At 3/5/08 10:00 PM, TheMason wrote:
Later in your post you talk about "not backing down" in the CMC and the cost to our image and our perceived strength in the international arena.
Among other reasons. That was honestly the first that came to my mind, but to be truthful it was only an added benifit. The true purposes for taking military action were much stronger. More on that later.
Yet above you make the claim that "we weren't commited in any financial/social sense to Vietnam" and "there wouldn't have been as serious of repercussions." There is a MAJOR disconnect in your reasoning here.
Maybe if that was the only reason I had given for the naval blockade, which if you check: it wasn't.
Read up on the things that were going on socially and politically in Vietnam while JFK was alive. What commits us to military action is not the deployment of military personnel. Rather, it is the political decisions made by governments in the 3-5 years leading up to the start of hostilities.
Pearl Harbor did not commit the US to war against Japan; it was the US embargo against Japan that charted the course towards war.
Pearl Horbor did not commit the US to war against Germany; it was the Treaty of Versailles but also the lend lease program.
Sorry but you're absolutely wrong. Military action IS what commits us to war. What you're trying to argue is that military action is the result of a more prolonged chain of political actions, which is true. For example, it is true that the Treaty of Versailles almost definitely allowed the Nazi's to come to power, which ultimately led the country to invade poland and start WW2.
However, the Treaty of Versailles did not commit us to the war, what ultimately commited us to the war on Germany was their declaration of war on us, after we declared war on Japan. So although I see where you're coming from, your original point of JFk committing us to Vietnam, is false.
JFK may have set us on the path to leading us into Vietnam (may have), but that doesn't mean he was the one who commited us to the war. The man who commited us to the war was undeniably LBJ, when he ordered the bombing runs on the North Vietnamese.
Quotes from the other side added for dramatic effect
Alright, glad to know the other side had opinions. A tad bit irrelevant.
Wars do not suddenly happen...not even 9/11. There is a political context and commitment to a policy that leads to war. JFK's decisions in regards to Diem and sending in advisors/Spec Ops puts the US on a path to defend a country...and if we reverse this policy after undertaking the actions JFK took we would have looked far weaker and unreliable than if he did not order the naval blockade of Cuba.
No, wars do suddenly happen. What doesn't happen suddenly are the slowly built tensions that lead to war, on this I agree. But a declaration of war (not in the formal sense, since I know that's all that matters to you) is "sudden".
Coming back to LBJ, since he was the one who started the military campaign in Vietnam, and thus he was the one who "committed" us to Vietnam.
Dude, backing down was NOT an issue BEFORE the blockade was ordered!
That is false. But it's not easy to explain in words why, so I should start with this story to help break my point:
Presumably after the blockade was in place (I'm note sure if it was before or after), the US sent a message to the Russians which suggested, that if they removed the missiles from cuba then the US would not invade.
The White house then received 2 messages:
The first message was written (as Robert McNamara describes it) by a man seriously depressed or drunk. It basically said (if I must make it short), that if the US promised not to invade, that he would remove the missiles from cuba.
The second message took a completely different tone. This message that arrived after the first message said that if the US invaded cuba, it would mean nuclear war.
Now what do you think this tells us about the affairs in Russia? Do I have to spoon feed it to you?
Khrushchev wasn't fully in control of his country, if he had removed the missiles before showing his country that the US was taking action against Cuba, he might have been removed from power. The Naval Blockade allowed Khrushchev to negotiate the removal of the missiles in Turkey, while still looking strong in front of his people.
What JFK did wrong was escalate, needlessly, a diplomatic situation into a military one way too early. Even if the Soviet ships had managed to off-load their cargo it would've taken days if not weeks to get the weapons operational...more than enough time for a negotiated response.
We did have a negotiated response. And as I have explained, the US needed to take some form of military action. The Naval Blockade, was a very limited military response.
Now, in what way did the US look good in this? Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba because the US had missiles in Turkey, a VERY short flight from the USSR's version of Camp David on the Black Sea. Khrushchev wanted them gone...that's all. What was the end result of the CMC? Removal of US nukes from Turkey and Cuba. Why the HELL did we need to PUBLICLY bring the world to the brink of nuclear ANNIHILATION and then the outcome is what the SOVIETS wanted? JFK knee-jerked to a military response that was out of proportion to the problem at hand; JFK's initial handling of the CMC was entirely reckless. The US did not win...the SOVIETS got what they wanted while all the US was to save face that was lost due to the naval blockade.
How exactly did the US lose face do the naval blockade? Both sides viewed it as a victory; the situation was diplomatically solved in a way that benefited both sides politically and militarily.
When the situation first reached the white house, JFK's entire cabinet voted unanimously for the invasion of Cuba. UNANIMOUSLY. And each and every one of them more experienced and educated than you. And JFK, the "rookie" president who had just recently blundered in the bay of pigs went against his entire cabinet by saying "no".
That is the action of an admirable and diplomatic president like JFK.
Boy you need to learn about US history. The Founding Fathers when they signed the Declaration of Independence put their asses on the line. They were traitors to the Crown...they were taking action. Furthermore, they had the education and expertise to write the Constitution. Unlike JFK who was not in possession of the skills (he wasn't a rocket scientist) required to get anyone to the moon other than his charisma and the power of the presidency.
I'm curious how you think my knowledge of history correlates at all to this. Oh wait that's right, it doesn't. I never claimed that the founding fathers didn't put their lives on the line (nice attempt at obfuscation though). The fact of the matter is, that the credit for establishing the space program that directly led us to placing a man on the moon belongs to JFK. Someone else might have if he hadn't (like someone else may have tried to rebel against the british empire if the original founding fathers had not), but he still was the one to establish it, and thus credit is due to him.
Actually the space program was established under another president: Eisenhower. NASA was established in 1958.
Who says I was referring to NASA when I said "space program"? I know Eisenhower established NASA, and I think it's overly obvious what I'm reffering to when I use the term "space program", especially in the context in which I am using it. Never the less, JFK undoubtedly established a space program that led to a man being placed on the moon.