February 11, 2012
JACK KENNEDY, ELUSIVE HERO: LANDING II
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 reports on the 2nd part of Chapter 13 of Chris Matthews’ new book, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero, published by Simon & Schuster.
The title of Chapter 13 is LANDING.
As Chris continues writing in this chapter, just 3 months after Jack’s inauguration, the Soviets put Yuri Gagarin into orbit.
It was “the 1st time in history that man had gone beyond (earth’s) atmosphere.”
And then, less than a week later, during what would be a brutal month, JFK suffered an “even more serious setback” at the Bay of Pigs.
Chris reviews the factors that led JFK to approve the secret plan initiated during the Eisenhower administration.
We learn that Allen Dulles & Richard Bissell at the CIA joined with “key Kennedy people,” such as Bob McNamara & McGeorge Bundy, to support the plan to overthrow Castro using the services of Cuban exiles trained by the U.S.*
Chris makes a sound argument that with just 3 months of experience as President under his belt, it would have been very difficult for Jack NOT to listen to his military & intelligence experts.
Chris, on the other hand, does ask questions such as:
What was Kennedy thinking?
Why wasn’t he told that changing the landing area & reducing the # of air strikes could be a threat to the operation’s success?
Mr. Matthews goes on to say that even though the Bay of Pigs “cast a long shadow over the Kennedy White House,” JFK did manage to keep the disaster from “becoming a calamity.”
JFK Welcomes Cuban Brigade
Miami, December 29, 1962
Manuel Artime, Commander
Jose Pepe San Roman
Jose Miro Cardona
Cuban Heritage Collection
I found it most interesting to learn that after the Bay of Pigs, JFK told Arthur Schlesinger, according to Chris, “We will have to do something about the CIA.”
But, as we have stated previously at JFK+50, while President Kennedy took the defeat hard, in the weeks after the Bay of Pigs, he received his highest approval rating of 83%.
*Allen Dulles, brother of Ike’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, was the 1st civilian & longest serving director of the CIA.
Dulles served in that capacity from 1953 to 1961.
LBJ appointed Dulles to serve on the Warren Commission.
Richard Bissell worked with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII & was in charge of the development of the U-2 spy plane.
Bissell left the CIA in February 1962 to head a Pentagon “think tank” which evaluated weapons systems.
Richard M. Bissell, Jr.