Perhaps the only thing more amusing than a dyed-in-the-wool conservative blaming the decline of liberalism on liberalism itself is a man of intellectual weight and experience continuing to trot out the 50-year-old myth that President Kennedy was murdered single-handedly by that all-too-convenient patsy, Lee Harvey Oswald ("The Decline of Liberalism," Oct. 10 George F. Will column).
Space prohibits a thorough dissection of Mr. Will's breezy treatment of Oswald's bizarre Soviet foray, let alone a digression into the forensic realities of the murder, but it must be noted here what all too many seem to have forgotten -- that the last official criminal investigation into the matter, the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, concluded in 1979 that Kennedy was "probably" killed as the result of a conspiracy. That the HSCA lacked the prosecutorial arm to pursue the matter further (let alone a defendant) is beside the point; what matters is that by the admission of our own government, Oswald could not have acted alone. As for the fact that more than 8 in 10 Americans agree with that assessment, I'm sure Mr. Will would count himself among some imagined intellectual elite.
I'll leave it to historians and political scientists to discuss the legacy of the Kennedy administration, what "the best and brightest" did and didn't achieve, what might have happened in a second term. But as for Mr. Will's none-too-original notion that we embrace "conspiracy theories" for purely psychological reasons, he should be reminded that on occasion in American history, criminal actors have had some help.
The writer is program administrator of the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University, which will host "Passing the Torch: An International Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy" Oct. 17-19.
First Published October 13, 2013 8:00 PM