In article <k5imds0...
Bill Clarke <Bill_mem...
Having read Peter's articles for a decade now, my immediate impression was
that his "point" here was virtually the same as it almost always has
seemed to me to be when he starts a new thread by posting a link to an
article with no commentary by him about the article: that he is simply
bringing up a topic for discussion without otherwise taking any particular
stance on it. Peter himself may weigh in to say whether or not my
impression is correct.
> The policy under Ike was the "New Look" which was
> the use of nuclear weapons to replace our conventional forces. While Kennedy
> was building back our conventional and special forces the nuke option was
> certainly still on the table. What might shock you in 2012 wasn't so
> in the early 1960s.
Hmm. I can't imagine why anyone who is at least fairly-well educated on
the Cuban Missile crisis would be even slightly "shocked" by anything in
that article at this late date. I certainly wasn't. I've known for many
years that there had been tactical nukes ready to launch in Cuba during
the crisis that were unknown to the U.S. government until after the
collapse of the Soviet Union. For one thing, I saw and heard Robert
McNamara himself years ago in more than one interview saying so. I'm also
not even slightly surprised, and certainly not even slightly "shocked" by
this "revelation" of this memo from Taylor, which at least as far as its
intent is no revelation to me at all, and would not have been a revelation
or a shock to me a decade ago either. Long ago I bought Richard Rhodes's
1996 book "Dark Sun," which is an excellent and very well-researched book
about the development of the hydrogen or thermonuclear bomb by both the
U.S. and U.S.S.R. In it he quotes Maxwell Taylor as saying something to
the effect that JFK betrayed America by not ordering an invasion of Cuba
in 1962 prior to the end of the crisis, and much else besides, so Taylor's
attitudes about all of this have long been familiar to me.
> To add to this, the memo was written by Taylor, JFK's own man.
"Own man" in a sense, yes. But another book that I first read many years
ago and am currently re-reading is the 1993 "President Kennedy: Profile of
Power" by Richard Reeves, another excellent and well-researched book which
assesses JFK's presidency in a very balanced way, with an approximately
equal mixture of criticism and praise. While initially Kennedy did take
Taylor seriously when the latter helped him analyze the failure of the Bay
of Pigs, by the time of the Missile Crisis Taylor had become a person
whose advice Kennedy trusted very little.
> It was
> a mistake for JFK to bring Taylor out of retirement.