JFK: Bring Our Boys Home

The discord between Kennedy and his opponents, however, grew. It only worsened as 1963 progressed. Having been party to U.S. assassination attempts on Castro, the President changed course. He initiated back channel negotiations with the fiery dictator, in hopes of thawing the perilous situation between the countries, who were separated by only 90 miles of water. Like Ho, Castro had initially hoped for American friendship when he violently seized power in 1959.


Kennedy eloquently rose to the defense of America’s still-benighted blacks. He was determined to assist them in receiving their long-deprived constitutional rights as Americans.


He also initiated a secret, back channel communication with Soviet premier Khrushchev. The Cuban Missile Crisis had riven both World War II combat veterans with terror at the real possibility of humanity destroying itself with nuclear weapons. Both, too, were now isolated in their own government by the hardliners around them.


Kennedy aimed for the increasingly-sympathetic Khrushchev’s cooperation in stopping the dangerously provocative nuclear bomb tests. Also, for reducing rather than continuing to build their nuclear stockpiles.


Finally, JFK began the secret process of withdrawing the 16,000 American advisors from Vietnam. Philosophically diverse counselors ranging from retired conservative Republican General Douglas MacArthur, to Democratic U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, to Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith had helped persuade him to this conviction, in the face of overwhelming governmental and public sentiment to the contrary.


National Security Agency Memo 263 made official the withdrawal of “1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963” and “by the end of 1965…the bulk of U.S. personnel.” Kennedy determined to conceal these plans from the public until after his hoped-for 1964 reelection, without which he could not accomplish the full withdrawal. Still, publications including the New York Times and Stars and Stripes reported these plans prior to his death. They are also discussed in later Oval Office tape recordings between McNamara and Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson.


The President’s enemies within his own government likely had no intention of allowing any of these initiatives to succeed. On November 22, 1963, in broad daylight on a downtown Dallas, Texas street during a motorcade, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered. The mayor of Dallas was Earle Cabell, brother of former CIA luminary Charles Cabell, whom Kennedy had forced out.


Within hours, Dallas lawmen, sanctioned by the federal government, declared their absolute certainty that one troubled, eccentric, former U.S. Marine had fired three extraordinary, rapid-fire shots—which elite American military sharpshooters could not afterwards duplicate—and single-handedly, unseen, with no confederates nor any aid, killed the most powerful person on the planet, in the presence of thousands of people.

 

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Oklahomans Vol 2 :

Statehood - 2020s

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