60 years ago today, President John F Kennedy was shot and killed as his Presidential limousine drove through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas. That event marked the end of a short-lived time of idealism in America. John F Kennedy’s presidency painted a picture of aspiring optimism about America and its future that many aspired to. As he said in his inauguration address, “the torch has been passed to the new generation of Americans”. And Kennedy represented that new generation filled with renewed hope and selfless patriotism. He instructed his fellow Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
There was almost a regal quality to Kennedy’s presidency. It possessed an idyllic charm that many of our citizens admired and hoped to emulate. People had pride in America. Kennedy’s presidency has often been referred to as “Camelot” from King Arthur and the Knights of the round table. The round table was a telling metaphor about his political vision because a round table does not have a head. There’s no hierarchy. Everyone has equal standing. And that depicted the vision of Kennedy’s America, a more democratic view of power, where everybody has an equal voice, everybody has equal standing. But Kennedy’s death was the watershed moment that shattered that idyllic vision and ushered in the one of the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history – the 1960’s.
In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, a former marine with communist ties. But to this day, 60 years later, many people believe that Kennedy’s assassination was a conspiracy reaching to the highest levels of power in our government. It is difficult to say definitely which is true. But what always bothered me about the assassination of Kennedy, was the murder of his alleged assassin. Less than two days after Kennedy was killed, Oswald was fatally shot by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters on live television in front of the world.
If you believe the Warren report, Oswald’s murder doesn’t make sense. Why would Jack Ruby kill Oswald when killing the President is a capital offense? Why would a married man with children decide to spend the rest of his life in prison merely because he was upset that the President was killed? How did he get in the basement of the police station? How was Ruby allowed to have access to Oswald? Jack Ruby had ties to the mafia, so the only logical answer to Oswald’s killing is the old mafia phrase, “dead men tell no tales.” Oswald never got the chance to tell his side of the story; he never got the chance to defend himself, so we are now forced to take the governments word for who killed Kennedy. We can either believe that a lone gunman took down the most powerful man in the free world, or a conspiracy emanating from the most prominent levels of power in our government did.
On January 17, 1961, in his farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D Eisenhower said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.” Two and a half years before Kennedy’s assassination, President Eisenhower warned how the “military-industrial complex” could “endanger… our democratic processes.” And what is more dangerous to our democratic processes than an assassination which negates a free and fair election?
It is puzzling that 58 years after the Warren Commission report, not all the documents related to Kennedy’s assassination have been released. By law, they were all required to have been released by 2017, but for some reason, thousands and thousands of documents remained sealed. Why? They have released caches of documents at various times over the years, under the guise of transparency, but not all the documents which ends up being the opposite of transparency. If Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, who are they protecting by concealing these documents? Wouldn’t releasing all the evidence prove their conclusions and erase all of the doubt and conspiracy theories? But they remain sealed.
There is a reason why they do not want all of the evidence released. As we saw this week, when Speaker of the House Mike Johnson released all of the January 6 video from the Capitol, and a completely different story emerged from the one that our intelligence agencies have been telling us. January 6 was not the “armed insurrection” that has been promoted by our government for the last two and a half years. In fact, there is video evidence showing that law enforcement agents aided and abetted the trespassing and the riots.
It was no secret that John F Kennedy and the intelligence community were at odds. In 1961, the CIA tried to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba with the Bay of Pigs invasion using 1,400 CIA trained Cuban exiles, but Kennedy, in his attempt to keep US fingerprints off the assassination attempt, did not authorize air support for the invasion and the Bay of Pigs turned into a massacre.
The CIA also wanted to expand the United States involvement in the Vietnam war, but Kennedy did not want the United States military to get trapped in the quagmire that France got stuck in for 15 years. After initially, deploying 16,000 military advisors to Vietnam, Kennedy changed his mind about that war, and on October 11, 1963, signed executive order 263, which outlined a plan to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel from Vietnam by the end of 1963, and eventually withdraw US military personnel completely.
Because Kennedy would not do the bidding of the CIA and the military-industrial complex, and push us into a pointless, endless war in Vietnam, he had to be taken out and replaced by someone who would. Lyndon Baines Johnson was more than willing to expand the war in Vietnam if they made him President. Shortly after Kennedy’s assassination, the United States military aid to Vietnam increased substantially, and by 1965, President Johnson authorized US troops to begin military offensives and bombing of North Vietnam. By 1968, the number of US forces surpassed 500,000. During that year's Presidential campaign, Americans were deeply divided by the Vietnam war.
Do you ever wonder how a President who won the electoral vote 520-17, and won 49 out of 50 states, and was the most popular re-elected President in our nation’s history, was forced to resign less than 2 years after his re-election? Richard Nixon’s legacy has been tarnished by the Watergate scandal, but why was he so popular before the scandal, if he was such a bad person? Were the American people that stupid that they could not recognize how much of a crook he was?
In 1972, a major part of Nixon’s re-election platform was to get the United States out of Vietnam, and that was one of the main reasons why he was so popular. The American public had grown weary of the war. In 1969, Nixon pulled 25,000 soldiers out of Vietnam and wanted to only support the war effort through the air, not with US ground troops. Shortly after his second inauguration, on January 27, 1973, Nixon brokered a peace agreement between North and South Vietnam (that both sides later reneged on). But Nixon did not want the United Staes involved in this war any longer, so he had to be removed from office.
What did Nixon do so wrong? He used intelligence agents to spy on his political opponent which was a criminal offense in 1972, but apparently it wasn’t in the 1960’s when Johnson did it throughout his presidency, and it is no longer a crime because Obama did it in 2016 against Donald Trump, and not one person has been arrested or indicted or impeached or thrown in jail for doing the exact same thing that took Nixon down. Why didn’t the intelligence agencies bother with Obama? He expanded the war in Afghanistan, and helped instigate five other wars in the Middle East during his eight years in the White House. He was doing exactly what the CIA wanted him to do.
Which brings us to Donald Trump. Trump started no new wars in the four years that he was in office. He brokered five Middle East peace treaties. The CIA and FBI don’t like that. The military-industrial complex doesn’t like that. They need us to be in constant warfare. Peace is not their business. War is their business. Donald Trump’s vision of a peaceful world, cuts into their profit margin, and he had to be taken out. 60 years ago, they could take out a President with a bullet, but they can’t do that anymore. So, they have to do what they are doing – using the courts, creating false flags, rigging elections. What was Trump’s crime? He exposed the corruption in our intelligence agencies.
On January 4, 2017, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called President Donald Trump “dumb” for publicly taking on the intelligence community. He told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.” What are some of those six ways? Spying on his transition and Presidency? Creating a false Russian Collusion investigation to get him thrown out of office? Helping to rig the election against him? Framing him for an insurrection? Trump took on the intelligence community and they found a way to take him out.
They got rid of Donald Trump, and now, we are in a proxy war with Russia and the Middle East is on fire again. We have given over $150 billion to Ukraine and tens of billions to Israel. The Military-industrial complex has been well funded by the Biden administration. How many wars in the Middle East did Barack Obama and his Secretary of State start during his presidency? Five. More money was spent and more lives were lost in Afghanistan under Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama than warmonger George W Bush. That seems odd.
JFK cut taxes and would not do the bidding of the military-industrial complex and he was assassinated. Richard Nixon cut taxes and would not do the bidding of the military-industrial complex and he was run out of office. Trump cut taxes and would not do the bidding of the military-industrial complex and he “lost” his re-election to a man with early onset dementia who miraculously received 81 million votes.
We all know what we want. We want Camelot. We want that idealism, that optimism, that peace and prosperity that we are teased with so often from time to time. We want that brief shiny moment to last forever, but it never does because there are too many people who hate Camelot, who can’t profit off of Camelot, who need to kill Camelot. So, all we will ever get are those brief shiny moments that somehow sustain us through the long dark times that the power brokers in our country continually create for us.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.