Oliver Stone talks to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now about JFK and the untold history of the United States.
AMY GOODMAN: On our Facebook page, Ronan Duggan posted this question to you: “Would you agree that much of the history of JFK has been romanticized and he has been transformed into a sort of liberal hero? The truth is he was a horrific warmonger,” said this person on Facebook.
OLIVER STONE: No, no. Kennedy, on the contrary, he did — had to — you could not become president in 1960, I mean, by being soft on communism. You had to be a hardliner. It was the only way to get elected. Yeah, he went to the right of Nixon at that point, true, and — but he did not know the missile gap. He believed the missile gap existed, that was being talked about. When he got into office, within six weeks, he hired Bob McNamara, an outsider from Ford, to be his defense secretary. He had McNamara go into the Pentagon and find out where we were. And he found out that it was all a myth, that in fact we were way ahead of the Soviets, on every level — on every level — and that we could have, unfortunately, a first strike against the Soviet Union.”
“He realized, in that atmosphere, that his generals were up to — were really gearing up for a war, because if they didn’t fight the Soviets in 1960, their thinking was that the Soviets are going to catch up, and we’re going to have these crises in Berlin, Vietnam, Laos for the rest — it will — there will be a war sometime in the near future, by 1970. So they’re thinking about let’s do it, let’s do it now. And you remember the ‘Dr. Strangelove’ movie about the whole thing about the retaliation? You remember Jack Ripper, the Sterling Hayden character? That’s based on Curtis LeMay, who was the chief of staff of the Air Force, and Thomas Power also, who was later the chief of staff. He was an Air Force general. These people wanted war. Or Arleigh Burke of the Navy, Lemnitzer, who was the chief of the—the head of the whole thing, chief of staff at the beginning.
“This new book, Bob Dallek, who’s an establishment historian, doesn’t agree with our assassination concept, [but] he goes into detail in ‘Camelot’s Court,’ this new book, about how Kennedy was fighting, for those years, with the military on all fronts.”