“JFK . . . 60 Years of Myths, Lies, and Disinformation”

For more articles and podcasts on JFK, see “JFK . . . 60 Years of Myths and Disinformation.”

The media, including significant elements of Left media, gave a great deal of attention to the 60th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, with a great deal of the focus on the alleged “deep-state” plot to kill Kennedy because he, in their version, was going to get out of Vietnam, thaw relations with Cuba, and end the Cold War. Well-known left media figures have given this view a lot of attention recently, with the likes of Oliver Stone, Jeff Morley, and Jeffrey Sachs frequently being interviewed by the likes of Chris Hedges, Abby Martin, Majority Report, etc. The JFK dovishness they’re putting forth is preposterous, and there’s ample evidence of Kennedy as a militarist, interventionist, and Cold Warrior. Yet, the media mostly ignores those of us who offer that portrait of JFK. Kennedy’s actual policies have been a major theme in my work and along with Scott Parkin at Green and Red Podcast. Kennedy was no hero and the Left should be focusing on organizing and activism, not hero-worship for a ruling class imperialist like JFK . . .Here’s a transcript of our most recent episode on the topic

Scott Parkin (SP): [00:00:14] Welcome to the silky smooth sounds of the Green and Red podcast. I’m your co-host, Scott Parkin in Berkeley, California today. And as always, I’m joined by.

Bob Buzzanco (BB): [00:00:27] Bob Buzzanco in Houston, Texas.

SP: [00:00:30] Yeah. And so folks, today as we’re recording this, it’s the 60th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And if you’re a listener of the Green and Red Podcast, you know that this is a that this is a conversation that we’ve been engaged in for a few years now. Bob has actually been engaged in conversations around this for a couple of decades at this point. But we are going to just do a little bit of myth busting of JFK and add our $0.02 on this conversation.

BB: [00:01:04] Yeah. 60 years ago today, November 22nd, in Dallas, Kennedy was killed. And it seems like it’s been about six decades where this . . . I won’t even call it a cottage industry . . . It’s really quite big, has developed to create kind of these myths and conspiracies about it. And then they’ve even gone further than that. Initially, the Kennedy assassination spawned these ideas about who actually killed them. Right? Was it Oswald by himself? Was it somebody else? Grassy knoll. Second shooters, all kinds of stuff, magic bullets, all kinds of stuff like that, which Oliver Stone himself called “parlor games.” The real issue, as Stone pointed out, is what the motives were. And Stone and these people have an explanation for that, too. It’s that Kennedy was a dove. Kennedy had broken with his past, which had been very militarist and intervention, and kind of seeing how the Cold War was destroying humanity, including the US, and so was going to withdraw from Vietnam and thaw relations with Cuba and normalize relations with Cuba, end the Cold War, stopped the arms race, stopped this rush toward this military industrial complex that Eisenhower had warned about. And so it becomes this Kennedy as peacemaker, Kennedy as dove myth, and then the forces of the nefarious deep state killed him. Right? Which sounds a lot like QAnon.

BB: [00:02:22] And it’s actually not that far away from it. These nefarious forces had Kennedy killed because he was going to mess it up for all of them, right? He was going to usher in this New Canaan with peace and money being spent on human needs rather than on the military. And he was going to leave the Vietnamese and the Cubans and all these other third world countries Guiana, Brazil, Iraq, Indonesia to their own devices so that they could achieve self-determination. And this is utterly ridiculous . . . earlier today I put out on various social media, just almost like a bibliography, really, of all the things we’ve done on it, the stuff I’ve written, the shows we’ve done, and one of the key people in that group, Jefferson Morley, has responded. And in the typical way, generally these folks gaslight. And so Morley says, name one person who thought Kennedy was a right wing hawk. So what? That’s irrelevant. He mentions Clare Boothe Luce. Clare Boothe. Luce’s opinion about JFK is utterly inconsequential. Right. Whether somebody thought JFK was a right wing hawk or not doesn’t really contribute to this. And then, of course, they get insulting. They accuse you of being condescending and insulting, which I’ve never done. I’ve actually read, I’ve read much of, if not most, if not all of what Morley has written about this.

BB: [00:03:31] I’ve read a lot by Jimmy DiEugenio . . . and so I’m familiar with all their arguments. I can’t say the same for them because they always bring in these anecdotes . . . They’ve never engaged what I’ve written or said. And in fact, they go even further and say, “you’ve never written anything.” “What do you know about this?” So they’re the ones who are actually being insulting and condescending, whereas I actually take their work seriously and I’ve tried to engage it. Everything I’ve done on this, everything you and I have done on this, has been based on pretty deep research in every relevant archive, right? We’ve read the State Department stuff, we read the National Security Archive stuff, the Cold War International History Project documents, not what somebody said in a tweet or 30 or 40 years ago, not what somebody said to somebody else who died. Not somebody who said, oh, by the way, I saw a bullet on a gurney 60 years later. When in the process of doing all this, because you and I have done a lot of it. Didn’t you learn a lot yourself from the archival work you did?

SP: [00:04:30] Yeah, I think that’s I think that’s the important the thing that these folks, I think they actually think there’s some sort of amateur sleuths. And so they’re trying to piece together some story from a bunch of anecdotes from people who are, like you said, inconsequential. It’s a French journalist or James Galbraith who wasn’t really a player in determining policy around Vietnam or around Cuba. It’s just, it’s hearsay. It’s National Enquirer sort of reporting, which actually this is something the National Enquirer used to report on a lot. And so they don’t dive into the archives. They don’t look at that. There’s a pretty big body of sort of Cold War/post Cold War scholarship that has gone into this. Instead, they’re just trying to they’re acting like reporters and Hollywood screenwriters and not like academics or people who have a serious study of history. The sad thing about all this is that because of Oliver Stone putting a lot of resources behind making a film about 30 years ago that captured and held the public’s attention to the point where it’s swayed public opinion. And then we also have a generation of new media, I guess you could say figures, which totally put the likes of Jefferson Morley and Aaron Good on their shows and continue to promote this, this conspiracy complex, whatever the Oliver Stone conspiracy complex, the “Assassinologists”

BB: [00:05:57] One other big factor this is recently we’ve seen a ton of media attention given to this, especially on the left, Chris Hedges, who I think is great, and Abby Martin and Majority Report, or the Jacobin people and everybody else. And we’ve contacted them saying, hey, there’s another side to this and nobody really wants to hear it. And I think it’s really crucial. And I always start with this now, killing the president is a big fucking deal. You don’t kill a president for some inconsequential or trivial reason. You don’t like a particular statement he made about Vietnam? You don’t like NSAM 263, which they consistently misread anyway? You don’t like Operations Northwood? You don’t like. . . Or you invoke some stirring speech he made talking about the need for peace, and in their narrative that is enough. And that turned the military and the CIA against Kennedy. Not only that, not only turned against him, but want him dead and to actually engage in this huge plot, this conspiracy to assassinate a popular US president, maybe the most popular president, really, who ever took office. Right? Think about that. That’s at some fundamental level. You need motives and a method, and they don’t even engage in those ideas. Somebody disagree with Kennedy? So therefore they wanted him dead? Right. And so what I want to do is just and I’ll go back and forth to that, because it’s really quite frustrating because they don’t engage you other than to say you’re condescending, you’re insulting, you’re an idiot. You don’t know anything, right? I had a long interview with with Jefferson Morley, where I let him talk about two thirds of the time when I tried to let him have his say. And he just he had plenty of say. And I kept saying, where’s your evidence? Where’s your evidence? [He said] “This documents going to come out and this document is going to come out. And as soon as they release the documents.” Right? The same government which conspired to kill the president, have the Warren Commission cover it up and then covered up for six decades subsequently, is now suddenly going to release the documents they need to prove the conspiracy?

SP: [00:07:49] They’re also the ones who when we talk about archives and documents and the archives, they’re like, we can’t believe that because the deep state is changed them all or taken them out or or what have you. But then they’re the ones who are like, they’re going to release these documents which prove or right, and it’s want your cake and eat it too.

BB: [00:08:07] Every time there’s been a new dump,. and I give Stone credit for the Kennedy records being released. I think that’s great. Historians . . . We want everything released, right? Every time there’s a new dump. I’ve read it and I’ve been doing this for a long time. So I know a little bit about JFK’s administration. I know a lot, actually, about Vietnam and a pretty good amount about Cuba, too. And I know how to read a document, and I’ve never seen anything in here which changes the story in any fundamental way. And when I talk to people who study Kennedy . . . because when you talk to them [the JFK assassinologists], they have 3 or 4 books they invoke as if I’ve never heard of them. Oh, they’re like, you need to read these but I read them 25 years ago when they came out. It doesn’t change the fundamental nature and their world. . . They’re like, you know, Covid deniers, right? Once their mind is made up, it doesn’t really matter what you say about them, right? It’s there and they believe it. And it has this kind of almost biblical credibility to them. So it’s really quite frustrating, which is why actually rather just do this, than write a long analysis of it, of what they said, because they don’t read it. They talk to you like you don’t know, and then they don’t read or engage anything. I don’t like sitting here and being immodest when they say, what have you ever done or you haven’t written anything? I actually have a whole book about the Vietnam War, which includes a significant stuff on JFK. I’ve written several articles now about Kennedy. I’ve debated DiEugenio, I interviewed Morley. We have a huge amount you and I have done, I don’t know, 3 or 4 shows. We have had Noam on a couple of times to talk about this. We have done as much on this as anybody. And to say that you’ve never done anything about it means they won’t engage it. They won’t engage anything like, because it’s not that hard to undermine it. This is not that difficult a historical episode.

SP: [00:09:46] Yeah. And I just actually even I also just want to I just also want to say for the current political situation is that we’re in a, we’re in a moment where liberals have been waging a war on the left for since the beginning of liberals and left, and the fact that they’re taking this, this liberal cold warrior and trying to turn him into a hero, saying that the person who perpetrated the escalation in Vietnam, who carried out numerous operations on Cuba, trying to overthrow the Cuban government, is somehow some sort of secret dove, actually, I feel like actually undermines, you know, left politics as well. I think if we’re moving towards, I feel like we need a more anti-authoritarian left in this country and that if we’re if we’re making a hero out of Kennedy, then we’re undermining that. Is that, oh, we can have a president who actually can be a dove where the system is not set up like that. It’s not even about Kennedy as a person. It’s about how the system of government and politics and global politics works is that it’s exactly what we’re seeing with Biden in Gaza. There are so many liberals who are astounded that he has doubled down on backing Netanyahu, annihilating Palestinians. And this is just how foreign policy and government and all of that works. And the sort of idolization of Kennedy just is part of why they think that.

BB: [00:11:13] Well, and a great example is actually Jimmy Carter, who has done heroic things since he left the office. Yeah.. . he’s been great. No one in American history, in their like, afterlife, their political afterlife has done anything close to what Carter did. [But] As President, Carter was one of them. He was. We’ve done work on this, right? We’ve written about it. We’ve done a show. This is what happens. You don’t. And yeah, Kennedy everything. And we’re not going to go into this too much. But if you read his about his career prior to becoming president, he had made his bones as a cold warrior. Of the people who study this I’ve talked to, I’ve had mentors and colleagues who’ve written extensively about Kennedy, way more about it than Morley and, Good and all these people combined ever will. And they’ve said Kennedy is right up there with John Foster Dulles and Dean Acheson as the primary cold warriors of the early Cold War, the early postwar era. And so what I want to do is talk about this. What we’re going to do is focus on what the records say. Not on scuttlebutt, not on innuendo. I’m not gaslighting anybody. I would hope that Morley, who I actually take way more seriously, I don’t think Good and DiEugenio are very bright at all . . . Morley actually has done stuff. He’s done some good work, which is why I don’t understand his venom on this and his insults, which are really unbecoming of him. So what we’re going to do is really just talk about what actually happened on this 60th anniversary and hopefully to take a little dent, put a little dent in what they’re doing, because as you point out, this heroism is dangerous. It’s looking for this like Nietzschean Superman. But at heart, I don’t like calling things fascist . . . But it’s reactionary, right? Isn’t it?

SP: [00:12:52] It’s what? And it’s what QAnon does. Let’s just be clear.

BB: [00:12:55] Oh, no. Exactly.

SP: [00:12:56] Trump is their Nietzschean Superman for the QAnon folks.

BB: [00:13:03] So is JFK. Even the first time I ever heard of QAnon some years ago, somebody sent me a video and the first eight minutes seemed to make sense. They’re talking about globalization and international corporations and blah, blah, blah. And then it shifted gears into this crazy, like, conspiracy stuff. And at the end, the two heroic figures to save humanity were Donald J. Trump and John F Kennedy. And of course, they had Kennedy killed because he was going to change everything and they were out to get Trump. The deep state was getting Trump, too. And we know this is preposterous. I’m just curious if they think the deep state was after Trump? . Because if you believe it was after Kennedy, then why not? Actually, if you look at the mechanisms of the state, not the deep state, which is bullshit. What they do is in the open, capitalists don’t need to go into smoke filled rooms and make secret plans. They do it every day. It’s called the stock market. It’s called wages. It’s called employment. It’s called labor conditions. It’s called war. It’s called peace. It’s called public health. They wage war on us every day openly. Right

SP: [00:13:57] They had a summit in San Francisco last week where they all had a big party [APEC]. Right.

BB: [00:14:02] This is not . . . this doesn’t need to be done in some kind of conspiratorial, subversive, cryptic manner. Covert manner. It’s not done that way. Right. And what we’re going to do is, is talk about that. Kennedy was of that class. He came from one of the most famous political families in US history. He had made his bones that way. He had been part of that privilege for a long time. He had been well connected. He was a hard war, hard-core hawk and cold warrior. So what we’re going to do is just tell you about Kennedy. No conspiracies, no grand theories about the deep state or anything like that. And certainly we don’t believe you need heroes, right? We need to organize. We need to go out there. And there are a lot of people doing stuff. I think that’s really inspirational. What we’re being seeing lately. You had a bunch of people out at APEC. We’re seeing huge groups now supporting the people being attacked at Gaza, and that’s what we need. We don’t need heroes. Heroes aren’t going to come in and save us and for them to keep invoking that, and they cite Michael Parenti, who he’s done some good work. But in the course of celebrating Parenti, they attack Chomsky and criticize him, which is really pretty cheap. But they’re going to there and have to say, being called “Chomsky’s useful idiot” is the greatest compliment I’ve ever received too.

SP: [00:15:19] So we’re going to put it on your headstone.

BB: [00:15:21] Oh hell yeah. But let’s just talk a little bit. Let’s talk a little bit about what Kennedy actually did beyond the Looking Glass and beyond all the the prisms and beyond all the contrivances and all the gaslighting. Let’s look at what he actually did. Like some of the stuff we’ve gone over, and I’ve put out a list of various shows we’ve done, and we’ll include that too. But I know the first time we did this was like three years ago, I think. Right.

SP: [00:15:47] It was after the election, after the election of the second Catholic president in US history, Joe Biden.

BB: [00:15:52] That’s right. Joe Biden, Catholic president, sure do like to to kill a lot of people, don’t they? Yeah. To destroy third world countries, don’t they? And one of the things I think that’s important is to start with Kennedy’s political career, right? How he came to politics. And I remember at the time you talked about this, he initially gets a start with Joe McCarthy, and his record on civil rights is that of a traditional Democrat. Wasn’t it the because this is another part. They don’t stress this, but they often talk about how Kennedy was this great civil rights president and did more for black Americans than anybody ever did.

SP: [00:16:25] Yeah, like on the domestic front. Kennedy. First of all, the Kennedys were friends with McCarthy. Like Joseph Kennedy, the father befriended McCarthy and found it found him to be another likable fellow Irish Catholic. And there was there was like a big connection between his sons, John F Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy and McCarthy. And also, it should be noted, Joe McCarthy is the perpetrator of McCarthyism. He was the Republican senator from Wisconsin who would often appear in front of the press and say he has a list of 50 communists in the State Department or what have you. Kennedy, for his part, had actually aligned himself with militant anti-communists when he was in the House of Representatives before he was even elected to the presidency and to the to the Senate in 1952. And he they actually targeted the Truman State Department because they didn’t like the loss of China, because they were hard core anti-communist. Kennedy actually, on the House floor in January 1949, said the responsibility for the failure of our foreign policy in the Far East rests squarely with the white House and the Department of State. There’s there was a lot of personal bonds between the Kennedys and McCarthy, including McCarthy dating two of the Kennedy sisters, Eunice and Pat. He actually went to the wedding of Eunice and Sergeant Shriver, and presented Eunice with a silver cigarette case inscribed to Eunice and Bob from the one who lost. And so there’s a little romantic intrigue there as well.

SP: [00:17:55] Bobby Kennedy actually worked for Joseph McCarthy and actually had a clash with Roy Cohn, which actually led to RFK actually eventually leaving the Who committee. But they when the Senate voted. So Kennedy gets elected to the Kennedy gets elected to the Senate. During his election, McCarthy basically supported JFK in taking out Henry Cabot Lodge, who was actually a Republican senator. And then it’s also worth noting that when the Senate voted to censure McCarthy, Kennedy was he had surgery and he was notably absent from the from that vote. It was actually a it was a pretty dirty relationship going on there. There’s a pretty choice quote. It’s fairly long from Eleanor Roosevelt about Kennedy and McCarthy. She wrote in an article called On My Own, which had presented in the Saturday, which was printed in the Saturday Evening Post:

  • “During the lively contest for the vice-presidential nomination between Sen. Estes Kefauver and Sen. John Kennedy, a friend of Senator Kennedy came to me with a request for support. I replied I did not feel I could do so because Senator Kennedy had avoided taking a position during the controversy over Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s methods of investigation. Senator Kennedy was in the hospital when the Senate condemned Senator McCarthy and, of course, could not record his position. But later, when he returned to the Senate, reporters asked him how he would have voted and he failed to express an opinion on McCarthyism. “Oh, that was a long time ago,” the senator’s friend told me. “He was unable to vote and it is all a thing of the past. It should not have anything to do with the present situation.” I replied that I thought it did. “I think McCarthyism is a question on which public officials must stand up and be counted,” I added. “I still have not heard Senator Kennedy express his convictions. And I can’t be sure of the political future of anyone who does not willingly state where he stands on that issue.” Later, Senator Kennedy came to see me. I told him exactly the same thing. He replied in about the words he had previously used in talking to reporters, saying that the McCarthy condemnation was “so long ago” that it did not enter the current situation. But he did not say where he stood on the issue and I did not support him.” 

I think it’s what’s important here is that they had this sort of back channel relationship where the Kennedy and McCarthy, the Kennedys and McCarthy privately supported each other, including having social connections. And while Kennedy didn’t overtly take a stand on McCarthy, he also overtly did not condemn him or anything along those lines. I think that’s I think that’s really important to note that the Kennedys were fine with someone who would, like, get people blacklisted and go after them.

BB: [00:20:46] It also, I think, is important to understand what the nature of liberalism was after World War two. Cold War liberalism involved domestic reform. So Cold War liberals clearly did support things like civil rights. And they’ll be important in the civil rights movement moving forward. But liberals hated the Soviet Union and communism, so they were all in on military budgets. They were all in on interventions. They were corporate liberals. They thought communism was an evil, just like everybody else did. These are the people who had destroyed Henry Wallace, put pressure on FDR in 1944 to remove him from the ticket. Monkeywrenched his candidacy in 1948. Red baited them. They red baited Truman, who had instituted loyalty oaths. And the government, they red baited people like Paul Robeson and other activists. In the early days of the Civil War movement. They were calling Martin Luther King a communist. And keep in mind, the Democratic Party was really strong in the South. There were there were no Republican senators in any southern states in the 50s. Kennedy came out of that. The idea to portray him, not even ten years later, as this different person who cared for civil rights and hated war and hated the military and hated intervention, is just utterly ahistorical. There’s nothing for that. He was the opposite. He came in that culture, in that system, in that structure. And so as a result of that, you get his very close connections to McCarthy, to McCarthyism, to destroying people right there, blaming the State Department and the who lost China debate in the 1960 debate against Nixon, Kennedy attacked Nixon for not overthrowing Castro in Cuba. And look at Kennedy’s address. We will pay any price, bear any burden, fight any foe. We will do this and more is what he says. We’ll do this. And why don’t you do more than that? You fight any foe, bear any burden, right? He came into office out of that culture. He was a McCarthyite. His positions on civil rights were slow and meandering yet.

SP: [00:22:48] I’ll keep going. Then I’m going to say something.

BB: [00:22:50] Oh, okay. No, it’s position on civil rights were slow and meandering. He put pressure on King and others in the civil rights movement to slow down. It’s not time yet. You need to wait. He initially tried to get them to cancel the Freedom Rides, and reluctantly agreed to put federal marshals on the buses as they were getting firebombed and people were getting beaten up and literally killed in some instances. He moved slowly.

SP: [00:23:15] The one thing that he where he gained some cred with the civil rights movement is when King was in jail and one of the southern cities, and when he was running for president, it was in Atlanta, actually. And Coretta Scott King had actually called Kennedy, basically concerned about her husband’s safety and. He was encouraged to call Mrs. King Kennedy and. Basically Robert F Kennedy the next day made a well-placed phone call to secure King’s release. The important thing to note here, though, is what the Kennedy people did is they turned this into a pamphlet about how they had been this champions of civil rights, and had actually supported King getting out of jail in October 1960, and then distributed to black churches all over the country the weekend before election, November 1960. And so it’s a really cynical act. And we’re we’re talking about he’s this liberal civil rights supporter is it’s all completely Machiavellian political moves to sow the black vote. Turns out for him in an unprecedented sort of way.

BB: [00:24:22] And it was very important in winning that election as president. He doesn’t want to piss off the southern states. He keeps . . . he appoints southern segregationist judges. He’s constantly telling King to slow down. Finally, reluctantly, was dragged into proposing the civil rights law. And. In 1963, amid the filibuster, King and others decided to put even more pressure on him with the March on Washington, and he was killed shortly after that. There’s not much of a record there, and to call him somehow a heroic champion is preposterous. And of course, the irony is that Lyndon Johnson from Texas, who had clearly didn’t have a sterling civil rights record, actually ended up doing a lot of the things that Kennedy never did. Right. You want to create this image this young man shot down? Handsome guy, handsome family and all this kind of stuff. But if you look behind it, the Kennedys, you know, Machiavellian is the perfect word. Kennedy’s. Everything they do is calculated, and it’s the same.

SP: [00:25:18] It’s the same thing with the McCarthyism. It’s liberals did not they did not want to be painted with this sort of like, communist socialist thing that was coming out of the New Deal years. And so they really doubled down on going after Truman, State Department around China or supporting loyalty oaths or everything that you had mentioned. And that was that was also so that they would not be painted as weak. It’s interesting that morally, what I was going to actually say before is morally, in one of his tweets that he put out today is about how Nixon viewed Kennedy as a weakling. But it was Kennedy who actually was Nick. I can’t say that Nixon’s not a hawk, but it seems like Kennedy seemed even more hawkish and in many ways in that debate in 1960 and undermined Nixon’s credibility, talking about Cuba and many other things. Kennedy really outfoxed Nixon in many ways, and I find it interesting that he says he refers to Nixon and Kennedy as a weakling.

BB: [00:26:15] But this is what they do. And this is what I mean. It’s ghastly. Right? It’s all based on these kind of rumors like these. These cocktail party talks, parlor talk. Right? Nixon said this, and Clare Boothe Luce said this in the military about this, and they thought this. And look at the fucking records. I can’t even be more explicit than that. Killing a president is a big deal. You don’t do it casually because someone in the so-called deep state has a snit, right? And there’s no evidence for it. And that’s the thing you got to keep coming back to. You can gaslight us. You can insult me. I don’t care about you guys insulting, especially Aaron Good. Who’s really an embarrassment. Hey, but there’s just a record out there that they won’t even engage. So if any of you have the tenacity to listen to this, engage the record. If not, frankly, you don’t want to hear it anymore because there’s a big record out there that you simply never, ever have engaged. And we’ll talk more about that. Right? The stuff of McCarthyism that’s real. That happened, his foot dragging. And that’s a really nice euphemistic word, because it was much worse than that on civil rights is documented. It’s evident it happened right now.

BB: [00:27:17] Obviously, the crux of the conspiracy argument has to do with foreign policy, especially Vietnam, but other parts of the world, too. And we’ve done a ton of stuff on this. I’ve written a ton of stuff on this, too. Once again, I would suggest that these folks have issues with it to begin by reading or listening to what we’ve done. We’ve done a ton of things. I have, I think, 2 or 3 chapters in Masters of War, specifically about the Kennedy years. We’ve written and talked about that at great length. Kennedy came to office, you know, as a cold warrior . . . pay any price, bear any burden. Vietnam was a crucial place. Vietnam and Cuba were two important places. Cuba more, actually, when Kennedy took over. Also, I think it’s important, and Noam always points this out. Kennedy took office not even a month after Dwight Eisenhower had said that the military industrial complex is threatening American democracy. Right. And Kennedy never said anything like that. Kennedy never said anything like Eisenhower’s Cross of Iron speech, that every bomb we build, every airplane we make, is, is a bed taken away from a hospital. It’s a school that’s not being built. Kennedy. Never say anything like that. Right? Eisenhower.

SP: [00:28:24] I want to note a lot of those weapons manufacturers, because I’ve been following this very closely with the both the war in Ukraine and the current debacle going on in Gaza is that a lot of those companies are based in New England and Massachusetts. It’s important to to note that there’s a deep history of weapons manufacturing companies based in Massachusetts and Kennedy from Massachusetts.

BB: [00:28:47] And the Democratic Party was closely connected, that there’s a really good book by Frank Kofsky, The War Scare of 1948, Harry Truman and the War scare of 1948, where Democratic senators, the likes of Stuart Symington and Scoop Jackson was the. These are the forerunners of Tailgunner Joe Biden, right. Were really crucial and boosting the defense budget, building new aircraft, new military. Aircraft, built naval ships. This was. The Democrats were building up the American arsenal. Eisenhower actually wanted to cut defense spending and just build a bunch of airplanes that could that could carry long range missiles. Right. So it can be in all of these ways. Clearly was part of that intellectual, liberal, intellectual and political liberal heritage in Vietnam clearly is a demonstration of that in Cuba. He came into office right, barely a couple months in, sanctioned the Bay of Pigs attack to overthrow Castro, which was an utter disaster in the aftermath of that became even more important because he had looked foolish with regard to Vietnam. There’s so much, but I just want to hit 2 or 3 main points. One Kennedy immediately ratcheted up the American role there, sent in armor, sent in, herbicides, sent in helicopters, started using napalm and Agent Orange and things like that. When Kennedy assumed office in January of 1961, there were 8000, I’m sorry, 800 American advisors in Vietnam. By the time he left, there were 16,000. So there’s a consistent escalation there.

BB: [00:30:25] Right, two, which I think is really important is the thrust of much of the work I’ve done, the US military, the people who allegedly had him killed because he wasn’t gung ho enough about Vietnam and Cuba and everywhere else, didn’t want to go to Vietnam. If any group in the government was opposed to Vietnam, it had a realistic view of it, it was actually the military, and I’ve written about that in great detail. And I’m not going to go into all of it right now. But if you look at anything we’ve done, there are short articles to the military. Officers thought Vietnam wasn’t crucial to American security. They thought that the other side there had a huge advantage in terms of morale and political influence to Vietnam, the NLF, VC and others. They didn’t believe that the ally that the US had created in the South was really worth defending or able to exist on its own. They consistently said that the war was going to escalate. They consistently said the war was getting worse, and they consistently were very candid in expressing how difficult it was. And you even had people who really were hawkish, like Westmoreland and Maxwell Taylor, who would say, we really can’t get involved there. We we should never. And especially one of the things that they’ll often put up is that Kennedy didn’t want to send troops into Vietnam. Nobody wanted to send troops into Vietnam, no one ever, in the early 60s envisioned that you would have a point at which 542,000 American troops would be in Vietnam, that that doesn’t prove anything.

BB: [00:31:53] Kennedy never thought that. No, of course not. Nobody did. Nobody. Thought you would need them. Right. So it’s just they don’t know how to use historical evidence or even do historical research. So the military, the group which allegedly, you know, hated Kennedy and wanted him dead, actually had no real interest in Vietnam. And I would say the consensus within the military was that it was a bad idea. And like I said, read two or whatever, 2 or 3 chapters, and we’ve written about it as well. The third thing, which I think is really crucial, which they dodge all the time, is the coup. And on early November 1st, 1963, the US finally authorized and approved and helped execute a coup to overthrow Ngo Dinh Diem. And Nhu his brother, the Ngo family. And they were killed which wasn’t in the American that wasn’t in the American planning, but they were killed as well. If you look at the records from like mid 1963 on, Kennedy and the, the white House are very upset at GM. Why is that? Because he’s ruining the war effort. He’s not popular. He’s harassing and repressing his own people. He’s attacking the Buddhists. There was a prison camp in 1959 where over a thousand prisoners were poisoned to death by Diem.

BB: [00:33:10] He sent troops into Buddhist temples. He sent troops to take down Buddhist flags. And of course, you had the famous immolations, right? So they knew that. I’ve had to go in addition to that, something else that these folks on the Kennedy side never even acknowledged is that at that particular moment. And George Mctc, who’s as good as anybody ever been on the first person to come up with this, and we know it now. Even better, in the early in 1963, nobody knew was having covert talks with people in the Politburo led by Le Duan. In the north. They were talking about some kind of negotiated agreement, any kind of negotiated neutral settlement where essentially the north and south, northern and Southerners would say, okay, we’re going to have a provisional government. And then in the course of time, we’ll unify the government. Well, everyone knew, as they did in 1954, when Kennedy and others supported Diem to monkey Wrench the agreement to have elections at Geneva. But everyone knew again that could never be elected to run a unified Vietnam, that in fact, the only people with the credibility to do that came out of the old Viet Minh or some of the front groups, people like Ho or Truong Chinh or Pham Van Dong or Le Duan. So basically in 1963, Kennedy understands that their options are to double down, to get into Vietnam even deeper, or to see a negotiated settlement which would leave the US with egg on its face and would leave power, or somebody from the Viet Minh in charge, those are their options.

BB: [00:34:47] They don’t have anything else. They either go in deeper or they get rid, or they lose, or they get rid of Diem and getting rid of is going in deeper. What did they think they were going to overthrow? And then everything would be fine. The war would be over. How? There were 12 governments in the ensuing 18 months in Vietnam, and a lot of those governments were overthrown by the US because the new Vietnamese leaders continued to speak to the Politburo in Hanoi about a negotiated settlement. Kennedy was far more afraid of peace breaking out in Vietnam than anything else that is to me. It’s like really all the evidence you need, right? If you’re going to get out of a war, if you’re in some kind of conflict, are you going to utterly just destroy the government you’re allegedly aligned with, or are you going to just monkey wrench that? I don’t think it’s start over again. It makes no sense. It’s preposterous. And there’s nothing in the record. They keep quoting NSAM 263. Oh, and NSAM 263 was declassified in the early 80s. It’s not something they say like, oh, what is it then? Lord of the rings or something like the precious thing or that’s what they treat it like, right? Some kind of ring.

SP: [00:35:58] The ring. It’s the ring, it’s the ring.

BB: [00:36:01] NSAM 263 is a boilerplate document. It had been around in various forms for quite some time prior to that. It suggested that if things continue to go well, and in 1962, actually things had improved because the United States had sent so much firepower in there that they were using that with some success. The Vietcong and other groups rallied By early 1963, especially at Ap Bac, they had reversed that. But essentially NSAM 263 said, if the war is going well, we might be able to pull out some troops. Maybe we can withdraw some troops by the end of 1963. And then maybe if things go well, by 1965, the war will be over. That’s what policymakers do. They put together a documents. I’ve seen countless documents like that. These are the projections. That’s why you have things called the National Security Council, Policy and Planning Staff. That’s what these groups do. They study these things, and then they put out papers and they put out projections, about the military directorate’s military. And they all do that. If you go through archives, you’re going to come up with dozens of documents of this nature, and they’re going to suggest various alternatives.

BB: [00:37:08] There’s nothing wrong with saying, look, things go well, we can start pulling troops out on it. But the situation’s taken care of by 1965. We’re all fine. So what? The fact is, it wasn’t. And if it had been, if it had been that sweet and peachy keen, they wouldn’t have had a coup. They wouldn’t have been so upset that Nhu and Le Duan’s people were talking, they wouldn’t have continued to plan for a coup and overthrow them. They wouldn’t have. It’s just there’s nothing there. The evidence all points in an incontrovertible way to Kennedy ramping up the American commitment in Vietnam. That’s the only point that matters. It’s not who said what to who. Clare Boothe Luce, Richard Nixon, he’s weak. I talked to this guy. Somebody in France said this. It doesn’t freaking. matter. What matters is that every single bit of evidence in the historical record indicates Kennedy ramping up Vietnam. That’s it, that’s it. Yeah. Yeah. Like, how fucking hard is that? Excuse my language. How fucking hard is that to figure out?

SP: [00:38:07] Yeah. I just want to point out there’s this really great quote from Chomsky, which I jotted down when we did one of these episodes, which is the Kennedy assassination cult is probably the most striking case, talking about conspiracies, etcetera. “The Kennedy–assassination cult is probably the most striking case. I mean, you have all these people doing super–scholarly research, and trying to find out just who talked to whom, and what the exact contours were of this supposed high–level conspiracy — it’s all complete nonsense. As soon as you look into the various theories, they always collapse, there’s just nothing there. But in many cases, the left has just fallen apart on the basis of these sheer cults.” I think it’s really important to point out, is that they spend a lot more time talking about that one hearsay, and not documented conversations from people who are like, maybe not Nixon, but like others who are like, largely irrelevant. But then I’ve never actually seen any of the conspiracy. The assassin analogy is conspiracy. People actually dive into the November 1963 coup against Diem, right? They never talk about what.

BB: [00:39:13] Is Chomsky, Noam Chomsky? No, no, that’s my point.

SP: [00:39:16] Well, the Gaslight, by the way, they gaslight Chomsky all the time too. So yeah.

BB: [00:39:19] Yeah. Chomsky wrote a book called . . . Rethinking Camelot, which is 200 and some pages of documentary evidence, much like this stuff we’ve done. Right. We’re not sitting here talking about some tweet. We’re talking about what the record actually shows, which is how you do history. Right? What they were saying at the time, not what somebody said 30 years ago, how you do scholarship. Right after Kennedy took office, he was asked a question about Vietnam, and he said, “if we postpone action in Vietnam to engage in talks with the communists, we can surely count on a major crisis of nerve in Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia. The image of US unwillingness to confront communism induced by the last performance [this is also after the Bay of Pigs] will be definitely confirmed. There will be panic and disarray.” And this is like when Biden said, is there any possibility of talks and Palestine? No. No possibility. That’s what Kennedy saying. We won’t even engage in talks, right? Because it would make us look weak. Credibility is huge. I would suggest reading the work of Gabriel Kolko on Vietnam. So what Biden is.

SP: [00:40:19] Saying about Ukraine, too? Yeah, that’s.

BB: [00:40:20] Right. And I would suggest, I think Kolko’s done the best stuff on Vietnam, and Kolko talks a lot about credibility and how important that is to be seen as strong. Right? The idea that he’s this soft, teddy bear kind of guy who wants to bring peace to the world and all these wars is preposterous. Again, no evidence for it. Right? And so you have that. There’s so much to do with Kennedy and Vietnam and like I said, but the three key points, I think, are consistent escalation, both in terms of commitment of manpower, commitment of weapons, use of dioxins and Agent Orange and things like that, two would be the military’s consistent reluctance and often opposition to fighting in Vietnam, which totally undermines any idea that there was a motive there to get rid of them. Right. And the CIA is not involved in this to any great extent either. Right. And third, of course, is the coup, which I think is really by itself takes care of the whole issue. The coup by itself, really, I think, destroys any particular argument that Kennedy was somehow going soft on Vietnam. We’re going to get out of Vietnam. That’s just it’s ridiculous. Yes. You don’t have a coup three weeks before your own death, right? Or three weeks before you’re going to start this withdrawal from Vietnam. It’s utterly insane. Right. And something just, you know, because Morley and these people keep saying, name one right wing person, that’s the people of Vietnam. If they think Kennedy was weak, ask the people of Cuba if they think Kennedy was weak, ask the people in Brazil and Guyana and Iraq if they thought Kennedy was weak.

BB: [00:41:50] But what did he say? Ask a right wing Cuban . . . who gives a fuck about right wing Cubans, right? They were nuts. And Kennedy knew they were nuts. . . . Basically, Kennedy is trying to help them and they’re not really understanding what he’s doing. If you look at Cuba, much like Vietnam, the record is just really crystal clear. There he tries to overthrow Castro within a couple of months of becoming president, then immediately authorizes Operation Mongoose to conduct all kinds of subversion against the Cuban government of Castro. They institute all kinds of international sanctions, including the most brutal embargo the world has seen, although 17 years, I would assume people who’ve been in Gaza the last 17 years could make a case for that as well. But they institute this brutal embargo they engaged in, obviously, in covert operations. That’s why the U-2 was shot down. They were ratcheting up internal security throughout the region. And whenever they talked about Latin America. Whatever country it was in Latin America. Castro was their point man. Right. We have to do this because of Castro. We have to do that because we need the Alliance of Progress, because of Castro. We need the School of Americas, because of Castro. We need internal security programs because of Castro. Right. So the idea that somehow like that and they’ll acknowledge that this was. But then in their version of things, the Cuban Missile Crisis was his road to Damascus.

BB: [00:43:15] That was his epiphany. The world came close to getting blown up. And so he decided at that point he’d been wrong and he’d have to change course. Right. Now, you and I did a really great show on the Cuban Missile Crisis, right? And we looked at all the more recent documents. We were doing stuff the day of the show. We were still getting new documents from National Security Archive, putting them. Yeah. And I remember emailing back and forth that whole week with Chomsky. Have you seen this? Have you seen this? He’s sending me stuff and so on. So that reflected everything that was new that day. And what did we see in the Cuban Missile Crisis? He was reckless. He was provocative. Right. He never took measures to defuse the situation. That was actually Khrushchev who did that. Right. So at every point along the way, Kennedy, despite the rhetoric, wanted to take a hard line. Now, there were others who were more hawkish than him. That’s true. That’s what policymaking is. You had a bunch of people in a room, and not everybody agrees, and some people may disagree virulently. But the fact of the matter is, Kennedy didn’t take any kind of soft line, and it was really important for Kennedy to be seen as the victor in this, to the extent where he actually threw Adlai Stevenson under the bus afterward. Stevenson was the UN ambassador, and he put the story out that Stevenson is the one who wanted to negotiate, and he wouldn’t let the media report on the trade for the Jupiter missiles in Turkey.

BB: [00:44:38] And I think what’s and again, this kind of seals the deal. During the missile crisis, the US continued subversive operations. And after it was over, they ramped them up again. And in fact, it wasn’t in November of I can’t remember the precise date right now. November of 1963, the US authorized these Miami terrorists to blow up a Cuban factory, and they killed 400 people right now. What’s that? You’re trying to bring freaking peace to the world, right? And they thought Castro was so upset [at JFK’s death]. Castro had a meeting and met in September of 1963. This is before Kennedy was killed. He had a meeting with a reporter from, I think, UPI. It was like an event at the Brazilian embassy in Havana or something like that. And Fidel went off on a rant about Kennedy. He’s trying to get rid of us. I can’t stand the guy. Like the Cubans didn’t see Kennedy as going soft and in fact, a very ham handed story. But also, I think, reflective of what Kennedy was really like on November 22nd, 1963, 60 years ago today, there was a Cuban operative in Paris. His codename was Am/Lash, who was being given a poison pen or something like that to use to to kill Castro. And how many? The church Committee showed that the kind of constant subversion and attempts at assassination and everything else. Yeah.

SP: [00:45:54] And I just I want to say is that in JFK revisited, which is the documentary, the faux documentary that that Oliver Stone put out last year is that there’s a segment on the where Kennedy was being progressive on foreign policy with different in different parts of the world, and one was Cuba, and it was taught and they actually talk about how Kennedy was trying to thaw the freeze with Castro. And there’s a quote that Castro says on the assassination day, this is a very bad thing. Castro probably thinks it’s a very bad thing, because it means the US is going to blame them and come after them would be my interpretation of that. Not because Kennedy was some dove that was about to open up US Cuban relations for the better. So just it’s just.

BB: [00:46:36] And Oswald was connected with reason to Cuba, right? He’s he’s the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. So yeah. Why would Castro think, oh, this is great. Of course he understands. There’s going to be a lot of attention thrown on Cuba. He’s afraid they’re going to blame him for it, which is at least the conspiracy people don’t do that. But yeah, there’s no again, nothing in the record to indicate that Kennedy was anything other than aggressive and continuing to escalate that aggression in Cuba all the way to the very end. And and was it the last speech he ever gave, I think, on the topic, was in Miami, just a less than a week, I believe, before he was in Dallas, where he talks to the Miami, the community in Miami, the terrorist community in Miami, and he’s all in with them. He gave awards to to veterans of some of these brigades and things like that. The United States continued to train them in the Everglades, violating all kinds of international laws and everything else. But again, the record shows it and engage the record! Morley, Good, DiEugenio, Oliver . . . engage the record! Go to all those documents, read what people have written. Read what Tom Patterson has written. You don’t have to listen to me. Read Tom Patterson, read Chomsky, read Steve Rabe. There’s so many people out there who’ve done good work on this. Go to the Foreign Relations series, which is all online, the National Security Archives, it’s online. This stuff is there.

BB: [00:47:57] Right. So Kennedy, as in Vietnam, is ramping up hostilities, escalating American aggression and American involvement there. There’s no reason that anyone would have within the so-called deep state, within the foreign policy making apparatus to want him dead. Killing a president is a kind of a big deal, right? You can have issues with them. They keep talking about operations. Northwood, which Kennedy killed in 1962, and Northwood was another proposal to subvert and overthrow the Castro regime there that was constant. Sometimes you agree on a particular program, right? If you agree on a program within bureaucratic politics, that means you lost that one. And maybe you find a way to try to get in through the back door. But you really you assassinate a president because he chose one particular policy proposal over another? And he didn’t say, oh, no, I’m going to reject Northwoods, and we’re going to stop all hostilities toward Cuba. We’re going to stop all suffering. That never happened. That never happened. It’s again, it’s like NSAM 263 or or Clare Boothe Luce said this or Northwood said this. He cherry picked something and you extrapolate. This is like QAnon. It really has no more intellectual validity than the pizza parlors and QAnon or some of the crazy shit RFK Jr is saying and stuff like that in Cuba and in Vietnam, which I think are. The two big issues, but it doesn’t stop there either. If you look at his issues toward Latin America, and we did talk to Noam at some length about that.

BB: [00:49:25] Kennedy initiated this era of subversion of internal security. He sent tons of money to the militaries and right wing groups in these particular countries, places like Cuba, Guiana, and outside of Latin America. If you read the Latin American policy papers there. They all say the same thing. Because of Castro, we have to stop the spread of communism throughout the region, right. And Kennedy. Kennedy is quite candid about that. He even says the famous Trujillo equation. We don’t want people like Trujillo who’ve been overthrown in Dominican. Right? But if the alternative is, what we’d like to do is have democratic governments instead of Trujillo. But the alternative may be Castro type governments, and that we can’t tolerate. Potentially the worst thing you could have would be a Castro type government, and therefore you do whatever you need to do to prevent that from happening. The idea that JFK somehow would have been comfortable with a communist government, whether it be in Hanoi or Havana or anywhere, is utterly nuts. It’s just insane. It’s preposterous. He in Latin America, he ramped up aggression there again. It’s one of the articles I’ve written in and with regard to the Cold War and military spending. He did the same thing, right? You all of these ways. In all these measures, guess is condescending and insulting to point out evidence and facts and reality to people. But if you look at all.

SP: [00:50:53] It’s trolling, it’s what it.

BB: [00:50:54] Is. It’s trolling. Yeah, we’re trolling people with facts. Next thing we’re going to blind them with science. It’s really quite remarkable that this guy would have this kind of historic reputation, and it would be like it would be praised and, and put forth by the left, by, by these people like Chris Hedges, who I admire, and Abby Martin, Majority Report, Jacobin. It’s all over the place, right. New York Times What was it a couple of months ago, when the guy who claims he found a bullet on the gurney suddenly, 60 years later, remembers it right in the New York Times, right. Every everywhere these people go, they’re able to attract media attention and get a lot of juice for it. And they’ve convinced a lot of people who really should know better, you know, about this, and they’re looking for it. And that’s the thing that’s really looking for heroes. You know.

SP: [00:51:43] Just it’s lazy reporting and looking for clickbait basically. Yeah.

BB: [00:51:47] And, and but for them to turn around and attack people who point out their flaws and there are many. It’s really funny, right? It’s very typical. Right? It’s the Trump QAnon type of argument. You don’t engage what people say, you just flip it. It’s what aboutism? It’s what about you? Or look where that showed up or what have you ever done? Or you’re insulting me, man, these guys are really freaking soft and sensitive. If they’re like, insulted and and if they feel like I’ve been condescending, I could be condescending. I’ll condescend you if you want it, but it’s just preposterous. Simply by trying to have this debate over what the record says. Right? It’s funny, when I debated DiEugenio like almost everybody who listened to it said, wow, man, you were really, like, cool and calm and all you did was talk about . . . Yeah, of course that’s what historians do, because it’s like, well, they just kept talking about anecdotes and anybody could do this. I have no special intellectual skills that enable me to think of things like, anybody could see this stuff. And there are, like I said, most people who I think have studied Kennedy have come to the same conclusions. There’s not a whole lot of people praising him and his work, and those who do think are just caught up in that myth of Camelot. They probably grew up in that era, and it was, if you look back, I mean.

SP: [00:53:01] And then and then 28 years later, after, when the myth of Camelot has started to fade, it’s still in the early 90s, it was still my grandparents generation was still here, and my parents generation who’s still here now. But but then Oliver Stone does a little bit of a reset on it, because he releases a film and makes this into a political issue. He makes a Hollywood movie about something where he inserts a lot of fiction into it, and then promotes it as fact, and then goes and goes on tour for the next couple of decades. And then he did another reset last year as well, like 30 years later after after JFK’s release. And I think Oliver Stone’s actually a talented filmmaker. I enjoy Platoon and Born on the 4th of July and films like that. But I also think that with JFK and actually the another movie he made after that, which was about Nixon, is that he’s used this to keep this alive, and it gives fuel to the fire for the DiEugenios and Aaron Goods of the world. I think Morley’s a little bit of a different animal, but definitely it just gives those people credence where it’s baffling how much cred they and how they’re building something of a career out of it.

BB: [00:54:13] Yeah, the boring part of this is it’s this is really about how people use evidence and how you do historical research. And I don’t want to turn this into a graduate student seminar. But the reality is they’re not doing that. They’re entertainers. They’re not held to the same standards. Yeah. That’s true. And and, you know, Stone was born in the 50s. So he was young, you know, when Kennedy, you know, came to political life. He’s a Vietnam vet. You know, I mean, I know a lot of people from that generation who still speak with great reverence about JFK and the Kennedy myth and look at how popular.

SP: [00:54:49] Soprano, junior soprano man.

BB: [00:54:51] Soprano. Right, Tony. He was with JFK mistress. He met JFK mistress. Look at how popular RFK junior was, at least at the outset, right. Because it evoked that. And so people of that generation, you want to believe the best about Kennedy, right? And if you look at the way the media report about him at the time, it was like the guy was like virtuous and almost messianic, right? And so they don’t want to let go of that. You know, people like Stone. But the reality is you have to do historical research, get into documents, you find all the available evidence. You figure out what people were saying at the time, what the various competing interests were, what some people said to support a particular position, what some people said to oppose a particular position, what the president decided to do. John F Kennedy decided to ramp up the American commitment in Vietnam. John F Kennedy decided to overthrow the government of Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam. John F Kennedy decided against the the advice of of most of his military, to continue to pursue a military solution in Vietnam with more American resources, John F Kennedy decided to authorize mongoose against Cuba. John F Kennedy decided to confront the Russian subs during the missile crisis. John Kennedy decided to continue subversive operations. After that, John F Kennedy decided to ramp up military spending. He decided to overthrow governments in places like Iraq and Brazil and Guyana. He decided all that, and there’s a huge documentary record of it.

BB: [00:56:23] We have these things called footnotes, which would suggest they check out, rather than I interviewed the CIA guy who said that 30 years ago he found a bullet on a gurney. I know I’m conflating everything, but you get my point, right? Look at what was happening. And there’s just a ton and great. If you want to interview people, that’s fine. But that doesn’t supersede what actually happened. What I say happened 30 years ago is not a more credible version than what actually happened at the time that I recorded or reported, or that somebody viewed or that there’s a paper record for. Right, that’s more credible, that’s more credible, and they don’t do that because they know it would undermine it. Right? They want you to believe they want all of us to believe that people in the CIA and the military had issues with Kennedy over these specific policy disputes. And because of that, they conspired. And this has to be a pretty big conspiracy, right? They conspire to kill a US president. And then nobody spilled the beans about it. Nobody talked about it. Right. It’s it’s just if somebody handed that script to script, you could do this Hollywood. So you can do whatever you want. That’s fair. That’s cool. I don’t expect movies to be historically accurate. They’re movies. Right? But if somebody handed that story to a press to write like a nonfiction book, it would be thrown out. It’d be laughed at. Right? Since there’s no feasible evidence for any of it.

BB: [00:57:52] Oh, the Devil’s Chessboard and Oliver Stone and all this shit. They just throw all this at you and don’t give you a chance to respond. They. For you or shut you out, and then they accuse you of not saying anything. And all I’m simply saying is look at the evidence. You have to listen to anything I say. Look at all the evidence. Read what we’ve written. I say read it because I wrote. I’m saying read because there’s a bunch of footnotes in it. Okay. It’s really maddening. And this heroism, I think that’s the worst part of it really wouldn’t be that big a deal, except so many people on the left are really thumping their chest and they’re all in over this. And it’s just Joe Biden is the legitimate heir of JFK. He’s this is what Kennedy would do. So I said, if you’re looking at Scoop Jackson’s presidency, it’s Kennedy presidency. It’s no different. I think those guys probably did have better domestic programs than Biden. But this is the reality. This is what Democrats do. This is what the Democratic Party does to suggest that somehow we’re not even talking about JFK as an outlier. We are talking about him as the utter apostate of it. All right. He’s the prodigal son who just went off, totally left the reservation and did everything different. And that’s utterly ridiculous. There’s just no evidence of it. I don’t know what to say. And I don’t get why this need for heroes is.

SP: [00:59:09] Yeah, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of emptiness out there, I guess, that they’re trying to fill with something that they really that they’re being spoon fed this and they’re trying to fill some void they’re looking for.

BB: [00:59:21] They search for it . . . Bernie Sanders and Cornel West, and they’re looking like we need the next hero, right? Yeah. Like, dude, organize. Can you tell me who the head of Jewish Voice for Peace is? I can’t, I have no idea. I don’t know who. I don’t know who, who’s created the group, I don’t know. They’re freaking amazing. These people are amazing, right? There’s not a single person in there who’s a hero. They’re doing what they need to do. Students for Justice in Palestine. The folks you worked with last week. You don’t need some media darling. We talk so much about Martin Luther King with good reason, right by himself. King doesn’t create civil rights movement. There’s a huge number of SNCC and there’s Ella Baker, and there’s the people in North Carolina. There’s just all over. Freedom Summer. People like John Lewis and Staughton Lynd. Right? And you don’t need some Superman, some Ubermensch to come in and save the day. And Kennedy certainly was not that. It’s just nuts. Look at the people. Like after he died, the same people were there, right? The same people were there for LBJ telling them what to do in Vietnam, telling them what they’re doing back, largely.

SP: [01:00:28] Ignored by the people who claim that they know all the facts.

BB: [01:00:31] Yeah, they know the facts . . . that that you can find five facts that fit your puzzle. That’s all you need. And what we’re doing is presenting, and it’s not. What I say. We. I’m not saying like what Scott and I say that’s just we’re we’re channeling what we know and what we’ve presented. So when I say what we say, what I mean is the stuff we found is overwhelming. It doesn’t matter who says it or who writes it. Just go in and look at the documents. Look at the notes, go in and read the documents. Right. And there’s just nothing there. And if you want to get fame and fortune for it, “A Salut,” God bless you. You guys are big shots and you’re in the media and all that. That’s great. I don’t really care what bothers me. What I think is really dangerous, though, is that so many people are attaching themselves to that and it’s really skewing and murkying up the sense of politics that the left, I think, really should be engaged in. They’re looking for. They’re looking for their own version of Trump. They actually are.

SP: [01:01:26] It’s interesting how many people spend their time and resources, that the resources is what really gets me on pursuing this JFK conspiracy assassination cult in trying to get Biden to release the documents or to get themselves in the mainstream media. And they definitely are claiming to be part of some element of progressive politic right now. The Israelis, backed and funded by the US, are annihilating the people of Gaza. I looked at Aaron Good’s Twitter the other day, and he’s definitely retweeting stuff opposing the attack on Gaza. But why aren’t you spending your time and resources in undermining what liberals are doing in Israel and Palestine right now? Just like what Kennedy was doing in Vietnam and wanted to do in Cuba. That’s the thing about it is that this is all a pattern. This is . . . there’s nothing new. Nothing is happening different there than it’s happened in the last 100 years of US foreign policy. And Kennedy was a liberal. He was a Cold War liberal. He was anti-communist. He went after he was tacitly in partnership with Joe McCarthy. And they went after progressives and socialists and whoever else, communists and internationally, they waged war on the global South. And that’s exactly what Biden’s doing now. And also the whole McCarthyism thing is they’re going after the left again right now. And the parallels are striking. Like, you’re right, Joe Biden is the sort of is the heir apparent to what also was Obama and Clinton, just to be fair. But there’s there’s nothing different going on here in 2023 than what’s going on in 1954 or whatever.

BB: [01:03:14] Or 1963 or. Yeah.

SP: [01:03:16] Yeah, yeah.

BB: [01:03:16] It’s just maddening. And it’s just obviously to see the left media’s plans. . . It. It’s frustrating when they latch on to these kinds of things and they’re participating in it. It’s unfortunate, you know? We really need to give priority to people who are out there doing stuff, who are in the streets, who are fighting against intervention and the military industrial complex.

SP: [01:03:35] And that’s my point, is that if if the conspiracists are against the attack on Gaza or they’re against the war in Ukraine or what have you, then why do they spend so much time and resources talking about something that happened 50 or 60 years ago, 60 years ago?

BB: [01:03:50] The undercurrent of all this is that there are particular people out there who are really good and want to do the right thing and make everything better. . . and that they’re being stopped. So who are these good people? It’s this. It really is. It’s a fable, right? We need a conspiracy to to explain away why these good people didn’t change everything. What good people in Vietnam? The people trying to change things tended to be in uniform. They were like generals and chiefs of staff and people like that who were saying, that’s a bad idea, right? Like, so just it confounds one because there’s just no basic evidentiary foundation to this stuff. There’s just no evidence. . . .

BB: [01:05:24] We could talk about this. We could go on and on and on because we have so much on this. I’ll leave you with this. The folks who’ve made it this far, we’ve put out all kinds of lists of the stuff we’ve done, articles, podcasts and so on. If you can’t find that, Google it. I wrote a book called Masters of War, which, like I said, has 2 or 3 chapters about Kennedy and Vietnam. I would just suggest that if you want to have an open mind about this, to go look at that stuff, look at the arguments made, look at the historical evidence presented, look at the sources, look at the notes, and you can pursue those further if you want to. Right. We’re not going to sit here and be gaslit and insulted into changing our point of view. I don’t respect what they write. I don’t think it’s based in any kind of history or historical evidence. I think they’re doing it because it certainly helps them on a personal level. But if that’s their motive or not, it clearly has. So I would just suggest, if you’re interested in this, to go out and figure it out for yourself, because the stuff is out there. If you don’t want to listen to Scott and me, that’s cool, but just go out and find the footnotes, the sources, the evidence, the historical vignettes. We don’t rely on tweets and anecdotes and year later interviews or anything like that. It’s important. We don’t need heroes. And the JFK thing is just one. You don’t go around and assassinate a president just for the hell of it. And that’s what these folks are saying. And we’ll pick this up again. We had planned on doing a lot on this, and then to some degree, I decided not to, just because we have, you know, we don’t get anywhere. The media doesn’t want to hear this side of things. And then, of course, in the last six weeks, all of us have just been obsessed with the horrors unfolding in Gaza. Thanks for this, and check it out on your own. It’s important, it’s important. So please check it out.

SP: [01:07:12] Yeah, and if you like what you’re hearing, please share it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And if you’re watching this on YouTube, hit subscribe. If you’re listening on your audio platforms, please give us a rate and review. And then also if you like what you hear and check us out at our website, green and Red podcast.org and hit that support button or go to patreon.com/greenandredpodcast and become a patron and we will talk to you all again really soon.

Bob Buzzanco and Scott Parkin host The Green and Red Podcast.