The most important book for any American to read is JFK and the Unspeakable: Who Killed Him and Why it Matters by James D. Douglass.
The term “the Unspeakable”comes from Thomas Merton, who describes it as “an evil whose depth and deceit seemed to go beyond the capacity of words to describe.” Regarding the assassination of President John Kennedy, the Unspeakable succeeded because American citizens denied of the horrifying truth of the event and because of the plausible deniability by the government agencies responsible for the murder.
The Kennedy “conspiracy theories” have kept Americans from seriously reckoning with our country’s first military coup. Douglass’ investigation into the secret papers finally released during the Clinton era begin to uncover a deadly “family pattern” of behavior in the highest levels of political power. Now, Douglass has written an important article for Tikkun magazine that looks at how the pattern is being repeated again between President Obama, Gen. Petraeus, and Afghanistan.
Below is Part I:
Our great prophecies are contingencies. The way our greatest U.S. prophet, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., put our common future in the nuclear age was: “The choice today is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”
King’s prophecy applies to all of humankind as we decide whether to exterminate ourselves. His prophetic contingency, our turning collectively toward nonviolence or nonexistence, applies especially to the citizens of the planet’s most powerful country, the United States of America, and particularly to the citizen we elect to preside over our government: the president.
John F. Kennedy was in the same dire position every U.S. president has been in since World War II. As president, Kennedy was under the control of what his predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, identified in his Farewell Address as the military-industrial complex. “[Its] total influence — economic, political, even spiritual,” Eisenhower said, “is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government.”
The military-industrial complex, more powerful today than ever, imprisons the president. A U.S. president is always accompanied by a military attaché bearing a nuclear code that can incinerate the earth. That gun to the world is a gun to the president. When he accepts the power to kill everyone, the president becomes a prisoner morally and politically to the demands of our national security state. Whether his name is Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, or Barack Obama, once he accepts nuclear power over the world, his permissible movement as president is confined to a very tight space — tighter than we as citizens might imagine.
How Kennedy Rebelled Against the Pentagon and CIA
President Kennedy rebelled against the “economic, political, even spiritual” influence that President Eisenhower described. During JFK’s two years and ten months in power, while that power pressured him relentlessly, he compromised with it to survive a few months but in the end stood his ground and took the bullets. In fact both he and his enemies saw the writing on the wall as early as the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, in the first spring of his short presidency.
The CIA lied to Kennedy about the political and geographic conditions that premised his approval of the agency’s Cuban exile brigade landing at the Bay of Pigs. He realized afterward he had been set up — he had to either send U.S. combat troops into Cuba to supersede the CIA’s futile exile brigade (as he said in advance he would never do) or accept a huge defeat. After the revealing CIA documents were declassified, the way National Public Radio commentator Daniel Schorr put it was: “In effect, President Kennedy was the target of a CIA covert operation that collapsed when the invasion collapsed.” JFK swallowed defeat instead of committing U.S. troops; in recognition of the CIA’s trap, he said he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”
The Bay of Pigs enabled Kennedy to see the cloaked demands of the CIA and the Pentagon as a usurpation of his power as president. He began to break free from his military and intelligence commanders. Prisoners get shot for doing that. JFK’s decision to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles and his deputies in the wake of the Bay of Pigs was his first step toward freedom, meaning also death. He was asserting a presidential control that Eisenhower never did over Allen Dulles and his brother, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. The Dulles brothers were career Wall Street lawyers who dominated Eisenhower and served the military-industrial interests that he warned against. It was a warning Ike gave only when it was too late for him to shake those interests off. He left that chore to the next president.
When JFK bowled over kingpin Allen Dulles (who would return to power as the most influential member of the “Warren” Commission), the upstart president was acting as if he — not his military and intelligence commanders — were in charge. Kennedy was shocked by the CIA’s scheming against him at the Bay of Pigs, and the CIA was shocked by Kennedy’s removal of Dulles. Who did he think he was?–James Douglass, from JFK, Obama, and the Unspeakable