May 23, 2019

NEW: That time U.S. politicians almost blew up the world for absolutely no reason

The RESPONSE to the missiles in Cuba was the real danger Retweet

By Perry Willis

Once upon a time, politicians in Superpower A installed nuclear missiles on the border of Superpower B. The politicians in Superpower B then risked nuclear war to get those missiles removed. You may assume I’m talking about the nukes the Soviets placed in Cuba in 1962, which led to the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis. But you would be wrong.

I’m really talking about the missiles U.S. politicians placed in Turkey in 1961.

The Soviet missiles placed in Cuba in 1962 were partially a reaction to that. Now, please think about this carefully…

If the Soviet missiles in Cuba were so dangerous that they warranted the risk of nuclear war to remove them, then the same was true of the U.S. missiles in Turkey. This suggests something important…

The “experts” you trust to defend you don’t know what they’re doing!

For a small taste of how bad this incompetence can be, consider this taped conversation between JFK and his National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy…

Kennedy: “Why does he (Khrushchev) put these (missiles) in there (Cuba)? What is the advantage of that? It’s just as if we began to put a major number of MRBMs (medium range ballistic missiles) in Turkey.”

Bundy: “Well, we did it, Mr. President.”

And in fact, Kennedy already knew that. He had asked for the missiles to be removed from Turkey several times. He knew they were a problem. This should have led him to propose a trade with Khrushchev, “We’ll withdraw our missiles, if you remove yours.” No missiles, no crisis. But instead…

All the so-called experts, including JFK, wanted to invade Cuba!

Bobby Kennedy even proposed a false-flag, another battleship Maine, to justify the invasion. And the military “experts” continued to favor an invasion even when it became clear that nuclear war would result. I want you to focus on that for a moment…

The Generals and Admirals opposed the missiles in Cuba because they supposedly increased the risk of nuclear war. But they were willing to actually wage nuclear war to protect against nuclear war. The insanity is truly breathtaking. It was an early version of “destroying the village to save the village.” But it gets worse…

The Pentagon had already studied what the strategic impact would be if nuclear missiles were installed in Cuba. The answer was no impact whatsoever. The Cuban missiles would not increase the risk of a first strike. The U.S. would still have a huge nuclear advantage. In other words…

There was nothing at stake in Cuba!

This was a made-up crisis, embraced for political reasons. Kennedy had used a non-existent missile gap to campaign against Nixon. Then, after JFK was in office, Nixon retaliated by accusing Kennedy of being soft on Cuba. JFK tried to counter those charges by saber-rattling at Khrushchev. One month before the “crisis” Kennedy warned the Soviets that there would be dire consequences if they installed offensive capability in Cuba. But those comments were really aimed at his Republican critics, more than at Kruschev. JFK admits his true motivations in taped comments addressed to his advisors as they debated what to do about the Cuban missiles…

Kennedy: “Last month I should have said we didn’t care (about missiles in Cuba). But when we said we were not going to (stand for Soviet forces there), and then they go ahead and do it, and then we do nothing…”

You see, the so-called missile crisis wasn’t about national security. It was about saving face politically. And the lives of every person on Earth were held hostage to that goal.

Given the low stakes, you would think our national security “experts” would have taken precautions to reduce the risk of accidental war. Not true. They did the exact opposite. They took the military to DEFCON 3. This meant that nuclear weapons were added to U.S. planes all over the world. In some cases, this meant that tactical nukes were the only weapons some planes could use to defend themselves. This greatly increased the chance that a small event could start a global nuclear war. Worse…

Many of these weapons could be fired without presidential approval. They weren’t supposed to be used that way, but they could’ve been. And the same was true on the Soviet side. A nuclear conflagration could have begun at any moment, without an order from either Kennedy or Khrushchev. Even worse…

  • The Air Force continued to run U2 flights close to the Soviet Union. These flights were unrelated to the crisis. They were routine missions to check for fallout from Soviet nuclear testing. They were completely unnecessary and unwise given the tensions. One of those flights went off course and crossed deep into Soviet airspace. It could have been mistaken for the start of a bombing attack. When JFK heard about it, he blew his top, remarking, “There’s always some son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t get the word.”
  • The CIA also continued to run sabotage operations against Cuba during the crisis. These missions were strategically useless. They were more likely to increase rather than reduce support for Castro. And they could have lit the fuse for world war.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy was dropping practice depth charges on Soviet subs in the Sargasso Sea, trying to force them to the surface. One Soviet commander got so frazzled that he wanted to fire a nuclear torpedo. Fortunately, he couldn’t get the political officer, Vasili Arkhipov, to agree. The whole world owes Arkhipov a huge debt. He prevented a nuclear holocaust.

Now, consider how this self-inflicted crisis ended. It was painted as a U.S. victory, but it was really a defeat for the foreign policy establishment. Kennedy had to give up the missiles in Turkey and agree to never invade Cuba. The goal of deposing Fidel had to be abandoned. But the actual losses were yet to come.

Our so-called “military experts” ignored the fact that the “crisis” was resolved through a trade. They thought the U.S. show of strength was the key factor. They applied this misunderstanding to Vietnam. They thought military violence could force North Vietnam to negotiate a settlement. But “strength and resolve” wasn’t what worked in the missile crisis, and it didn’t work in Vietnam either.

In short, there was no Cuban Missile Crisis. There was a face-saving crisis. It was the response to the Cuban missiles that created the real danger, NOT the missiles themselves.

Ironically, we still ended up with Soviet missiles just a few miles off our coast, inside Soviet subs. So, if you push aside the Hollywood mythology, the Cuban Missile Crisis amounts to this…

U.S. politicians nearly blew up the world for no reason.

The Cuban Missile Crisis is consistent with the rest of U.S. military history. The actions taken during October 1962 did not defend freedom, they did not defend U.S. security, and they did not make the world a better place.

Perry Willis is a co-founder of Downsize DC and the co-creator of the Zero Aggression Project. He’s twice served as National Director of the Libertarian Party.

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  1. Jack Worthington
    Posted May 23, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the Zero Aggression Project. Tolstoy wrote in The Law of Love and The Law of Violence, is violence. Political government is the bane of humanity. Voting is an act of violence.

    That said, for sure Amerikans lacked resolve in Vietnam but certainly didn’t lack strength. Baring commie China intervention, in a war of attrition, North Vietnam is a loser. Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz, if followed, will be a winner for the U.S.

  2. IMissLiberty
    Posted May 27, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Voting is not an act of violence unless you vote to have violence and threats of violence used to enforce attacks on the rights of others. If you would not do it in person, yourself, because it’s morally wrong, voting in secret to do the same is also immoral. But voting warmongers and thieves out of public office is an act of heroism, just as if you defended our rights in person, no violence required. Freedom may require both violence and voting, but always start with voting, or you’re just as bad as those who start with politics for oppression, because politics is always violent unless it’s used to reduce politics.

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