Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chapter - VI -Bush in World War II

George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography --- by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin

Chapter - VI -Bush in World War II

    Plut aux dieux que ce fut le dernier de ses crimes!
    --Racine, Britannicus

George Bush has always traded shamelessly on his alleged record as a naval aviator during the Second World War in the Pacific theatre. During the 1964 senate campaign in Texas against Senator Ralph Yarborough, Bush televised a grainy old film which depicted young George being rescued at sea by the crew of the submarine USS Finnback after his Avenger torpedo bomber was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire during a bombing raid on the island of Chichi Jima on September 2, 1944. That film, retrieved from the Navy archives, backfired when it was put on the air too many times, eventually becoming something of a maladroit cliche.

Bush's campaign literature has always celebrated his alleged exploits as a naval aviator and the Distinguished Flying Cross he received. As we become increasingly familiar with the power of the Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones network working for Senator Prescott Bush, we will learn to become increasingly skeptical of such official accolades and of the official accounts on which they are premissed.

But George Bush has always traded shamelessly on his alleged war record. During Bush's Gulf war adventure of 1990-91, the adulation of Bush's ostensible warrior prowess reached levels that were previously considered characteristic of openly totalitarian and militaristic regimes. Late in 1990, after Bush had committed himself irrevocably to his campaign of bombing and savagery against Iraq, hack writer Joe Hyams completed an authorized account of George Bush at war. This was entitled Flight of the Avenger (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991), and appeared during the time of the Middle East conflagration that was the product of Bush's obsessions. Hyams's work had the unmistakeable imprimatur of the regime: not just George, but also Barbara had been interviewed during its preparation, and its adulatory tone placed this squalid text squarely within the "red Studebaker" school of political hagiography.

The appearance of such a book at such a time is suggestive of the practice of the most infamous twentieth-century dictatorships, in which the figure of the strong man, Fuehrer, duce, or vozhd as he might be called, has been used for the transmission of symbolic-allegorical directives to the subject population. Was fascist Italy seeking to assert its economic autarky in food production in the face of trade sanctions by the League of Nations? Then a film would be produced by the MINCULPOP (the Ministry of Popular Culture, or propaganda) depicting Mussolini indefatigably harvesting grain. Was Nazi Germany in the final stages of preparation of a military campaign against a neighboring state? If so, Goebbels would orchestrate a cascade of magazine articles and best-selling pulp evoking the glories of Hitler in the trenches of 1914-18. Closer to our own time, Leonid Brezhnev sought to aliment his own personality cult with a little book called Malaya Zemlya, an account of his war experiences which was used by his propagandists to motivate his promotion to Marshal of the USSR and the erection of a statue in his honor during his own lifetime. This is the tradition to which Flight of the Avenger belongs.

Bush tells us in his campaign autobiography that he decided to enlist in the armed forces, specifically naval aviation, shortly after he heard of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. About six months later, Bush graduated from Phillips Academy, and the commencement speaker was Secretary of War Henry Stimson, eminence grise of the US ruling elite. Stimson was possibly mindful of the hecatomb of young members of the British ruling classes which had occurred in the trenches of World War I on the western front. In any event, Stimson's advice to the Andover graduates was that the war would go on for a long time, and that the best way of serving the country was to continue one's education in college. Prescott Bush supposedly asked his son if Stimson's recommendation had altered his plan to enlist. Young Bush answered that he was still committed to join the navy.

Henry L. Stimson was certainly an authoritative spokesman for the Eastern Liberal Establishment, and Bushman propaganda has lately exalted him as one of the seminal influences on Bush's political outlook. Stimson had been educated at both Yale (where he had been tapped by Skull and Bones) and Harvard Law School. He became the law partner of Elihu Root, who was Theordore Roosevelt's secretary of state. Stimson had been Theodore Roosevelt's anti-corruption, trust-busting US Attorney in New York City during the first years of the FBI, then Taft's secretary of war, a colonel of artillery in World War I, Governor General of the Philippines for Coolidge, secretary of state for Hoover, and enunciator of the "Stimson doctrine." This last was a piece of hypocritical posturing directed against Japan, asserting that changes in the international order brought about by force of arms (and thus in contravention of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928) should not be given diplomatic recognition. This amounted to a US committment to uphold the Versailles system, the same policy upheld by Baker, Eagleburger, and Kissinger in the Serbian war on Slovenia and Croatia during 1991. Stimson, though a Republican, was brought into Roosevelt's war cabinet in 1940 in token of bipartisan intentions.

But in 1942, Bush was not buying Stimson's advice. It is doubtless significant that in the mind of young George Bush, World War Two meant exclusively the war in the Pacific, against the Japanese. In the Bush-approved accounts of this period of his life, there is scarcely a mention of the European theatre, despite the fact that Roosevelt and the entire Anglo-American establishment had accorded strategic priority to the "Germany first" scenario. Young George, it would appear, had his heart set on becoming a navy flier.

Normally the Navy required two years of college from volunteers wishing to become naval aviators. But, for reasons which have never been satisfactorily explained, young George was exempted from this requirement. Had father Prescott's crony Artemus Gates, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, been instrumental in making the exception, which was the key to allowing George to become the youngest of all navy pilots?

On June 12, 1942, his eighteenth birthday, Bush joined the navy in Boston as a seaman second class. [fn 1] He was ordered to report for active duty as an aviation cadet on August 6, 1942. After a last date with Barbara, George was taken to Penn Station in New York City by father Prescott to board a troop train headed for Chapel Hill, North Carolina. At Chapel Hill Naval Air Station, one of Bush's fellow cadets was the well-known Boston Red Sox hitter Ted Williams, who would later join Bush on the campaign trail in his desperate fight in the New Hampshire primary in February, 1988.

After preflight training at Chapel Hill, Bush moved on to Wold-Chamberlain Naval Airfield in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he flew solo for the first time in November, 1942. In February, 1943 Bush moved on to Corpus Christi, Texas, for further training. Bush received his commission as an ensign at Corpus Christi on June 9, 1943.

After this Bush moved through a number of naval air bases over a period of almost a year for various types of advanced training. In mid-June 1943 he was learning to fly the Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo-bomber at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In August he made landings on the USS Sable, a paddle wheel ship that was used as an aircraft carrier for training purposes. During the summer of 1943 Bush spent a couple of weeks of leave with Barbara at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport; their engagement was announced in the New York Times of December 12, 1943.

Later in the summer of 1943 Bush moved on to the Naval Air Base at Norfolk, Virginia. In September, 1943 Bush's new squadron, called VT-51, moved on to the Naval Air Station at Chincoteague, Virginia, located on the Delmarva peninsula. On December 14, 1943 Bush and his squadron were brought to Philadelphia to attend the commissioning of the USS San Jacinto (CVL30), a light attack carrier built on a cruiser hull. Since the name of the ship recalled Sam Houston's defeat of the Mexican leader Santa Anna in 1836, and since the ship flew a Lone Star flag, Bushman propaganda has made much of these artefacts in an attempt to buttress "carpetbag" Bush's tenuous connections to the state of Texas. Bush's VF-51 squadron reported on board this ship for a shakedown cruise on February 6, 1944, and on March 25, 1944 the San Jacinto left for San Diego by way of the Panama Canal. The San Jacinto reached Pearl harbor on April 20, 1944, and was assigned to Admiral Marc A. Mitscher's Task Force 58/38, a group of fast carriers, on May 2, 1944.

In June Bush's ship joined battle with Japanese forces in the Marianas archpelago. Here Bush flew his first combat missions. On June 17, a loss of oil pressure forced Bush to make an emergency landing at sea. Bush, along with his two crewmembers, gunner Leo Nadeau and radioman-tail gunner John L. Delaney, were picked up by a US destroyer after some hours in the water. Bush's first Avenger, named by him the Barbara, was lost.

During July, 1944 Bush took part in thirteen air strikes, many in connection with the US marines landing on Guam. In August Bush's ship proceeded to the area of Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima in the Bonin Islands for a new round of sorties.

On September 2, 1944, Bush and three other Avenger pilots, escorted by Hellcat fighter planes, were directed to attack a radio transmitter on Chichi Jima. Planes from the USS Enterprise would also join in the attack. On this mission Bush's rear-seat gunner would not be the usual Leo Nadeau, but rather Lt. (jg) William Gardner "Ted" White, the squadron ordnance officer of VT-51, already a Yale graduate and already a member of Skull and Bones. White's father had been a classmate of Prescott Bush. White took his place in the rear-facing machine gun turret of Bush's TBM Avenger, the Barbara II. The radioman-gunner was John L. Delaney, a regular member of Bush's crew.

What happened in the skies of Chichi Jima that day is a matter of lively controversy. Bush has presented several differing versions of his own story. In his campaign autobiography published in 1987 Bush gives the following account:

    The flak was the heaviest I'd ever flown into. The Japanese were ready and waiting: their antiaircraft guns were set up to nail us as we pushed into our dives. By the time VT-51 was ready to go in, the sky was thick with angry black clouds of exploding antiaircraft fire.

    Don Melvin led the way, scoring hits on a radio tower. I followed, going into a thirty-five degree dive, an angle of attack that sounds shallow but in an Avenger felt as if you were headed straight down. The target map was strapped to my knee, and as I started into my dive, I'd already spotted the target area. Coming in, I was aware of black splotches of gunfire all around.

    Suddenly there was a jolt, as if a massive fist had crunched into the belly of the plane. Smoke poured into the cockpit, and I could see flames rippling across the crease of the wing, edging towards the fuel tanks. I stayed with the dive, homed in on the target, unloaded our four 500-pound bombs, and pulled away, heading for the sea. Once over water, I leveled off and told Delaney and White to bail out, turning the plane to starboard to take the slipstream off the door near Delaney's station.

    Up to that point, except for the sting of dense smoke blurring my vision, I was in fair shape. But when I went to make my jump, trouble came in pairs. [fn 2]

In this account, there is no more mention of White and Delaney until Bush hit the water and began looking around for them. Bush says that it was only after having been rescued by the USS Finnback, a submarine, that he "learned that neither Jack Delaney nor Ted White had survived. One went down with the plane; the other was seen jumping, but his parachute failed to open." The Hyams account of 1991 was written after an August 1988 interview with Chester Mierzejewski, another member of Bush's squadron, had raised important questions about the haste with which Bush bailed out, rather than attempting a water landing. Mierzejewski's account, which is summarized below, contradicted Bush's own version of these events, and hinted that Bush might have abandoned his two crewmembers to a horrible and needless death. The Hyams account, which is partly intended to refute Mierzejewski, develops as follows:

    ...Bush was piloting the third plane over the target, with Moore flying on his wing. He nosed over into a thirty-degree glide, heading straight for the radio tower. Determined to finally destroy the tower, he used no evasive tactics and held the plane directly on target. His vision ahead was occasionally cancelled by bursts of black smoke from the Japanese antiaircraft guns. The plane was descending through thickening clouds of flak pierced by the flaming arc of tracers.

    There was a sudden flash of light followed by an explosion. "The plane was lifted forward, and we were enveloped in flames," Bush recalls. "I saw the flames running along the wings where the fuel tanks were and where the wings fold. I thought, This is really bad! It's hard to remember the details, but I looked at the instruments and couldn't see them for the smoke."

    Don Melvin, circling above the action while waiting for his pilots to drop their bombs and get out, thought the Japanese shell had hit an oil line on Bush's Avenger. "You could have seen that smoke for a hundred miles."

Perhaps so, but it is difficult to understand why the smoke from Bush's plane was so distinctly visible in such a smoke-filled environment. Hyams goes on to describe Bush's completion of his bombing run. His account continues:

    By then the wings were covered in flames and smoke, and the engine was blazing. He considered making a water landing but realized it would not be possible. Bailing out was absolutely the last choice, but he had no other option. He got on the radio and notified squadron leader Melvin of his decision. Melvin radioed back, "Received your message. Got you in sight. Will follow."

    [...] Milt Moore, flying directly behind Bush, saw the Avenger going down smoking. "I pulled up to him; then he lost power and I went sailing by him."

    As soon as he was back over water, Bush shouted on the intercom for White and Delaney to "hit the silk!" [...] Dick Gorman, Moore's radioman-gunner, remembers hearing someone on the intercom shout, "Hit the silk!" and asking Moore, "Is that you, Red?"

    "No," Moore replied. "It's Bush, he's hit!"

    Other squadron members heard Bush repeating the command to bail out, over and over, on the radio.

    There was no response from either of Bush's crewmen and no way he could see them; a shield of armor plate between him and Lt. White blocked his view behind. He was certain that White and Delaney had bailed out the moment they got the order. [fn 3]

Hyams quotes a later entry by Melvin in the squadron log as to the fate of Bush's two crewmen: ""At a point approximately nine miles bearing 045'T (degrees) from Minami Jima, Bush and one other person were seen to bail out from about 3,000 feet. Bush's chute opened and he landed safely in the water, inflated his raft, and paddled farther away from Chi-Chi Jima. The chute of the other person who bailed out did not open. Bush has not yet been returned to the this information is incomplete. While Lt. j.g. White and J.L. Delaney are reported missing in action, it is believed that both were killed as a result of the above described action." [fn 4] But it is interesting to note that this report, contrary to usual standard navy practice, has no date. This should alert us to that tampering with public records, such as Bush's filings at the Securities and Exchange Commission during the 1960's, which appears to be a specialty of the Brown Brothers, Harriman/Skull and Bones network.

For comparison, let us now cite the cursory account of this same incident provided by Bush's authorized biographer in the candidate's 1980 presidential campaign biography:

    On a run toward the island, Bush's plane was struck by Japanese antiaircraft shells. One of his two crewmen was killed instantly and the aircraft was set on fire. Bush was able to score hits on the enemy installations with a couple of five-hundred pound bombs before he wriggled out of the smoking cockpit and floated towards the water. The other crewman also bailed out but died almost immediately thereafter because, as the fighter pilot behind Bush's plane was later to report, his parachute failed to open properly. Bush's own parachute became momentarily fouled on the tail of the plane after he hit the water. [fn 5]

King's account in interesting for its omission of any mention of Bush's injury in bailing out, a gashed forehead he got when he struck the tail assembly of the plane. This had to have occurred long before Bush had hit the water, so this account is garbled indeed.

Let us also cite parts of the account provided by Fitzhugh Green in his 1989 authorized biography. Green has Bush making his attack "at a 60-degree angle." "For his two crew members," notes Green, "life was about to end." His version goes on:

    Halfway through Bush's dive, the enemy found his range with one or more shells. Smoke filled his cabin; his plane controls weakened; the engine began coughing, and still he wasn't close enough to the target. He presumed the TBM to be terminally damaged. Fighting to stay on course, eyes smarting, Bush managed to launch his bombs at the last possible moment. He couldn't discern the result through black fumes. But a companion pilot affirmed later that the installation blew up, along with two other buildings. The navy would decorate Bush for literally sticking to his guns until he completed his mission under ferocious enemy fire.

    Good! Now the trick was to keep the plane aloft long enough to accomplish two objectives: first, get far enough away from the island to allow rescue from the sea before capture or killing by the enemy; second, give his planemates time to parachute out of the burning aircraft.

    The TBM sputtered on its last few hundred yards. Unbeknownst to Bush, one man freed himself. Neither fellow squadron pilots nor Bush ever were sure which crewmember this was. As he jumped, however, his parachute snarled and failed to open. [fn 6]

Green writes that when Bush was swimming in the water, he realized that "his crew had disappeared" and that "the loss of the two men numbed Bush."

For the 1992 presidential campaign, the Bushmen have readied yet another rehash of the adulatory "red Studebaker" printout in the form of a new biography by Richard Ben Cramer. This is distinguished as a literary effort above all by the artificial verbal pyrotechnics with which the author attempts to breathe new life into the dog-eared Bush canonical printout. For these, Cramer relies on a hyperkinetic style with non-verbal syntax which to some degree echoes Bush's own disjointed manner of speaking. The resulting text may have found favor with Bush when he was gripped by his hyperthyroid rages during the buildup for the Gulf war. A part of this text has appeared in Esquire Magazine. [fn 7] Here is Cramer's description of the critical phase of the incident:

    He felt a jarring lurch, a crunch, and his plane leaped forward, like a giant had struck it from below with a fist. Smoke started to fill the cockpit. He saw a tongue of flame streaming down the right wing toward the crease. Christ! The fuel tanks!

    He called to Delaney and White--We've been hit! He was diving. Melvin hit the tower dead-on--four five hundred pounders. West was on the same beam. Bush could have pulled out. Have to get rid of these bombs. Keep the dive....A few seconds...

    He dropped on the target and let 'em fly. The bombs spun down, the plane shrugged with release, and Bush banked away hard to the east. No way he'd get to the rendezvous point with Melvin. The smoke was so bad he couldn't see the gauges. Was he climbing? Have to get to the water. They were dead if they bailed out over land. The Japs killed pilots. Gonna have to bail out. Bush radioed the skipper, called his crew. No answer. Does White know how to get to his chute? Bush looked back for an instant. God, was White hit? He was yelling the order to bail out, turning right rudder to take the slipstream off their hatch...had to get himself out. He levelled off over water, only a few miles from the island...more, ought to get out farther....that's it, got to be now...He flicked the red toggle switch on the dash--the IFF, Identification Friend or Foe --supposed to alert any US ship, send a special frequency back to his own other way to communicate, had to get out now, had to be ... NOW.

It will be seen that these versions contain numerous internal contradictions, but that the hallmark of "red Studebaker" orthodoxy, especially after the appearance of the Mierzejewsky account, is that Bush's plane was on fire, with visible smoke and flames. The Bush propaganda machine needs the fire on board the Avenger in order to justify Bush's precipitous decision to bail out, leaving his two crew members to their fate, rather than attempting the water landing which might have saved them.

The only person who has ever claimed to have seen Bush's plane get hit, and to have seen it hit the water, is Chester Mierzejewksi, who was the rear turret gunner in the aircraft flown by Squadron Commander Douglas Melvin. During 1987-88, Mierzejewksi became increasingly indignant as he watched Bush repeat his canonical account of how he was shot down. Shortly before the Republican National Convention in 1988, Mierzekewski, by then a 68 year old retired aircraft foreman living in Cheshire, Connecticut, decided to tell his story to Allan Wolper and Al Ellenberg of the New York Post, which printed it as a copyrighted article. [fn 8]

"That guy is not telling the truth," Mierzejewski said of Bush.

As the rear-looking turret gunner on Commander Melvin's plane, Mierzejewski had the most advantageous position for observing the events in question here. Since Melvin's plane flew directly ahead of Bush's, he had a direct and unobstructed view of what was happening aft of his own plane. When the New York Post reporters asked former Lt. Legare Hole, the executive officer of Bush's squadron, about who might have best observed the last minutes of the Barbara II, Hole replied: "The turret gunner in Melvin's plane would have had a good view. If the plane was on fire, there is a very good chance he would be able to see that. The pilot can't see everything that the gunner can, and he'd miss an awful lot, " Hole told the New York Post.

Gunner Lawrence Mueller of Milwaukee, another former member of Bush's squadron who flew on the Chichi Jima mission, when asked who would have had the best view, replied: "The turret gunner of Melvin's plane." Mierzejewksi for his part said that his plane was flying about 100 feet ahead of Bush's plane during the incident - so close that he could see into Bush's cockpit.

Mierzejewki, who is also a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, told the New York Post that he saw "a puff of smoke" come out of Bush's plane and quickly dissipate. He asserted that after that there was no more smoke visible, that Bush's "plane was never on fire" and that "no smoke came out of his cockpit when he opened his canopy to bail out." Mierzejewski stated that only one man ever got out of the Barbara II, and that was Bush himself. "I was hoping I would see some other parachutes. I never did. I saw the plane go down. I knew the guys were still in it. It was a helpless feeling."

Mierzejewski has long been troubled by the notion that Bush's decision to parachute from his damaged aircraft might have cost the lives of Radioman second class John Delaney, a close friend of Mierzejewksy, as well as gunner Lt. Junior Grade William White. 'I think [Bush] could have saved those lives, if they were alive. I don't know that they were, but at least they had a chance if he had attempted a water landing,'" Mierzejewski told the New York Post.

Former executive officer Legare Hole summed up the question for the New York Post reporters as follows: "If the plane is on fire, it hastens your decision to bail out. If it is not on fire, you make a water landing." The point is that a water landing held out more hope for all members of the crew. The Avenger had been designed to float for approximately two minutes, giving the tailgunner enough time to inflate a raft and giving everyone an extra margin of time to get free of the plane before it sank. Bush had carried out a water landing back in June when his plane had lost oil pressure.

The official- but undated- report on the incident among the squadron records was signed by Commander Melvin and an intelligence officer named Lt. Martin E. Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick is deceased, and Melvin in 1988 was hospitalized with Parkinson's disease and could not be interviewed. Mierzejewski in early August 1988 had never seen the undated intelligence report in question. "Kilpatrick was the first person I spoke to when we got back to the ship," he said. "I told him what I saw. I don't understand why it's not in the report."

Gunner Lawrence Mueller tended to corroborate Mierzejewki's account. Mueller had kept a log book of his own in which he made notations as the squadron was debriefed in the ready room after each mission. For September 2, 1944, Mueller's personal log had the following entry: "White and Delaney presumed to have gone down with plane." Mueller told the New York Post that "no parachute was sighted except Bush's when the plane went down." The New York Post reporters were specific that according to Mueller, no one in the San Jacinto ready room during the debriefing had said anything about a fire on board Bush's plane. Mueller said: "I would have put it in my logbook if I had heard it."

According to this New York Post article, the report of Bush's debriefing aboard the submarine Finnback after his rescue makes no mention of any fire aboard the plane. When the New York Post reporters interviewed Thomas R. Keene, an airman from another carrier who had been picked up by the Finnback a few days after Bush, and referred to the alleged fire on board Bush's plane, "Keene was surprised to hear" it. "'Did he say that?," Keene asked.

Leo Nadeau, Bush's usual rear turret gunner, who had been in contact with Bush during the 1980's, attempted to undercut Mierzejewski's credibility by stating that "Ski," as Mierzejewski was called, would have been "too busy shooting" to have been able to focus on the events involving Bush's plane. But even the pro-Bush accounts agree that the reason that White had been allowed to come aloft in the first place was the expectation that there would be no Japanese aircraft over the target, making a thoroughly trained and experienced gunner superfluous. Indeed, no account alleges that any Japanese aircraft appeared over Chichi Jima.

Bush and Mierzejewski met again on board the San Jacinto after the downed pilot was returned from the Finnback about a month after the loss of the Barbara II. According to the New York Post account, about a month after all these events Bush, clad in Red Cross pajamas, returned to the San Jacinto. "He came into the ready room and sat down next to me," Mierzejewksi recounted. "He [Bush] knew I saw the whole thing. He said, 'Ski, I'm sure those two men were dead. I called them on the radio three times. They were dead.' When he told me they were dead, I couldn't prove they weren't. He seemed distraught. He was trying to assure me he did the best he could. I'm thinking what am I going to say to him," Mierzejewski commented in 1988.

Mierzejewski began to become concerned about Bush's presentation of his war record while watching Bush's December 1987 interview with David Frost, which was one of the candidate's most sanctimonious performances. In March, 1988 Mierzejeweski wrote to Bush and told him that his recollections were very different from the vice president's story. Mierzejewski's letter was not hostile in tone, but voiced concern that political opponents might come forward to dispute Bush. There was no reply to this letter, and Chester Mierzejewski ultimately elected to tell his own unique eye-witness version of the facts to the New York Post. Certainly his authoritative, first-hand account places a large question mark over the events of September 2, 1944 which Bush has so often sought to exploit for political gain.

Several days after Mierzejewski's interview was published, Bush's office obtained and released to the press a copy of the (undated) squadron log report. One Donald Rhodes of Bush's office called Mierzejewksi to offer him a copy of the report.

It is typical of Joe Hyams' hack work for Bush in The Flight of the Avenger that he never mentions Mierzejewksi's critical account, although he is obviously acutely aware of the objections raised by Mierzejewski and wants very much to discredit those objections. Indeed, Hyams totally ignores Mierzejewski as a source, and also studiously ignores the other witness who would have supported Mierzejewski, that is to say Mueller. Hyams had the support of Bush's White House staff in arranging interviews for his book, but somehow he never got around to talking to Mierzejewski and Mueller. This must increase our suspicion that Bush has some damning cicrumstance he wishes to hide.

Bush himself admits that he was in a big hurry to get out of his cockpit: "The wind was playing tricks, or more likely, I pulled the rip cord too soon." [fn 9] This caused his gashed forehead and damaged his parachute.

Concerning the ability of Brown Brothers, Harriman to fix a combat report in naval aviation, it is clear that this could be accomplished as easily as fixing a parking ticket. Artemus Gates is someone who could have helped out. Other Brown Brothers, Harriman assets in powerful posts included Secretary of War Stimson, Secretary of War for Air Robert Lovett, Special Envoy W. Averell Harriman, and even President Roosevelt's confidant and virtual alter ego, Harry Hopkins, an asset of the Harriman family.

Bush was very upset about what had happened to his two crewmen. Later, during one of his Skull and Bones "Life History" self-exposures, Bush referred to Lt. White, the Skull and Bones member who had gone to his death with the Barbara II: "I wish I hadn't let him go," said Bush, according to former Congressman Thomas W. L. (Lud) Ashley, a fellow Skull and Bones member and during 1991 one of the administrators of the Neil Bush legal defense fund. According to Ashley, "Bush was heartbroken. He had gone over it in his mind 100,000 times and concluded he couldn't have done anything....He didn't feel guilty about anything that happened....But the incident was a source of real grief to him. It tore him up, real anguish. It was so fresh in his mind. He had a real friendship with this man," said Ashley. [fn 10]

Bush later wrote letters to the families of the men who had died on his plane. He received a reply from Delaney's sister, Mary Jane Delaney. The letter read in part:

You mention in your letter that you would like to help me in some way. There is a way, and that is to stop thinking you are in any way responsible for your plane accident and what has happened to your men. I might have thought you were if my brother Jack had not always spoken of you as the best pilot in the squadron. [fn 11]

Bush also wrote a letter to his parents in which he talked about White and Delaney: "I try to think about it as little as possible, yet I cannot get the thought of those two out of my mind. Oh, I'm OK- I want to fly again and I won't be scared of it, but I know I won't be able to shake the memory of this incident and I don't believe I want to completely." [fn 12]

As Bush himself looked back on all these events from the threshold of his genocidal assault on Iraq, he complacently concluded that the pagan fates had preserved his life for some future purpose. He told Hyams:

There wasn't a sudden revelation of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but there was an awakening. There's no question that underlying all that were my own religious beliefs. In my own view there's got to be some kind of destiny and I was being spared for something on earth. [fn 13]

After having deliberately ignored the relevant dissenting views about the heroism of his patron, Hyams chooses to conclude his book on the following disturbing note:

When flying his Avenger off the deck of the San Jac, Bush was responsible for his own fate as well as his crewmen's. As president he is responsible for the fate of all Americans as well as that of much of the world.

And that is precisely the problem.

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1. For details of Bush's navy career, see Joe Hyams, Flight of the Avenger (New York, 1991), passim.

2. Bush and Gold, Looking Forward, p. 36.

3. Hyams, Flight of the Avenger, pp. 106-107.

4. Hyams, Flight of the Avenger, p. 111.

5. Nicholas King, George Bush: A Biography (New York, 1980), pp. 30-31.

6. Fitzhugh Green, George Bush: An Intimate Portrait (New York, 1989), pp. 36-37.

7. Richard Ben Cramer, "George Bush" How He Got Here," Espquire, June 1991.

8. Allan Wolper and Al Ellenberg, "The Day Bush Bailed Out," New York Post, August 12, 1988, p. 1 ff.

10. Bush and Gold, p. 36.

11. Washington Post, August 7, 1988

12. Hyams, p. 143.

13 bis. Bush and Gold, pp. 40-41.

14. Hyams, p. 134

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Regarding The Suribachi Flag Raisers...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Joseph Kobylski <>
Date: Feb 24, 2007 9:49 PM
Subject: Lester Tenney

Reference is made to Mr. Lester Tenney's experience with the Japanese during WW II. The Japanese soldiers that were on Iwo were the same as those who maltreated our POW at Bataan and in Japan except they did not have the same opportunity to do the same to our troops on Iwo. It's good to hear the truth from Mr.Tenney.

There is no substitute for truth.

It seems that Hollywood often has permeated the mind of our society with untruths. In August 2005 I called the business manager for Eastwood/Spielberg and said that I wanted to alert him to the fact that the book "Flags of Our Fathers" errs in many different aspects and that the flag raisers in Joe Rosenthals photo were named by the Marine Corps in findings that are uncertain and erroneous and are parroted in the book. I said that I thought that they would want the movie to be historically correct. I offered to send him the backup material by mail. He said he did not want the material and would not accept it.

The first flag raised boosted the morale of the servicemen at Iwo, the second more famous flag boosted the morale of our Nation at a time when it was needed. Both happenings were magnificent.
The down side came when an effort was made in April 1945 to identify the flag raisers in the Rosenthal photo because FDR wanted them to lead the bond tour. When the book came out in 2000 Private Larry Ryan, who claimed to be one of the flag raisers in the Rosenthal photo, offered the media, including the History Channel, to take a polygraph test to support his claim and to provide information, including the fact that Navy medic John Bradley was not the person immediately behind the Marine inserting the flagpole into the ground, but Ryan was stonewalled. He had been saying that for decades at reunions also.

Lou Lowery, a Leatherneck magazine photographer, took photos atop Mt. Suribachi that show medic John Bradley wearing large medical pouches on each hip and canteens hanging on his backside. That is standard wear of a WW II medic. Furthermore, his pant cuffs are rolled up showing his leggings. That is not John Bradley in the Rosenthal photo showing a collapsed water canteen pouch on his hip. Medics don't wear water canteens on their hips.That is someone else.

Then who is it? As a flag raiser John Bradley then would have to replace either Michael Strank or Rene Gagnon, who are said to be in those positions barely visible behind the front four in the photo. Who did Bradley displace and where is that displaced person then in the photo? This alone shatters the credibility of who the flag raisers were and the positions that they occupied in the photo. We Marine grunts don't need falsehoods to enhance our image, we have proven our worth on the battlefield. This falsehood, and there are others, results in dishonoring the 7,000 young men who gave their lives for our Country on that Island.

There is more to this story, but I'll end here. I have been trying for seven years to help Larry Ryan tell this story to the public, he had been trying for decades. Maybe the media doesn't like to cover an individual's comments on important matters, it pays to stick with the big boys, which they consistently have done on this matter.

I hope that Mr. Tenney sees this e-mail. I admire his bravery.

Joe Kobylski
Re Lester Tenney...
To: Chuck Tatum , GunnyG , Roger Rabbit <>, greg latino , Ray Fornof , Tom Farrell <>
Date: Dec 31, 2005 4:44 PM

Subject: Fw: Iwo Jima flag raisers

Interesting.I'm not sure where to go with this.Larry Ryan was with F Company.I can't recall a face to go with the name.I just don't remember him or why he would be there.Semper Fi,Ray.

----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Kobylski
To: John Kelly
Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2005 5:14 PM

Subject: Iwo Jima flag raisers

Dear Mr. Kelly,

Reference is made to your e-mail of June 14 saying that the material that I sent you about the subject had been misplaced and asking me to comment by e-mail about what is local about the story I sent and to sketch out the details in an e-mail. Here goes.

I am local. I have lived in the Hyattsville, MD, area for more than 50 years and have worked as an auditor in the U.S. General Accounting Office headquarter's in D.C. for 30 years. What is local also is my extensive effort to attract media attention to Private Larry Ryan, from Wisconsin, who claimed to be and was not credited as one of the Iwo flag raisers in the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal that boosted our Nation's morale during WWII. In addition, the Iwo Jima Memorial of the flag raising and Marine Corps Headquarters are in the metro area.

Many years ago Mr. Ryan contacted the Marine Corps historian about his role and that of others who were said to have been the flag raisers. He also contacted Col. Dave Severance, who led E Company on Iwo and whose members were said to be the flag raisers. Larry was with F Company. Both belittled and disregarded his claim. Then in October 1998 James Bradley, son of flag raiser John Bradley, was the main speaker at a reunion of Iwo veterans in Peoria, Ill., and was in the process of gathering material for a book about his father and the other flag raisers. It appears that James Bradley left no stone unturned in his quest, except one, Private Ryan. Larry Ryan called him and said that he was with his father at the time that the flag was raised and an arrangement was made for an interview. But Bradley did not show up even though he stayed in a hotel room only a few doors away from Larry's room. Imagine, a man whose father told him nothing about the battle for Iwo Jima chose not to interview a Marine who associated with his father at the time of the flag raising. Unbelievable! Obviously, Larry was disappointed again. James Bradley went on to write his book, "Flags of Our Fathers", and it became a best seller that was issued in May 2000.

In February 2000 I was able to get an article published in the Post about the bravery of a fellow Marine. Buoyed by that success I asked Larry if he wanted me to try to get his story known. He said "sure." Larry's background was one of being a hard working brick layer and was not into writing letters to support his claim. I prepared a draft of what he told me, presented information about the circumstances in naming the flag raisers by the Marine Corps and others, and said that Bradley's book was in error. Larry was pleased after his review and suggested a few minor changes. I sent the letter to numerous major newspapers in the Country as well as other rmedia sources, including the History Channel and other TV outlets, requesting that they interview Mr. Ryan and that he was willing to take a polygraph test to validate his claim. How many others who named the flag raisers offered to do the same? I venture to say - none. Its sad to say not one responded. This was on only concerted effort made on Larry's behalf. It is disconcerting to find that people will listen to someone like author Bradley, who wasn't even born at that time, and no one cares to talk to someone like Private Ryan who was at the site at the time of the flag raising, a significant historical event.

I contacted History Channel and asked that it interview Private Ryan about two months before it aired a story about the flag raising. It failed to do so, but James Bradley was prominantly interviewed on the TV program.
Why not. James Bradley was the author of a bestselling book while Larry Ryan was just a grunt at the flag raising site. The History Channel's program did no serve history very well. But then again, there's no business like show business.

The Marine Corps management paid virtually no attention to the raisers of the second flag, which replaced a smaller flag that flew for a few hours. Their interest seemed to have been with the first and much less known flag. Yet they had plenty of time to identify the flag raisers in a timely manner because our Regiment was in reserve for about a week before it swung north into battle. The flags were raised on the fifth day of the battle, which lasted for thirty six days. After the battle resumed, three of the six flag raisers were killed in action, not knowing of their celebrity.

An effort was made in Hawaii to identify the flag raisers about sixty days after the flag raising, where our Division trained for the invasion of Japan. I was told that the interest arose because Preslident Roosevelt took an interest in the flag raising and that there was a saving bonds tour that was upcoming.

At a Iwo veterans reunion in Washington D.C. in February 2000 I spoke with General Fred Haynes, who ran the reunion. General Haynes was a Captain in our Regiment on Iwo. I asked questions about the identification of the flag raisers and said that it must have been difficult to name them. He said it was very difficult because the photograph was like an "unknown soldiers photograph" in that only one face was shown, and that one only partially so. That particular Marine was said to be John Bradley. General Haynes it was difficult to identify that figure as John Bradley. Larry Ryan, who was with Bradley at the time, said emphatically that Bradley, who was in fact one of the flag raisers, was not in that position in the photograph.

In a book by an Iwo veterain, flagraiser Franklin Sousley is described as the second figure from the left in the Rosenthal photo and it states that he landed on the beach as a B.A.R. man. (Browning Automatic Rifle, a rather cumbersome weapon to carry.) Yet that person shown in the photo which was taken only a few days later was carrying an M1 Garand Rifle, standard fare for riflemen on Iwo, and not a B.A.R. Has the Marine Corps ever explained this apparent discrepancy? This is not to say Sousley was not one of the flag raisers. Franklin Sousley may very well have been one but in another position in that group. Larry Ryan contended the it is he, Ryan, who is carrying the M1 rifle.

I am proud to have served in the Marine Corps. But truth is infinately more important to me than image. Truth, like free speech, is one of the great ideals for which our Nation stands.

Now we have Clint Eastwood, Oscar-winning movie director, whose next project is to begin filming "Flags of Our Fathers" later this year, based on James Bradley's book. I sure would like to send him the same packet of materials that I am sending to you again but by certified mail in the hope that it will not get lost. Perusal of the material should answer other questions that you may have and it adds other interesting details about the story. If Clintwood's movie adheres to James Bradley's book it may repeat the same errors cited above. Moreover, he and his staff should be aware of the circumstances under which the flag raisers were named, which were greatly prone to error and uncertainty. How can I reach him and his writers so that they would avoid some myths about a significant historical event? I will gladly send the same packet of materials to anyone who has the means or method to publicize Private Ryan's story. All they have to do is send me a request by e-mail.

Mr. Kelly, I know that you are a very busy person, but I surely hope that you will write a column about Mr. Ryan, who I believe without reservation. Given the extensive distribution of The Washington Post, that would go a long way for Mr. Ryan to leave a deserving legacy to his family and grandchildren.

Your effort will be appreciated.


Joe Kobylski

Joe Kobylski

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Thursday, February 22, 2007


Thursday, February 22, 2007


By: Alan Stang

As I write, a U.S. Marine in Iraq is under investigation for shooting a wounded, unarmed Iraqi terrorist. The terrorists routinely booby-trap bodies. A Marine was killed by such a booby-trap the day before the shooting; another was killed the same way the very day of the shooting. And the Marine being investigated had been shot in the face the day before the shooting. But none of this apparently is relevant.

A combat marine explains how it really is as follows: "It's a safety issue, pure and simple. After assaulting through a target, we put a security round in everybody's head. Sorry al-Reuters, there's no paddy wagon rolling around Fallujah picking up ‘prisoners’ and offering them a hot cup a joe, falafel, and a blanket. There's no time to dick around on the target. You clear the space, dump the chumps, and Are Corpsman expected to treat wounded terrorists? Negative. Hey libs, worried about the defense budget? Well, it would be waste, fraud, and abuse for a Corpsman to expend one man-minute or a battle dressing on a terrorist. It's much cheaper to just spend the $.02 on a 5.56mm FMJ.

“By the way, in our view, terrorists who chop off civilian's heads are not prisoners, they are carcasses. Chopping off a civilian's head is another reason why these idiots are known as ‘unlawful combatants.’ It seems that most of the world's journalists have forgotten that fact. Let me be very clear about this issue. I have looked around the web, and many people get this concept, but there are some stragglers. Here is your typical Marine sitrep (situation report):

“You just took fire from unlawful combatants (no uniform – breaking every Geneva Convention rule there is) shooting from a religious building attempting to use the sanctuary status of their position as protection. But you're in Fallujah now, and the Marine Corps has decided that they're not playing that game this time. That was Najaf. So you set the mosque on fire and you hose down the terrorists with small arms, launch some AT-4s (Rockets), some 40MM grenades into the building and things quiet down.

“So you run over there, and find some tangos (bad guys) wounded and pretending to be dead. You are aware that suicide martyrdom is like really popular with these idiots, and they think taking some Marines with them would be really cool. So you can either risk your life and your fire team's lives by having them cover you while you bend down and search a guy that you think is pretending to be dead for some reason. Most of the time these are the guys with the grenade or vest made of explosives. Also, you don't know who or what is in the next room. You're already speaking English to the rest of your fire team or squad which lets the terrorist know you are there and you are his enemy.

“You are speaking loud because your hearing is poor from shooting people for several days. So you know that there are many other rooms to enter, and that if anyone is still alive in those rooms, they know that Americans are in the mosque. Meanwhile (3 seconds later), you still have this terrorist (that was just shooting at you from a mosque) playing possum. What do you do? You double tap his head, and you go to the next room, that's what!!!

“What about the Geneva Convention and all that Law of Land Warfare stuff? What about it? Without even addressing the issues at hand, your first thought should be, ‘I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.’

“Bear in mind that this tactic of double tapping a fallen terrorist is a perpetual mindset that is reinforced by experience on a minute by minute basis. Secondly, you are fighting an unlawful combatant in a Sanctuary, which is a double No-No on his part. Third, tactically you are in no position to take ‘prisoners’ because there are more rooms to search and clear, and the behavior of said terrorist indicates that he is up to no good. No good in Fallujah is a very large place and the low end of no good and the high end of no good are fundamentally the same. Marines end up getting hurt or die.

“So there is no compelling reason for you to do anything but double tap this idiot and get on with the mission. If you are a veteran, then everything I have just written is self evident. If you are not a veteran, then at least try to put yourself in the situation. Remember, in Fallujah there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only now. RIGHT NOW. Have you ever lived in NOW for a week? It is really, really not easy. If you have never lived in NOW for longer than it takes to finish the big roller coaster at Six Flags, then shut your hole about putting Marines in jail for ‘War Crimes.’”

Recently, one of our preachers preached a message the theme of which was “Now and Then.” Now is what we have here. Then is what Jesus has promised. But in the world our Marines in Iraq inhabit, there is no Then. (Yes, we know there is, but we are talking about a military Then.)

Before a judge sentences a man to death, he retires to his chambers. He cogitates. He considers the facts. He hits the law books. Maybe he consults with other judges. After all that he delivers his ruling. After all that, if he is wrong, the appeals court will correct him. And if the appeals court is wrong, the Supreme Court will correct it.

Now suppose the trial judge only has two seconds, maybe three—yes, three seconds—to decide. Suppose someone will die, whatever he rules. And suppose that, if the judge makes a mistake, if he let’s the wrong man up, he—yes, he, the judge—will die. Why, that’s preposterous, utterly ridiculous. Such an arrangement would never be tolerated.

But that is the situation confronting our Iraqi Marines. And it shouldn’t surprise us. It is the nature of military combat, especially combat against the satanic monsters we face in that country. What is revealing is that the Marine who wrote this helpful report had to do so anonymously. He calls himself “Froggy.” If Washington finds out who he is, he could be on trial himself.

Why? This is the answer that separates the women from the girls. Because George W. Bush is a traitor. Because George W. Bush is a Communist world government traitor. Because George W. Bush has put our men in harm’s way and won’t back them up; because in fact he gives the edge to the enemy.

Consider that because he has just a couple of seconds to decide, our Marine could easily make a mistake. After he “double taps” somebody, he could find out that, hey, the guy was unarmed; he wasn’t booby-trapped. Too bad! But he was there. He wasn’t an innocent bystander. He was a terrorist trying to get to Paradise and our Marine helped him get there. He didn’t know until he arrived that those 47 virgins all have a serious case of the clap – because they are personally recycled by the Prophet – and they’re 74 years old.

He may even have been an “innocent bystander,” in the wrong place at the wrong time. Did we kill any innocent bystanders in World War II? How about millions, all across Europe and Japan? Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Remember the Dresden Fire Bombing, which was worse? All innocent bystanders! There were no military targets in Dresden. Were there any complaints? Hello!

The difference was that WWII was the last war we fought to win. Today, we don’t fight to win, we fight to fight. The true purpose of the war is to be in the war, so simple that many observers are too smart to understand. Traitor Bush is using the war to advance the conspiracy’s scheme to advance the cause of world government.

And our Marine is a pawn in the “managed” conflict. In front of him is the terrorist he must kill to survive. Behind him is the lawyer who would send him to prison. Washington is giving the edge to the enemy, which is killing our Marine. Remember, if our Marine hesitates just one second, worried about the legal ramifications of what he does, he could be dead. Let’s go over this step by step.

· Giving the edge to the enemy is treason.

· The Department of Defense gives the edge to the enemy.

· The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, serves at the pleasure of the President and does what he says.

· The policy of giving the enemy the edge is Bush’s policy. It is what he wants. If he wants a different policy, he can get it in ten minutes simply by picking up the phone.

· Therefore Bush is committing treason and is a traitor. His war games are more important to him than our Marines.

Before we even permit a discussion of the upcoming attack on Iran, we must adopt a policy of victory in Iraq, as a guarantee of how the war in Iran will be fought. But, hey, in the spirit of the time, we need to be reasonable, right? I’m willing to compromise. Why not draft the bull dykes at the Anti-American Communist Liars Union, dress them in regulation Corps utilities and send them in first to read the carcasses their rights. Hey, bull dykes! Here’s your chance to parade your cojones. We could even throw in traitor slut Jihad Jane.

"Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

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Alan Stang has been a network radio talk show host and was one of Mike Wallace's first writers. He was a senior writer for American Opinion magazine and has lectured around the world for more than 30 years. He is also the author of ten books. Go to to read about Alan Stang's blockbuster new novel, He, about the greatest hero of all time, Jesus Christ.

If you would like him to address your group, please email what you have in mind. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

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Published in the February 9, 2007 issue of Ether Zone.
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Monday, February 19, 2007



The body is the central figure in the dreaming of the world. There is no dream without it, nor does it exist without the dream in which it acts as if it were a person to be seen and be believed. It takes the central place in every dream, which tells the story of how it was made by other bodies, born into the world outside the body, lives a little while and dies, to be united in the dust with other bodies dying like itself. In the brief time allotted it to live, it seeks for other bodies as its friends and enemies. Its safety is its main concern. Its comfort is its guiding rule. It tries to look for pleasure, and avoid the things that would be hurtful. Above all, it tries to teach itself its pains and joys are different and can be told apart.

The dreaming of the world takes many forms, because the body seeks in many ways to prove it is autonomous and real. It puts things on itself that it has bought with little metal discs or paper strips the world proclaims as valuable and real. It works to get them, doing senseless things, and tosses them away for senseless things it does not need and does not even want. It hires other bodies, that they may protect it and collect more senseless things that it can call its own. It looks about for special bodies that can share its dream. Sometimes it dreams it is a conqueror of bodies weaker than itself. But in some phases of the dream, it is the slave of bodies that would hurt and torture it.

The body's serial adventures, from the time of birth to dying are the theme of every dream the world has ever had. The "hero" of this dream will never change, nor will its purpose. Though the dream itself takes many forms, and seems to show a great variety of places and events wherein its "hero" finds itself, the dream has but one purpose, taught in many ways. This single lesson does it try to teach again, and still again, and yet once more; that it is cause and not effect. And you are its effect, and cannot be its cause.

Thus are you not the dreamer, but the dream. And so you wander idly in and out of places and events that it contrives. That this is all the body does is true, for it is but a figure in a dream. But who reacts to figures in a dream unless he sees them as if they were real? The instant that he sees them as they are they have no more effects on him, because he understands he gave them their effects by causing them and making them seem real...."


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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Camelot: From the Bay of Pigs to Dallas, Texas


Chapter 22

Camelot: From the Bay of Pigs to Dallas, Texas

DURING THE AFTERNOON, SNOW BEGAN TO FALL. It had that windblown, leaden look of a major storm. Those who could, slipped out of their offices early to beat the traffic. Few cities in the world suffer more in snowstorms than Washington. The view from the big windows in the office of the Secretary of Defense, out over the Tidal Basin and the Potomac, was wintry and beautiful. A heavy curtain was falling on the end of an era. Men who had been in Washington since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt were planning to leave, or at least to retire from the daily commitment to government.

In 1960 Washington had become a rather shabby city. The massive government buildings stood stark and cold. The many parks and monuments had been neglected by the aged tenants, who had grown too accustomed to their appearance. No one noticed any longer how drab the whole city had become. They never remembered it any other way. It was evident everywhere that this was the end of an era. An era of depression and recovery; of major war, victory and hopeful peace; of the atom bomb and of worldwide, instant communications. An era of great depths and an era that had the promise of great heights. But all of its leaders were now old and spiritless. Their great moment, those years of preparation for the ultimate summit conference and for the crusade for peace, had come to a shattering end. Now, in the shambles of that dream, that weary generation was turning over the mantle of government, the greatest government the world has ever known, to a young man who was barely a youngster when they had first come to Washington. And as many of the old stalwarts gathered in the office of the Secretary of Defense to say their farewells to him and to the world of great power they knew so well, they looked for the last time out over the Potomac into the sweeping and deepening snow as the night, and history, closed over them.

As if to presage the change that was taking place beneath the surface of the glittering events, the streets of Washington had been plowed, shoveled, and swept clear of all snow for the inaugural parade, not by the municipal equipment other cities would have used, but by the U.S. Army and its heavy equipment. The Kennedy Administration owed its very inaugural festivities to the might of the U.S. Army, to its stealthy appearance by night into the streets of the city -- a United States city. And this was part of the new era, too. Subtle changes, which had been under way, began to burst forth into the open with the inauguration.

From the first, changes were visible. The Kennedy team had been together through a tough and long battle. Their operational procedures were honed and ready. There was a Kennedy way and there was the other way. They changed Washington a lot with the Kennedy way. Eisenhower had been precise in his administrative practices. He had made great use of the National Security Council and of the implementing support of the Operations Coordinating Board. His decisions were the product of open and free discussion in the NSC chambers; and then having been made, those decisions were followed up by the OCB to assure their proper accomplishment within the Government. But Kennedy saw no real need for the NSC method. In the beginning he did not recognize and understand its usefulness and significance. When he wanted something done, he called upon one of his close friends, even upon one of his relatives, and after a brief discussion, they would go out and do what he had directed. This system can work in an operation such as the campaign had been, where the campaign team is the whole organization. However, in any organization as large and as immobile as the ponderous U.S. Government, this system is quite ineffective and leaves much undone and uncontrolled. It tends to leave tens of thousands of lesser bureaucrats on their own and to their own devices. It encourages the stagnation of the bureaucrat, and the catastrophe of the irresponsible in action.

Almost immediately following the inauguration, the ST saw that the door was wide open. With practically no NSC meetings, and therefore no Council to effectively control the CIA, there was no application of those crucial parts of the National Security Act of 1947 that require the NSC to direct the Agency. Without such direction and control, the CIA was practically free to act on its own.

Few men in the new Government had any idea of what was being put into shape for the Cuban invasion. Those who did knew only bits and pieces of the whole plan. These men were not accustomed to the double-talk and undercover language and actions of the Agency. They heard briefings, but they did not know what they really meant. On the other hand, a large number of the new Kennedy team were old CIA hands. They did know exactly what was going on, and they used their special knowledge and experience to further isolate those who did not.

There is a peculiar and dangerous characteristic that derives from the continuing application of secrecy. In an open government such as this country has been accustomed to having, it is only natural to believe that if a man is a fire-fighter, then his job has to do with putting out fires; and if he is a soldier, then his job is being prepared for war. In a simpler sense, Government workers are trained to expect that if the men in the next office are working on the Military Aid Program for Pakistan, then those men are doing that work. Customarily, if they meet those occupants of that next-door office in the snack bar or at the dining hall, they might be expected to ask them how things are going on in "Pakistan".

Now if the men who are supposed to be working on the Pakistan aid program are not working on that program at all, but are actually working on a special support program for the border police of India, and the Pakistan aid program is simply a cover story, then whatever they tell their office neighbors is part of their cover story too. In other words, it is false -- more plainly, a lie. However, they justify that lie as being permissible, in fact necessary, because they have been told that the "border police project" is highly classified and that they cannot tell anyone about it. So if you are on a classified project, it is all right, in fact it is essential, for you to lie. So you lie, the other man lies, everyone lies. But it is all supposed to be for the good of the cause.

Over a period of time this can develop many strange situations too involved to mention here; but one or two examples may be useful. In the Pentagon there are many offices established to do one thing. They really do not do that thing at all, but something entirely different. As a result, there are hundreds and even thousands of men who either cannot say what they are doing; or if they are forced to say something, they must lie. The polite thing is to say that they are "following their cover story".

This can lead to further complications. Even within the cover Story scheme there will be factions. Some men may be working on a certain project with a cover story, and others may be working on exactly the same project under another cover story; and neither group will know about the other. Later, when the Secretary or some other high official wants to be briefed, he may meet with one group and not the other -- simply because the first group did not know of the other's existence. And he will not hear the whole story; he will hear only the first group's version of the activity. So it is not that the new Kennedy team was not properly briefed about anti-Castro activities as it was a matter of the inability of any one briefing officer to give all the facts at one time. There may have been no way to have rounded up all the facts and present them; so much of what was going on was decentralized. In spite of this, each briefing officer may have thought that he knew all the facts and that he was telling the whole truth, as happened when Tracy Barnes was sent to give Adlai Stevenson his briefing at the United Nations.

Other complications crept in. Under the cover of the Bay of Pigs operation, much bigger moves were being made. All over the world the MAP training program was picking up volume and momentum. Thousands of foreigners from all forty countries converged upon the United States for training and indoctrination. The new curriculum was either the one at Fort Bragg or like it. The Army interest in political-social-economic programs, under the general concept of "nation building", was gaining momentum. For every class of foreigners who were trained and indoctrinated with these ideas, there were American instructors and American soldiers who were being brainwashed by the very fact that they were being trained to teach this new doctrine. These instructors did not know otherwise. To them this new nonmilitary political, social, and economic theme was the true doctrine of the U.S. Army. A whole generation of the American Army has grown up with this and now believes, to one degree or another, that the natural role of an army lies in this political field. Also they believe that an army mixes some medical and educational ingredients into this nation building. They believe the army is the chosen instrument in nation building, whether the subject be political -- social, economic or military. In many cases, due to the great emphasis the CIA placed on training the police forces of certain foreign countries, a large number of American servicemen who were used for such training became active in what was really police work and not the scope of regular military work.

It was the CIA, with help from a few other agencies, that put together the Inter-American Police Academy during the early Kennedy years, which played such an important part in emphasizing national police power in the nations of Latin America. The CIA brought in police instructors from all over the United States and from the military for this school. The success of this school, operating covertly from an Army base in the Canal of Panama, led to other schools in the United States that have carried on this type of work for police forces in this country. Part of the impetus behind the great buildup in the strength of police force all over the country dates back to this CIA police academy work and to the other schools it spawned. This police work not only involved training but it integrated new weapons, new procedures, and new techniques into American police work, some of which has been good and much of which has been quite ominous.

Anyone who doubts that this nation building and police activity has not become real and very effective right here in the United States need only visit the area around Fort Bragg to find one of these early paramilitary CIA-oriented specialists, General Tolson, sending his American soldiers out into the countryside with nation-building programs for the citizens of the United States. If such tactics continue, it is possible that an enlargement of such a program could lead to a pacification program of areas of the United States, such as the CIA and the U.S. Army have carried out in Indochina.

At the same time this training program was under way, larger and larger civic action teams and other benevolently named organizations spread throughout the world. MAAG units were no longer small logistics and training organizations. They had grown to large size and were frequently and almost augmented by large units on temporary duty in the host country. This Army accounting device of "temporary duty" is always interesting because of the way the Army uses it. The Army may tell an unwitting Congressman or reporter that there are 50 men in the MAAG of a given country, although there may be many more men there. The Army will justify this lie about the total number by claiming that the extra men, sometimes many more than the regular staff, are there on temporary duty. And of course there may even be 100 or 150 more men there, but since they are on the CIA cover payroll, the Army won't report them either even though they are there on Army cover. In that case there will be another justifiable lie to protect the existence of the CIA.

All of this is a game. The secrecy can't mean a thing to the host country, they know exactly how many men are there and it makes no difference to them whether they are Army, Army temporary duty, or Army cover. By the same token, the Soviet embassy, and all other embassies, will know exactly how many Army men are there. And to them, the fine distinction makes no difference. The only people these devices fool are American. American reporters, American Congressmen, American government specialists, and of course the American public. There was almost no way in which anyone in the United States Government could unravel the whole clandestine business. But at least a beginning was made as a result of a most unexpected series of events and as a result of some very shrewd and clever work by Bobby Kennedy and his closest associates.

What had grown quietly, secretly, and almost totally unobserved within the infrastructure of the U.S. Government was by 1961 so large that it was time to bring it to life and give it some reason for existence. While Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy were seriously pondering what had gone wrong with the Bay of Pigs operation, this new doctrine and new organization was emerging. It remained necessary, then, for the Kennedys to find the master key to all of this activity. It took the Bay of Pigs Board of Inquiry to perform this feat. The day-by-day litany of the Board was designed to indoctrinate Bobby Kennedy and to win him over to this new doctrine of counterinsurgency, flexible response, civic action, nation building, and the rest -- and through him, to win over the President. While the Board was meeting day after day in the back room in the Pentagon, something more important than the fate of the Bay of Pigs was being discussed and elaborated upon. As witness after witness filed through the Board's chambers Bobby Kennedy sat there saying absolutely nothing, just soaking up the hearings and searching for cracks in the story. At the same time, Allen Dulles and Maxwell Taylor paraded a hand-picked group of disciples into the room for interviews and questioning. These men were selected to preach the doctrine of the new covert intervention. Their interviews were designed to train, indoctrinate, and to use an overworked term, even to brainwash Bobby Kennedy. What he heard each day was the Maxwell Taylor new-military-plan-for-flexible-response theme, blended with the White House Committee report material, and topped off by Allen Dulles's own theme of secret operations. This was a most heady mixture, and it was effective. Some of the men who were called to talk about the tactics of the Bay of Pigs had not been connected with it at all, but were Special Forces men from the Army Staff or directly from Fort Bragg. Bobby Kennedy emerged from the incessant catechism of the "truths" ready to soak up the doctrine of counterinsurgency. This was to be the new watchword. The Kennedy Administration became hooked on counterinsurgency, and the indoctrination occurred to a good measure right there in the Board of Inquiry process.

Thus the inner Kennedy clan came out of the Bay of Pigs disaster with two strong convictions. Closely held and deeply felt was the conviction that the CIA had somehow done them in and that they had better be extremely wary of anything it did in the future. This was a very deep feeling and only seldom revealed in any official actions. In fact, Jack Kennedy developed a cover story of his own by giving the appearance as much as possible in public that he could go along with the CIA, when private actions and discussions tended to support otherwise.

The second conviction was that the world was being divided sharply into two strong camps in the battle between the "world of choice" and the "world of coercion". It was President Kennedy who said to Chairman Krushchev, "The great revolution in the history of man, past, present and future, is the revolution of those determined to be free." The Dulles contribution to this philosophy was the reiteration of the Krushchev challenge to support all wars of national liberation; and the Maxwell Taylor contribution was the simple reflex of the counterpuncher, the plan of flexible response. Defined in terms of the infantryman, this meant counterinsurgency.

One of the better definitions of counterinsurgency as practiced in the Kennedy era was that written by a general who worked for the Secretary of Defense: " . . . the technique of using, in appropriate combination, all elements of National Power in support of a friendly government which is in danger of being overthrown by an active Communist campaign designed to organize, mobilize and direct discontented elements of the local population against the government." Although counterinsurgency has been generally regarded as a military activity, careful analysis will reveal that it is really more a civilian-controlled action in the paramilitary area of operation. This is a most important consideration as we observe the country moving from the "Roosevelt-Eisenhower" era into the "Kennedy-Johnson" era, which includes the Vietnam episode. Note also how the definition of counterinsurgency, above, written by an Army General closely allied with the CIA and with the authors of the President's Committee report, almost precisely paraphrases sections of that report. In other words, the actions of this Government, which were called counterinsurgency, were not very different from the actions that were attributed to the Communists and called subversive insurgency. As a matter of fact, they seemed to be identical.

This may seem to be a fine point, but it is the key to much that has happened since then and particularly in Vietnam. Note that the same material written by the spokesman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense continues as follows: "A successful counterinsurgency strategy requires, therefore, the integration of all U.S. Government activities in the country concerned, under the central leadership of the Ambassador or [if the local situation had deteriorated to the point where U.S. Armed Forces are actively involved] the military area commander. In the final analysis, the defeat of a Communist-led insurgency hinges largely on the effectiveness of the Country Team. This depends in great measure upon the willing cooperation of the government departments and agencies in Washington."

When one realizes that this was written by a man who was for years the executive assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and in his own right an acknowledged leader in the new Army doctrine, he begins to see that this is another part of the pattern that was changing this country's entire traditional idea of military action. We have a new doctrine at the Special Forces school, we have worldwide MAP training in the political-social-economic spheres, we have the new creed dramatically spelled out by the President's Committee report and then, to tie this all together, we have the definition of counterinsurgency. We find the official version of counterinsurgency is not to be confused with the more or less public idea of counterinsurgency, which assumes that it is a form of anti-guerrilla fighting against Communist-inspired rebels. The official doctrine of counterinsurgency states clearly that it is carried out "under the central leadership of the ambassador". This means that counterinsurgency is intended to be civilian directed, even though it appears to be a military program, and that the senior man is to be the ambassador. He is placed in charge, not actually to be the country-team commander in chief, but to make it possible for him to delegate his authority to the CIA station chief rather than to some senior military officer.

This has shaped the total efforts of the United States in Vietnam for the past decade and more. All of U.S. history prior to the past decade, more or less followed the general principles of warfare which state that in time of peace the Army trains for war, and during this time the affairs of the nations are carried out by diplomats. When diplomacy fails, then the military men take over and accomplish by military means what the politicians had been unable to accomplish. It has always been clear that when war was the only remaining means of accomplishing national objectives, the ambassador and his staff would leave the scene and the generals would take over. Now here was the highest echelon of military power in the United States stating publicly the new doctrine of the Kennedy era to the effect that counterinsurgency (a form of war) would be "under the central leadership of the ambassador".

Why would a ranking U.S. Army general on a special assignment to the White House define the new training program for mutual security, and another ranking U.S. Army general on assignment to the Office of the Secretary of Defense define the new method of warfare designed to counter the Communist support of "wars of national liberation", and both in terms of civilian direction of the military operations of U.S. forces? To anyone trained in the profession of arms, this is heretical. The answer is simple, although it has lain buried under the long years of the horrible disaster in Vietnam. Both of these men were closely affiliated with and had served with the CIA, and both were the type of men who make up the ST. Even though they wear the uniform of the U.S. Army, their primary allegiance has been with the STICIA new method of operations in peacetime. They saw that the time had come for the ST to make its big move and for it to sweep out beyond the DOD and the CIA to form a massive paramilitary international power under para-civilian leadership and a monstrous cloak of security. Their words were so simple and so Boy-Scout sounding; yet they have changed the entire world during the past decade.

They went on to say, "The United States therefore has made the decision to enter the lists early, to throw its national power into the counterinsurgency campaign on the side of our allies, the local authorities. The problem of counterinsurgency now is receiving the personal attention of the President and his senior advisors. A major effort is being made throughout the government, and particularly within the DOD to develop sound doctrine for the conduct of this unorthodox form of warfare. The JCS, for example, have recently established within the Joint Staff a special staff section dealing exclusively with the problem of counterinsurgency. . . counterinsurgency is not susceptible to a purely military solution. . . it requires the closest possible coordination of political, economic, psychological, and military actions." By the end of 1962 this nation had gone so far down the line following the Agency, the new Special Forces doctrine, the MAP, and the new U.S. philosophy as outlined in the President's Committee report, that it was saying openly it was well on its way to carrying out as top national policy a major clandestine operation so big in fact that the entire government would be involved. Obviously, it could not be really clandestine in the sense that it would be kept secret from our enemies; on the contrary, it was a new kind of "clandestine", so it would be kept secret from all Americans.

When such men stated that the war would be waged under civilian leadership, and then named the ambassador as the commanding and senior officer, they simply were carrying out their usual cover-story double-talk. Any such counterinsurgency would be initiated and directed by the CIA. Of course the generals involved would be real generals; but they would be working inside of and for the CIA -- or in some cases not exactly inside of the CIA, but certainly under its direction. Has it ever been properly explained why this country has retained an ambassador in Saigon since the first one was selected by the CIA to go to that new piece of real estate, a new nation called South Vietnam, back in 1954? Why should the longest war in which this country has ever been involved, and the second costliest and second most destructive, have been waged through all these futile years under the direction of an ambassador? Is it because of the above doctrine? Is it because we entered this conflict to support what were, at first, minor CIA operations? Then when these actions grew and grew, there never was a time when the "war" transitioned from the clandestine operators to the military operators. During all of these years the ambassador has remained as a sort of minor commander in chief, one step down from the Commander-in-chief role of the President. And this has been done so that he could serve as a referee between the CIA and the military, the end result being that neither one of them has been really in complete control since 1964, when the first Marines arrived in Vietnam. Before that, the CIA was in control of operations, while the military played a logistics role and perfunctorily acted the part of a military organization.

At that time, 1963-1964, the ambassador could have been withdrawn in favor of the military commander as the escalation went into effect. Then the CIA chief should have been relegated to the Fourth Force role he should have in a wartime situation. As late as the end of 1963, every U.S. Army combat soldier in Vietnam (excepting a few assigned to such offices as the legitimate MAAG section -- as differentiated from the oversized cover MAAG section) was under the operational control and direction of the CIA. It was only after the beginning of real escalation that the Army soldiers under Army generals began to take over certain roles and missions and areas in Vietnam. They never did take over full responsibility for what was called a "war". One reason for this was that there never was a real honest to God military objective of this war. There never has been in Vietnam that objective, which when achieved by military force, would have spelled victory. There never has been that battle which, if won, would assure victory. Of course, the counterinsurgency supporters have said, "That's the nature of this type of warfare. You can't beat insurgents that way." That is nonsense. When a nation is ready to demand from its people fifty-five thousand lives and more than $200 billion of its wealth as a contribution to some foreign action, it should at least have an objective that can be achieved in a tangible manner so that one can tell when it has been reached or when such attainment is beyond reach. What has happened in Vietnam is that the CIA got in over its head, and the Army was sent in to attempt to bring some order out of the chaos that existed there after the assassination of President Diem. Only then, when the Marines and the Army arrived, were troops serving under the actual command and direction of their generals.

One of the real reasons the Army got in there in the first place was because when the Marines came in they refused to take the field under the CIA. By that time, General Krulak, formerly the Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities on the Joint Staff, and then commanding general of Fleet Marine Forces, Pacific, knew too much about the CIA and its activities to permit his Marines to hit the beaches of Indochina under any command other than Marine and the U.S. Military Command, Vietnam.

Kennedy undoubtedly saw the beginnings of this serious problem after the Bay of Pigs investigation. At that time he wrote two very powerful National Security Action Memoranda, NSAM 55 and NSAM 57. Both were issued from the White House in June 1961. NSAM 55 was a brief memorandum of greatest significance, which was addressed directly to the Chairman of the JCS and was signed personally by the President. In essence it said that Jack Kennedy would hold the chairman (Lemnitzer) responsible for all action of a military nature during peacetime in the same manner as he would hold him responsible for such action in time of war. In other words, the President was saying that he wanted any and all peacetime operations (military type-clandestine, covert, paramilitary, etc.) to be under the control, or at least under the close scrutiny, of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. One way to interpret this in light of the then current events would be, "No more Bay of Pigs." This was a powerful memorandum, which set forth Kennedy's views without equivocation. It was in fact more positive as an action against the non-addressees than it was for the addressee, the JCS.

General Lemnitzer, a fine soldier of the old and traditional school and one of the best administrators to serve after World War II, did not take advantage of this memo. He knew exactly what it meant, and he did not intend to abuse it. The best way he knew to have no more Bay of Pigs disasters was to have no more Bay of Pigs. He noted the memo, had the Joint Chiefs of Staff "Red Stripe" (formally approve it), then filed it for future use, if needed. As far as that old soldier was concerned, that memo meant there would be no more clandestine military operations in peacetime and that such things as Indonesia, Laos, Tibet, and the Bay of Pigs were a thing of the past.

I was the officer responsible for briefing this paper to General Lemnitzer and to the other Chiefs of Staff, and that NSAM rested in my files. There need be no misunderstanding about what the memo meant, what the President meant, what Lemnitzer understood and did, and what the other Chiefs of Staff understood.

This was an unusual memorandum because Kennedy sent it directly to the chairman and sent information copies only to McNamara, Rusk, and Allen Dulles. It should also be noted that Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, and Allen Dulles knew that NSAM well and understood its full meaning and intent; and they knew exactly what President Kennedy meant by it. In other words, President Kennedy by the explicit publication of this brief memo was letting the entire top echelon superstructure above the ST, wherever it existed, know that from that time on there were to be no more such ill-conceived, inadequately planned, and inherently dangerous clandestine operations. If this directive had been followed explicitly and if Kennedy had lived to assure that it was followed as he intended it to be, there is a very good chance that United States involvement in Indochina would never have been escalated beyond the military-adviser level. He had learned his grim lesson at the Bay of Pigs, and as his directive made clear, he was not going to become involved in that type of operation again. If evidence of this is needed, consider how he handled the missile crisis in Cuba a year later. Once he had been convinced of the gravity of the situation, he directed the mobilization of sufficient troops overtly, and challenged the Cubans and the Soviets to comply with his demands. He respected the proper employment of military power and had seen how undercover military power fails.

The second memorandum, NSAM 57, though issued at the same time, was signed, as most NSAMs were, by a member of the NSC staff for the President. Coming as it did paired with NSAM 55 there could have been no misunderstanding that it carried the same thrust as NSAM 55, and that it fully expressed the views of President Kennedy. This memorandum was much longer, and it gave much more detail.[1]

Following the policy of the National Security Act of 1947 and of such other directives as NSCID 10/2 and later NSCID 5412/2, it recognized that there might be requirements for clandestine activity from time to time. Then it went further than those earlier directives and became much more explicit. It said that any small and truly covert type of operation "may be assigned" to the CIA and that any which were larger would be the subject of special study and planning and then "may be assigned" to the military, that part of the military which would be sufficient only to carry out that one operation on a one time basis. It directed that large covert operations would not be assigned to the CIA.

This attempt at clarification provided the opportunity for the CIA and its fellow travelers with a chance to blow up the balloon. They counterattacked with a long and drawn out argument about what was a "small" operation and what was a "large" one. They then proceeded to argue about what happens if the Agency goes into some country with a small operation, and then it expands. At what point will the CIA operation be transitioned from the CIA control to the military solely on the basis of size, since it might be assumed that it might or might not have remained covert. The CIA argued that if it remained covert, regardless of size, no such transition of direction could take place. The whole point of the CIA argument was to invalidate the President's controlling mechanism, which depended upon a scale of size.

This started some very long and heated arguments, and as often happens, since the real career military such as Lemnitzer had very little interest in this subject anyhow, the well drilled opposition made quite a bit of headway. After all the dust had settled, it began to appear that except for NSAM 55 which Lemnitzer had let remain in the file (his being of the it-can't-happen-here school), Kennedy's directive had been turned into an encouragement to the CIA to go out and start small fires and count on the military to bail them out. This may seem an odd conclusion -- almost funny -- but it is exactly how we got into Vietnam in spite of the directives from the White House. The ST is perfectly capable of turning a No into a Yes by its gift of irrepressible argument.

I have quoted the ranking U.S. Army officer who worked in the office of the Secretary of Defense, with reference to his definition of the term "counterinsurgency". Now I shall add a few lines written almost exactly one year after the NSAM 57 arguments about how big and when to transition to the military, and which take on a special meaning in this relationship. In this one critical year here is exactly how the fight came out: "A successful counterinsurgency strategy requires, therefore, the integration of all U.S. Government activities in the country concerned, under the central leadership of the ambassador . . . or, if the local situation had deteriorated to the point where the U.S. armed forces are actively involved, the military area commander." In this special sense, read "deteriorated" to mean "expanded beyond the ability or desire of the CIA to continue to be involved". This is exactly what was happening in Laos at about this same time. The CIA had become overextended, and things were going very badly. The CIA wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense, asking relief or suggesting the abandonment of the Meo tribesmen whom they had been supporting.

Recall how the trouble in Vietnam started. The CIA had been involved in a great number of brush fire operations there for a number of years in one way or another since the OSS days of 1945. These raged out of control, becoming a general conflagration by the end of 1963. At that time there were more than sixteen thousand American military personnel there, more or less in the ostensible role of advisory personnel; but all of these were under the actual direction of the country team, which meant that they were under the operational direction of the CIA. (Some parties may wish to deny this in an attempt to maintain the fiction of those earlier days; but the early general officers who were serving in Vietnam at that time were either serving with the CIA under the cloak of CIA or were closely affiliated with the CIA, such as the Special Forces. One more bit of operational evidence is offered by the combat intelligence available in those days. There was none of the real military kind. What was there was a form of CIA village network intelligence, which on most counts was dependent upon the native population. Even as late as the attacks on the villages in the My Lai complex, it was the Agency intelligence functionary who told the military to attack.)

On the "when to transition" concept it will be noted that even ten years later and after the escalation of military manpower had reached the staggering figure of 550,000 men -- to say nothing of gross amounts of civilian manpower -- the central leadership was never transitioned to the military as President Kennedy's NSAM 57 had ordered. If anyone ever wanted an example of how far the ST can turn things around, this is one of the best. In June 1961 the President stated one thing categorically; by 1962 the Army's spokesman (actually in Army uniform; but a CIA/ST spokesman) had totally turned this around in his counterinsurgency doctrine and definition. Then, after President Kennedy died, the ST retained control of most of the Vietnam war from its earliest birth pangs to the peak of escalation. Even to this day the combat phase of the Vietnamese war, which is called "pacification" and which in fiscal year l972 cost more than $1 billion, is totally under the direction and control of the CIA.

The key to all of this, the matter that made it so easy for the ST to wrest control of this major peacetime "covert" operation, even from the hands of the President and Commander in Chief, lay in the words of the Army general quoted above: "The JCS have recently established within the Joint Staff a special staff section dealing exclusively with the problem of counterinsurgency." This was a carefully designed move, and it emerged from a formative series of events. Almost from the time of the creation of the CIA, the Secretary of Defense had maintained on his immediate staff an Assistant to the Secretary for Special Operations. Among other things, this man was charged with the responsibility for liaison with the CIA, NSA, Department of State, and the White House. His area of interest was almost totally within the field of clandestine operations, although he was interested in routine intelligence matters and other related functions. For the five or six years prior to the Kennedy inauguration, this office was filled by an extremely able and wise figure, a retired four-star Marine general, Graves B. Erskine. He had served in that capacity longer than any man had ever served in the office of the Secretary of Defense at such a level of responsibility. His tenure had covered service under Charles Wilson, Neil McElroy, Thomas Gates, and for a brief period, Robert McNamara. As he was utilized by the secretaries prior to McNamara, he kept a close eye on all CIA operational activity that involved the military in any way, and whenever in his judgment things were going too far he would inform the Secretary, and in most instances the CIA would be asked to drop its request for military support, which generally was tantamount to halting the project. Erskine's role was one of considerable quiet power; yet he used it sparingly. Then shortly after U.S. Air Force Colonel Edward G. Lansdale came back from Saigon, where he had been working for the CIA ever since the establishment of the Diem regime and immediately before that had been in Manila during the selection and establishment of the Magsaysay regime, he was assigned to General Erskine's office at the specific request of Allen Dulles. Along with a number of other CIA agent cover "plants" in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Lansdale provided a strong counterfoil to his boss, General Erskine, within the military departments, where he was known, except to a few, only as an Air Force officer on the Secretary of Defense staff. (By 1961 the CIA, partly as a function of the vast U-2 project, was widely and deeply entrenched in the DOD.)

When McNamara became Secretary, he was advised that he really would not need an Assistant for Special Operations. He abolished that office. Then many of the old office staff were dispersed, especially in one sudden move the day after the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation. Those who were left moved to a new location in a new office, which was then headed by General (recently promoted) Lansdale. During this period, I had been assigned to the Erskine staff and was performing a rather special function, which I had been doing for about five years before in the Pentagon, but in a different staff location. Shortly after the new Lansdale office had been established I was asked by General Earle Wheeler, then the director of the Joint State, if that function would not be better applied if it were moved from OSD to the Joint Staff, so that it might he applied uniformly for all the services and for the many major military commands overseas. He discussed this further with McNamara. In a most unusual administrative maneuver, required because of the stringent limitations of the size of the Joint Staff, my office was transferred from OSD to the Joint Staff, along with the necessary manpower spaces and authorization to staff the office with representatives of all services and administrative support. This small staff was joined later by another highly classified group, which performed a somewhat related function. Then, as a progression of this first move, the Joint Staff created an office called the Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities (SACSA). This new office was much larger than the original office that had moved down from OSD, and it brought with it a large staff of CIA oriented personnel from all services. It had several temporary special assistants, among them General Hemtges and General Craig, before it acquired its greatest and most dynamic driving force, U.S. Marine General Victor H. Krulak.

The important thing to understand is that the much-heralded office of SACSA had very few military responsibilities. It was almost entirely CIA oriented. Most of its dealings with the services were in areas in which the CIA was most active. For example, the great proportion of its dealing with the Army was strictly limited to Special Forces activity. With the Air Force it was for the most part limited to Special Air Warfare activity, and with the Navy it was active in the Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) teams. There were other duties of course; but most of them gave the office something it could say it was doing while it performed its primary task of supporting the CIA, the ST, and of breathing life unto the massive Frankenstein called counterinsurgency.

SACSA played another very important role in the highest level policy discussions of this country. It has been said that Kennedy wanted to get out of Vietnam in 1963 but deferred it "until after his re-election", as he told Senator Mike Mansfield, because such a move would stir up a "McCarthy (Joe) wave of sentiment" and would lose him the support of the JCS.

The JCS Kennedy knew best was the voice of SACSA. The one officer he saw from the Joint Staff more than any other during those crucial days was General Krulak. (See how often Krulak's name appears in the Pentagon Papers, and then see if the name of General Dean ever appears. Technically, General Dean should have been the action man -- he was the operations director of the Joint Staff -- but General Dean was not the CIA/ST man.) This was because Allen Dulles and Maxwell Taylor (at that time the military advisor to the President) opened the door for Krulak, since Krulak's job was to "support the CIA". General Krulak's closest advisors were such men as Bill Bundy, a long-time career CIA man on McNamara's staff at that time; General Lansdale, and other key CIA agents and high officials, whose names will be omitted because some of them are still active. (Some of these highly placed officials were so deeply covered that it is possible that no one in OSD, including Krulak, knew that years ago they had been planted by the CIA. Thus, when he worked frequently with a man in the Department of Research and Engineering, from whom he had been told he could get some assistance, it is quite possible he never knew the man he saw was from Dulles's office.)

Later, when Maxwell Taylor had become the chairman of the JCS, the only JCS John Kennedy knew was even more CIA biased, since Maxwell Taylor himself was by that time more oriented toward the ST than the military, and Krulak was closer than ever to the President.

Thus it was not the real military that Kennedy would have offended if he had withdrawn from Vietnam in 1963. It was the chameleon STICIA military who made him think they would have objected, and who made him think that they represented the military. In this special sense the creation of SACSA and the appointment of Maxwell Taylor as Chairman of the JCS were most influential events. It is no wonder ST writers have made so much of the great importance to them and to the CIA, of SACSA. A careful reader of the Pentagon Papers will see how well documented all of this is, especially if he observes how many "JCS" papers were actually not bona fide JCS papers but were in reality SACSA/STICIA papers, attributed only to the JCS.

As important to the ST as SACSA was, of equal importance was the return to the government and especially to the Pentagon of Maxwell Taylor. After the Bay of Pigs, it was inevitable that Allen Dulles would leave the CIA. His chief lieutenant, Dick Bissell of U-2 fame and of Laos and Bay of Pigs infamy, left the Agency to become the head of the Institute of Defense Analysis, an organization with many interesting functions -- among them acting as a conduit for CIA activities. Dulles again showed that uncanny ability of his and of the Agency's to rise above each fiasco on to new heights. During the Bay of Pigs inquiry he ingratiated Maxwell Taylor to the Kennedys so firmly that Jack Kennedy assigned General Taylor to the position of Military Adviser to the President. This was a good cover assignment for General Taylor. For those who thought he might be interfering with the duties and prerogatives of the chairman of the JCS, this assignment caused a few raised eyebrows. Dulles and Maxwell Taylor were content to let those rumors and fantasies spread because they did much to help transfer some of the blame for the Bay of Pigs from the CIA to the military. However, everyone else in the need-to-know clan knew that Maxwell Taylor was in the White House to be the President's liaison man with the CIA. The President may not have known how closely Maxwell Taylor's aspirations and those of Allen Dulles matched each other. During the last days of the Dulles era, Maxwell Taylor served as the Focal Point man between Dulles and his Agency and the White House.

This was a perfect role of Maxwell Taylor. He had quit the Army in a dispute with the Eisenhower Administration and now he was in an ideal position to encourage with all support and haste the urgent development of the new flexible response army, attuned to the trumpet of Taylor's own choosing -- counterinsurgency. All the pieces were coming together, and during this formative period a new special group was formed. This was the Special Group (of the NSC), Counterinsurgency, better known as the Special Group CI, or CI. This group presided over the CIA, State and Defense Departments, and others, who hastily put together a host of counterinsurgency nations. It was a watch list, which varied from time to time as intelligence inputs rose and fell with the tides of international events. The Special Group CI list usually ran to about sixteen or seventeen countries, in the order of how deep they were along the path to insurgency and decay. It is worth noting that although the automatic target of CI was Communism, not a single "Communist" country, including Cuba, was on the list. It was characteristic of the new ST focus that the United States was to intervene in the affairs of its friends and not in the affairs of Russia's friends or of China's friends.

This game as it was then played in Washington was a most serious business. As countries were added to the list their military aid programs were hastily escalated, and literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of American military personnel of all types descended upon them. Sometimes they arrived in uniform and sometimes in civilian disguise. They went to work immediately in support of the new political-social-economic doctrine, and before long new schools were being built -- by the army; new hospitals were being built -- by the army; new farming techniques were under way -- by the army; irrigation and water purification projects were under way, -- again by the army. Underlying all of the paramilitary and sometimes real military work was the CIA, working with the host government to weed out, to identify, and to categorize all of the subversive insurgents. In countries where the word Communism had never been applied to bandits, beggars, and rebels before, all of a sudden all opposition was given the name "Communist". All the problems were attributed to Communists, and the counterinsurgency action was under way.

These rather amateurish activities were met with all kinds of receptions in the various host countries. Some were cool to this love-your-army doctrine. Some were stunned. It was pretty bitter medicine for many countries, where hatred and fear of the army had been traditional, to find the Americans coming in with a program designed to make the army into local heroes according to the Magsaysay formula of a Robin Hood game. But what were they -- the Colombians, Congolese, Laotians, Jordanians -- able to say in the face of American "goodwill" and concern? It did a lot of good for the "do-gooders" of counterinsurgency action in the U.S. Government, and if nothing else it served to quickly coalesce the ST. The next move, as SACSA and the Agency consolidated their power and influence in the White House and in the DOD, was to propose the "logical" move of General Taylor to the Pentagon to become chairman of the JCS. As soon as this was accomplished, the Army actively threw itself into the Special Forces mold and set out to win back its position of number one on the defense team.

Thus, all of these pressures and behind-the-scenes efforts piled up before Vietnam, and came to a head in Vietnam. As we have said before, the logistics equipment in huge amounts from Indonesia, Tibet, Laos, the Bay of Pigs, and many other operations all began to accumulate in Vietnam along with the ST personnel, who saw an opportunity to accomplish, almost with abandon, all of the things that they had failed to do or had been unable to do before.

While this was going on quietly and quite subtly before his eyes, President Kennedy did a lot of talking with many old hands about "what has gone wrong with the Bay of Pigs" and "what is the meaning of Vietnam". As has been ably reported by many good writers, President Kennedy was forming his own opinion of what was going on, and the evidence is that he was quite close to the facts and to a real evaluation of what was happening. One of Kennedy's closest friends, Kenny O'Donnell, reports that General MacArthur had "stunned" the President in 1961, after the Bay of Pigs, with his warnings about the folly of trying to match Asian manpower and about the absurdity of the domino theory "in a nuclear age." O'Donnell further reports, "The General implored the President to avoid a U.S. military buildup in Vietnam, or any other part of the Asian mainland. . . ." And Mary McGrory, a reporter, has said, in words more truthful and important than she knew, "President Kennedy, who at the time was caught up in the counterinsurgency mania which had swept the New Frontier, was subsequently startled by the passionate objections of Mansfield. But he told Mansfield privately, after a White House leadership meeting, that he agreed with him "on a need for a complete withdrawal from Vietnam, but I can't do it until 1965 after I get re-elected".

Kennedy had the misfortune, which he was overcoming rapidly, of being young and inexperienced in the inner ways of government, such as those employed by the ST. He could not have realized that Maxwell Taylor, for example, by the time he had returned to the Pentagon as chairman of the JCS, was actually more of a Judas goat, as far as the military was concerned, than the leader of the herd, as he had been when he left three years before. Few great armies have been so vastly demoralized and stricken by an integral campaign as has the U.S. Army since those dark days of 1964 and 1965, when Maxwell Taylor and his ST counterparts led them into Vietnam under the banner of counterinsurgency.

Vietnam is not a simple thing. There were many new forces at play there. It had always galled the Navy and the intelligence community the way General MacArthur had dominated the Pacific during World War II and then later in Korea; and in so doing, he had gained the complete upper hand over all of his adversaries in the U.S. military, especially over "Wild Bill" Donovan of the old OSS. They were violently jealous of him. Admiral Radford, who had been Commander in Chief, Pacific Forces, objected strenuously to any decision that would make Southeast Asia an Army theater of action as MacArthur had made the Korean action an Army show. Radford supported the CIA and Lansdale when they moved into Saigon from Manila. For other reasons the Navy and the CIA had the full support of Cardinal Spellman, since he strongly urged the installation of a Catholic in the President's office in Saigon, and Ngo Dinh Diem and his family were pillars of the Catholic Church in Indochina.

Businesses that had been all but knocked out of the defense contract arena by the end of the Eisenhower regime -- some by the sudden and abrupt swing to ballistic missiles and space during the late fifties -- saw new light at the end of the tunnel in the resurgence of the foot-soldier army and the ground warfare this new dogma presaged. They could expect to go back to making World War II type munitions again and dumping them on the shores of Asia. Perhaps the strongest support for the Vietnamese war has always come from the national defense industries, which benefited tremendously by this windfall. The helicopter industry, which was on the ropes in 1958-59, became a major supplier of war material for Vietnam. At the beginning of the war in Vietnam the Air Force had very few aircraft that could carry a respectable tonnage of bombs -- not because the planes could not carry the load, but because they had all been designed to carry nuclear weapons. As the war became a bombing war -- what McNamara called the "sophisticated war of the North -- all of these huge bombers had to be refitted to carry bombs, and the huge munitions industry put back to work manufacturing bombs. There were many periods in the early days of the bombing when the Air Force actually ran out of bombs while the industry was getting out its old tooling and delivering World War II weapons again.

This war halfway around the world was a major bonanza for the transportation industry and especially for the air transportation groups. During peak years, the DOD was spending three quarters of a billion dollars on charter airlift for Vietnam alone.

In the services, military personnel who saw forced retirement facing them during the sixties were looking at the inevitable retirement as majors, lieutenant colonels, and colonels, until a whole new vista opened with the new plan and its return to a ground war of massive troop strength. Men who had lingered in the grade of lieutenant colonel got their colonel's eagles and some of them leap-frogged by way of the Green Berets and CIA recommendation to become brigadier general, major general, and even lieutenant general. There were so many diverse interests, which all came together in the springtide of Vietnam and grew and grew from under a cloak of classification and secrecy. It would be interesting to discover how men like Lansdale, Peers, Dupuy, Stilwell, Tolson, Rosson, and so many others had served with the CIA and also made rapid promotions to the grade of brigadier general and higher as a result of the CIA, Special Forces, and Vietnam. The list is long, and mostly comprised of the men who are listed in the Pentagon Papers, including of course a great number of civilians in the same category.

Few people realized how some of these operations got started, and how important some of these seemingly small things were in the escalation of Vietnam. The Agency brought a squadron of helicopters down from Laos, and immediately these complicated machines needed a great number of skilled men to support them; then these vast agglomerations of men and machines created their own requirements for additional men to protect them and to feed, house, and support them. The first helicopters came in under the wraps of secrecy. No one seemed to know how they got there; but once they were there the great logistics tail that was essential to keep them operating had to be built in the open, without classification. It could not have been kept secret, even if anyone had tried.

On top of this, since the ST was running the beginnings of the war from Washington, they felt that every gimmick they could dream up was worth a try. Even before the escalation, this plan to build up the action in Vietnam was foreshadowed and preordained by official military-type ST doctrine, which stated: "These natural advantages [of the guerrilla] can be largely neutralized by the imaginative employment of modern technological advances which military research and development have been perfecting since the last war . . . night vision devices, lightweight body armor, portable radar for infantry use, invisible phosphorescent dyes, defoliants to deprive the guerrillas of their jungle cover; fast lightweight, silent, shallowdraft boats for river patrol, and tiny reliable short-range radios. . . . Practical uses for all these new developments can best be found by establishing combat development and test centers in the country where the counterinsurgency campaign is being waged."

Such centers were set up later in Vietnam and proved to be the modern counterpart of the horn of plenty and the runaway Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The center in Saigon was given the highest priority to send daily messages to the Pentagon, and from there every single request, large and small, important or unimportant, was given a high priority to be carried out, all on the assumption that each and every request of the CDTC (Combat Development Test Center) would help win the war of counterinsurgency. The floodgates were open for the zealots, the irresponsible, and the special interests. Such things make small wars grow fast.

The CIA was the first in Vietnam with helicopters. It introduced the M-16 rifle there, and it brought into Indochina the B-26 bombers left over from Cuba and Indonesia and the T-28 trainer aircraft modified as a ground-attack plane. It had the first L-28 utility aircraft, and it brought in the old C-46, C-47 and C-54 aircraft of World War II vintage. It introduced many new ships, such as the Coast Guard patrol ships and the Norwegian-built PT boats. It used the U-2 and had the use of the product of the RF-105 reconnaissance planes. Many of the battlefield tactics used later by the army were first used in the field by the CIA.

By the middle of 1963 it had become evident that either the President was going to have to step in and put a halt to the spread of this counterinsurgency conflagration or it would consume the country. Everywhere the young Kennedy team turned, they came up against CIA and ST specialists. With the sage and powerful General Erskine gone from the staff of the Secretary of Defense, his replacement in this type of activity was either Bill Bundy, a long-time CIA man; Ed Lansdale, a long-time CIA man also, or others too numerous to mention and so well concealed (such as those who really sent the U-2 out on that fateful May 1 mission) that the unaware McNamara had no defense against their continuing pressures. Even in the office that he thought would give him some buffer between the Agency and the military -- that special office in the Joint Staff -- SACSA, McNamara was getting almost 100 percent CIA action, and when Maxwell Taylor became Chairman even his efforts were expended more in support of the ST, as he saw it, than in regular line military.

This was most discernible to those of us who had been in the Joint Staff for some time. In the days of other chairmen, such as Twining and Lemnitzer, JCS meetings used to be wide-open, entirely professional, and generally constructive. This is not to say there were not some strong differences and stronger language when such men as Arleigh Burke the Chief of Naval Operations, or Curt Lemay, the Air Force chief, did not see eye to eye. In any case, they were marked by discussion. They were not dominated and controlled by the chairman. Then, when Maxwell Taylor became chairman, the meetings were somber and apt to be a one-man-show. Little was ever said by any of the Chiefs pro and con when he was in attendance; but let Taylor be away and the meeting then be chaired by another man, the meetings would be open again.

These top military men who had known Taylor for years, had seen him leave the Army in a huff and had watched him return to the White House, where he cast his lot with the CIA and the ST. They knew that even though he was among them officially as the chairman, he was no longer one of them. He was leading the Army and certain elements of the Navy and Air Force away from their traditional roles and into an opportunistic and uncertain future with the CIA and the ST -- into the orgy of Vietnam.

We have seen earlier that President Kennedy's directive NSAM 57, which laid out the ground rules for covert operations and broke them down on the basis that very small was for CIA and the larger ones must be reviewed and probably assigned to the military, had been so turned around that it had become, in practice, almost meaningless on the intangible issue of when to transition from the CIA to the military. To demonstrate how totally this directive has been circumvented, we should note that there has never been a transition in Saigon, even when the force strength stood at 550,000 men. How large does a peacetime operation have to get before the CIA is told to give up its more than intelligence and more than clandestine operations role? How long before the ambassador is withdrawn? before it is placed in the hands of the professional military commanders?

We have not seen what had happened to NSAM 55, the memo Kennedy had sent directly to General Lemnitzer. The General filed that memo and used its silent power to assure that the military would not become involved in covert operations. When Maxwell Taylor became the chairman, he inherited this power. As a prime mover of the inner and security-cloaked ST, he now had the scepter of greater power in his hands. Whereas the President had called upon the chairman of the JCS to advise him in peacetime as he would in wartime, now he had appointed an adviser who was with the other side. The CIA knew that Taylor would not advise against them any more than Lansdale and Bundy would, up in McNamara's office.

Therefore, with the move of Maxwell Taylor to the chairmanship of the JCS, the ST had checkmated President Kennedy on both NSAM 55 and NSAM 57. As the country moved into the crucial summer of 1963 the President admitted to his closest confidants that he could not move against the right-wingers and the ST. As he told Senator Mansfield, "I can't do it until 1965, after I'm re-elected." And as he told Kenny O'Donnell, "In 1965, I'll be damned everywhere as a Communist appeaser. But I don't care. If I tried to pull out completely now, we would have another Joe McCarthy Red scare on our hands." Then in a broadcast on Sept. 2, 1963, President Kennedy gave a hint of his plans for disengagement when he said, speaking of the Vietnamese, "In the final analysis it is their war. They have to win or lose it." Then, as Mary McGrory says, "But Kennedy, like the two presidents who have followed him, was a captive of the Saigon Government." It is typical of reporters and other researchers to give such limited conclusions, because even as close as they are to the Government they are unable to get behind the screen of secrecy and see how the ST really works. Not only was Kennedy captive of the Saigon Government but he and the Saigon Government were captives of the ST.

As we look back to the beginning of this narrative and to those remarkable papers called, quite incorrectly, the Pentagon Papers we recall that early in October 1963, only one month after the above cited broadcast, McNamara and Maxwell Taylor reported to the President that it looked to them, after their visit to Saigon, as though things could be put under control and that we would be able to withdraw all personnel by the end of 1965. Now we can see why they chose that date. This was the date the President had used in his own discussions with his closest advisers. They all knew that he planned to announce a pullout once he had been re-elected. Less than one month after that report, the men who had been running South Vietnam since they had been placed in power there by the American CIA, along with Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Nhu, were dead, and the government had been turned over to one of the friendly generals who more properly fit the pattern for counterinsurgency and the new plan. If South Vietnam was to be redeemed it would best be saved by a junta of benevolent army generals -- or so the new military doctrine went.

Less than one month after that date, President Kennedy himself had been shot dead in Dallas. And what is even more portentous, it was less than one month after that tragic date that the same two travelers, McNamara and Taylor, returned again from Saigon and reported to a new President that conditions were bad in South Vietnam and we would have to make a major effort, including American combat troops and a vast "sophisticated" clandestine program, against the North Vietnamese.

The ST struck quickly. While the echo of those shots in Dallas were still ringing, the ST moved to take over the whole direction of the war and to dominate the activity of the United States of America.

In the face of these shocking and terrifying events, who could have expected a man who had been in the range of gunfire that ended the life of his predecessor, to make any moves in those critical days that would indicate he was not going to go along with the pressures which had surfaced so violently in Dallas? He knew exactly what had happened there in Dallas. He did not need to wait for the findings of the Warren Commission. He already knew that the death of Lee Harvey Oswald would never bring any relief to him or to his successors.


It may be worthwhile to note that both memoranda were very well written, exceeding by far the usual bureaucratic language of such papers in style and clarity. The writer -- Sorenson? -- was certainly more than one of the run-of-the-mill memo writers. Since the Pentagon Papers seem not to have contained these memoranda, it may be some time before we can learn who wrote these excellent and extremely significant papers for the President.
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By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
Gny Sgt USMC (Ret.)
Semper Fidelis
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