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John F. Kennedy --- A Martyr for Peace?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Reginald Johnson       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   8 comments

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In the most memorable speech of his presidency, John F. Kennedy told the graduates of American University in June of 1963 that America had to build a peace that would not just provide security for our nation, but for all of mankind.

"What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace --- the kind of peace that makes life worth living --- the kind that enables man and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children --- not merely peace for Americans, but peace for all men and women --- not merely peace in our time, but peace for all time."

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In that speech as well, Kennedy talked of U.S. negotiations with the Soviet Union to achieve controls on nuclear weapons and their testing. He announced a unilateral suspension of nuclear tests in the atmosphere, so as to promote "our primary long-range interests" and a "general and complete disarmament."

Essentially, the speech was a repudiation of the Cold War.

Five months later, on November 22nd --- 52 years ago --- President Kennedy was assassinated, gunned down in a hail of bullets as his motorcade drove through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

A later investigation by the Warren Commission held that one man, and one man only ---- Lee Harvey Oswald --- was the killer. Oswald was portrayed as a lonely drifter, alienated from society and pro-communist.

But in the book "JFK and the Unspeakable --- Why He Died and Why It Matters," author James. W. Douglass maintains that elements of the U.S. military and intelligence establishment --- enraged over Kennedy's less aggressive approach to dealing with Cuba and Vietnam and his push for peaceful relations with the Soviet Union --- had him murdered. Oswald was only a scapegoat in a plot carried out by other people.

Douglass's book, originally published in 2008, has become a word-of-mouth best seller over the years, despite being ignored by the mainstream media and mainstream book reviewers.

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A peace activist and Christian theologian who studied the Kennedy assassination for years, Douglass writes that Kennedy ran afoul of high military officials and the Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1960s, with a series of foreign-policy decisions.

The first was when Kennedy prevented direct American assistance in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles aimed at overthrowing communist dictator Fidel Castro, an invasion that was repelled by Castro's forces. The second was in October 1962 when Kennedy, in the eyes of the military, made too many concessions to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during negotiations to settle the confrontation with Russia over Soviet missile installations in Cuba. Kennedy rejected a plan by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to launch a preemptive attack against Cuba (a step that would likely have triggered a nuclear war).

The third was Kennedy's push for a nuclear-test ban; and the fourth was JFK's order that the U.S. slow down its involvement in Vietnam, and bring all troops home by 1965.

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Reginald Johnson is a free-lance writer based in Bridgeport, Ct. His work has appeared in The New York Times, BBC-Online, the Connecticut Post, his web magazine, The Pequonnock, and Reading Between the Lines, a web magazine affiliated with the (more...)

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