Sunday, April 30, 2006

To build on Dark Wraith's post on the death of Kenneth Galbraith, my memory of Ambassador Galbraith is from the Kennedy years (yes, I am way, way older than Mr. Wraith).

In the fall of 1961, unknown to the American public, John F. Kennedy was weighing a crucial decision about Vietnam not unlike that which George W. Bush faced about Iraq in early 2002--whether to go to war. It was the height of the cold war, when Communism was the "terrorist threat," and Ho Chi Minh the era's Saddam Hussein to many in Washington. But the new President was a liberal Massachusetts Democrat (and a decorated war veteran), not a conservative Sunbelt Republican who claimed God's hand guided his foreign policy. JFK's tough-minded instincts about war were thus very different. Contrary to what many have come to believe about the Vietnam War's origins, new research shows that Kennedy wanted no war in Asia and had clear criteria for conditions under which he'd send Americans abroad to fight and die for their country--criteria quite relevant today. Read Mr. Galbraith's influence HERE

And, then, there are his Letters to Kennedy
Letters to Kennedy is about as far removed from the familiar tell-all biographies or nutty assassination conspiracies as it is possible to go...The letters confirm Galbraith's skill as a writer, his abiding contempt for the State Department as an institution and Richard Nixon as a politician, and in particular, his prescient opposition to American military involvement in Vietnam, even before it had begun. You can find the reviews of his book HERE

Finally, my favorite Galbraith quote:

War remains the decisive human failure.
~John Kenneth Galbraith

A moment of silence for this gentleman is very much deserved. Rest in Peace, Ambassador Galbraith.

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