In 1991, when Oliver Stone unveiled his movie "JFK," he was ridiculed and criticised for his compassionate portrayal of President Kennedy. His controversial thesis, that JFK was a man of peace who was struck down by a powerful cabal hell bent on war in southeast Asia, was not what the media or the establishment wanted the world to hear. Journalists who fancied themselves historians were quick to point out that it was Kennedy who announced in his inaugural address that Americans would "pay any price" in their fight against communism. And it was Kennedy that brought the world the closest it ever came to nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis. JFK, they said, was a hardened cold warrior until his dying day. End of story.
To counter Stone's powerful story along came Gerald Posner, with the most heavily promoted JFK assassination book of all time. Posner told us that conspiracy theorists like Oliver Stone were all crazy and the Warren Commission was right all along - "it was Oswald, silly!" The simple fact that "Case Closed" was packed full of inaccuracies and distortions of truth didn't bother the media one bit. Instead, Posner was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Hot on his slippery heels came Seymour Hersh ready to let us know that "Hey, JFK wasn't that nice a guy after all so it really doesn't matter who killed him. Go on, forget about the assassination. Go see what's on TV." Thankfully the dark cloud that was Hersh's vision of Camelot quickly passed over our heads and the world's people were still able to think for themselves.
Jim Douglass took the time not only to think for himself but also to actively seek the truth for himself. He studied the research of others, he interviewed relevant witnesses and he pored over the mountains of documents released by the Assassination Records Review Board. Then he produced one of the best books ever written on the subject. What makes JFK and the Unspeakable so good is that it does exactly what it promises to do; it tells us why President Kennedy was killed and why it matters. Kennedy was killed because he learned from the mistakes of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis and became a threat to the cold war establishment. He came to see that the inevitable loss of innocent life that would follow a nuclear war was unacceptable and that despite the differences between the American and Russian ways of life, they all must breathe the same air. Kennedy had negotiated a nuclear test ban treaty and began to look at the possibility of total disarmament. He had organised secret back channels for communication with both Castro and Khrushchev because he wanted to end the cold war. And, just as Oliver Stone claimed, President Kennedy was pulling American military advisors out of Vietnam. Kennedy was becoming a man for peace and to the CIA and the Pentagon, whose very livelihood was dependant on prolonging the cold war, this was wholly unacceptable.
Why does it matter? Because if Kennedy had lived the world may well have been a very different place. If he had succeeded in implementing his plans the cold war may have ended much sooner and the world would have been spared the horrors of the Vietnam war. It matters because if he had lived a little longer, many others might have too. Jim Douglass won't be nominated for a Pulitzer and he won't receive the media hype afforded the likes of Gerald Posner. But his book is a masterpiece because it tells you the truth and, if you will allow it to, it will make you understand it.