To the Editor…

by on November 27, 2013


RE. “President Kennedy’s False Legacy” by Randy Shaw‚ BeyondChron, November 21‚ 2013:

The author’s assertion that President Kennedy “did little to help the burgeoning Civil Rights movement” is not well founded. The historical evidence does not support it. Leaders of the Civil Rights movement respected and supported President Kennedy’s leadership on civil rights issues.

President Kennedy’s role in the beginnings and build up of the U.S. War in Viet Nam was a tragic one. Like many others in American history of that decade and era, President Kennedy fell victim to the propaganda of an “anti-Communist” foreign policy – – in this instance, to support the government of Ngo Dinh Diem of South Viet Nam with American taxpayers’ monies and military intervention.

The historical evidence also shows, however, that President Kennedy tried to eventually extricate the U.S. from its involvement in the War in Viet Nam.

One piece of the evidence was the visit of Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, President Diem’s sister-in-law, to the United States in October 1963. During her trip, Madame Nhu publicly stated that she felt that the U.S. government was planning to end or topple President Diem’s and her husband Ngo Dinh Nhu’s regime in Saigon. According to Time magazine, when asked about President Kennedy, Madame Nhu offered the response, “I would be satisfied to say to him, ‘Bonjour,’ and the rest would come according to the imagination of the moment.”

Madame Nhu’s ominous prediction came to fruition in early November, with the overthrow of President Diem and Ngo Dinh Nhu.

President Kennedy’s efforts to gradually end the U.S. engagement in the Viet Nam War, and whether he was effective and successful in doing so, will be judged by historians. President Kennedy’s striving to extricate American involvement from the Viet Nam War was cut short by his assassination.

Finally, President Kennedy should be credited for his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis and avoiding a world nuclear holocaust.

President Kennedy’s skillful dealing with President Nikita Krushchev of the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis prevented nuclear annihilation.

Jacqueline Kennedy wrote a letter to President Krushchev shortly after President Kennedy’s funeral. On December 1, 1963, she wrote, “I know how much my husband cared about peace, and how the relation between you and him was central to this care in his mind.

You and he were adversaries, but you were allied in a determination that the world should not be blown up. He used to quote your words in some of his speeches, ‘In the next war the survivors will envy the dead.'”

It is truly tragic that President Kennedy never saw the peace arrive in Viet Nam.

That peace finally arrived in Viet Nam almost twelve years later, when the war ended on April 30, 1975.

Anh Le
San Francisco

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