Slate’s David Greenberg is one of those historians who prefers to discuss JFK theories rather than deal with JFK facts. In his recent Slate piece, The plot to link JFK’s death and Watergate, (republished from 2003), Greenberg has this to say:
Elaborate speculations about Kennedy’s murder had begun, of course, earlier—almost from the moment he was shot. Shock and grief, along with lingering mysteries surrounding the killing and the gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, stoked doubt that a lowly maniac could really snuff out such an august leader. But what started as normal human disbelief evolved in the next decade into a conscious program of radical skepticism, especially among the ranks of the New Left.
Since the New Left is going on 50 years old, the contemporary relevance of this claim questionable. But normal human belief–not disbelief–points to the obvious: we really don’t have a very convincing explanation of the causes of the JFK’s death, at least not one that convince most Americans.
So why don’t we leave elaborate speculations aside and deal with the evidence. Some of this evidence was available to Greenber in 2003; some of it has emerged since.
Lots of cops at the Dallas crime scene acted as though a gunshot came from the front of the presidential motorcade.
So did the Dallas doctor, Robert McClelland, who examined Kennedy’s head wound from a distance of less than two feet for ten minutes before JFK expired.
Afterwords, a number of Washington insiders–including the slain president’s successor, widow and brother–privately rejected official theory of a “lone gunman.”
The story in 2015
And now, a half century later, we find a disturbing cocoon of unwarranted secrecy stil. surrounds several thousand unseen JFK documents. Hundreds of pages of censored material concerns the secret oprations of CIA personnel who:
1) were informed about accused assassin Lee Oswald’s travels, politics, and clashes with the law in the weeks before November 22, 1963 (Anne Goodpasture, David Phillips, Birch O’Neal); or
2) implicated themselves or others in the crime (Howard Hunt, David Morales, Tony Cuesta); or
3) are known to have participated in CIA assassination plots against other leaders whose politics they disliked (William Harvey, David Phillips).
(For the details, see my May 14 post, 7 JFK files the CIA still keeps secret.)
While Politico notes that the still-secret CIA documents, scheduled for release in 2017, may embarrass the Agency, Slate recycles the pointless but comforting anecdote that some JFK assassination theorists somewhere once called themselves “Brussell sprouts” in honor of the late researcher Mae Brussell.
Such amusements are feeble and dated but condescending JFK conspiracy theories is easer than coming to terms with the historical record.