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ishmael
03-29-2011, 07:00 PM
I'm in the middle of a good one, "Thirteen Days".

1962, so I was just a pup, seven years old, yet I felt the tension.

No matter what you can say about JFK, and there are a lot of ill things to say, that was his finest hour.

The pressure on him was strong from the military to try again an invasion. Hair triggers, all around. The choice of a blockade, with the threat of invasion, got Krushsev to back down. Complexities, that only a man of wisdom beyond his years should have had to deal with. We weren't ready to get into a shooting war, we were shooting at each other. That it didn't escalate deserves kudos, not just to JFK, but to Krushev. Especially to Krushev, because he backed down.

The closest we've come to the "big one."

peb
03-29-2011, 07:25 PM
I find, the more I read, the more I respect JFK. Not a great president, but a great leader IMO. He was perhaps the last president (maybe one of the few ever), that could actually motivate the American people, or at least gave it an honest shot. I like listening to some of his speeches. Not bad. And I agree, the Cuban Missile Crisis, although possible a crisis of his own making, was his finest hour. His worst hour was the coup and assasination of Diem, Ho Chi Min said he knew he won at that point in time. Never could understand why he was smart enough to not listen to the "experts" in one instance and listen to the "experts" in the other. He was ill-served by the early cold-war intelligence and military organizations. Ike was smart enough to understand those organization's limitations, JFK not so much.

ishmael
03-29-2011, 07:56 PM
Two things about JFK: He knew history, and he was one of the finest orators to sit in that office in the twentieth century. On a par with FDR, better in some ways. He admired public oratory, understood how it affects people, and made a point of making it good.

Knowing that he was screwing Sam Giancana's moll, Judith Exner, is a bit disconcerting. That whole connection between the Italian and the Irish mobs, that helped get him elected, is a bit disconcerting.

It's probably what got him killed.