Sunday, April 11, 2004

EXTRA - JFK responsible for his own assassination - EXTRA

How do we know that? Well, if we think like Jim Pinkerton it's easy. Presidents are threatened all the time, and according to Pinkerton we get to pick out which threats are credible and specific after the fact. QED.

He has a unique interpretation of specificity. He thinks that the title of the recently released PDB, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States", is specific. Just what would it take to be vague?

Here's some more wisdom:
Kerrey was bound by the same strict rules of classification as Ben-Veniste, but he's a free-spirited war hero and so didn't care that he was breaking those rules. "In the spirit of further declassification," he announced, "this is what the August 6th memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking. That's the language of the memo that was briefed to the president on the 6th of August."

Ouch again. "Hijacking" is pretty darn specific - which seems to contradict Rice's assertion that the intelligence was "frustratingly vague" as to the "manner of attack."
And weren't hijackings already against the law? Or do we only worry about the ones that might be an "attack inside the United States"?

And as long as I'm cussing him there's this too:
If you knew that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had received a memo a month before Pearl Harbor entitled, "Japanese Determined to Attack the United States in the Pacific," and that he had done nothing about that information, would that knowledge change your perception of FDR as a wise war leader?

Roosevelt received no such memo, of course, but President George W. Bush got a blunt warning five weeks before 9/11 and he did little or nothing. He even presided over a stand- down in preparations, concentrating on other concerns.
Of all people, he brings up Roosevelt. Problem #1 - who says FDR was such a wise war leader? Problem #2 - who says he didn't see such a memo? I wonder what Pinkerton would have had to say about it if Republicans had subjected Roosevelt to the kind of political harassment that Bush has been receiving since he took on Afghanistan, but the Republicans had some class:
At some point, private character and public duty will converge. If the false dichotomy is accepted and nurtured among our people, the results of such a convergence could be disastrous to our nation.

And so, a final story. In 1944, in the last year of W.W.II, Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York was the nominee for president running against Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt was seeking a fourth term and, even though he was very popular, he was vulnerable because of his age and apparent personal illness.

All Dewey needed was a knockout issue to make the race close and, possibly, win. And his aides found him one. Dewey was told that the army had broken the Japanese code before Pearl Harbor and knew, or should have known, of the impending attack. This was a serious issue and would most assuredly weaken Roosevelt. Tom Dewey was an ambitious man. He was a bit vain. He had some character flaws. And he wanted to be president.

While he was deciding how to use the issue, he was visited by George C. Marshall, five-star general and commander of all American forces. Marshall told Dewey that he was right. We had cracked the code. We might very well have made a mistake before Pearl Harbor. But what Dewey did not know, Marshall told him, was that the Japanese were still using the same code. Our enemy did not know we had broken it. Because they were still using it, we were able to plan our attacks with near strategic and logistical perfection. Marshall couldn't stop Dewey from using this issue, but if he did use it, the Japanese would change the code.

This was a moment of convergence for Tom Dewey. He did not hesitate. He did not assume a smug self righteousness about the people's right to know. He assured Gen. Marshall that neither he nor any one on his staff would breathe a word about the code. Tom Dewey kept his word -- and he lost the election. But he showed leadership in a moment of crisis. It was leadership based on character.
Wouldn't it have been fun to go through all of the intercepted Japanese communications to see if some political points could be scored? Yeah, we could have been talking about this in the spring and summer of 1944 - to hell with preparing for D-Day.

I used to think Jim Pinkerton had a clue. No more.

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