A historian's comments on current events, foreign and domestic.
ProfessorBravo! We differ on many things, but I wish I had been reading yours from the beginning. Reading yours in fact started me on mine, for which many will justifiably have very mixed feelings.I have mixed feelings about mine too, but I have no choice any more.All the best
American Tragedy is a great and compelling book. However, I think Kennedy's judgement was impaired by the death of his son Patrick on August 9, 1963. Instead of mourning with his wife and nursing Jackie back to health (she almost bled to death during the delivery) he sat in the White House with his mistress Mimi Alford going through and sobbing over the bags of condolence cards and notes. (See Once Upon a Secret by Mimi Alford). Then, virtually by himself, with the major (opposed) cabinet members on vacation at the end of August, he set in motion the train of events that resulted in the overthrow and murder of Diem.If you look at the timing of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, LBJ put it squarely on the calendar at the time he considered himself the caretaker of Kennedy's legacy, before he was nominated for the presidency in his own right.Overthrowing a head of state is an act of war, even if the head of state is your friend. Overthrowing Diem also jeopardized American foreign policy around the world. Who would want to be the friend of a nation that stabs its best friend in the back? No, something had to happen fast to reassure our allies that overthrowing friendly governments is a policy of the Kennedy administration alone, not the United States of America.Personally, I think Harkins was the eminence grise through back channels. It's almost a great joke to blame it on the Marines. And my analysis makes more sense because it means that the Vietnam War cost Kennedy his life (appropriately), Johnson his re-election, and Nixon his presidency.Josh Leinsdorf email@example.comP.S. My knowledge about Patrick Kennedy's medical condition and Jackie's comes from my personal acquaintance with Dr. William Berenberg, the head of Children's Hospital where Patrick was brought after delivery at the air force base on the cape. Dr. Berenberg was the father of a friend and told us about the president's visit to the hospital to visit his son before he died.
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