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  • Thoughts on RFK

    I have been reading a great deal about Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), and I was wondering what ACG members thought about him? Do you think he would have been elected president? If so, how do you think he would have been regarding domestic issues and foreign issues (ie. Vietnam) etc...??? All thoughts are welcome.
    Last edited by Lweber1978; 10 Nov 07, 13:20.
    Just like children sleeping, we can dream this night away... ~NY

  • #2
    I've never had a whole lot of respect for any of the Kennedys. Their old man Joe, got wealthy by rum running and supported Hitler while he was the USA ambassador to the Court of Saint James. JFK is memoralized, but only because he was assasinated and had a couple of good sound bites. Teddy is a disgrace to any family. RFK probably was the best of the bunch but even he and his brother shared Marilyn Monroe so none of their morales were all that great.

    RFK probably would have done one of two things concerning Vietnam. Either bomb the communist North into subjugation (which is what should have happened) or turned the combat over to South Vietnam much sooner than the USA did and pull the troops out much sooner. He certainly would have been a better president than the buffon LBJ.
    "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Lweber1978 View Post
      I have been reading a great deal about Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), and I was wondering what ACG members thought about him? Do you think he would have been elected president? If so, how do you think he would have been regarding domestic issues and foreign issues (ie. Vietnam) etc...??? All thoughts are welcome.
      Domestic issues - NO COMMENT

      As far as the Vietnam issue:

      RFK was an upstart because of his name and position (Attorney General and brother to the President) he was able to get away with the "In your Face" attitude he had with the gangsters of the time. That's probably why he was eliminated - who knows.

      Assuming he would have been elected President, I feel the Russians would not have allowed him to do much about the Vietnam issue because of the "slap in the face" his brother had given them over Cuba.


      KEN
      DO NO HARM
      1st ID, 1/28th '67/'68 Phouc Vinh & Quan Loi
      Skirmishes Bu Dop Dec-67, An My, Thu Duc Feb-68
      Plt. Ldr - CIB, Purple Hearts, Silver Star
      What we write can be considered to be a reflection of our SOUL providing others to know our CHARACTER.

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      • #4
        RFK was kind of an upstart, probably never would have got much farther.

        I agree on JFK's slap in the face to the Rooshins.

        I don' like his betrayal of the Bay of Pigs Guys, though.

        I was at the SF convention picnic in Fayettenam in '06. Some real old timers came out of the woodwork for that one.
        One guy was seen saying to another-"Last time I saw you, you were chained to a wall in Havana."
        Many Cubans served with distinguish in the US Military.

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        • #5
          If I had to guess I would say that Robert was more experienced with domestic issues than foreign policy compared to his brother JFK. He probably couldn't have done that much with Vietnam at that point as the political die had been cast. Nixon couldn't do much, and he, with the reputation as a hawk, probably had more freedom of action for a short time after the election than the Congress would have given a democrat.

          The problem was that the American public wanted something that could not be achieved, but was being promised by Nixon. America wanted an end to the war ASAP, but didn't want to lose and had not gotten to the point where they would accept loss yet. The democrats were offering the "Go home at any cost option" option, and Nixon was saying "Peace with Honor". Whether it was possible to get the peace the US wanted without losing was not relevant. The US wanted that and voted for it in 68. They were not ready to vote for giving up. Even in 72 they weren't. By the end 73 they were.

          RFK was probably going to split the democrats over this issue of pull out, and would have lost because of it. There are several wings to the democratic party. There is the so called "intellectual" wing which didn't care about the consequences of an immediate pull out. But there is also the largely Union, blue collar wing. And this democrat is usually very patriotic and doesn't like the concept of losing a war. He may be into all of the pro organized labor policies the Democrats promise, but usually not the foreign policy. So RFK likely would not have appealed to this segment of the Democratic base in 68, and could not win the presidency without it.
          Last edited by Miss Saigon; 12 Nov 07, 14:42.

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          • #6
            The following news article brings out some interesting points on JFK and his intentions in Vietnam. It is from a year or two ago based on newer papers of his that were discovered.
            I salute all my brothers in arms, including those who I have disagreed with in the past. This past weekend is a reminder for us all that we are united in a special bond. Living on the west coast and suffering from ill health, I was unable to make it back east. I did however, celebrate the memories in quiet reflection with a bottle of Jack Daniels, toasting the past. Thanks for all the pictures TS. Medivac - that picture of your son in the reflection off the wall touched me deeply, bringing back memories of when I too, took my son to the wall. God bless you all.

            http://www.boston.com/news/nation/ar...ts_on_vietnam/

            D1
            "War is hell, but actual combat is a motherf#cker"
            - Col. David Hackworth

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DeltaOne View Post
              The following news article brings out some interesting points on JFK and his intentions in Vietnam. It is from a year or two ago based on newer papers of his that were discovered.[/COLOR]
              The stuff about India, Galbraith, and Poland is nothing new. I have read this before and even commented on this in another thread of Boonie's about attempted negotiations. The ICC was a joke. I have read Polish and Hungarian sources about these negotiations and in the end they were just the same Communist manipulations of public opinion in the west that they did over and over again in many different places around the world over many different things.

              Sometimes I wonder about the gullibility of diplomats. It seems so often that all a Communist ambassador had to say was that he was interested in negotiations and the west took this on faith as sincere. Supposedly very intelligent people who staff the diplomatic corps should have known better.

              As this article quotes Carl Kaysen:

              doubted that North Vietnam would have been willing to negotiate a deal acceptable to the United States. ''In hindsight, it would have been another futile effort," Kaysen said, because the North Vietnamese were determined to control the fate of South Vietnam.
              I could not agree more.

              There were so many negotiations and attempted negotiations during the entire Vietnam experience for both the French and the Americans. All of them ended the same way. Are we to believe that the magic one that would have spared Kennedy's reputation over Vietnam was it? Especially since it had all been tried before.

              The Communists fought a total war. The diplomacy was only one facet of their overall plan for victory and political strategy. It was very much as Clausewitz would have defined it. It really seems that Communist diplomats routinely bested Western ones. Probably because of wishful thinking on the part of the western ones, as opposed to cold realism on the side of the Communists.

              As one LRRP "Lurp" with the 75th ranger battalion in Vietnam said, "You don't take Channel No. 5 to a pissing contest with a skunk".

              The last thing I would like to say is to all those people who think Kennedy was going to pull the US out. Then why the coup? Diem was giving the US plenty of excuses (in their way of thinking anyway) to show disapproval. If Kennedy wanted to pull the US out of Vietnam, why remove the man that would have made it easy for the US to wash its hands of Vietnam and walk away clean? This makes no sense whatsoever. You want out. Diem was even hinting that he was going to ask you to leave if you didn't stop interfering with internal VN politics. You had all the excuse needed to go. But instead you remove him and are left holding the bag. The bag supposedly you didn't want to hold. Also, the first thing the US did, on the day after Diem's removal was increase aid that had been frozen because of Diem's stubbornness. Now I would like to know under what scheme of logic could these actions possibly be the actions of a man who was going to pull out?

              The speech that is most frequently touted as indication that Kennedy was planning to withdrawal is the following from a CBS news interview with Walter Cronkite in early September 1963, two months before the coup.

              Asked about whether Diem will change his pattern to the American way of thinking Kennedy said this:

              We hope that he comes to see that, but in the final analysis it is the people and government itself who have to win or lose this struggle. All we can do is help, and we are making it very clear.
              This is the part we always hear as proof that Kennedy was considering withdrawal. But this is not what he said completely, and the quote is extracted mid sentence. What he said completely is this:

              W hope that he comes to see that, but in the final analysis it is the people and government itself who have to win or lose this struggle. All we can do is help, and we are making it very clear, but I don't agree with those who say we should withdrawal. That would be a great mistake.
              I have read all of the NSC documents, the memorandums, Diplomatic cables to and from Saigon, and seen the exhibit on this topic at the LBJ library at the University of Texas. All the information on this topic that is available to be read I have seen at one time or another. I think there is no doubt that Kennedy was not going to withdrawal and anyone who thinks otherwise has incomplete information or is wishfully thinking because they want to idolize Kennedy. In fact, the only evidence of any substance we have to the contrary is the word of a friend of Kennedy, much later, who claims before his death Kennedy told him in confidence that he wanted to withdrawal. This is hardly evidence that would convict in a court of law given the mountain of evidence to the contrary.
              Last edited by Miss Saigon; 13 Nov 07, 18:08.

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              • #8
                Well, RFK beats the pants off Teddy (assuming he has any on in the first place), but I think what propped him up was his brother. Without JFK, no one would have heard of RFK. I don't think much of his politics and, as others have said, his foreign affairs experience was AWOL.

                That all said, I don't support shooting the man. Without JFK around, after he lost the election, he may have gone to congress but that's as far as he would have gone.
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                • #9
                  It sure seems that there are a great deal of anti-RFK people on this forum. For me, the more I read about him, the more I think that it was a real loss when he was killed. RFK seemed to be a man who was not perfect, but a genuinly good and decent man who wanted to change America and the world for the better. To me, he was an evolving man who through experience, grew and developed over time. I think he could have been a very good president if he had been given the chance. I realize that these comments might be controversial, but they are how I feel. If there is any compelling evidence to the contrary, would anyone please post their thoughts? I would rather real evidence, and not just opinions...Thanks!
                  Just like children sleeping, we can dream this night away... ~NY

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                  • #10
                    Add me to the anti-RFK list.

                    BTW, it's no sure bet that he would have clinched the Democratic nomination, much less the presidency. He's up against a formidable campaigner in Richard Nixon, who at the same time offered a decisive break away from the Democrats.

                    As for whether he would have made a good president, it will be hard to tell. It is often difficult to make a prognosis before an actual presidency. After all, who would have given Harry Truman much of a chance of being a good post-WW2 president given his record before then. Certainly, many seemed to have written off Ronald Reagan's presidency before it even began. Both turned out to be quite successful.

                    To my thinking, the two failed presidencies of the Cold War period were also had the most hyped-up campaign based upon hope rather than a realistic assessment of the candidates' actual capabilities. One is JFK's administration. The other is Jimmy Carter's.

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                    • #11
                      He was a Kennedy...over-rated and only became Attorney General because of his brother. Did go after organized crime, but why the talk on the Kennedy's. He and JFK were womanizers...Marilyn Monroe, Judith Campbell. I am still trying to wait out drunk driver Ted Kennedy. This is not a great American family, but a cursed one.
                      You called down the thunder, well now you've got it! You see that? It says United States Marshal! I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it! So run, tell all the other curs the law's comin'! You tell 'em I'M coming...and hell's coming with me.

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                      • #12
                        I think one of the problem with any president (JFK, LBJ, Nixon and even RFK) would have been his advisers. There were too many agendas woringin in the government in those years. Look at the way how Averell Harriman managed the Laos crisis (and later LBJ peace talks in Parsi). McNamara often bullied Jhonson like later Clifford did. RFK would have been a young upstart without any military friends (differently from his brother) and would have had to contendo with the post 68 environment. Kennedy most trusted military men were Taylor (then retired) and Abrams. Westmorleand had their confidence early, but after Tet he was in a bad position. Additionally McNamara wizkids policies had broken the usual chain of command in relevance of military-political relationship through JCS. I think that RFK good or bad personality aside, would have had a lot of problem in making the administration working. He would have been bounded to retain many faulty men like Harriman and possibily asking for a McNamara come back to not disgrace LBJ and JFK administrations. Nixon had the "plus" he can sweep the administration with his men (and yet he had problems with Secretary of Defense Laird). In retrospect after Tet stepping up and going if not north at least into laos and cambodia would have been the right move, but the collapse off LBJ administration had missed the right moment, just after the Offensive.

                        now a question for Miss Saigon: you think Kennedy was behind the coup against Diem? I have read Triumph Forsaken and Moyar place the blame (with considerable, but no conclusive) evidence on Lodge and lower officials even to the point of ignoring direct orders. Of course even in this scenario was JFK who put Lodge at Saigon...
                        the real credit goes to the little ARVN soldier. He is just tremendous, just magnificent. He stood in there, took all that fire and gave it back. General James F. Hollingsworth USA.

                        Bomben, Bomben, Bomben auf Hamasland!

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                        • #13
                          I think Kennedy would have won the presidency if he had lived because of his name and the legacy of his brothers assasination. I also think he would have probably pulled your troops out of Vietnam sooner than Nixon did. As a politician he knew which way the wind was blowing and did talk about ending the vietnam war before he was shot. It would have been a political maneuver though. This notion that the Kennedys wouldhave not gone into Vietnam if JFK had lived I think is cobblers. He was the one that began the escalation there. I've seen that Oliver Stone film where it insinuates that all wise JFK was against Vietnam and was killed so LBJ could give the Pentagon its little war; its atrocious. If he hadnt have died JFK would have been remembered for Vietnam not LBJ and his brother with it.

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                          • #14
                            Wow, I thank all of you for your posts! You are all very knowledgable about this subject. I only ask the forum members, isn't there any member who could argue the plus-side of RFK? Is he really all bad (or more bad than good)? The books I have read don't seem to paint the same story as the members here...
                            Just like children sleeping, we can dream this night away... ~NY

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                            • #15
                              Oh I think he was a wily and highly intelligent man who put the wind right up the mob and I believe was a calm voice in the Cuban missile crisis. I just dont buy this Kennedys would have made America a political utopia line.

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