The last real President we had (read: not beholden to the corrupting influence of the Pentagon, wealthy defense contractors and corporate overlords) was brutally murdered 52 years ago today, and those responsible for the crime will never be brought to justice. But on this day, I’d rather remember JFK for his courageous stand against the shadow government which has ruled America ever since, rather than be bitter about the treasonous culprits who got away with the coup d’etat on November 22, 1963.
In the first months of his presidency, Jack Kennedy was trapped into foolishly permitting an ill-fated CIA-planned invasion of Cuba. The Bay of Pigs fiasco taught him two important lessons: the CIA under Eisenhower had become a secret government unto its own, accountable to no one, and responsible for overthrowing democratic governments across the globe; and the Joints Chiefs’ military advice could not be trusted. Subsequently, Kennedy, acting on his own, refused to succumb to the nuclear-holocaust dreams of his psychopathic generals. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he bravely and shrewdly kept us out of World War III with the Soviet Union. He cut the CIA’s budget. He vowed to remove all American military presence from Vietnam in his second term. He was determined to make peace with the Russians rather than enter into a deadly exchange of atomic weapons which would have annihilated all life on Earth. He signed a nuclear test ban treaty. He suggested that peace, rather than war, become America’s way of life.
Since his death, we have constantly been at war, or under the threat of war, and, thus, have been a people under siege for the last half century. Concomitantly, we have seen the rise of the military-industrial complex to the point where we have become, truly, JFK’s worst nightmare: a war-based economy. It is estimated that 65% of our national budget is devoted to military spending, and not one candidate currently running for high office dares to suggest that we cut military spending. Terrorism and the threat of terrorism is the new ploy to empty our pockets. We remain the world’s policemen, cleaning up incidents that happen thousands of miles from our shores. All so that Lockheed, the Carlyle Group, and Halliburton can profit mightily. It is not an overstatement to say that these war profiteers secretly control America. For with their billions they are able finance the campaigns of candidates who hold the purse strings on military spending. These candidates’ nationalistic and jingoistic rhetoric inflame the population and create enemies across the globe. It is good for business. The policies of the war state are most profitable when the nation lives in a perpetual state of fear. And the merchants of military build-up--in our Congress, in the Pentagon, and in our Executive branch—make sure we are always in a state of fear.
The novel idea of peaceful co-existence with sovereign states, whose cultures, religions, and political systems, are different from ours, died with JFK in Dallas 52 years ago today. Consider what might have been had he not been killed. These are his words from a speech delivered on June 10, 1963, when he urged Americans to consider peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union:
“What kind of a peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace – the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living – the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.”