“The biggest defeat in our nation’s history!” bellowed Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay while whacking his fist on his desk upon learning the details of the deal President Kennedy cut with Nikita Khrushchev regarding the missiles.
‘Aaw come on, Humberto!’ Some amigos retort. ‘Gen. LeMay was a serious war-monger and NUTCASE!—the model for Gen. Ripper in Dr Strangelove! Are you saying we shoulda started a worldwide nuclear war with tens of millions incinerated to liberate a two-bit Caribbean island of barely 7 million people?!’
Nothing of the sort. In fact, the choice at the time was never between nuclear war and surrendering Cuba along with U.S. national security. This was amply recognized by some of LeMay’s fellow Joint Chiefs of Staff, by a diverse array of Republican Party leaders of the time, and even by a few cold-warrior Democrats—though you’d never guess it from the 60 year Democrat-Media-Hollywood juggernaut of pro-Kennedy propaganda.
Let’s do this. Let’s bypass LeMay, “circle-back,” and look at what many of his “less Gen. Ripper-like” colleagues and contemporaries were saying at the time about Kennedy’s “resolution” to the Cuban Missile Crisis:
Joint Chiefs of Staff Generals Curtis LeMay and Maxwell Taylor (a Kennedy favorite) represented opposite poles of the military establishment of the time. Well:
“We missed the big boat,” complained Gen. Maxwell Taylor after learning of Kennedy’s deal.
“We’ve been had!” yelled then Navy chief George Anderson upon hearing on October 28, 1962, how JFK “solved” the missile crisis. Adm. Anderson was the man in charge of the very “blockade” against Cuba.
Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, represented different poles of the Republican Party. Yet both agreed:
“We locked Castro’s communism into Latin America and threw away the key to its removal,” growled Barry Goldwater about the JFK’s Missile Crisis “solution.”
“Kennedy pulled defeat out of the jaws of victory,” wrote Richard Nixon. “Then gave the Soviet squatters rights in our backyard.”
“It’s a public relations fable that Khrushchev quailed before Kennedy,” wrote Defense establishment stalwart Gen. Alexander Haig, who served as Asst. National Security Advisor to Kissinger during Nixon’s term and as Sec. of Defense under Reagan. “The legend of the eyeball to eyeball confrontation invented by Kennedy’s men paid a handsome political dividend. But the Kennedy-Khrushchev deal was a deplorable error resulting in political havoc and human suffering through the Americas.”
Even Democratic luminary Dean Acheson despaired: “This nation lacks leadership,” he grumbled about the famous “Ex-Comm meetings” so glorified in Thirteen Days. “The meetings were repetitive and without direction. Most members of Kennedy’s team had no military or diplomatic experience whatsoever. The sessions were a waste of time.”
But not for the Soviets. “We ended up getting exactly what we’d wanted all along,” snickered Nikita Khrushchev in his diaries, “security for Fidel Castro’s regime and American missiles removed from Turkey and Italy. Until today the U.S. has complied with her promise not to interfere with Castro and not to allow anyone else to interfere with Castro. After Kennedy’s death, his successor Lyndon Johnson assured us that he would keep the promise not to invade Cuba.”
In fact, according to Khrushchev’s own son Sergei, his father prepared to yank the missiles before any “bullying” by Kennedy. “What!?” Khrushchev gasped on Oct. 28th 1962, as recalled by his son Sergei. “Is he (Fidel Castro) proposing that we start a nuclear war? That we launch missiles from Cuba?”
“Yesterday the Cubans shot down a plane (U-2 with) without (Soviet) permission. Today they’re preparing a nuclear attack…..But that is insane!..Remove them (our missiles) as soon as possible! Before it’s too late. Before something terrible happens!” commanded the Soviet premier.
So much for the gallant Knights of Camelot forcing the Russians’ retreat during the Cuban missile crisis. Apparently, the Castro brothers and Che Guevara’s genocidal lust is what prompted the Butcher of Budapest to yank the missiles from their reach.
In his diaries, Khrushchev snickers further: “It would have been ridiculous for us to go to war over Cuba–for a country 8,000 miles away. For us, war was unthinkable.” So much for the threat that so rattled the Knights of Camelot and inspired such cinematic and literary epics of drama and derring-do by their court scribes and court cinematographers.
Considering the U.S. nuclear superiority over the Soviets at the time of the (so-called) Missile Crisis (5,000 nuclear warheads for us, 300 for them) it’s hard to imagine a President Nixon — much less Reagan — quaking in front of Khrushchev’s transparent ruse a la Kennedy.
What the situation called for was some mature and low-key “Brinksmanship,” of the type President Eisenhower used to end the Korean War and keep us out of any more during his terms. And (as President in 1962) his top understudy (former Vice President Nixon) would have been just the man to employ it against Khrushchev.
Of course, had Nixon been president since 1960, there would have been no Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962—in fact, there’d been no Castro regime since April of 1961.)
In any case, the genuine threat in Oct. 1962 came — not from Moscow — but from the Castros and Che. “If the missiles had remained, we would have fired them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims.” (Che Guevara to Sam Russell of The London Daily Worker, November 1962.)
“Of course I knew the missiles were nuclear-armed,” responded Fidel Castro to Robert McNamara during a meeting in 1992. “That’s precisely why I urged Khrushchev to launch them. And of course Cuba would have been utterly destroyed in the exchange.”
“Many concessions were made by the Americans about which not a word has been said,” snickered Fidel Castro as late as 1968. “Perhaps one day they’ll be made public.”
“We can’t say anything public about this agreement. It would be too much of a political embarrassment for us.” That’s Robert F. Kennedy to Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin when closing the deal that ended the so-called crisis.
Castro’s regime was granted new status. Let’s call it MAP, or Mutually-Assured-Protection. Here’s the exact wording from Khrushchev when gleefully agreeing to Kennedy’s terms:
“You (JFK) in your turn gave (to Khrushchev) the assurances that the so-called “quarantine” would be promptly removed and that no invasion of Cuba would be made, not only by the U.S. but by other countries of the Western hemisphere either.”
Cuban freedom-fighters working from south Florida were suddenly rounded up for “violating U.S. Neutrality laws.” Some of these bewildered men were jailed, others “quarantined,” prevented from leaving Dade County. The Coast Guard in Florida got 12 new boats and seven new planes to make sure Castro remained unmolested.
JFK’s Missile crisis “solution” also pledged that he immediately pull the rug out from under Cuba’s in-house freedom fighters. Raul Castro himself admitted that at the time of the Missile Crisis his troops and their Soviet advisors were up against 179 different “bands of bandits” as he labeled the thousands of Cuban anti-Communist rebels then battling savagely and virtually alone in Cuba’s countryside, with small arms shipments from their compatriots in south Florida as their only lifeline.
Kennedy’s deal with Khrushchev cut this lifeline. Think about it: here’s the U.S. Coast Guard and Border patrol working ’round the clock arresting Hispanics in the U.S. who are desperate to return to their native country!
It’s a tribute to the power of Castroite mythology that, even with all this information a matter of public record for over half a century the academic/media mantra (gloat, actually) still had Castro, “defying ten U.S. Presidents!”
Nothing of the sort. Instead he’d been protected by them.
Algorithmic Analyst says
True history. Thanks Humberto!!!
I’m sticking with the history of this event as reported in the book “13 Day’s.”
David Ray says
Well, why not? Afterall, ignorance is bliss. (The 1st draft of history is written by communist sympathizing reporters, and they haven’t changed.)
an ol exJarhead says
Another example of the leftist nPress (noe MSM) Gaslighting merica to protect liberals.
an ol exJarhead says
NOW MSM, tyuping too fast!
It seems like we base our views of our generals according to film comedies made by liberals, and that somehow becomes the predominating view in the press and then the public in general. It is ironic that our current crop of generals are fat, overstuffed woketards who are busy studying their pronouns and getting in touch with their white rage.
Never mind that Lemay was a truly great general in the Air Force and oversaw the destruction of Japan in the lead up to the use of the atomic bomb which finally ended WWII.
By the 1960s the Democrats had become the “peace at any price party” and have remained in that mode of thinking ever since. Is it any wonder why we don’t win wars anymore.
Lemay is legendary. He understood the brutality of war but also what it took to win wars. All of our generals and admirals understood that back in WW II. War is about breaking things and killing people (I think that was a Rushism) and if you don’t understand that and are unwilling to do that in order to end and win a war as quickly as possible, then you end up with endless waste of life and largesse to end in ties. How much was wasted in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others as we handcuffed our generals and soldiers with endless terms of engagement to try to soften the brutality of war? Thousands of young men lost their lives while politicians dictated terms and lengthened the war because they aren’t willing to do what it takes to win a war. If you’re not willing to do what it takes then don’t go to war and certainly quit sending other peoples sons and now daughters to die in your attempts to tie
Amen brother. Thumbs up.
I think the main problem is we didn’t figure out how to fight the type of wars where the enemy just keeps pouring more and more fodder (people) into battle knowing they will eventually exhaust us. They knew that the libs didn’t have the heart for a high casualty rate. Plus the garbage press would publish the daily G.I. death count in order to sabotage the war effort, particularly if it was a Republican admin in office.
By the end of WWII in the Pacific there were some questions being asked about the casualty rates towards the end of the island hopping campaign, but nothing like the endless commie inspired drum beat that started in the ’60s and has never let up.
Algorithmic Analyst says
Yeah, the casualties in taking some of those islands was brutal. I am not familiar with newspaper coverage from that period though.
Steven Brizel says
This is a huge corrective t0 the hagiographic treatment given to JFK and his handling of the Cuban missil crisis.
Remember JFK caused the escalation of the Vietnam War by having Diem killed. Karma is a beech
Occasional Reader says
Actually, the Pentagon contributed to this mess in the first place. JFK had previously instructed the Pentagon to remove the old, outdated missiles from Turkey, but the Pentagon slow-rolled the order. When, during this crisis, JFK heard the Soviet demand to remove those missiles, he was pissed that they were still there.
If the Pentagon had complied with JFK’s order back when he first told them to do it, the Soviets wouldn’t have been able to use them as leverage.
Donovan Nuera says
JFK was probably killed with help from Castro as it makes the most sense. Oswald was hanging around the Cuban consulate quite a bit. We have no access to their secret records (yet). Castro had motive and means. They still spy on us with great harm done (like Montes).
We still make stupid one-sided deals (usually by liberals like Obama and Clinton and Biden) that benefit the Castro family and their rich cronies at the expense of the 11, 000,000 imprisoned penal island residents (Cubans) right when their economy is about to finally tank or the people are rising up. Or our media suddenly drops the coverage of the major protests last summer so we can breathlessly watch the boring Tokyo Olympic Games where the stands are empty. (Just like in 2009 when increasing coverage of the Iranian student revolt was gaining traction but then washed up pedo Michael Jackson died and we had to watch a month-long funeral preparation and retrospective.