America’s Last President

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Two commonly asked questions regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy are: (1) Why would the Pentagon and the CIA want to assassinate Kennedy in order to elevate Vice-President Lyndon Johnson to the presidency? and (2) What difference does the JFK assassination make today?

A new book, which I highly recommend, is America’s Last President: What the World Lost When It Lost John F. Kennedy by Monika Wiesak. This book goes a long way toward answering those two questions.

That’s not to say that it’s a book about the assassination itself. It actually does not address that issue, at least not directly. While the author clearly does not accept the official lone-nut theory of the assassination and appears to believe that the assassination was, in fact, a regime-change operation, her book nonetheless is about how Kennedy was determined to move America in a different direction and why his assassination led America to the deep morass in which we find ourselves today, including becoming perilously close to nuclear war.

(It’s worth pointing out though that the author does cite several times James Douglass’s book JKF and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters and also cites twice FFF’s book JKF’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne.)

Wiesak points out that even before he became president, Kennedy had a major difference with the Pentagon, the CIA, and their supporters within the Washington, D.C., establishment. That difference was with respect to independence movements within the Third World. 

The national-security establishment maintained that such movements were a threat to U.S. national security because they were perceived to be oriented toward the Soviet Union. Keep in mind that this was during the Cold War, when the national-security establishment was convinced that there was an international communist conspiracy to take over the world that was supposedly based in Russia. Therefore, the Pentagon and the CIA maintained, it was necessary for the United States to align itself with the imperialist powers, which were attempting to maintain their Third World colonies.

Kennedy believed otherwise. He knew that the colonial powers ruled over their Third World colonies in brutal and humiliating ways. He believed that the people in the Third World had every right to throw off the shackles of colonial rule, just as Americans had done in 1776 against the brutal rule of the British Empire. He sympathized and sided with those movements.

Thus, when Kennedy became president, he was already the subject of suspicion by the military-intelligence establishment. As far as they were concerned, when it came to foreign policy, they were the experts and Kennedy was a novice.

The author then details what happened with the Bay of Pigs invasion. Despite his reservations about the operation, Kennedy decided to go along with the CIA’s plan to invade Cuba in an attempt to achieve regime change. When the operation went down to defeat at the hands of Fidel Castro’s army, Kennedy took public responsibility for the debacle, but he was livid over the fact that the CIA had intentionally misled him into approving the invasion. 

That was when the war between Kennedy and the national-security began. At that point, Kennedy came to the realization that the CIA posed a grave threat to America’s well-being. He decided to do everything he could to limit its power within the federal governmental structure. He fired the revered CIA director Allen Dulles and his two top deputies and began transferring CIA functions to the Pentagon. The New York Times reported that he vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds. The war between Kennedy and the CIA was on. And it did not end until November 22, 1963.

After the Bay of Pigs disaster, Kennedy also began lacking confidence in his military advisors. When they exhorted him to invade Laos to prevent a communist takeover, he refused. When they pressured him into attacking Cuba with a full-force military invasion, he refused. When they proposed Operation Northwoods, a fraudulent false-flag operation to serve as a justification for invading Cuba, he rejected it. When they proposed a first-strike nuclear attack on Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union, he not only said no, he indignantly remarked “And we call ourselves the human race.”

It was the Cuban Missile Crisis that was the breaking point. The Pentagon and the CIA were pressuring Kennedy to bomb and invade Cuba. Kennedy refused and instead entered into a settlement with the Russians that the Pentagon and the CIA believed was the biggest defeat in U.S. history. One member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff even compared Kennedy’s actions during the crisis to Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler at Munich.

And then came Kennedy’s Peace Speech at American University. Wiesak makes it clear that with that speech, Kennedy was determined to move America in an entirely different direction from the one that the Pentagon and the CIA wanted. The speech, she points out, effectively called for an end to the Cold War and to America’s deeply held hostility toward Russia and the rest of the communist world. Kennedy even praised the Russians for some of their major accomplishments. Needless to say, that didn’t go over well within a national-security establishment that absolutely hated everything Russian and everything Red.

Wiesak makes it clear how Kennedy’s vision for America was such a grave threat to the national-security establishment. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, there would have been no Vietnam War. In fact, with no more Cold War, there would have been no more need for NATO, which most likely would have been dismantled. Indeed, there would have been more need for a national-security state type of governmental system, which would have meant the restoration of America’s founding system of a limited-government republic.

Instead, however, with Kennedy’s assassination, Americans ended up getting the Vietnam War, twenty-five more years of the Cold War, endless enmity and hostility toward Russia, a never-ending embargo against Cuba, foreign interventionism in the Middle East, terrorist blowback, the perpetual war on terrorism, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, NATO machinations against Russia in Ukraine, and now the renewal of the Cold War against both Russia and China, not to mention ever-increasing budgets and power for the U.S.national-security establishment and its ever-growing army of “defense” contractors.

I would be remiss if I failed to issue a mild critique of one part of Wiesak’s excellent book. It’s where she praises Kennedy for his domestic economic policies. For example, Wiesak praises Kennedy for his decision to go after officials in the steel industry for raising their prices. What she fails to see is that in a genuinely free society, a private owner has the right to set whatever price he wants for his products. That’s because his property belongs to him, not to the government and not to society. What she also fails to realize is the role that when prices are rising across the board in society, it is simply a reflection of the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies, not the fault of greedy, profit-seeking businessman. She also praises Kennedy for his plan to enact Medicare, which was a socialist scheme that was no different in principle from President Franklin Roosevelt’s Social Security scheme. Moreover, in praising Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress plan for Latin America, she fails to see that it too was nothing more than a socialist plan that relied on government confiscation and redistribution of wealth rather than on free-market principles. 

But those points are a small distraction from the overall importance of this book. Although the book is not strictly about the assassination, when one finishes reading it, he will have an excellent understanding of why Kennedy was assassinated and why his assassination continues to impact us today. 

The post America’s Last President appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

* This article was originally published here


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