After JFK's Assassination, LBJ Faced a Decision on Vietnam
Seymour Hersh excavates a decisive moment that echoed under Obama and Biden
I recommend today’s history lesson from Seymour Hersh’s indispensable newsletter.
The veteran reporter, one of the most important journalists of the last half century, has challenged the American power elite since he broke the story of the My Lai massacre in 1969. Renowned for his scoops, he is known to be ornery too. We have spoken a couple of times over the years, and more than once he has generously shared his opinion that I’m an incompetent idiot. (Another time he generously shared a file of CIA memos.) And I must admit I thought his reporting about an alleged U.S-mounted false-flag chemical attack in Syria was contradicted by a lot of evidence.
But a gruff manner and one thin story don’t discredit Seymour Hersh. I found his Feb. 6 dispatch, “How the U.S. Took Out the Nordstream Pipeline,” quite convincing, especially in its policymaking detail, an aspect of his account that his OSINT critics mostly avoided.
Proof positive that Hersh was on the mark came in last week’s barrage of “Made in Langley” leaks about shadowy Ukrainian conspirators (“perhaps operating without Kyiv’s direct knowledge”) who might or might not have done the dastardly deed from a chartered yacht. The Western intelligence community needed to come up with a diversionary story—and quickly. Rather too credulously, reporters from Post and the Times ran with it.
Hersh’s story today about George Ball, a forgotten civil servant who argued against escalation in Vietnam, is an invaluable reminder to those who confidently tout escalation in Ukraine as a moral imperative. We’ve been here before, Seymour says. We seen this movie three times in the last 60 years.
[Rep. David] Obey warned Obama that expanding the Afghan War “would crowd out [from the budget] large portions of your domestic program—except perhaps health care.” He asked the new president if he remembered the White House recordings of Lyndon Johnson in the days after the assassination of Kennedy that were released a few years earlier and had become constant Saturday morning public radio fodder. Obama did.
Did the president remember Johnson’s talk within a few months after the he took office with Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, the conservative head of the Armed Services Committee, in which both men acknowledged that adding more troops in Vietnam, then sought by the U.S. commanders in Saigon, would not help the war effort and could even lead to a disastrous war with China? Johnson also worried, he told Russell, that many thousands of American soldiers would die in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Again Obama said yes, he remembered those exchanges.
Obey then asked Obama, “Who’s your George Ball?” There was silence. “Either the president chose not to answer,” the disappointed Obey told me, “or he did not have one.” With that question the conversation was over. Obama subsequently authorized an increase of 30,000 troops for the war.
Just as Johnson agreed to escalate in Vietnam, Obama agreed to escalate in Afghanistan. And now Biden has agreed to escalate in Ukraine.
See the Pattern
Russell, a skeptic about escalation, was also a skeptic of the Warren Commission’s theory of the lone gunman, despite the fact he served on the Commission. As in the debate about escalation in Vietnam, Russell, a die-hard racist, stifled his personal views about JFK’s murder in favor of joining the consensus of his fellow power brokers. Then, as now, the mandarins of Washington assured the American people that one man alone killed JFK for no reason, and that escalation in a distant war was the necessary path to certain victory over an evil foe.
Let’s just say, there is every reason to doubt.
JFK Facts is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
The linked article about the false flag attack in Syria is behind a paywall, so I couldn't read it, but Aaron Mate of The Grayzone covered the phony Douma attack and The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) scandal extensively, all of which was either censored or ignored by American mainstream propaganda outlets, by which I mean the corporate mainstream media. YouTube videos of his coverage were taken down (is this Stalin's Soviet Union, or what?).
Mate testified before the UN Security Council about his findings.
"OPCW inspectors found no evidence to support allegations of a Syrian government chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. But their findings were suppressed, and the team was sidelined."
The Syrian gas attack in Douma was staged, but it was a great story to make us hate Assad and to justify a war against him.
Remember the story about Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti babies out of their incubators which turned out to be a complete fabrication? Same thing.
Interesting article from a mew days ago: “Murder of Anti-Vietnam War Monk Thomas Merton in 1968 Was a CIA Hit Linked with Assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, New Book Argues”