November 22, 2018

Dealey Plaza at 55: JFK's still dead,
Camelot's still a myth, conspiracy theories still untrue

Eleven years ago, I had one of my more interesting Thanksgiving Days. For newspaper-related reasons, I stayed in Dallas, having a high school football game to cover that Saturday morning for my suburban weekly newspaper. Otherwise, with it being a four-day weekend, and having off both Thursday and Friday, I would have done what I've done many previous years, and skedaddled out to Big Bend. (Nice fall colors this time of year, and the hot spring is at just the right temperature for late November.)

Making lemons out of lemonade, I went to downtown Dallas and Dealey Plaza. I'd been there before, sometimes just walking by, and a couple of times, not too long after I had moved to the Metroplex, specifically to check out John F. Kennedy assassination related visitors and groups. I had been to the Sixth Floor Museum.

Visiting on an actual anniversary was a bit different. Part of the fun was watching different conspiracy theorists proselytize each other as well as the general public.

But, per the title of this piece?

Didn't happen that way.

Lee Harvey Oswald. Acting alone. With one non-magical, non-pristine "double hit" bullet, as I call it, being Oswald's third shot. And, per both Bugliosi and Posner, the only major thing the Warren Commission got wrong is that the first shot was the one that missed everyone, and the second shot was the double hit bullet.

"But Connelly says otherwise!"

He's wrong. And he illustrates the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, especially under high stress.
As for conspiracy claims?

Lyndon B. Johnson was too depressed to have masterminded a conspiracy. His depression at not only feeling useless, but laughed at by many Kennedy insiders, while stuck in the Vice Presidency, is well documented by Robert Caro and many others.

Castro? Way too smart for that. He knew that a Kennedy assassination that could be traced back to him would mean war, not just CIA pinpricks.

The Mafia? Nope. Via exploiting Judith Exner or other means, Sam Giancana and other mobsters, had they wanted, would have been blackmailing Kennedy, not shooting him.

Oswald as a Soviet tool? Not likely. No more likely than Vladimir Putin would have picked Donald Trump if he really could control the 2016 presidential election to that degree, and for similar reasons.
The CIA? Only if one believes the Camelot myth that Jack was going to unilaterally withdraw from Vietnam. It's certain that any serious troop reductions, setting aside a full withdrawal, would not have happened until after he was re-elected. In fact, per a National Security Action memorandum of October 1963, Kennedy was on the record of supporting actions up to 50 kilometers inside Laos. Hardly the mindset of pulling out of Vietnam.

And, with South Vietnam spiraling downward after the coup against President Ngo Dinh Diem just weeks before Kennedy's assassination, might have led him to push that further back. And a Kennedy "family plan" to run brother Bobby for the presidency in 1968 might have meant that Jack tried to finesse Vietnam through that election.  More on that below.

The disbelief that a "lone nut" could do such a thing? Squeaky Fromme nearly killed President Gerald Ford from just feet away a dozen years later. John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Camelot also assumes that Kennedy would have beaten Barry Goldwater as badly as LBJ did in reality. The fact is that Kennedy's popularity had been trending downward throughout 1963. That, combined with a fractious Texas Democratic Party, was why he was in Dallas. Without an unpassed, strengthened-by-LBJ blockbuster Civil Rights Act, Goldwater might not have made as many gaffes as he did. Camelot mythos also ignores that JFK may have been America's first neolib president.

This is part of why I took Consortium News and its JFK conspiracy theorist founder, and present members, off my blogroll.

It's also why I have mocked the whole JFK conspiracy theory enterprise by inventing fake conspiracy theories, if that doesn't sound oxymoronic.

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