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Reflections on a possible Kennedy Assassination conspiracy

Reader comment on item: The JFK Assassination's Continued Importance

Submitted by Yale Zussman (United States), Nov 22, 2013 at 21:52

Let me suggest that the hypotheticals of what the rest of a Kennedy Administration might have looked like is part of the same conspiracy syndrome. Kennedy advocates like to claim that he would not have been drawn into Vietnam, but we really don't know. We can say, with some certainty, that had Kennedy done what Johnson did in Vietnam, it would have been much harder for the Left to make the case against that war and thus the Left's drift toward pacifism and anti-Americanism would likely have been slower or stopped altogether. Nor can we assume that the Great Society would not have happened.

All one need do to recognize this is to consider that Kennedy might have asked Johnson to carry the ball in the Congress, and voila, the same results as what actually happened. Without the assassination, it would have been very hard for the Left to vilify Johnson, which initiated the divisiveness that increasingly plagues the country. If the Left had turned on Kennedy the way they did against Johnson, the media would have stood with him much as they stood against Johnson, even if the policies in question were identical. Another issue with the conspiracy theories is that they assume that any possible conspiracy was necessarily nefarious. Consider that if Kennedy did not die from being shot, but was merely rendered brain dead, there was no constitutional procedure for transferring power to Johnson.

There are several elements in the story that suggest that this was the case, everything from the missing brain, to the closed coffin at Kennedy's wake, to the year that a floor of Parkman Hospital was closed after the assassination, to Jackie's marriage to Onasis. As you know, that problem was solved with the 25th Amendment, but in November 1963, transfer of power while the incumbent lived would have been unconstitutional. I would like to think Americans were mature enough to recognize the need for a power transfer under the circumstances suggested above, but Johnson and Bobby Kennedy might not have thought so. The result would have been a conspiracy to keep the truth from the public, not to cover who actually did it, but to cover up how it was handled. Who actually did it may have become quite secondary to the need to convince Americans that their government continued to operate in accordance with the Constitution.

An unfortunate, and probably unexpected, result was that Americans lost their faith in the truthfulness of their leaders, a cultural loss that has made the advance of the Left possible. If there is more to the story than we have been told over the years, I hope some future president -- I'm quite certain Obama won't do this -- will reveal whatever has been hidden and then use his/her willingness to come clean as a foundation for pushing for a cultural reformation in this country.

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