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Jacob G. Hornberger

Unlike Trump, JFK Didn't Bend the Knee

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Like President Trump, President Kennedy was subjected to the same type of pressure by the Pentagon and the CIA to engage in military action overseas. Unlike President Trump, however, Kennedy stood his ground and refused to succumb to the will of the national-security establishment. In fact, Kennedy is the only president in the post-World War II era who has stood up to the demands of what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex.”

After the CIA’s regime-change debacle at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba, Kennedy never trusted the CIA again. It didn’t take long for him to have the same sentiment toward the Pentagon.

Like the CIA, the Pentagon was obsessed with regime change in Cuba. The national-security establishment was convinced that the United States would cease to exist with a communist “dagger” pointed at it from only 90 miles away. In the eyes of the Pentagon and the CIA, there was only one thing that could be done to save America — oust the communist regime in Cuba and replace it with a pro-US dictatorship, much like the Batista regime that that Fidel Castro had ousted from power in the Cuban Revolution.

The Pentagon understood the political and diplomatic problems associated with initiating a military attack another country, especially one that had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. After all, that’s what Japan had done with its undeclared surprise attack on US forces at Pearl Harbor, an act that US officials had vehemently condemned.

The CIA had tried to get around that problem with its Bay of Pigs invasion by trying to make it look like the invaders were simply an independent group of Cuban exiles rather than trained agents of the CIA.

The Pentagon got around the problem by coming up with a plan that would make it look like Cuba had started a war with the United States and that the United States was simply acting in self-defense. That’s what Operation Northwoods was all about. Unanimously approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the plan called for terrorist attacks to be carried out here in the United States and for hijackings of American planes.
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