Historian Tim Naftali depicts a cunning and cagey JFK

Tim Naftali is the former head of the Nixon library, a historian of U.S. intelligence and a chronicler of the Cuban Missile Crisis. So I follow him closely.

Kennedy was “far more interesting intellectually and far less appealing personally” than his family and friends wanted the world to know, Naftali told the Guardian. “And that’s fine.”

Source: JFK: declassified documents reveal a cunning and cagey president | US news | The Guardian

12 thoughts on “Historian Tim Naftali depicts a cunning and cagey JFK”

  1. Thinking about the unthinkable – Operation Northwood. If the military “defenders”, or “contingency planners” came up with such scenarios (we have witnessed more horrific events since the 60’s) than why is killing a sitting POTUS unthinkable? The impetus and methods were actual practice. What may be lacking in the equation is how Dulles & Company (read: CIA and clients) turned the CIA into a vanguard of American corporatocracy (United Fruit Company). With any group engaged in subterfuge, an unspoken language develops for unilateral contingencies, such as killing a sitting POTUS. Do you think when the CIA staged foreign coups, they stated explicitly “assassinate Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala?” The capability was set up and the use of this capability flowed from it’s implicit reason for being. When you review why CIA moved against foreign leaders, a common denominator is the targeted leader’s resistance to external pressure (external forces meddling in internal affairs, or unwillingness to remain under CIA control). Jacobo Árbenz was elected President in 1950, and continued the social reform policies, as well as instituting land reform, which sought to grant land to peasants who had been victims of debt slavery prior to Arévalo(elected President 1944, unseating CIA-backed Jorge Ubico). Despite their moderate policies, the Guatemalan Revolution was widely disliked by the United States government, which was predisposed by the Cold War to see it as communist, and the United Fruit Company’s profitable banana business had been affected by the end to brutal labor practices. The attitude of the U.S. government was also influenced by a propaganda campaign carried out by the UFC. The modus operandi was established. American companies could file a grievance with the CIA for redress of actions by foreign leaders. The leader is given ultimatums and if not met, the leader was “removed” after being labeled a communist dupe, or corrupt. These labels were appended to CIA’s own hand-picked leaders if he/she went rogue. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/04/opinion/04schlesinger.html?_r=0).
    The twist to this M.O was Dallas. JFK was making power moves against oil businessmen, as RFK led an assault against “organized gangsters.” Some oilmen were associated with some gangsters who were associated with right wing groups/anti-Castro Cubans, and some oilmen and some gangsters were associated with the CIA/FBI who were associated with right-wing groups and anti-Castro Cubans (paramilitary groups). From within this nexus came the [unthinkable] plot to kill JFK. Providing a patsy to take the fall is a mob, or CIA tactic. Some opined that Oliver North fell on the sword for Ronald Reagan for Irangate. There are endless variations for the role of a patsy at all levels of governance.

  2. Tim implies in his article JFK called his father for advice or guidance related to the Cuban missle crisis in Oct 1962, Joseph Kennedy had a massive heart attack in Dec 1961. In my opinion, this smashes his credibility. And makes this more of the same balcony about LHO did it.

    1. Greg, I agree, this is little other than a fresh twist on the subtle psychological propaganda that Kennedy’s assassination was not what some Americans believe was a turning point in our nation’s democratic process but rather simply the murder of a man who, after all, was “cunning and cagey”.

      I considered posting Naftali’s article on my Facebook when it first surfaced but thought better of it. Why be a conduit for this propaganda?

      Jeff Morley’s decision to do so is his own business, but isn’t it incumbent on those following this forum to question the discernment employed? Do all views have equal relevance? In a historical context maybe they do, but not in the argument over the investigation into this cold case murder investigation. Critical thinking – not pop thinking designed to appeal to the uninformed – should be the goal of any forum dedicated to uncovering the truth.

    2. Joseph Kennedy could not speak after his stroke except to say ‘no, no, no’. JFK may have rung him daily and told him about issues but Joseph Kennedy could not communicate at all after December 1961 until he died in the late 1960’s.

      Almost every commentary on JFK and his father glosses over this incapacity and implies JFK was still getting advice from his father throughout his Presidency.

    3. No he didn’t . He had a cerebrovascular accident which left him with a left hemiparesis and aphasia.
      Lots of people with ” massive heart attacks” can recover and remain mentally alert.
      Joe Kennedy still had his mental abilities after the stroke – just couldn’t express them well.

      1. Honestly Paul

        “He just couldn’t express them well”.

        The man couldn’t speak! He couldn’t write!

        He couldn’t express anything except ‘no, no, no’. And I doubt that was helpful in the nuanced face-off that was the Cuban Missile Crisis.

      2. Photon, a stroke by any other name is just as damaging. Cerebrovascular accident (CVA): The sudden death of some brain cells due to lack of oxygen when the blood flow to the brain is impaired by blockage or rupture of an artery to the brain. A CVA is also referred to as a stroke. Hemiparesis affects roughly 80 percent of stroke survivors, causing weakness or the inability to move one side of the body. The left half of the brain controls speech and language for most people. Someone who has had a left brain stroke may also have trouble speaking or understanding what is being said to them (aphasia.)

    4. Greg, it appears you’re trying to fish for as many reasons as you can to claim LHO was the only shooter. I need to know what this “credibility” issue has to do with Oswald being the lone shooter. Could you explain?

      1. Read the 3rd to last paragraph in the article: Naftali demurrer. ” i’ve gone through each of the conspiracies one by one trying to line them up and could just never make that jump” he said. ” I believe it was Lee Harvey Oswald (who killed the president). So I believe just the opposite as you wrote.

  3. I can’t be certain Mr. Naftali isn’t looking through a broken lense of his own prejudices. Of course, selling books is as much an art in propaganda and “spin control” as is media control by the President (or his heirs). It is not hard to disbelieve the “bear any burden pay any price” jargon; after all, it was inaugural theatrics. What thinking person would look at an inaugural address as binding policy? What we may be witnessing here, by Naftali, are the same paranoid and subjective filters used by those responsible for allowing the assassination in Dallas. People who passed judgement on JFK’s style, rather than his substance. JFK was a politician transitioning to a formidable independent Statesman. Unfortunately, the contrived “Cold War” diversion pre-empted his full developmental potential as President. Apparently, when you challenge/oppose big oil, big business, and big egos, you come up dead – whether POTUS or not. As far as RFK and JBK presenting the legacy they wanted America to have of JFK, keep in mind that the legacy presented to the American people (and the world) about American history is whitewashed; made palatable by lies and propaganda and revisions that make the Founding Fathers honorable men when they were, in fact, a band of treasonous rebels against the British Empire. Human trafficking and chattel slavery was acceptable to most Founding Fathers. Genocide was part of the military strategy to eradicate Native Peoples. The Alamo (another group of treasonous rebels) was a false flag used to steal the state of Texas from Mexico. In the modern era, news is manufactured and delivered for advertisement and ratings profit. Imagery never tells the complete story, but manipulation of images and legacies is nothing new in American (or any) history.

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