Mythology has overshadowed the facts on JFK

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November marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

I’ve always been fond of Jack Kennedy. I’m grateful to him, as are all Special Forces vets, for authorizing us to wear the Green Beret, when the Army brass was against it. And what red-blooded American boy doesn’t admire a guy who bedded both Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield?

He picked a Republican, C. Douglas Dillon, to be his Treasury secretary. JFK was “financially conservative,” Dillon said. His across the board tax cuts triggered what was -- until Reagan -- the longest boom in American history. He’d gone to Dallas to propose additional cuts in personal and corporate income tax rates.

Jack Kennedy was a fierce anti-communist. Years later, when they had turned against the war in Vietnam, liberals claimed JFK wouldn’t have escalated it, as Lyndon Johnson did. He was planning to pull the plug on American involvement.

Not so. His brother “had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam,” Robert Kennedy told an oral history interviewer six months after the assassination.

Liberal mythology about JFK’s life has been overshadowed by liberal mythology about his death.

Researchers who pay attention to facts -- such as former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, whose 1,632 page book is considered the definitive work -- have reached the same conclusion as the Warren Commission.

“Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone,” Pulitzer prize winning author Lawrence Wright told the Dallas Morning News. “There is so much evidence, it’s ridiculous to think there is another explanation.”

Over the last 50 years, conspiracy theorists have accused 42 groups and 214 people of being involved in the assassination, without a shred of evidence to back them up, Mr. Bugliosi said.

And one city. Oswald was a communist who as an adult lived in Russia for longer than he did in Dallas, which makes the smear of Dallas as a “city of right wing hate” -- revived last week by the Kansas City Star -- as preposterous as it is vile. Should we call Washington D.C. a “city of left wing hate” because Lincoln was assassinated there?

The conspiracy theories so many liberals prefer to facts originated with the KGB.

Once secret documents in KGB files, made available to Western researchers after the collapse of the Soviet Union, reveal Oswald was trained as an assassin; that his “friend” in Dallas, George D. Mohrenschildt, was a senior KGB operative; that Oswald met in Mexico City with the head of the KGB department in charge of assassinations a few weeks before Kennedy was shot.

At their meeting in Mexico, Valery Kostikov tried to talk Oswald out of attempting to kill the president, “but was unable to persuade the obstinate Oswald from carrying out his mission,” said Ion Mihai Pacepa, who as chief of Romanian intelligence, worked closely with the KGB.

Oswald may have been trying to protect Fidel Castro. After the debacle at the Bay of Pigs, the CIA -- on orders from John and Robert Kennedy -- tried repeatedly to assassinate the Cuban dictator. Mr. Castro knew about the plots, because Rolando Cubela, on whom the CIA relied to carry them out, was a double agent.

The Soviets were terrified the CIA or the FBI would learn of Oswald’s KGB ties, put two and two together -- and get five. For weeks, they expected the bombers of the Strategic Air Command to appear over Moscow any minute.

The day after the assassination, KGB Chairman Vladimir Semichastny wrote a memo asking the Kremlin to plant in a Western newspaper an article blaming it on “ultra-right elements,” Mr. Pacepa said.

President Barack Obama chose not to attend the ceremonies in Gettysburg Nov. 19 commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s famous address. This seemed odd, because Mr. Obama has so often compared himself to Lincoln, took the oath of office on the Great Emancipator’s Bible.

Perhaps he was “wary of giving a speech where every word will be compared to the most famous piece of oratory in American history,” speculated George Condon of the National Journal, who noted the excuse Mr. Obama gave for not attending was not true.

Some think this a snub, but I’m glad Mr. Obama didn’t go. He’s as much a threat today to a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” as the Confederate army was then. His presence in Gettysburg would have profaned hallowed ground.

Jack Kelly writes for The Pittsburgh Press and The Blade of Toledo. He can be reached at jkelly@post-gazette.com.


First Published December 3, 2013 4:17 PM

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