As the nation slinks toward the presidential election, filled more with dread than hope, they gather in support more of personality than program.
They are voting for images crafted by billion-dollar ad campaigns, but also for a temporary emperor of a vast military machine.
We are taught that this politician is the most powerful figure in the System and that, for a time, he (or she), rules this structure.
But upon reflection, we find that this is but another image, an illusion of power, like a tank filled with cotton candy.
L. Fletcher Prouty, a retired air force colonel, and former special operations chief for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has written a gripping history of the Kennedy presidency and the shocking extent to which those in the military and spy agencies ignored or undermined his orders.
In his 2011 book, JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, Prouty centers his analysis on Kennedy’s National Security Action Memorandum # 263 (NSAM # 263, issued Oct. 11, 1963), a document that has been hidden, distorted and misrepresented for decades. Col. Prouty argues that NSAM # 263 was an executive order to have 1,000 U.S. troops removed from Vietnam by Christmas 1963, and all U.S. military forces out by 1965.
According to Prouty, Kennedy was intent on ending U.S. military action in Vietnam – an act that made him the enemy for the forces his predecessor, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower called “the military-industrial-complex.”
In the Roman Empire, the Emperor was the embodiment of the State, and his power radiated throughout the width and breadth of the realm. But the dirty little secret was that the emperor ruled at the pleasure of the palace guard, the Praetorian Guard, who, in the blink of an eye, ended reigns, and imposed substitutes – often members of the military – to mount the throne of Rome.
This was especially so in the later days of empire, when things fell apart.
Kennedy threatened to break the CIA “into a thousand pieces” (154). He never lived to make good on that threat.
That, at least, is Prouty’s view, and as a high level government and military insider, one well worth considering.
He paints a picture, not merely of an assassination, but of a palace coup.
Late Rome, on the Potomac.