island without military action, Robert F. Kennedy made a note of where all the president’s men stood. The hawks favored a “strike.” The doves favored “blockade.”
In the end, JFK sided with the doves. He disregarded the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and other military advisers to invade Cuba — at the cost of an estimated 18,500 lives. He negotiated a peaceful settlement instead. In the most important moment of his presidency, JFK was a dove.