Saturday, November 27, 2010

They Killed Kennedy.

It is late November and that means one of the more enduring cottage industries of the United States is  producing at full capacity. That would be the producers of books and articles proving that JFK was done in by a conspiracy. It is entirely appropriate that these notions come out at the same time with the turkeys.

If you are sensing a little irritation here, you are correct. Nothing sets your faithful reporters’ teeth on edge quicker than these tales of an all singing, all dancing,conspiracy with out end, and the “proofs” offered for their existence. Time to pour the ice cold water of reason on these matters.

Uffelman's Razor:
[Given Murphy's law, ...] One should not attribute to evil design any unfortunate result which can be attributed to error. A mistake (or series of mistakes) is the simpler and more likely explanation.
Conspiracy Corollary to Uffelman's Razor:
Nothing should be attributed to conspiracy that can be explained by error or a succession of errors.

Granted the “explanation” that JFK died because of an epic cock-up by National, State and Local security agencies is very cold comfort. It has the small saving grace of being true.

Let us lay the ground work gentle reader. Let us deal with the facts on the ground before JFK got shot.

Federal agencies were rusty and sub par.  The last successful assassination of a President was beyond the living memory of most citizens of the United States in 1963. William McKinley in 1901 was the previous president to fall to an assassin’s gun.  More to the point, an assassination via a lone gunman was more of a mental exercise for the Secret Service than a point of concern. The last attempt on the life of any President was against Harry Truman by a group of radical Puerto Rican Nationalists. Not to beat this particular drum too hard but, the organization memory of the Secret Service had large holes in it. There was far too much slop and slack in the organization by 1963.

If the Feds were not running their “A” game that day, what of the state of Texas? Specifically what about law enforcement in the city of Dallas? Dallas in the 60’s was still a raw, violent and corrupt cow town. Incompetence and corruption ran rife though the Dallas Police. The Dallas Department of Public Safety was barely up to the task of controlling the mean and violent streets of Dallas. Tasked with Protecting the life of JFK they failed miserable.

If you follow any kind of history, the history of nations, the history of peoples, the history of government, the history of organizations, you will see that they all have high and low points. Often you will see a nadir, or a low point in the history.  At these low points, incompetence and idiocy rule the roost. Common sense precautions and proceedings fall by the wayside. Sloth and slovenly behavior are the order of the day. Things fall apart. Things do not get done. Common sense proscriptions and preventative measures get ignored because no one wants to put in the effort to do them.

The security apparatus tasked with protecting JFK was thing of patches and shreds. There were gaping institutional holes in the system. It would take the assassination of JFK, RFK, and George Wallace for the Secret Service to spool up to the present policies and procedures. Even after significantly beefing up security for the president, the Secret Service still nearly lost Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s. Only John Hinckley’s poor mental state and even worse aim saved the Gipper’s life.

The mind reels that the death of a man like JFK could be cut down so randomly, and so easily, by a marginal schlub. It rebels at the notion that a cipher, a complete nonentity like Lee Harvey Oswald, could cut down the most powerful man in the world. But it happened in just such a manner. All it took was Oswald’s desire to make something of himself, a literal window of opportunity and easy access to small arms.

Incompetence and sloppy planing delivered a clear shot to Oswald. His Marine Corps training provided a competence in rifle fire. The U.S. Mail provided the actual weapon. It was that simple.

Even today, with all the tragedy that has occurred via easy access to fire arms, those weapons are still ridiculously easy to acquire. One could waltz into most gun shows with a huge thin foil hat on one’s head and a sock puppet on the hand, and still walk out with Semi-Automatic rifle. Just bring cash.

Unfortunately none of these arguments will hold much water with the CT true believers. They will continue to spin their confections, and people will continue to purchase those intellectual empty calories. The route through Daily Plaza was a set up? And how was that achieved? Do any of the proponents of that notion understand how many people would have to be in on the conspiracy to make that work? Far too many for success.

Real conspiracies are small and focused. Think Cheney’s WHIG and the staffing of that effort. It was Dead-Eye Dick and a handful of others, Conspiracies are always small because each new member brought into the conspiracy multiplies the risk of exposure.

One more thing about conspiracies, at least conspiracies in governance, they are short-lived. Because they are focused on a discernible goal, they end within a short period of time. They end because their goal has been reached; or because of some internal failure. Either way their secrecy ends in discreet amount of time. Secret conspiracies that stretch over decades of time are the product of over-active imaginations. They are as thick on the ground as unicorns. Conspiracies that hire a cast of thousands, which is about every JFK CT out there, are equally mythical.

It is almost certain that this newest JFK CT theory to hit the silver screen will play well. Oliver Stone and Kevin Costner did well with their movie based on the facts-free efforts of  epically corrupt Jim Garrison in New Orleans. Don’t get your faithful corespondent started on what a soup sandwich that prosecution was.

Despite the gross receipts DiCaprio and company pull in, no one should confuse their success at the box office with any kind of final truth telling about JFK.   As pointed out by Gerald Posner in "Case Closed", the final answer is still that Oswald was the shooter, and that he acted alone. If Posner is too flawed a vessel for you, "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy" by Vincent Bugliosi covers the same ground and reaches the same conclusion. Nothing offered by Hartmann and his collaborator is going to change that conclusion.

It is beyond reason to believe that a Justice Department run by RFK would not follow the possibility that JFK was done in by the mob. If there was a single shred of actionable evidence that supported that possibility, RFK, one of the most ruthless of Federal Prosecutors ever to be US AG, would not go after the mobster(s) that killed his brother? In what parallel universe did this happen? No, even if the AG was not kith and kin, the Feds would rip the Mobster(s) to shreds if they had evidence to link them with the murder of the president.

This is the simple institutional facts on the ground. The Federal Government cannot let gagsters shoot up its chief executive officer on a whim. The Federal Government cannot tolerate such goings on for any reason whatsoever. The Feds would find a way to put an epic hurt on the Mafiosi by legal or extra-legal means. As they say in the Godfather, it would not be personal; it would just be business.

As goes that conspiracy theory, so go the rest. Pull back from the vortex of the illogic hole, and every Kennedy CT falls apart. They fall apart because they fail Occam's razor. They drag one into a bizarre parallel universe where needless complexity runs rampant.

Even the explanation offered for “them,” “they,” killing JFK becomes needlessly Byzantine. When your CT can’t offer a believable motive, you’re in deep trouble. Gentle reader, your faithful correspondent has yet to read or hear an “explanation” from JFK C.T. enthusiasts that makes any sense. The risk to benefit ratio Is totally out of whack. Its rational only exists in the minds of the CT faithful, not in the cold light of reason.

The Conspiracy to assassinate JFK is not now, nor ever been a part of History, even alternate history. It is not science. It is not art. It is religion. It is a confession of faith. It is  in the same league as belief in the Trinity or the Virgin Birth. This belief is a thing of shadow and mist. It is a combination of myth and wishful thinking. In a very real way it corrupts and degenerates the very tragedy of JFK’s death.
That tragedy is that a systemic failure of governance, and a culture that fetishizes guns, allowed the most marginal of its citizens to cut down JFK like a rabid yellow dog. The other tragedy is we would rather grasp on to fantastical stories of grand conspiracies than to deal with that awful truth.
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