Thursday, November 21, 2013


When all is said and done it's important to remember that it was a liberal and a committed member of the Communist Party and a former Marine who assassinated President Kennedy and not just some conspiracy. The article written by a twit and published by the NYT is a rather pathetic blaze on the downward path of scholarly study and socialist intellectualism. It's hard to believe that its author is a Marshall scholar.

All day NPR has been talking with guests and amongst themselves about what a horrible Kennedy hating place Dallas was and yet the good citizens of Dallas did no more than say that they hated everything that man stood for and that is their right as citizens of this country. Honest disagreement out in the open. It took a liberal to shoot Kennedy in the back of the head.

On an ahistorical note: By today's liberal standards, John F. Kennedy would be considered the most extreme right-wing nutjob of all time by all American democrats everywhere. He was far to the right of Democrat icons such as John McCain and Barak Obama.

One of the common perceptions of the idea of military overkill that so infused the White House and its staff for the last 50 years has been the seminal book, Essence of Decision; Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis.
It is a fascinating read and it was read by every student of government and politics that I know. I suspect that everybody working in any sort of foreign or military policy billet is familiar with the book.

The author delved into some of the reasoning that affected Kennedy's decision making process as the crisis developed. One that struck me was that Kennedy wanted the Pentagon to tell him what it would take to destroy the existing missile launchers already in Cuba and all the Pentagon could come up with was what looked like a full scale invasion involving half the Continental Army Command and a good bit of the Air Force.

Kennedy kept reiterating that all he wanted was to destroy the missiles and the Pentagon insisted that in order to do that they would first have to gain total air superiority and destroy the complete Cuban Air Force and all anti-aircraft sites and then the Army would have to parachute in and land over the beaches to confirm that all the missiles were actually destroyed by physical inspection.

It makes you wonder doesn't it? What if Kennedy's CIA had armed drones that he could fly over Cuba to target and destroy the missiles without troubling the generals that ran the Pentagon?

The book has been completely rewritten since I read it in 1981 and updated with information out of the Soviet archives. I think I'll read it again.

There is a lot of talk about how the Pentagon must have been fudging the numbers required to win the War on Terrorism in both Iraq and Afghanistan. People speculate that the military generals must have been inflating the numbers of troops and strength of material needed for the surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan because, they say, that's what generals do. There might be some truth to that. General Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff, certainly thought that far more soldiers were required to win the war in Iraq than what Secretary Rumsfeld thought necessary. Shinseki could be said to have been both right and wrong. The number Rumsfeld authorized did the job in double-quick time and destroyed the Iraqi military and toppled the government of Saddam Hussein. It just wasn't enough to let Paul Bremer do every stupid trick of misgovernment and misrule since Tsar Nicholas II  and alienated an entire country against its benefactors and liberators which is pretty much what Shinseki thought would happen anyway.

When it comes to deciding what forces are required for winning a war and occupying the defeated enemy country I'll side with whatever number the generals come up with. I just wouldn't let them have anything like those kinds of numbers until we're actually in a real shooting war. It is patently ridiculous that the US Army needs over 450,000 soldiers absent a major land war.

I wrote all the above 14 hours ago and finished when I got home with the below.

CAN YOU BELIEVE the OBAMACARE jam-it-through-at midnight-on-Christmas-Eve-Democrats have finally pulled the trigger on the nuclear option that has been hanging like the sword of Damocles for decades now? I think they said they did it because Racism. The reliable socialists and democrats overwhelming the slim thuglican minority...again.


Buck said...

I've not read Essence of Decision but then again, I never served in a foreign policy billet. ;-)

That said, I'll put it on the reading list.

HMS Defiant said...

I read the one that came out in the 70's. I think the one to read now would be the 2nd edition which has the Russian co-author and uses materials out of the Soviet archives. I heard some of the interviews they did with the authors on NPR back when the 2nd edition came out and it sounds fascinating. The world has no appreciation for how hysterical things got and were getting as that bit of theater played out.