Ted Kennedy's New Book Hails JFK's Cuba Policy

by Humberto Fontova

  "In a forthcoming book, Senator Edward M. Kennedy invokes the leadership
of his brothers during the Cuban missile crisis to launch a sharp new attack
on President Bush," headlined the Boston Globe last week, "declaring that
Bush should have followed the example of President John F. Kennedy and his
attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy....He accuses the president of engaging
in an ''unprecedented level of secrecy" about government operations, and
bemoans the Republican ''culture of corruption" in Washington."

  The book's  title is "America Back on Track" and  its release date is
absolutely priceless. Senator Kennedy and his publishers possess either an
extremely morbid sense of humor or an extremely  masochistic one. The
book--hailing JFK's "principled leadership" and "honesty"--hit stores not
just on the very week that marks the 45th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs
invasion--but on the very day.

  Senator Kennedy has lobbed it over home plate. So let's by all means
recall Teddy's brother's administration's  implied "lack of secrecy and
corruption." Most importantly, let's scrutinize his sainted brother's bold
"leadership." The timing couldn't be better.
  "The Republicans have allowed a communist dictatorship to flourish eight
jet minutes from our borders," accused John F. Kennedy during his famous
debate with Richard Nixon during the 1960 Presidential campaign. "We must
support anti-Castro fighters. So far these freedom fighters have received no
help from our government."

  Two weeks before that crucial debate in October of 1960, JFK had been
briefed by the CIA (on Ike's orders) about Cuban invasion plans (what would
later be known as the Bay of Pigs invasion). So JFK   knew perfectly well
the Republican administration was helping Cuban freedom fighters. But since
the plans were secret, he knew perfectly well Nixon couldn't rebut.

  Which is to say, to blindside his Republican opponent Kennedy relied on
that opponent's patriotism. Let's face it, Republicans are at a woeful
disadvantage here. Nixon bit his tongue. He could easily have stomped
Kennedy on it. But to some candidates national security (and those
freedom-fighters lives) outweighs debating points.

  Four months later, 1,400 of those very Cuban freedom-fighters that "we
must support" were slugging it out with 51,000 Castro troops, squadrons of
Stalin tanks and his entire Air force at a beachhead now known as the Bay of
Pigs. (For details see Fidel; Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant. Chapter 11.) JFK
was no longer a candidate. He was now commander in chief.

  It was time to put up or shut up. He'd already done plenty of putting up
by hemming and hawing about the planed invasion from the moment he entered
office. Then by forcing the CIA and military planners to change the landing
site. Then by holding up his approval of an invasion a year in the making
till 24 hours before the planned D-day. Then by canceling 80 percent of the
pre-invasion air strikes. All this was to somehow hide the U.S. logistical
role (this massive secret!)

  JFK and his Best and Brightest were ashamed of that role. James Burnham's
nailed this mindset in a famous passage from his book Suicide of The West:
"the Liberal cannot strike wholeheartedly at the communist for fear of
wounding himself in the process."

  And despite what Camelot's press agency (the MSM and Ivy League Academics)
have written, those pre-invasion airstrikes were the vital element of the
invasion as planned under Eisenhower. The Cuban invasion was born under a
Republican administration, with Vice President Nixon its main booster. The
man who saw through Alger Hiss was also the first to see through Fidel

  After the cancellation of the air strikes,  the invading freedom-fighters
and their supply ships found themselves completely defenseless against
Castro's air force. They were sitting ducks and under a constant hail of
rocket fire. Here was a final chance for President JFK to stand with them,
as promised by candidate JFK.

  The U.S. carrier Essex was stationed 30 miles off the Cuban coast, dozens
of deadly Skyhawk jets on deck and primed for action. Their pilots were
frantic, banging their fists, kicking bulkheads and screaming in tears of
desperate rage against the sellout of their freedom-fighting brothers on
that heroic beachhead.

  Simply give the nod, Mr. Commander in Chief, and they'd roar off to a
chorus of whoops and cheers.
  Now with air cover, the freedom-fighters ammo ships might survive a run on
the beachhead. The invaders could reload, refuel and keep blasting forward.
Their planes could fly in from Nicaragua. Then, perhaps, Cuba's liberation:
firing squads silenced, families reunited, tens of thousands of emaciated
prisoners staggering from dungeons and concentration camps.

  We see it on the History Channel almost weekly, after GI's took places
like Manila and Munich. In  1961 newsreels might have captured such scenes
without crossing oceans. Castro's prison camps and jails held from
250-300,000 prisoners--the highest political incarceration rate on earth at
the time, perhaps the highest in history. If  men who voluntarily took up
arms and put their lives on the line to smash Castro's regime  don't qualify
as freedom fighters, then I surely learned the English language in vain.

  And 45 years ago this week, 1,400 of them were hard at it on the beaches
surrounding Cuba's Bay of Pigs. Thousands more were waging a desperate,
heroic and equally lonely guerrilla war in Cuba's hills. The original plans
called for the two groups of freedom-fighters to link up after the invasion.
The Best and Brightest nixed that when, barely a month before d-day, they
abruptly ordered the stunned military planners to change landing sites.

  "Where are the PLANES?" kept crackling over the invasion ships' radios.
That was their commander, Pepe San Roman, roaring into his radio from the
beachhead between artillery concussions. Soviet Howitzers were pounding two
thousand rounds into the desperately embattled men (and boys.) "Send planes
or we CAN'T LAST!" San Roman yelled while watching the Russian tanks close
in, his ammo deplete and his casualties pile up.

  The pleas made it to Navy Chief Admiral Arleigh Burke in Washington, D.C.,
who conveyed them in person to his commander in chief.

  JFK was in a white tux and tails that fateful night of April 18, 1961,
having just emerged from an elegant Beltway ball. For the closing act of the
glittering occasion Jackie and her charming beau had spun around the dance
floor, to the claps, coos and titters of the delighted guests. In the new
President's honor, the band had struck up the Broadway smash "Mr.

  "Two planes, Mr. President!" Burke  sputtered into his commander in
chief's face. The fighting admiral was livid, pleading for permission to
allow just two of his jets to blaze off the carrier deck and support those
desperately embattled freedom-fighters  on that shrinking beachhead.

  "Burke, we can't get involved in this," replied Mr. Wonderful.

  "WE put those boys there, Mr. President!" the fighting admiral exploded.
"By God, we ARE involved!"
  Mr. Wonderful refused to help the freedom fighters. The advice from his
Best and Brightest again prevailed. The election was over, you see. Now his
"leadership" was on full display.

  "Can't continue," crackled the final message from San Roman a few hours
later. For three days his force of mostly volunteer civilians with one day's
ammo had battled savagely against a Soviet-trained and -led force 10 times
their size, inflicting casualties of 30 to 1. To this day their feat of arms
amazes professional military men. Morale will do that to a fighting force.
And there's no morale booster like having watched Castroism ravage your
homeland and families.

  Pigs will flap their wings through interstellar space before Hollywood (or
the MSM) deigns to depict that battle accurately. But to get an idea of the
odds faced by those freedom-fighters, the desperation of their battle and
the damage they wrought, you might revisit  Tony Montana during the last 15
minutes of  Scarface.

  "Russian tanks overrunning my position" ... San Roman on his radio again
... "destroying my equipment." crackle ... crackle ... crackle ... "How can
you people do this to us?" Finally the radio went dead.

  "Tears filled my eyes," writes CIA man Grayston Lynch, who took that final
message. "I broke down completely. Never in my 37 years have I been so
ashamed of my country."

  Ted kennedy might call it "leadership," but Eisenhower described JFK's
role during the Bay of Pigs as "a profile in indecision and timidity." And
warned that it would embolden the Soviets. Like clockwork, 4 months later
the Berlin Wall went up. And a  year later the Soviets began arming Castro
with Nuclear Missiles.

  18 months after the botched invasion a guilt-stricken JFK ransomed the
remaining freedom-fighters back from Castro's dungeons. Their battlefield
and prison ordeal-- brought on by JFK's famous "leadership"-- was over. But
JFK's  "culture of secrecy," (remember, the very thing Senator Edward
Kennedy blasts in Bush's administration) was far from over.

  "I will never abandon Cuba to Communism!" That was JFK addressing the
recently ransomed freedom- fighters and their families in Miami's Orange
Bowl Dec. 29, 1962. "I promise to deliver this Brigade banner to you in a
free Havana!" Apparently those men and their families hadn't been subject to
enough lies, to enough betrayal. The grieving mothers, widows, and newly
fatherless children – they hadn't been through enough either. In Camelot's
eyes they deserved more shameless lies and swinishness.

  Here's Nikita Khrushchev himself  regarding the deal he'd cut with JFK
barely two months before JFK boomed out his Cuban liberation promises in the
Orange Bowl.: "We ended up getting exactly what we’d wanted all along.
Security for Fidel Castro’s regime and American missiles removed from
Turkey.  Until today, the U.S. has complied with her promise to not
interfere with Castro and to not allow anyone else to interfere with Castro
(italics mine.) After Kennedy's death, his successor Lyndon Johnson  assured
us that he would keep the promise not to invade Cuba."

  "We can't say anything public about this agreement," said Robert F.
Kennedy to Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin when closing the deal that
ended the so-called Missile Crisis. "It would be too much of a political
embarrassment for us."

  Yet JFK (whose administration we're told was untainted by any "culture of
secrecy and corruption") addressed those Cuban men, their families and
compatriots with a straight face.  As CIA man Grayston Lynch writes, "that
was the first time it snowed in the Orange Bowl."

  Senator Kennedy should really be more careful about what administration he
accuses of maintaining a "culture of corruption and secrecy," and especially
about the one he hails as an exemplar of  nobility.