48 years ago today

Note: I had scheduled this to post at midnight last night and had a snafu.

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The following was originally published on this date in 2006:

Plausible Deniability
by Henry Gomez

By now we all know that the idea of the Bay of Pigs invasion was born in the Eisenhower administration and that there were many strategic and tactical errors committed in its planning and implementation. We also know that the decision to hold back American air support was a crucial one because without air superiority any invasion was destined to fail. The reason for the decision was ostensibly to keep up the curtain of “plausible deniability.” In doing so John F. Kennedy and “the best and the brightest” put secrecy ahead of success when they inherited the operation.

When you look at the invasion and the two goals (success and deniability) we see that there could only have been four outcomes. They are listed here, from most desirable to least desirable.

  1. Invasion a success, US deniability maintained.
  2. Invasion a success, US deniability not maintained.
  3. Invasion a failure, US deniability maintained.
  4. Invasion a failure, US deniability not maintained.

The above ranking assumes that the strategic goal of having the invasion succeed was at least as important to Kennedy and his advisers than the political goal of keeping US involvement secret. But looking back it’s obvious, this was not the case, that in Kennedy’s mind number 2 and number 3 were swapped. The political goal of keeping US hands “clean” was more important than stopping castro. The men of the 2506 Brigade became political pawns. A failed operation would be acceptable as long as the US could maintain that it wasn’t involved.

Of course, in hindsight, we know that ironically Kennedy ended up with number 4, the worst of all possible outcomes. The invasion failed and plausible deniability was blown out of the water. How could “the best and the brightest” have miscalculated and underestimated the media and the intelligence of American people? How could plausible deniability outweigh righting a wrong? 47 years later the Cuban people are still paying for Kennedy’s mistakes. Mistakes that may have cost him his life if you are inclined to believe that castro was responsible for Kennedy’s assassination.

bayofpigs_henry.jpg
JFK’s cabinet

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2 thoughts on “48 years ago today”

  1. JFK is an absolutely classic example of the triumph of image/style over reality/substance. Of course, he had LOTS of help from all manner of idol-worshippers, whether genuine or opportunistic ones. The point is the idol was a false god with feet of the basest clay. As far as Cuba goes, he simply traded its future, the future of millions of people, for a way to get out of a jam he had caused himself. Evidently, he thought it was a reasonable trade-off.

  2. It’s really too bad JFK didn’t go into show business. He would have been pretty good as a fictional character in movies or TV. Unfortunately, as POTUS, he was absolutely NOT ready for his close-up. Cubans, among others, have been paying for that ever since.

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