Many of the obituaries that appeared on the recent death of Arthur M. Schlesinger inadvertently (one can only suppose) made mention of the Professor’s understanding of political honor as a significant fact about his life. During the disastrous CIA-sponsored invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs in April of 1961, Schlesinger found himself in what must have been the acutely embarrassing position of being the Kennedy administration’s point man in explaining to the media what was going on. It would have been embarrassing in any case, but it was all the more so as he had himself opposed the invasion and argued against it in the administration’s inner councils. Yet he never flinched but manfully went to bat for his president and what it was already apparent was the administration’s badly misjudged policy.p>The New York Times, which describes the historian and friend of the Kennedys as “a provocative, unabashedly liberal partisan,” puts it like this: “Mr. Schlesinger distinguished himself early in the administration by being one of the few in the White House to question the invasion of Cuba planned by the Eisenhower administration. But he then became a loyal soldier, telling reporters a misleading story that the Cuban exiles landing at the Bay of Pigs were no greater than 400 when in fact they numbered 1,400.” The London Daily Telegraph tells the story a bit more colorfully: br> /p>
Schlesinger had opposed the venture, though he put his hand to an official paper justifying the invasion and accepted the task of speaking for the provisional government of Cuba, which the CIA had brought to a small hut in the Everglades to ship to Cuba after the invading brigade established its beachhead. Matters descended into farce when Schlesinger held a press conference. As the cameras rolled, television viewers could hear the members of the would-be government inside the hut shouting in Spanish: “Let us out. Let us out.” Schlesinger, embarrassed, nevertheless continued to speak for the members of the supposedly legitimate government, who had apparently been locked inside the hut because the CIA feared what they might say about Kennedy “betraying the invasion.”br> The London Times , by contrast, wrote by contrast, wrote of Schlesinger’s “tendency to glory in the rougher side of the power game” and attributed to that tendency the fact that “he tried, rather too obsequiously, to defend (while on a special mission to Europe on which President Kennedy had sent him) the Administration’s ill-judged, clandestine adventure over the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.” This is closer to the way in which we customarily view such matters now, which is to regard it as “obsequious” and perhaps even shameful for one of its officials to put loyalty to the administration ahead of his personal opinion — and, presumably, the advancement of his own career. But in the end where this view of things leads us is to one or other of the multitude of potential anti-“surge” resolutions in Congress.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?