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Response to newthinking (Original post)

Fri Jul 1, 2016, 01:04 PM

2. If true, it sounds like what LeMay and the JCS tried to do to JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis



Responses considered[edit]

The U.S. had no plan in place because U.S. intelligence had been convinced that the Soviets would never install nuclear missiles in Cuba. The EXCOMM quickly discussed several possible courses of action, including:[38]

Do nothing: American vulnerability to Soviet missiles was not new.
Diplomacy: Use diplomatic pressure to get the Soviet Union to remove the missiles.
Secret approach: Offer Castro the choice of splitting with the Russians or being invaded.
Invasion: Full force invasion of Cuba and overthrow of Castro.
Air strike: Use the US Air Force to attack all known missile sites.
Blockade: Use the US Navy to block any missiles from arriving in Cuba.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously agreed that a full-scale attack and invasion was the only solution. They believed that the Soviets would not attempt to stop the US from conquering Cuba: Kennedy was skeptical.

They, no more than we, can let these things go by without doing something. They can't, after all their statements, permit us to take out their missiles, kill a lot of Russians, and then do nothing. If they don't take action in Cuba, they certainly will in Berlin.[39]

Kennedy concluded that attacking Cuba by air would signal the Soviets to presume "a clear line" to conquer Berlin. Kennedy also believed that U.S. allies would think of the U.S. as "trigger-happy cowboys" who lost Berlin because they could not peacefully resolve the Cuban situation.[40]

The EXCOMM then discussed the effect on the strategic balance of power, both political and military. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that the missiles would seriously alter the military balance, but McNamara disagreed. An extra 40, he reasoned, would make little difference to the overall strategic balance. The U.S. already had approximately 5,000 strategic warheads,[41]:261 while the Soviet Union had only 300. McNamara concluded that the Soviets having 340 would not therefore substantially alter the strategic balance. In 1990, he reiterated that "it made no difference ... The military balance wasn't changed. I didn't believe it then, and I don't believe it now."[42]

The EXCOMM agreed that the missiles would affect the political balance. First, Kennedy had explicitly promised the American people less than a month before the crisis that "if Cuba should possess a capacity to carry out offensive actions against the United States ... the United States would act."[43]:674681 Second, U.S. credibility among their allies, and among the American people, would be damaged if they allowed the Soviet Union to appear to redress the strategic balance by placing missiles in Cuba. Kennedy explained after the crisis that "it would have politically changed the balance of power. It would have appeared to, and appearances contribute to reality."[44]

On October 18, President Kennedy met with Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Gromyko, who claimed the weapons were for defensive purposes only. Not wanting to expose what he already knew, and wanting to avoid panicking the American public,[45] the President did not reveal that he was already aware of the missile build-up.[46]

By October 19, frequent U-2 spy flights showed four operational sites. As part of the blockade, the U.S. military was put on high alert to enforce the blockade and to be ready to invade Cuba at a moment's notice. The 1st Armored Division was sent to Georgia, and five army divisions were alerted for combat operations. The Strategic Air Command (SAC) distributed its shorter-ranged B-47 Stratojet medium bombers to civilian airports and sent aloft its B-52 Stratofortress heavy bombers.[47]

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
newthinking Jul 2016 OP
uhnope Jul 2016 #1
askeptic Jul 2016 #6
askeptic Jul 2016 #7
uhnope Jul 2016 #22
yurbud Jul 2016 #20
yurbud Jul 2016 #25
Xolodno Jul 2016 #27
yurbud Jul 2016 #28
Xolodno Jul 2016 #30
LineReply If true, it sounds like what LeMay and the JCS tried to do to JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cooley Hurd Jul 2016 #2
bananas Jul 2016 #9
forest444 Jul 2016 #31
tonyt53 Jul 2016 #3
newthinking Jul 2016 #8
wallyworld2 Jul 2016 #16
scscholar Jul 2016 #26
yurbud Jul 2016 #29
bucolic_frolic Jul 2016 #4
Purveyor Jul 2016 #5
geardaddy Jul 2016 #10
mountain grammy Jul 2016 #18
bemildred Jul 2016 #11
Night Watchman Jul 2016 #12
The Polack MSgt Jul 2016 #13
qazplm Jul 2016 #15
transatlantica Jul 2016 #17
newthinking Jul 2016 #21
uhnope Jul 2016 #23
Igel Jul 2016 #24
Bernardo de La Paz Jul 2016 #14
riversedge Jul 2016 #19
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