David Jackson’s Nov. 3 letter, “Misdirected adoration,” was poorly labeled and inaccurate. The writer says that President Kennedy was inconsequential.
Kennedy started the Peace Corps, which is still operating and has helped thousands. He is loved throughout the world.
Jackson wrote that Kennedy abandoned our allies in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Kennedy dutifully accepted full blame for the disaster but does not deserve it! A report by CIA Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick concluded that “ignorance, incompetence and arrogance on the part of the CIA were responsible for the fiasco.”
Jackson wrote that Kennedy allowed himself to be outmaneuvered by the Soviets in the Cuban missile crisis. Many of us, to this day, thought he made a good bargain to avoid nuclear war.
Then he accused the president of starting the Vietnam War, ignoring the fact that President Dwight D. Eisenhower supplied military aid to the French in 1953 and pledged in 1955 to support the South Vietnamese government and offered military aid.
President Kennedy took office Jan. 20, 1961.
In response to David Jackson’s comments about Kennedy: Kennedy inherited a mess from Eisenhower — in Cuba and Vietnam.
U.S. foreign policy already was set.
Kennedy was faced with the Soviet Union introducing missiles into Cuba. He oversaw a complete naval and air blockade of Cuba, and the Russian withdrawal of the missiles.
It was more a matter of staring the Russians in the eye and not blinking than being outmaneuvered.
The Bay of Pigs was an Iraq-style debacle because no one showed up to throw roses at the feet of the liberators. Kennedy cut his losses rather than drag the U.S. into an affair that had no good outcome.
After the French defeat in Vietnam, the Eisenhower administration provided support and advisers to the South Vietnamese because of widespread belief in the Domino Theory, that one country after another would fall to communism.
Kennedy inherited a policy that he continued on the advice of all advisers.
Johnson expanded the Vietnam conflict on the basis of the same advice given to Kennedy.
Because of his assassination, we’ll never know how great or how bad a president he might have been.
In the summer of 1963 I worked for a general contracting firm pouring concrete slabs and curb and gutters under the blazing Texas sun.
The work was hard and the pay good, but I quit a week before school started for football practice. It was my senior year at Fort Worth’s Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School.
It proved to be a tumultuous year.
The first indicator was the assassination of President Kennedy. I was standing in the school lunch line on Nov. 22, 1963, when I heard over the school’s public address system that my hero, Kennedy, had died.
I heard another student behind me say, “Good. He needed killing.”
I never cared for that guy or his younger brother after that. I haven’t forgiven him and I doubt I ever will.
Kennedy had inspired me with his 1961 inaugural address that included the line: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” I was determined to try to be just like him.
In less than nine months I was at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, training for what was to be an arduous five years that ended tragically when I was severely wounded in 1969, forcing me to seek a less demanding career path.
Remembrance and prayers for JFK, who said: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
May he rest in peace!