Our 8th program featuring analysis and discussion of topics relevant to the study of President Kennedy’s assassination. This week Alan Dale speaks with Dr. John Newman:
- Updating JFK and Vietnam
- General William Odom, Dr. Richard Thornton, Robert S. McNamara
- Oliver Stone and Eric Hamburg
- The “bridge” between JFK and Vietnam and Oswald and the CIA
- 2008 Update
- Volume l: Where Angels Tread Lightly: Hypothesis
- June Cobb, the FBN and CIA
- Volume ll: Countdown to Darkness
Visit Dr. Newman’s Amazon page HERE.
To download the podcast as an MP3: Click HERE; Place cursor on file; RIGHT click and select “Save Audio As.”
Got a question or a comment? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk about it on the show.
17 thoughts on “JFK Facts Podcast: special guest, Dr. John Newman”
Hey 77 year old! I am 70, almost, myself, and I want to thank you for being one of the rare liberals or our age and sex that I’ve come across. If you are of the caucasian persuasion, it is even rarer!
But back to JFK, I certainly agree with your assessments. I might add another aggravation: What credit does JFK get for LBJ all HIS BILLS that LBJ passed in 1964-85? I really don’t see it anywhere. I had one Republican tell me that “if it wasn’t for Kennedy being assassinated, he wouldn’t have been considered a great president”. This is the mantra, if JFK is mentioned at all. Even the Democratic Party rarely quotes JFK or mentions him!! What’s with that?
“But back to JFK, I certainly agree with your assessments. I might add another aggravation: What credit does JFK get for LBJ all HIS BILLS that LBJ passed in 1964-85? I really don’t see it anywhere.”
I see it in the homes of black Americans of our age. They have a picture of King and JFK; seldom a picture of LBJ. Ask them and most will tell you JFK gave them modern day civil rights. We know this is not exactly correct. Kennedy could never have passed the bill and Johnson couldn’t have got the bill passed without the murder of Kennedy. It required the mood of the country to change and the shock of the assassination did that. So I really think it took both men to pass the Civil Rights Bill of 1964.
“I had one Republican tell me that “if it wasn’t for Kennedy being assassinated, he wouldn’t have been considered a great president”.”
I don’t think so. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the space program and the Test Ban Treaty are enough to make Kennedy a great president. I’m of the opinion he beats any that have came after his time. Johnson might have been a great one if he had been successful with his Great Society but the war prevented that and doomed LBJ to infamy.
“This is the mantra, if JFK is mentioned at all. Even the Democratic Party rarely quotes JFK or mentions him!! What’s with that?”
I think JFK is so far above anything the Dems have to offer today that they had rather ignore his legacy. Today it seems they prefer liars, crooks and self serving mediocrity much below the level of JFK. In my opinion the Repubs are no better.
The Civil Rights Bill was passed in committee in October 1963 – it would surely have passed if JFK was re-elected in 1964. JFK had established a strong relationship with William McCulloch – ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee. Jackie Kennedy sent this note to McCulloch following the passage of the Civil Rights Bill:”I know that you more than anyone was responsible for the civil rights legislation of the early 1960’s, and particularly the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
RFK & JFK laid the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act – passed in 1965. From 1961-63 they instituted 57 lawsuits against southern election officials for obstructing the rights of African-Americans to vote.
As RFK stated: “Lyndon Johnson was opposed to the Civil Rights Bill. He was against the sending up of any legislation.” Martin Luther King stated that JFK’s speech on national tv on June 11, 1963 was: “One of the most eloquent, profound, and unequivocal pleas for justice and the freedom of all men ever made by any president.”
JFK’s speech was made after Bull Connor unleashed the dogs & fire hoses in Birmingham in May, 1963 & after the Freedom Riders being bombed & using federal troops to allow African-American students to enroll in the U. of Alabama & Mississippi.
Because of these events & the murder of civil rights leaders like Medgar Evers (in front of his children on his front lawn) – JFK was worried about violence during the March on Washington (August 1963) & initially opposed the march. But as John L. Lewis stated when JFK met with the civil rights leaders after the march in the oval office:”He was like a beaming proud father.”
In September 1963 – Walter Cronkite in a tv interview asked JFK: “Do you think you’ll lose some southern states in 1964”? The president responded by saying “I’m not sure I’m the most popular political figure in the South right today. But that’s all right. We’ll have to see in a year and a half from now.” JFK had the courage to risk losing some votes to do what was right. This is further demonstrated by handbills found on the street in Dallas after JFK’s murder:
“Wanted for Treason” “He(JFK) has inspired the Communist inspired racial riots.” Johnson & the Democratic Party surely benefited from JFK’s tragic murder in the Congressional elections of 1964 & LBJ’s election. RFK’s moving tribute to his slain brother was interrupted for more than 20 minutes at the Democratic Convention.
The historical record indicates that JFK did the heavy lifting & the dirty work & LBJ gets more credit than he deserves.
Very informative updating and preview of things to come from Dr. John Newman in the podcast today. 2017 indeed looks to be an extremely important year for JFK research and understanding as well as the history of our country. I thought Dr. Newman’s closing remarks about how the importance of full disclosure of the JFK records to the support of the idealism & respect by our youth towards our government was especially moving, as a 77+ year old.
Discussion subject changed to “”JFK and Vietnam” (was Re: Aguilar and Gittinger)” by Ted Gittinger
Ted Gittinger View profile
More options Jun 17 2002, 3:46 pm
“Eric Chomko” wrote in message
– Show quoted text –
Yes, I know of Dr. Newman’s work. I first met Dr. Newman when he was researching his topic in the early nineties.
He was a participant in the LBJ Library symposium, “Vietnam: The Early Decisions,” which met in 1993. The proceedings of that conference were published and are available through amazon.com.
Dr. Newman’s thesis was that JFK had decided to withdraw from Vietnam, but that LBJ had reversed that decision when Kennedy was assassinated. Newman presented his ideas at length, accompanied by a slide presentation of the physical evidence which he had assembled during his research in the original documents.
My impression, gained by casual conversation with the other historians who were present, was that they were quite unpersuaded by Dr. Newman’s arguments. But that impression easily could be checked by inquiry. The other historians I here refer to were Lloyd Gardner, William Duiker, John Prados, George Herring, William Gibbons, and Larry Berman. I believe a search on their names will reveal their contributions to the literature. Should you wish to verify what I have given as my impression of their opinions of Dr.Newman’s thesis, that should be possible.
I admire Dr. Newman and his work a great deal, but I am a bit upset by what I have heard and read lately. Did Dr. Newman say in this podcast (I thought I heard this) that, contrary to Dr. Newman’s statements at the 2014 Warren Commission presentation, David Phillips was not in fact Andrew F. Merton? It seemed like a slam dunk when he made his presentation. Also, I recently read that Dr. Newman was wrong concerning Tony Sforza allegedly being Tepedino. Then the whole 2014 presentation was wrong?
How do these revelations affect Dr. Newman’s hypothesis announced at the 2014 Conference and in Where Angels Tread Lightly?
A lot more information has come out since 1993.
For one thing you can listen to the recording of the meeting on October 3 in which Kennedy ratified the decision in NSAM-263.
You can listen to it with your own ears!
The opinions of those historians or at least some of them may have changed since then too.
(Tom S. note: “Mike” also submitted with a last name, 18 prior comments. Mike, I routinely provide similar information related to others who comment with multiple aliases. I am not singling you out.)
August 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm
“A lot more information has come out since 1993.”
“For one thing you can listen to the recording of the meeting on October 3 in which Kennedy ratified the decision in NSAM-263.”
“You can listen to it with your own ears!”
It seems I’ve referenced these tapes a million times. They are almost required reading to understand the strategic thinking of the men who composed NSAM 263. Sadly I fear few have listened to the tapes since they continue to repeat the same incorrect slogans about JFK withdrawing from Vietnam. A vast left wing conspiracy to make NSAM 263 say what they wish it said and not what it actually says, if you will.
“The opinions of those historians or at least some of them may have changed since then too.”
That is true but what has not changed is NSAM 263. It says the exact same thing today as it said in 1963. It says “we should be able”; not “we will”. It says “the bulk or our troops”; not “all of our troops”.
JFK never sent combat troops to Vietnam or bombed N. Vietnam – he also never formally approved the Desoto Patrols that came out of NSAM 263 after the aborted Honolulu Conference – LBJ approved those questionable acts not JFK – those are facts. It would have been much easier for JFK’s advisors to say LBJ was just following JFK’s policies in Vietnam.
Let’s look at the record of historians and those on the inside who worked in both administrations – not just JFK defenders.
David Halberstam – “I’m hardly a JFK loyalist…But I never believed he would have sent combat troops to Vietnam.”
George Herring – Between November 1963 and July 1965 – Lyndon Baines Johnson transformed a limited commitment to assist the South Vietnamese government into an open-ended commitment.”
Barry Goldwater – “The Vietnam War truly began for us on August 7, 1964 – when the US Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution… I still question whether the Maddox was shot at by the N. Vietnamese… We voted on the Tonkin Resolution with critical aspects of the situation withheld from us.”
George Ball – “Everyone knows that the DeSoto Patrols have no intelligence mission that couldn’t be accomplished just as well as by planes or small boats at far less risk. The evidence will strongly suggest that you (LBJ) sent those ships up to the Gulf only to provoke attacks so we could retaliate.”
General Maxwell Taylor – (10/24/63)”All planning will be directed towards preparing (RVN) forces for the the withdrawal of all US special assistance units and personnel by the end of calendar year 1965.
Clark Clifford – “The two presidents had the same advisors and would have confronted the same situation. It is safe to assume they would have gotten the same advice. But I do not believe that John Kennedy would have have followed the same course as Lyndon Johnson in the all-important year of 1965 – when the major decisions to to escalate the ground war and start bombing N. Vietnam were made. On the basis of personal intuition and knowledge of both men – I believe that because of profound differences in personality and style – Kennedy would have taken a different path in his second term.”
General James Gavin – “Having discussed military affairs with him (JFK)often and in detail – I know he was totally opposed to the introduction of combat troops to Vietnam.”
John Connally – My guess is that Jack Kennedy would have withdrawn American troops from Vietnam shortly into his second term…he was less charmed by the Generals…I believe that he had already concluded that the war was unwinnable.”
Robert McNamara – “Having reviewed the record in detail and with the advantage of hindsight – I think it is highly probable that – had Kennedy lived – he would have pulled out of Vietnam…he would have viewed that loss as more costly than we see it now…but he would have accepted that cost.”
McNamara – “I believe the record shows that far from planning an escalation of the war – President Kennedy had decided and publicly announced on October 2, 1963 – that the US would plan to withdraw its military force by the end of 1965.”
R. Andrew Kiel
August 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm
“JFK never sent combat troops to Vietnam or bombed N. Vietnam “
He sent troops that engaged in and lost their life in combat on the ground and in the air. I won’t quibble with word games about “advisers” here. He bombed the hell out of South Vietnam with American planes and pilots and bombs.
“he also never formally approved the Desoto Patrols that came out of NSAM 263 after the aborted Honolulu Conference”
You seem to be confused here. The first Desoto mission ran in Vietnam in December of 1962. (“The Gulf of Tonkin Incident” (PDF). Feb 1975. Retrieved 6 Jul 2013).
NSAM 263 was signed in October 1963. (http://www.jfklancer.com/NSAM263.html).
Since the Desoto Patrols came first they obviously didn’t come out of NSAM 263. Formally approved or not, these patrols ran under JFK’s command. See my point?
“– LBJ approved those questionable acts not JFK – those are facts. It would have been much easier for JFK’s advisors to say LBJ was just following JFK’s policies in Vietnam.”
LBJ was not the CIC in 1962 when the patrols (or even the embryonic Oplan 34A for that matter) were begun. He had no power in 1962 so your statement is not “facts” at all. Johnson continued Kennedy’s policy of sending more troops and material to Vietnam until the communist forced the introduction of U.S. troops in 1965. So that is about 15 months that LBJ did in fact follow the policy of Kennedy in Vietnam.
“Let’s look at the record of historians and those on the inside who worked in both administrations – not just JFK defenders.”
Throw out the self-serving liar McNamara and you have assembled a pretty good group here. I hold Halberstam and Herring in high regard. Are you aware Halberstam called McNamara’s book, “shockingly dishonest” when it came out. And if you noticed George Herring attended the seminar that rather booed Newman’s book, “JFK and Vietnam”. George Ball is a good man I think but is confused about the Desoto Patrols.
But opinions are not the subject here. People claiming “Jack ordered “ALL” American troops out of Vietnam in his NSAM 263 is what I was referring to. Anyone with a 6th grade reading level that reads NSAM 263 knows this isn’t true. Why educated men have a problem with it I can only guess……
Bill – I respect your knowledge of Vietnam & that you served – however if you are trying to equate the number of US military that lost their lives under JFK (close to 100) & the millions of civilian deaths & US combat deaths under LBJ (60,000) – there is no comparison. As I noted – the insiders & historians I quoted make it clear that they believed JFK was not responsible for LBJ’s escalation & the deaths that ensued – that is what I consider to be factual.
General Maxwell Taylor’s statement of October 24, 1963 uses the word ALL twice for “personnel” & “special assistance units” to be completed by 1965. That would be the clear expression of what JFK INTENDED to take place in Vietnam just one month before his murder.
The death of Diem one week later on November 1, 1963 surely had a sobering effect on JFK’s views of the stability of the South Vietnamese leadership as JFK’s White House tape recordings indicate. JFK did not record ALL of his policy views on the tapes & did not have the time to edit them as LBJ did.
As for the DeSoto Patrols – you are correct – I should have been referencing NSAM 273 which was issued on November 24 after the Honolulu Conference which concluded on November 20. JFK did not live to approve Operation Plan 34 A & that is what George Ball made clear from my earlier use of his quote.
Paragraph 7 of NSAM indicated that planning for different levels of possible INCREASED activity had been revised due to what McGeorge Bundy stated as “LBJ holding stronger views on the war than Kennedy did.”
General Taylor told the Pentagon on January 22, 1964 that NSAM 273 “Makes clear the resolve of the President (LBJ)to insure victory…To do this we must prepare for WHATEVER LEVEL ACTIVITY may be required.”
Noted Vietnam historian Stanley Karnow wrote:”These ineffectual “dirty tricks” (from NSAM 273) had been conducted only intermittently before Lyndon Johnson entered office in late 1963. At that point the Joint Chiefs conceived a more ambitious and systematic plan for covert operations against North Vietnam, typically giving it an acronym:OPLAN 34-A.”
R. Andrew Kiel
August 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm
“Bill – I respect your knowledge of Vietnam & that you served”
Thanks for the kind words. I respect your interest in this subject and the work you have obviously invested in it.
“– however if you are trying to equate the number of US military that lost their lives under JFK (close to 100) & the millions of civilian deaths & US combat deaths under LBJ (60,000) – there is no comparison.”
That was never my intent. My intent was to show that simply calling them “advisers” didn’t take the mud or blood off anyone’s hands. Many of these men JFK sent were engaged in combat on the ground and in the air. The fact that they died there makes it hard, I think, to deny they were combat soldiers.
“As I noted – the insiders & historians I quoted make it clear that they believed JFK was not responsible for LBJ’s escalation & the deaths that ensued – that is what I consider to be factual.”
Okay, I understand now. Right, I don’t blame JFK either. I blame the communist sending intact NVA combat units to the south in 1964. That made it a new ball game. The removal of Ngo Dinh Diem and the instability it caused helped the communist cause here too. JFK takes a hickie here but I think the NVA would have been coming south regardless.
“General Maxwell Taylor’s statement of October 24, 1963 uses the word ALL twice for “personnel” & “special assistance units” to be completed by 1965. That would be the clear expression of what JFK INTENDED to take place in Vietnam just one month before his murder.”
I sincerely believe that what JFK intended to happen in Vietnam is very expertly composed in NSAM 263. It is very clear in its message and no one should require Newman or anyone else to explain it to them. In fact, appears to me that Newman and Company needs the help here.
My take on this; Taylor gets his orders from NSAM 263 that we will be reducing the number of our troops in Vietnam. He sends down a warning order to the support units to be ready to comply. It is a warning order or prep-order and not a policy position. His use of “all” is not so important here I think, with NSAM 263 overriding anything Taylor had to say. But that is simply my opinion.
R. Andrew Kiel
August 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm
“As for the DeSoto Patrols – you are correct – I should have been referencing NSAM 273 which was issued on November 24 after the Honolulu Conference which concluded on November 20. JFK did not live to approve Operation Plan 34 A & that is what George Ball made clear from my earlier use of his quote.”
As long as you are aware that these Oplan 34A type operations went on under JFK, formally approved or not. The DeSoto Patrols went on under JFK also.
“Paragraph 7 of NSAM indicated that planning for different levels of possible INCREASED activity had been revised due to what McGeorge Bundy stated as “LBJ holding stronger views on the war than Kennedy did.”
But Noam Chomsky says paragraph 7 in NSAM 273 makes it weaker than NSAM 263. Now I think Chomsky an over educated fool but just showing that there are differences of opinion here. I think it certainly increased activity but it didn’t matter because it was a tremendous flop. More on this in my next paragraph.
“Noted Vietnam historian Stanley Karnow wrote:”These ineffectual “dirty tricks” (from NSAM 273) had been conducted only intermittently before Lyndon Johnson entered office in late 1963. At that point the Joint Chiefs conceived a more ambitious and systematic plan for covert operations against North Vietnam, typically giving it an acronym:OPLAN 34-A.”
I like Karnow; his was the first book on Vietnam I scraped up the courage to read. Please note he tells us these “dirty tricks” had gone on before LBJ; in other words under JFK. It is important to remember this. In a nut shell here is what happened; the embryonic Oplan 34A type operations were ran by the CIA under JFK and was a flop. They actually tried to infiltrate Vietnamese troops into North Vietnam. It was a colossal flop and got a lot of brave Vietnamese killed in the process. So back to Paragraph 7 of NSAM 273 which beefed up this program in hopes of making it successful. It was placed under the military and it continued to be a flop even after they moved to marine operations instead of air infiltration.
So Paragraph 7 simply escalates a flop to a bigger flop which really didn’t make a wart on the molehill to begin with. I think I still have emails from Dr. Edwin Moise of Tonkin Gulf note in which the good doctor calls the operations a “pin prick” to begin with and a “pin prick” to the end. So this “pin prick” is what Scott and Company cries out is the terrible escalation of the war. This is supposed to be where LBJ changed the JFK policy “before Jack was cold in his grave”. It is so much BS.
I believe the correct spelling of the General’s name is Odom with an “o”, not to be confused with the surname Odum with a “u”, shared by Bardwell Odum, FBI Special Agent directly involved in the investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy.
^ Thank you, Leslie. I was sleepy and vulnerable. Corrected!
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