Tuesday, December 15, 2015

"That little Kennedy... he thought he was a God."

So, said Allen Dulles. And you can see that it must have been after the assassination since he used the past tense. 

Can you imagine talking about Kennedy that way after he was gunned down like a dog in the street?

To folks like us, the JFK assassination is still pretty fresh. But, how fresh was it in 1965? That's when Dulles said it.

And why are we discussing it now? We are discussing it now because of whom he said it to; the lead editor of Harper's magazine. 

And it raises the question: Was Allen Dulles completely and totally out of his mind? I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised if he said that in private to a close friend and confidante, a kindred spirit, perhaps John McCloy, who was involved with him in all the 1950s killings that Dulles ordered as CIA director- perhaps when they were recalling the good times, in Iran, Guatemala, etc. But, to say it to a the editor of a major American high-brow publication? That's why we're talking about it today.

But, I wasn't being facetious about Dulles being out of his mind. The fact is that he died in 1969, just 6 years after the assassination, with severe dementia. And if you know anything about dementia, you know that it usually comes on slowly. So, was he affected with it in 1965? He not only probably was; it is practically certain that he was.  He may have been affected by it in 1963. 

Dulles wielded so much control and authority during the Warren Commission investigation that many joked that it should have been called the Dulles Commission. But, let's be crystal about something:

If instead of being a fact-finding investigation it was an actual criminal trial of Lee Harvey Oswald (say he lived) and Dulles, instead of being a Commissioner was the trial judge, and say Oswald was convicted (as he was by the Warren Commission) and say that Dulles was heard making that same derogatory statement that he made about Kennedy in the summer of 1965. It would have been grounds for a mistrial. His lawyers could have gone to court with the evidence that the presiding judge had made that slur against the victim in the case, and it would have been enough to get the conviction thrown out; set aside. Convictions have been set aside for less. They would have had to start all over with a new trial for Lee Harvey Oswald.

It's not the least bit surprising that Dulles thought it. It's well known that he hated Kennedy. He despised Kennedy. But to say it the way he did and when he did? It was a tacit approval of what was done to Kennedy. It was a way of saying that he got what he deserved, that he got what he had coming to him. 

That quote is the opening statement of The Devil's Chessboard by David Talbot.  What a powerful way to begin the book. It's like in the very first sentence he got half-way to his goal of incriminating Dulles for the assassination of JFK. 

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