POSTED RESPONSE TO COLUMN BY OLIVER STONE IN THE GUARDIAN
I agree completely with the general direction of your sentiments, Mr. Stone, but I think you have, and always have had, far too simplistic an idea of John Kennedy.
He was a ferocious Cold Warrior, a martinet in military matters.
Good Lord, he started the American thug-assassin organization, the Green Berets.
They would, of course, go on to cut the throats of 20,000 civilians in Project Phoenix in Vietnam with creepy night attacks against people like village chiefs, a disgrace far greater than Guantanamo.
Kennedy also was deeply involved in trying to assassinate Castro.
Kennedy kept company with, and took benefits from, some terrible underworld types in America.
He was, both in matters involving the Cold War and in matters involving the American Mafia, a man who consistently played at both ends.
His legacy is actually a blur, as are his ethics. We have no idea of what he really was, what he really stood for, and much the same with his brother, Robert.
The Kennedys did not like Lyndon Johnson and his godfather, Edgar Hoover, but they kept Hoover on and enjoyed the filth he delivered on political opponents.
Lyndon Johnson was so crooked in politics, it is impossible to view him clearly. Vote fraud put him into office again and again in Texas.
And the Kennedys, so far as we know, were happy to take his help in 1960. Vote fraud in Texas and Illinois put Kennedy into office. I don’t know about you, but I believe we never get good things out of evil starts.
I know the Kennedy mantra you keep, the bright, brave young man who tried to keep America from the insane human waste of Vietnam.
But we have no clear evidence for that view. He launched the Bay of Pigs. He kept – Robert in charge – making attempts on Castro’s life. He came close to starting a nuclear war in Cuba.
He was a truly dangerous risk-taker, just as when he’d have prostitutes over to the White House swimming pool when Jackie was away.
And, if anything, his brother Robert was even worse.
Obama is from another world altogether. First, he is a genuine intellectual, something not true of either of the Kennedys, although they showed public respect for intellectuals not seen since.
Second, he is a genuinely warm and loving family man, something not true of either of the Kennedys. Robert drove his wife into alcoholism, and John used Jackie as little more than a photo-op prop.
Third, he doesn’t come from a wealthy, “connected” family, the Kennedy’s father having had a long association with the Mafia.
Fourth, he genuinely embodies a world view, being the product of a complex multi-cultural background.
The Kennedys, all of them, were a clan with all the narrowness and intolerance that word implies.
I much prefer comparisons with Franklin Roosevelt, although clearly even in this case there are greatly different backgrounds and influences.
Obama is something genuinely new and bright and genuinely attractive. It will be exciting to watch him try making America at least a little bit better place, which I cynically believe is the very best that can be hoped for.
Finally, anyone who knows some real American history knows that “W” was not a new phenomenon in American politics, just the most incompetent one in memory.
And remember he had Dick Cheney always there, a viciously competent man, who assumed powers as surely as any fascist dictator. And there are lots of Dick Cheneys out there.
God, a recent poll said over 70% of Republicans would support the ignorant, uninformed, ridiculous Sarah Palin as candidate in 2012.
They know a “Cheney” would be there waiting to quietly guide that pathetic lump, a woman the Secret Service has formally accused of creating a big spike in threats against Obama’s life with her trashy mouth.
It will be a miracle if Obama can generate any meaningful change, but then his election itself was something of a miracle.
You know, you really cannot have both an empire and a beacon of liberty. It is impossible.
And you really cannot have a nation whose greed at consuming knows no limits and a world of some fairness and decency. That is an oxymoronic idea.
I really think the prospects for meaningful change are a bit bleak. America in the past has always learned by first beating its head against walls until the pain is just too great to stand.
I think it is very difficult to come up with counter-examples of the American learning process. After all, we only got Obama after enduring eight years of insanity. And the insanity is still there, bubbling just under the surface.
Remember William Shirer’s dark utterance: “Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically.”
NOTE ADDED AT A LATER DATE: What a complete failure Obama has proved, and worst of all, a mass killer loyally serving CIA and Pentagon interests. It is interesting, though, to read of the kind of hopes he once raised. Maybe, just maybe, no one can be elected who can oppose these interests.