Saturday, November 28, 2009
Book Review: JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass
In a clear and reasonable manner James W. Douglass dresses the table and defines the issue of John Kennedy’s assassination like no other writer in recent times. Ever since it happened it looks suspicious but it’s hard for the average person to define what that is, or what that feeling in the gut that something is not right here. James W. Douglass defines why it happened and in such an elegantly simple way, an epiphany envelopes the mind while taking it all in. You get the “ah-ha” moment as it all comes into focus. It is the defining of a reason why and how, that matters. And that opens it all up to a sensible explanation of how a conspiracy can develop and overwhelm a powerful leader.
Without being excessively wordy James W. Douglass succeeds humbly at providing us a clear, concise, and fast paced treatment of what happened. One can sense, if you read a lot of these books, the “best of” points from other researchers. Such as the Deep Politics of Peter Dale Scott; the Oswald doppelganger of John Armstrong’s research; the CIA manipulations of our leaders as L. Fletcher Proudy documented in The Secret Team; the CIA’s relationship with Lee Oswald from the work of John Newman, and so on, and so on. Douglass weaves it all together into a cohesive whole giving us the key, the motive like one would experience from a true crime story.
And provide a motive he does. We always instinctually knew it was never with the skinny guy in the white tee shirt. It was that cabal of military men hell-bent for war, their corporate suppliers, and the spooks playing puppet master behind the scenes. As John Kennedy found out there, there were more than one King in Camelot. He attempted to reign in this volatile group of players and it backfired. They got him. And this is the main thing to be learned from this book. The major players were setting it up and Douglass lays it all out like a master mason, assembling all of the bricks together to form the tomb.
His book is so well structured Douglass can slay the arguments of the lone nut salesmen without having to mention their names or debate them. Vince Bugliosi’s take on the assassination looks petty and shallow in comparison as he assumes the role of the Warren Commission’s defense attorney, slinging insults and dismissing evidence that betrays the Word of Warren; Norman Mailer is so befuddled at Oswald’s motive, he has to take on the role mind reader to find out what Oswald’s intentions were; Gerald Posner is a troll shilling for his masters and the truth is not for discovery, the narrative is. All these men are in a state of denial, to the point of crafting senseless schemes. Douglass points this out time and time again throughout the book that only a conspiracy works or makes any sense.
Forever it seems, we will be left without the names of the guilty. Douglass is no better with that than any other writer on this task. He is not to be faulted as it is the great unknown of the assassination. What we have and Douglass documents, is the paths to Dallas and the covering up of and by the action teams, but never that core group or a chronicling of their plotting. All that is left behind is their footprints. In many ways it was the perfect crime like only the Nation Security State can assemble and cast into the fire. After all, if the State commits a crime, then how is the State to be prosecuted? If anyone points a finger or lifts a word they will be dealt with by the power invested in them. (Which seems to lessen with time but never fully dies.)
Most people don’t realize we live in National Security State that Harry Truman singed into law in 1947. It became his only regret while in office. And that National Security State now thrives outside of the constitutional framework of our government. Our Founders were wise to institute checks and balances but sly forms of tyranny disguised as security will arise. And it only grows as we saw with the Patriot Act and later the Military Commissions Act. The Founders did the best they could to break the Divine Right of Kings, but that spirit keeps rising from the dead and threatens any leader who believes in liberty.
Until something else is published, James Douglass’ book will not be surpassed for years to come. If you only read one book on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, make it this one.
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass.
Hardcover: 510 pages
Publisher: Orbis Books (April 30, 2008)