The problem with the media today, as far as I see it is, they are so caught up in getting the first interviews with politicians who do not serve on the Intelligence or Security committees but are known to be partisan to a degree of incompetence, that the media itself is rendered incompetent. To claim these opinions, speculations, and partisan leanings do not sway public opinion is to claim the sun never sets. They in kind then lead the American people to believe that President Obama and his team are weak leaders even when there have been clear-cut history of similarities in the World of Geo-politics played out around the World, throughout history.
I was within miles of SAC headquarters, I believe it was October, 1962, as I with my junior class participating in a mock UN meet, when the nuclear threat from the Cuban missile crises was imminent and President John F. Kennedy had our missiles aimed at Cuba.
Kennedy was in a real bind of credibility at the time because just a month before this he had promised the American people,” Cuba would never get missiles and the United States not go to war against Cuba and Russia.” Because we had like 5000 missiles to Nikita Khrushchev of Russia only having 300 and we had missiles set up in Italy and Turkey pointed at Russia no one thought Khrushchev would be foolish enough to build missiles or nuclear war heads in our hemisphere. It would be quite by accident a month after Kennedy made his announcement that a U_2 boat picked up the fact that Russia was indeed building 6 missile sites in Cuba, even though Russia had denied it.
At the time of the accidental discovery of nuclear missiles sites being built by Russia in Cuba were discovered, many of the elected officials and even some of those on the Intelligence Committees thought Kennedy battling with the wording and action between a blockade or strike was a sign of weakness, and made no bones about it then ,as people have over President Obama, today.
We did not have both Liberals and Republican Senators playing to their base in order to reassure their own re-elections, while criticizing President Kennedy’s leadership and siding with the personal attacks against President Kennedy, with Khrushchev. Plenty of them hated Kennedy for not going to a full-out war against Russia, at the time, but the egos of those left out of the planning stages were not more important than negotiations then as it is today, nor were they racing to get on camera to express that opinion.
Much of it was printed then as print led the other sources of media then, and there were a few very vocal dissidents but we just viewed it as the sour grapes it was, The great majority held their tongues during the planning stages, even though President Kennedy had plenty of doubters and enemies of his own. When it comes against President Obama and they are the same ones who fought against President Obama retiring obsolete weapons and were outraged when he said, “diplomacy over war,” or “they were for it before they were against it’, it seems disingenuous now.
Lets face it, when haven’t they criticized President Obama every chance they have gotten for everything he has attempted? When it was known they, cried wolf” against President Kennedy too often the media as well as the people paid little attention to the criticisms in print having any credibility. When the Republicans just switch out faces today and take turns on their attacks against President Obama, then it all should just become one big blur after the other as it does weaken our own credibility as a Nation. Do any of us who vote elect them to get on camera to air their disgust against our President who wins the majority vote, even when an election is looming? Don’t most of us, already know they are just playing to their base of financial support for their next re-election?
The biggest difference between then and today is we did not have News media expressing their views, speculations, or tripping over their feet to get the latest interviews of those most partisan; or the clearly slanted views of reporting, while they accuse every move made or not being made as being done for political reasons or as a goof. There were no panels with limited information discussing what is happening or what could happen. The media simply reported the news based on the available facts in the 1960′s when President Kennedy was in the White House and out of respect for the office of Presidency they kept their mouths shut about the personal lives of the families.
We didn’t have Conservatives moving in favor of impeachment because of the personal lives of our elected officials or dirty tricks by the Tea Party. There was no Grover Norquist’s threatening,” sign the pledge or lose your elections.” We were concerned about what kind of elected officials they were when it came to the job they did, when elected, and just like the rest of us now, we felt when we are off the job, our personal lives just like theirs was the business of their families and their own.
The Social media were non-existent in the 1960′s, so people were forced to think for themselves and to draw their own conclusions, without being swayed by the anti-war or the anti-peace groups and their opinions and speculation nor the partisan opinions. The anti-war groups would arrive at the end of the 1960′s and primarily on the College campuses, as many students were graduating and getting their draft notices with the escalation of the war in Viet Nam. They paid attention to the war more so then, than they had earlier.
My husband volunteered to join as an officer, following getting his College degree but didn’t pass the physical due to an inherited back problem. I had two brothers and a sister who all volunteered, however, in Viet Nam, with one in espionage in the Air Force, while another was a paratrooper and gunner in the Army, and the last being a nurse in the Navy. My sister would marry a Marine so my family represented the four branches of military and would have mixed opinions following the war. Not all of the baby boomers were protestors or in communes.
I will not deny, however, that many of the girls in our group in high school, yet in 1962, were not falling apart with the announcement of strikes being eminent against Cuba, as we were within striking distance of the SAC base but the war protestors had not yet arrived by then as Kennedy had only sent in advisers to Viet Nam at that point, and would be assassinated a year later, following the missile crises. Some of us were nervous in 1962,since we were unwittingly and ironically holding our Mock UN meet, when we were being placed on National alert to the Cuban crises.
The great majority of us were not so cynical or paranoid then as not to trust in the World leaders even though there would be 16 days of slow an unnerving debate amongst our leaders, if it was going to be a strike, blockade, or an all out nuclear war, while we waited. At the time the United States had no plans made because the intelligence simply was not there until after the fact and by accident, when it was discovered.
The EXCOMM hurriedly discussed any options and came up with 6 possibilities and they were:
1. Do nothing. Our vulnerability to missiles were being threaten all the time during the cold war just as it is today by terrorists
2. Diplomacy; Get Russia to come to the table then, as the Obama team has tried to get them today over Syria
3.Warning: Send Castro a warning of the dire threat he is in, as we have done with both Iran and Syria for two years.
4.Air strikes; hit all the missile sites in Cuba, using our Air Force
5. Blockade: Use our Navy against Russia’s efforts to send missiles into Cuba
6. Full force military use against Cuba
Unlike his advisers who wanted to go to war John F. Kennedy held out while his full Joint Chiefs of Staff were advocating war. Kennedy was skeptical that Russia would not strike back and history would later review that it is as close as we have ever come to Nuclear warfare, because even when we did learn of the missile site, our intelligence had not shown that Russia had sent in 100 planes already equipped with nuclear warheads.
It was not revealed until 50 years later that if Kennedy had not drawn back from his initial assessment of war, and risked the view of being perceived as being weak, and which trust me, was not popular by Congress then either, and if he had not taken time to open up negotiations over protests, it is estimated that 100,000 Cubans along with 100,000 Americans would have died from nuclear war; and with the number of war heads we had in the region of Russia and USSR at the time, those numbers could not even compute. How many would have died if we had gone to a full-out war is anyone’s guess if Kennedy had not have risked putting his own credibility on the line no differently from the courage that has been shown by President Barack Obama, today? China was claiming an army of 600,000 strong that they would turnover to the cause of Russia’s use against us.
At no time of our or Russia’s history have the people come closer to perishing as they did during the Cuban Missile crisis. It was estimated that the United States was one hour away from pulling the trigger when Kennedy said lets rethink this. It was a long 16 days, unlike to-day while we waited not knowing if we would be in war or what was going on because in those days we did not have media speculating on what could go wrong on what our President should do, or people with nothing more that partisan views who were armed with nothing more than partisan opinions being raced after for interviews. We did not have panels or slanted views as to who might be negotiating or who might look weak or who would listen to the people or not going on in the media. We never knew how lucky we were then to be able to watch the news and to only get pertinent facts.
Instead the American people waited for 16 days while heads of State negotiated not only with the UN but also with the Northern allies and Western allies while people who were chosen around the World to make those decisions were allowed to make them without paranoia or criticism by those who were retired or played no role in the decision-making.
There have been plenty of opportunity for the media to discuss the wisdom learned from Wars going back to the beginning of mankind, when “haste made waste.” or inaction spelled disaster.” It is when we fail to understand the differences in our chosen leaderships that we fail ourselves. If the media doesn’t want to go back that far then educate the American people, without political spin or opinion, along with the World population with historical facts on, World War 1, World War 2, Kosovo, A number of the African Wars, Grenada, or the Cuban missile crisis etc. while we wait on the decisions being made by our President and World Leaders.
The truth is the polls show 3 out of 4 American people have little to no knowledge beyond Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan on what has been learned from strikes or wars or the difference between the leaders who did and do show courage. Not all people’s eyes glaze over when foreign affairs and the importance of the same are discussed, so perhaps if we were made to find it as interesting as Honey Boo Boo, without spin or criticism, we would read or watch something than was less than criticism.
I just do not think that the American people’s’ level of intelligence has dropped to the point that the majority of us want to hear about stinking feet or passing gas by Honey Boo Boo. I know the media is not going to change if those who sign their checks do not change, but gives us enough credit to know and understand when today’s people are asked, “if they have seen such action as that taking place before?” and they answer,” never,” or “Only with Watergate,” we know we get nothing other than the media spin; even when the media professes to tell both sides we still get their opinion. When reporters stand outside of the White House, and are announced to be experts in information coming from the White House, and we hear instead about what they think President Obama REALLY MEANS we know we are getting that reporter’s slanted views, as well
Is it any wonder too many turn to inaccurate information on Social media, when we do? I had no problem understanding what President Obama and his team have said or was saying because I have time to watch it and I understand what is at risk in the region. That any elected member of the Congress or Senate does, should scare all of us. Not everyone has the luxury of retirement as I do but even with that, I am more willing to believe that people’s’ confusion comes instead from the media. It would do us all well for the media to stop speculating and instead give factual history with less mouths running. I can only hope, I guess that the media will bring back people like Edward R. Morrow or Huntley and Brinkley, as if the media did more educating and less speculating, we would all better understand.
It simply is not true that Nations as great and powerful as ours and their leaders, have not been here plenty of times before. This is and has been the way of war throughout history. The biggest difference is we have not always had a media tripping over their own reviews to get out the latest interviews both on the News networks and in print or the social media running wild with criticism along with a partisan Congress and Senate whose made tongue, is criticism, to the degree it is today. Nor did we always have owners who were buying television networks or newsprint so they could present their own slanted views and demanding reporters report their views.
When we vote it would do us all well to remember why we might need some of the older population left in the media, politics, and on our Intelligence and Security committees. They remember the history others either don’t bother with or want to remember, and they can stay out of the news if they are not getting the heat like John McCain has, more often than not. When we reach a certain age and we do it on our own, some of us, are more times often humbled by the legacy of truth, over politics.
One thing for certain is: none of us can spend the rest of our lives blaming all our politicians for older men like Rumsfeld and Cheney, and think Democracy will last. Sometimes we have to look for heroes and when we ourselves quit complaining about the lack of them, we will and do find them in history as well as in our own leadership, today. Age coupled with a positive attitude, is not always a bad thing to have on our side, nor is one exclusive of the other:)