As I mentioned in the previous chapter of the present series, I was 11 years old and in my 6th grade classroom when the news of John F. Kennedy’s assassination was first broadcast. I was not ignorant of the idea that evil existed in the world, but I thought about it as something that was personal, local even, not some sort of global juggernaut stalking whole societies. John Kennedy’s assassination was the event that changed all that. Even though I was not able to fully comprehend it then, years later I was better able to articulate the raw, horrifying face of evil I had seen on that sunny November day in 1963. I didn’t know then that Kennedy himself had already seen it and described it:
For we are opposed, around the world, by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy…
Well, of course, George W. Bush says the same thing, doesn’t he? The difference is, Kennedy died for saying it, Bush didn’t. That suggests that Kennedy had in mind the real conspiracy, and Bush either doesn’t have a clue, or is busy directing attention away from it.
John Kennedy went to Texas to lay the groundwork for the next election. Even though he had not formally announced that he would run again, it was clear that he intended to and that he knew he would have to rely on the support of the people. Earlier, in September, he had spoken in nine states in a single week, focusing on natural resources and conservation efforts, improving education, maintaining national security, and promoting peaceful relations between countries. He talked about the achievement of a limited nuclear test ban, which the Senate had just approved, and the public made it clear that they were enthusiastically behind him. The masses knew that he cared about them, their sons and daughters, and most of all, peace.
Then, in early November, Kennedy had held a political planning session for the upcoming election. At that meeting, he noted the importance of winning Florida and Texas and that’s where he announced his plans to visit both states in the next two weeks. JFK was aware that a relatively small but vocal group of extremists was contributing to the political tensions in Texas and would likely make its presence felt-particularly in Dallas, where UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had been physically attacked a month earlier after a making a speech there. As an aside, one wonders if it is just coincidence that George Bush was governor of Texas and Jeb Bush was governor of Florida during the 2000 election which it is now agreed by almost everyone who can read and think, was fraudulently stolen? The trip to Florida and Texas was Jackie Kennedy’s first extended public appearance since the loss of their baby, Patrick in August which had been a cruel ordeal for her and the whole Kennedy family. Nonetheless, JFK was said to have appeared to relish the prospect of getting out among the people.
So it was that, on November 21, the John and Jackie Kennedy departed on Air Force One for a two-day, five-city tour of Texas.
On November 22nd, 1963, the 1,036th day of his presidency, a light rain was falling, but a crowd of several thousand had gathered in the parking lot outside the Texas Hotel where the Kennedys had spent the night. A platform had been set up and the President came out to make some brief remarks without a raincoat or umbrella.
“There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth,” he began, “and I appreciate your being here this morning. Mrs. Kennedy is organizing herself. It takes longer, but, of course, she looks better than we do when she does it.” He talked about the nation’s need for being “second to none” in defense and in space, for continued growth in the economy and “the willingness of citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership.” The audience loved him and that love was palpable as John Kennedy reached out to shake hands amidst a sea of smiling faces.
Back inside the Hotel, he addressed a breakfast meeting of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce for about 12 minutes. His talk began, as usual, with humor and the audience loved him! He proceeded to talk about defense projects, emphasizing the role of the military in maintaining peace: “. . . to that great cause, Texas and the United States are committed.”
“Committed” was his last publicly spoken word.
The 1,037th day never came.
Listen to: Remarks at the Breakfast of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, November 22, 1963
Now, let us turn to the Official History which tells us:
“The presidential party left the hotel and went by motorcade to Carswell Air Force Base for the thirteen-minute flight to Dallas. Arriving at Love Field, President and Mrs. Kennedy disembarked and immediately walked toward a fence where a crowd of well-wishers had gathered, and they spent several minutes shaking hands. The First Lady was presented with a bouquet of red roses, which she brought with her to the waiting limousine.
Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie were already seated in the open convertible as the Kennedys entered and sat behind them. Since it was no longer raining the plastic bubble top had been left off. Vice President and Mrs. Johnson occupied another car in the motorcade.
“The procession left the airport and traveled along a ten-mile route that wound through downtown Dallas on the way to the Trade Mart where the President was scheduled to speak at a luncheon. Crowds of excited people lined the streets waving to the Kennedys as they waved back.
The car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m. As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository gunfire suddenly reverberated in the plaza. Bullets struck the President’s neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy. The Governor was also hit, in the chest.” (emphasis, mine)
As it happened, there was a spectator in the crowd at Dealey Plaza that day with a home movie camera. Abraham Zapruder, standing in the area that has come to be known as the “grassy knoll,” had filmed the assassination. Let’s watch it and then continue with the story.
Life magazine bought the Zapruder film and locked it up. Not even the Warren Commission viewed it as a motion picture. The magazine published staggered still frames in a cover story endorsing the Warren Report when it was issued in 1964 with captions under each frame. The caption under frame 313, where Kennedy’s head explodes, said it was from a shot from the front. But that meant that Oswald could not have fired the “head shot.” When Life realized its “error,” it stopped the presses and rewrote the caption as a shot from the rear. The film also graphically demonstrated that the president and Texas Governor John Connally, sitting in the jump seat in front of him, were struck by bullets within three-quarters of a second of each other, which meant that there had to be more than one weapon.
The Warren Commission disposed of this problem with what has come to be known as the “Magic Bullet Theory.”
According to the Warren Commission, the bullet fired by Lee Harvey Oswald hit John Kennedy in the back, then went up and exited via his throat, passed through John Connally’s upper right arm, went inside his body, shattered a rib, exited his body under his right nipple, entered his upraised lower right arm and shattered his wrist, crossed his body to the left and entered his left thigh.
And then, magically, the bullet itself just fell out of John Connally’s body onto the stretcher at the hospital, completely intact.
That’s a pretty amazing bullet, wouldn’t you say? It’s like the Boeing 757 that allegedly hit the Pentagon and liquified and just flowed into the building and melted away. But that Magic Bullet is even more amazing when you actually see it. And here it is:
Yes, folks, this is the alleged actual bullet that slaughtered John F. Kennedy, and put Governor John Connally in a world of hurt.
Look at it carefully.
It’s pretty shiny and sleek looking, isn’t it? Looks pretty deadly.
This bullet left fragments in Governor Connally’s body, too, by the way. Doesn’t look like it’s missing any fragments to me. How about you?
Now, let’s look at some other bullets. The following selection are the exact same type of bullet, same manufacture, same caliber. They have all been fired into different objects to see how those impacts would affect the appearance of the bullet itself.
Above, a bullet that has been fired through cotton wadding.
Fired into, and retrieved from, a human cadaver.
I think we can determine that the bullet that fell out of John Connally’s thigh must have been planted there. And that means that there was someone in the hospital who knew what kind of weapon was supposed to be the murder weapon and came prepared.
Now, we notice in the official history above that it says: “Bullets struck the President’s neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy.” They are saying that he was struck in the neck, first.
By Mike Feinsilber
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Thirty-three years ago, Gerald R. Ford took pen in hand and changed – ever so slightly – the Warren Commission’s key sentence on the place where a bullet entered John F. Kennedy’s body when he was killed in Dallas.
The effect of Ford’s change was to strengthen the commission’s conclusion that a single bullet passed through Kennedy and severely wounded Texas Gov. John Connally – a crucial element in its finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.
A small change, said Ford on Wednesday when it came to light, one intended to clarify meaning, not alter history.
”My changes had nothing to do with a conspiracy theory,” he said in a telephone interview from Beaver Creek, Colo. ”My changes were only an attempt to be more precise.”
Can we say “an attempt to cook the data to fit the fantasy”?
But still, his editing was seized upon by members of the conspiracy community, which rejects the commission’s conclusion that Oswald acted alone.
”This is the most significant lie in the whole Warren Commission report,” said Robert D. Morningstar, a computer systems specialist in New York City who said he has studied the assassination since it occurred and written an Internet book about it.
The effect of Ford’s editing, Morningstar said, was to suggest that a bullet struck Kennedy in the neck, ”raising the wound two or three inches. Without that alteration, they could never have hoodwinked the public as to the true number of assassins.”
The Warren Commission concluded in 1964 that a single bullet – fired by a ”discontented” Oswald – passed through Kennedy’s body and wounded his fellow motorcade passenger, Connally, and that a second, fatal bullet, fired from the same place, tore through Kennedy’s head.
The assassination of the president occurred Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas; Oswald was arrested that day but was shot and killed two days later as he was being transferred from the city jail to the county jail.
Conspiracy theorists reject the idea that a single bullet could have hit both Kennedy and Connally and done such damage. Thus they argue that a second gunman must have been involved.
Ford’s changes tend to support the single-bullet theory by making a specific point that the bullet entered Kennedy’s body ‘‘at the back of his neck” rather than in his uppermost back, as the commission staff originally wrote.
Ford’s handwritten notes were contained in 40,000 pages of records kept by J. Lee Rankin, chief counsel of the Warren Commission.
They were made public Wednesday by the Assassination Record Review Board, an agency created by Congress to amass all relevant evidence in the case. The documents will be available to the public in the National Archives.
The staff of the commission had written: ”A bullet had entered his back at a point slightly above the shoulder and to the right of the spine.”
Ford suggested changing that to read: ”A bullet had entered the back of his neck at a point slightly to the right of the spine.”
The final report said: ”A bullet had entered the base of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine.”
Ford, then House Republican leader and later elevated to the presidency with the 1974 resignation of Richard Nixon, is the sole surviving member of the seven-member commission chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
In spite of the fact that Ford admitted falsifying evidence in the Warren Commission report, and that the evidence shows that his changes had nothing to do with any attempts to be “precise,” but rather to support the “Lone Assassin” theory , the “official sources continue to use various media outlets to propagandize their fantasy.
October 28, 2003
The United States’ ABC television network said today it conducted an exhaustive investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, complete with a computer-generated reconstruction, which irrefutably confirms that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
A two-hour special on the event is scheduled to air on ABC News in the United States on November 20, two days before the 40th anniversary Kennedy’s killing.
“It leaves no room for doubt,” said Tom Yellin, executive producer of the special, narrated by Peter Jennings.
He called the results of ABC’s study “enormously powerful. It’s irrefutable”. The conclusion that Oswald alone shot Kennedy during a motorcade in Dallas mirrors that of the Warren Commission, the official government inquiry into the assassination.
Even today, public opinion surveys find that less than half of Americans don’t agree with that conclusion, said Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas.
I believe that the last polls I read indicated that only about 10% of Americans believe that there was “no conspiracy.”
But that reservoir of doubt, largely fed by government secrecy and Oliver Stone’s movie on the assassination, is important to address, Yellin said.
You got it, buddy. And there’s no way you can refute that bullet above. It is, no pun intended, the “smoking gun” evidence that the government’s single assassin, single bullet theory is a total crock of horse-hockey.
ABC News worked with an expert who created a computer-generated reconstruction of the shooting based on maps, blueprints, physical measurements, more than 500 photographs, films and autopsy reports, ABC said.
It enables a person to view the scene from any number of perspectives, including what Oswald saw from the sixth floor of the former Texas school book depository, Yellin said.
“When you do that, it’s chillingly clear what happened,” Yellin said.
He dismisses theories that there was another gunman.
Through interviews and other documentation, ABC News also concludes that Jack Ruby, who later killed Oswald, acted simply out of his love for Kennedy.
The computer-generated technology, only available for the past few years, is now frequently used in criminal investigations, Yellin said.
While Stone’s movie raised doubt in many people’s minds about the Warren Commission, it also led to the release of many government documents that had previously been kept hidden and fueled conspiracy theorists, Yellin said.
Yes, those documents certainly did “fuel conspiracy theorists”. It’s important to remember what a “theory” is: it is a reasonable conjecture based on an assembly of facts and observations. On the other hand, the Warren Commission Report is a total fantasy.
None of the documents offer significant evidence refuting the conclusion that Oswald acted alone, Yellin said.
Still, much of Americans’ cynicism about their government can be traced to November 22, 1963, making further investigation important even 40 years later, he said.
“I think it’s very hard for people to accept the fact that the most powerful man in the world can be murdered by a disaffected person whose life had been a series of failures up to that point,” Yellin said.
Both Yellin and Mack admit that no matter what evidence ABC News lays out, it’s not likely to quiet people who believe otherwise.
“The history of this subject is pretty clear,” Mack said.
“No matter what information comes out, people are going to believe what they want.”
So, based upon maps, blueprints, physical measurements, more than 500 photographs, films and autopsy reports, the good folks at ABC have made a computer-generated reconstruction of the shooting that leaves no doubt that Oswald acted alone.
Glory Hallelujah! We have been saved from those evil, lying, conspiracy theorists by Lee Harvey Oswald and ABC!
Now, in addition to the Magic Bullet – you know the one that entered Kennedy’s back and then jumped up and exited through his throat and went on to bounce around in Connally like a lethal pinball – there was another bullet. Let’s look at what that bullet, allegedly fired by marksman Oswald, from the rear, did to John Kennedy’s head:
Next is the photo doctored by the Warren Commission for public consumption. The problem is, if the bullet that entered JFK’s back, and exited through his throat, then hit John Connally, and the second bullet hit JFK in the head, where is the exit wound of the second bullet?
Notice how he is all cleaned up. There’s another shot available on the net that purports to be the back of John Kennedy’s head, minus the blown-out brains that is clearly fraudulent because here are the embalmer’s notes:
The issue of the head-shot that killed Kennedy is as contentious as the current day issue of the Pentagon Strike on 9/11. The government and its apologists have produced endless “experts” to prove that a gunshot to the head from the rear can cause the head to fly violently backward – in the direction the shot came from – and, at the same time, that the shot to the rear of the skull will cause a large piece of the skull to fly off to the rear as can be seen to happen in the Zapruder film above. That is, in fact, what Jackie Kennedy is seen to be trying to retrieve. To see that poor woman watch as her husband’s head literally explodes in front of her eyes, and to see her try to get the pieces to put him back together, is unbearably painful to watch.
One of the key elements of the “official explanation” for the headshot is that John Kennedy’s head can be seen to first move forward, and then jerk violently backward. Somehow this is twisted into some kind of off-planet physics to be hard evidence for the shot from the rear, i.e. the Texas School Book Depository, i.e. Oswald. Never mind that there are thousands, if not millions, of cases where the point of entry is small, and the bullet tears a gigantic hole when making its exit; a hole exactly like the one on the back of John Kennedy’s head.
As it happens, shortly after the assassination, Dallas resident Billy Harper was walking down the median in Dealey Plaza and found a piece of the President’s skull laying in the grass. Taken together with the violent motion of the President’s head, the blood spray dousing the motorcyle cops who were behind Kennedy to his left rear and then the skull pieces found in the grass opposite the grassy knoll, the debris pattern clearly indicates that the head shot came from the front. Thousands of murder cases have been prosecuted on this type of evidence. If, suddenly rules of criminal evidence were to be reversed by all the so-called experts trying to support the Warren Fantasy, then how many criminal cases might be overturned based on this newly discovered law of physics?
There is a reason that JFK’s head moves forward just a fraction of a second before it moves violently back and to the left.
From the confession of James Files:
“When I got to the point where I thought it would be the last field of fire, I had zeroed in to the left side of the head there that I had, because if I wait any longer then Jacqueline Kennedy would have been in the line of fire and I had been instructed for nothing to happen to her and at that moment I figured this is my last chance for a shot and he had still not been hit in the head. So, as I fired that round, Mr. Nicoletti and I fired approximately at the same time as the head started forward then it went backward. I would have to say that his shell struck approximately 1000th of a second ahead of mine maybe but that what’s started pushing the head forward which caused me to miss the left eye and I came in on the left side of the temple.”
Houston ChroniclePublished Nov. 22, 1963:
Dr. Kemp Clark, neurosurgeon, said: “I was called because the President had sustained a brain injury.” “It was apparent the President had sustained a lethal wound,” Dr. Clark said.
“A missile had gone in and out of the back of his head, causing extensive lacerations and loss of brain tissue. Shortly after I arrived, the President’s heart stopped. We attempted resuscitation, initiating closed chest heart massage, but to no avail.
“We were able to obtain a palpable pulse by this method but again to no avail.
President Kennedy died on the emergency table after 20 minutes.
See: I Shot JFK. Results of a 10 year private, unbiased investigation provide the first hard evidence of conspiracy in 40 years!
Let us now return to our official history of that day:
“The car sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital, just a few minutes away. But there was little that could be done for the President. A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the last rites and at 1:00 p.m. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead. Governor Connolly, though seriously wounded, would recover.
“The President’s body was brought to Love Field and placed on Air Force One. Before the plane took off, a grim-faced Lyndon B. Johnson stood in the tight, crowded compartment and took the oath of office, administered by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Hughes. The brief ceremony took place at 2:38 p.m.”
As I have already mentioned in a previous chapter, Lyndon Johnson had already drafted National Security Memorandum 273, dated November 21st, 1963 – the day before John Kennedy met his fate in Dallas – which suggests that LBJ knew something. So, let’s have a look at the “grim-faced” Lyndon Baines Johnson taking the oath of office as described above:
Barr McClellan, father of former White House press secretary Scott McClellan and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Mark McClellan, wrote a book entitled: “Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K”. His thesis was that former President Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy. His book apparently includes photographs, copies of letters, insider interviews and details of fingerprints as proof that Edward A. Clark, the powerful head of Johnson’s private and business legal team and a former ambassador to Australia, led the plan and cover-up for the 1963 assassination in Dallas.
Well, I don’t think that LBJ was behind it, but we already suspect that he was involved – as were 90% of the pathological deviants in the United States at the time – most of whom were successful businessmen, mobsters and politicians.
The fact is, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a form of control of the government of the United States. It is the ultimate form of control of the election process. Understanding this can lead us to understand what has happened to our country since that terrible day in November, 43 years ago. Studied carefully, the assassination of John F. Kennedy can reveal who really controls the United States and its polices, particularly foreign policy. As John Kennedy himself said:
“For we are opposed, around the world, by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence; in infiltration instead of invasion; on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice; on guerillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. Its preparations are concealed not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined, its dissenters are silenced, not praised; no expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the cold war, in short, with a wartime discipline no democracy would ever hope to wish to match. …”
He was right; but I think he didn’t realize how far they were willing – and able – to go.
Nowadays, we know how far they are able and willing to go: just look at the events of September 11, 2001, which bear the same unmistakable stamp of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In fact, as I have mentioned before, the same gang is involved.
Today, we live in a country where the poor and old cannot afford health care, something that John Kennedy was trying to correct. We live in a country where the economy is falling apart; a country where 44 million people live on less than $12,000 dollars a year; a nation where over 2 million people are homeless; a country where the entire media system is owned by only six media mega conglomerates; the country with the highest crime rate in the world (not being at war); a country with the world’s largest prison population; a society where 25% of children under 12 live in poverty; a country that gives Israel billions of dollars a year to kill and maim Palestinians while there are over 2 million homeless on our own streets; a country where the gulf between the rich and poor is wider than it is in almost all other civilized countries; a nation that supports dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and many other countries around the world; a country that spies on its own citizens, has trashed the Constitution; a country that has undertaken to torture people when it is known that no intelligence that comes from a tortured person is likely to be accurate; a country where the government is full of corruption worse than any Banana Republic; a country where 40 percent of the homeless are military veterans, in a country with the world’s highest teen suicide rates; and all of these were issues that concerned John F. Kennedy, issues that he was working very hard – against a stubborn, oligarchic system – to correct.
As people throughout the nation and the world struggled to make sense of the senseless act of the slaughter of a man who had the brains and guts to solve America’s problems, and to articulate their feelings about President Kennedy’s life and legacy, many recalled these words from his inaugural address which had now acquired new meaning:
“All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days, nor in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration. Nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”
John Kennedy was on his way to give a speech on that Sunny afternoon in Dallas, Texas, 43 years ago. I think it is only fitting that we close this chapter with the words he planned to say, but never got the chance:
President John F. Kennedy November 22, 1963
“I am honored to have this invitation to address the annual meeting of the Dallas Citizens Council, joined by the members of the Dallas Assembly–and pleased to have this opportunity to salute the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest.
It is fitting that these two symbols of Dallas progress are united in the sponsorship of this meeting. For they represent the best qualities, I am told, of leadership and learning in this city–and leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. The advancement of learning depends on community leadership for financial and political support and the products of that learning, in turn, are essential to the leadership’s hopes for continued progress and prosperity. It is not a coincidence that those communities possessing the best in research and graduate facilities–from MIT to Cal Tech–tend to attract the new and growing industries. I congratulate those of you here in Dallas who have recognized these basic facts through the creation of the unique and forward-looking Graduate Research Center.
This link between leadership and learning is not only essential at the community level. It is even more indispensable in world affairs. Ignorance and misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foreign policy, handicap this country’s security. In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.
There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.
But today other voices are heard in the land–voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as victory and that peace is a sign of weakness. At a time when the national debt is steadily being reduced in terms of its burden on our economy, they see that debt as the greatest single threat to our security. At a time when we are steadily reducing the number of Federal employees serving every thousand citizens, they fear those supposed hordes of civil servants far more than the actual hordes of opposing armies.
We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will “talk sense to the American people.” But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense.
I want to discuss with you today the status of our strength and our security because this question clearly calls for the most responsible qualities of leadership and the most enlightened products of scholarship. For this Nation’s strength and security are not easily or cheaply obtained, nor are they quickly and simply explained. There are many kinds of strength and no one kind will suffice. Overwhelming nuclear strength cannot stop a guerrilla war. Formal pacts of alliance cannot stop internal subversion. Displays of material wealth cannot stop the disillusionment of diplomats subjected to discrimination.
Above all, words alone are not enough. The United States is a peaceful nation. And where our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.
I realize that this Nation often tends to identify turning-points in world affairs with the major addresses which preceded them. But it was not the Monroe Doctrine that kept all Europe away from this hemisphere–it was the strength of the British fleet and the width of the Atlantic Ocean. It was not General Marshall’s speech at Harvard which kept communism out of Western Europe–it was the strength and stability made possible by our military and economic assistance.
In this administration also it has been necessary at times to issue specific warnings–warnings that we could not stand by and watch the Communists conquer Laos by force, or intervene in the Congo, or swallow West Berlin, or maintain offensive missiles on Cuba. But while our goals were at least temporarily obtained in these and other instances, our successful defense of freedom was due not to the words we used, but to the strength we stood ready to use on behalf of the principles we stand ready to defend.
This strength is composed of many different elements, ranging from the most massive deterrents to the most subtle influences. And all types of strength are needed–no one kind could do the job alone. Let us take a moment, therefore, to review this Nation’s progress in each major area of strength.
First, as Secretary McNamara made clear in his address last Monday, the strategic nuclear power of the United States has been so greatly modernized and expanded in the last 1,000 days, by the rapid production and deployment of the most modern missile systems, that any and all potential aggressors are clearly confronted now with the impossibility of strategic victory–and the certainty of total destruction–if by reckless attack they should ever force upon us the necessity of a strategic reply.
In less than 3 years, we have increased by 50 percent the number of Polaris submarines scheduled to be in force by the next fiscal year, increased by more than 70 percent our total Polaris purchase program, increased by more than 75 percent our Minuteman purchase program, increased by 50 percent the portion of our strategic bombers on 15-minute alert, and increased by too percent the total number of nuclear weapons available in our strategic alert forces. Our security is further enhanced by the steps we have taken regarding these weapons to improve the speed and certainty of their response, their readiness at all times to respond, their ability to survive an attack, and their ability to be carefully controlled and directed through secure command operations.
But the lessons of the last decade have taught us that freedom cannot be defended by strategic nuclear power alone. We have, therefore, in the last 3 years accelerated the development and deployment of tactical nuclear weapons, and increased by 60 percent the tactical nuclear forces deployed in Western Europe.
Nor can Europe or any other continent rely on nuclear forces alone, whether they are strategic or tactical. We have radically improved the readiness of our conventional forces–increased by 45 percent the number of combat ready Army divisions, increased by 100 percent the procurement of modern Army weapons and equipment, increased by 100 percent our ship construction, conversion, and modernization program, increased by too percent our procurement of tactical aircraft, increased by 30 percent the number of tactical air squadrons, and increased the strength of the Marines. As last month’s “Operation Big Lift”–which originated here in Texas–showed so clearly, this Nation is prepared as never before to move substantial numbers of men in surprisingly little time to advanced positions anywhere in the world. We have increased by 175 percent the procurement of airlift aircraft, and we have already achieved a 75 percent increase in our existing strategic airlift capability. Finally, moving beyond the traditional roles of our military forces, we have achieved an increase of nearly 600 percent in our special forces–those forces that are prepared to work with our allies and friends against the guerrillas, saboteurs, insurgents and assassins who threaten freedom in a less direct but equally dangerous manner.
But American military might should not and need not stand alone against the ambitions of international communism. Our security and strength, in the last analysis, directly depend on the security and strength of others, and that is why our military and economic assistance plays such a key role in enabling those who live on the periphery of the Communist world to maintain their independence of choice. Our assistance to these nations can be painful, risky and costly, as is true in Southeast Asia today. But we dare not weary of the task. For our assistance makes possible the stationing of 3-5 million allied troops along the Communist frontier at one-tenth the cost of maintaining a comparable number of American soldiers. A successful Communist breakthrough in these areas, necessitating direct United States intervention, would cost us several times as much as our entire foreign aid program, and might cost us heavily in American lives as well.
About 70 percent of our military assistance goes to nine key countries located on or near the borders of the Communist bloc–nine countries confronted directly or indirectly with the threat of Communist aggression – VietNam, Free China, Korea, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Greece, Turkey, and Iran. No one of these countries possesses on its own the resources to maintain the forces which our own Chiefs of Staff think needed in the common interest. Reducing our efforts to train, equip, and assist their armies can only encourage Communist penetration and require in time the increased overseas deployment of American combat forces. And reducing the economic help needed to bolster these nations that undertake to help defend freedom can have the same disastrous result. In short, the $50 billion we spend each year on our own defense could well be ineffective without the $4 billion required for military and economic assistance.
Our foreign aid program is not growing in size, it is, on the contrary, smaller now than in previous years. It has had its weaknesses, but we have undertaken to correct them. And the proper way of treating weaknesses is to replace them with strength, not to increase those weaknesses by emasculating essential programs. Dollar for dollar, in or out of government, there is no better form of investment in our national security than our much-abused foreign aid program. We cannot afford to lose it. We can afford to maintain it. We can surely afford, for example, to do as much for our 19 needy neighbors of Latin America as the Communist bloc is sending to the island of Cuba alone.
I have spoken of strength largely in terms of the deterrence and resistance of aggression and attack. But, in today’s world, freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets. The success of our leadership is dependent upon respect for our mission in the world as well as our missiles–on a clearer recognition of the virtues of freedom as well as the evils of tyranny.
That is why our Information Agency has doubled the shortwave broadcasting power of the Voice of America and increased the number of broadcasting hours by 30 percent, increased Spanish language broadcasting to Cuba and Latin America from I to 9 hours a day, increased seven-fold to more than 3-5 million copies the number of American books being translated and published for Latin American readers, and taken a host of other steps to carry our message of truth and freedom to all the far corners of the earth.
And that is also why we have regained the initiative in the exploration of outer space, making an annual effort greater than the combined total of all space activities undertaken during the fifties, launching more than 130 vehicles into earth orbit, putting into actual operation valuable weather and communications satellites, and making it clear to all that the United States of America has no intention of finishing second in space.
This effort is expensive–but it pays its own way, for freedom and for America. For there is no longer any fear in the free world that a Communist lead in space will become a permanent assertion of supremacy and the basis of military superiority. There is no longer any doubt about the strength and skill of American science, American industry, American education, and the American free enterprise system. In short, our national space effort represents a great gain in, and a great resource of, our national strength–and both Texas and Texans are contributing greatly to this strength.
Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing and prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system and society.
It is clear, therefore, that we are strengthening our security as well as our economy by our recent record increases in national income and output–by surging ahead of most of Western Europe in the rate of business expansion and the margin of corporate profits, by maintaining a more stable level of prices than almost any of our overseas competitors, and by cutting personal and corporate income taxes by some $ I I billion, as I have proposed, to assure this Nation of the longest and strongest expansion in our peacetime economic history.
This Nation’s total output–which 3 years ago was at the $500 billion mark–will soon pass $600 billion, for a record rise of over $too billion in 3 years. For the first time in history we have 70 million men and women at work. For the first time in history average factory earnings have exceeded $100 a week. For the first time in history corporation profits after taxes–which have risen 43 percent in less than 3 years–have an annual level of $27.4 billion.
My friends and fellow citizens: I cite these facts and figures to make it clear that America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom.
That strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions–it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations–it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.
We in this country, in this generation, are–by destiny rather than choice–the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas , November 22, 1963