United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.United States military leaders plot to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack.
At military bases, and even at the National War College in Washington, the most rabid preachings took place about the real threat of communism coming not from Russia or Cuba, but from high-ups in the domestic power structure, including the government. The entire Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), led by Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, was very right wing and rabidly obsessed with the idea that American civilization could not endure unless Cuba was militarily conquered and occupied in the long-term. They repeatedly threw suggestions for this at Eisenhower, who never took the bit. When Ike left the Oval Office and Kennedy, who had never been a military higher-up, replaced him, Lemnitzer felt adrift and became very paranoid. There were all sorts of JCS contingency plans, never implemented, for creating an incident that could be blamed falsely on the Russians and/or the Cubans to justify an invasion - a sort of second sinking of the battleship Maine. The more far-fetched of these ideas included terrorism at home to be blamed on Cuba and an attack on a friendly Central American country that could be falsely blamed on Cuba, all without the President's approval. Lemnitzer, according to Bamford, had little use for the concept of civilian control of the military. In fact,enough of this atmosphere within the U.S. military was in the wind that there was a secret Congressional inquiry into the potential for a military takeover of the government, which was based on more than idle wonder. Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee (the father of the recent Vice President), a member of the investigating committee, called for Lemnitzer's firing. Kennedy did not fire him, but did not re-appoint him to a second term as Chairman, preferring the more rational Maxwell Taylor.
When the book came out, I stayed awake for 24 hours to finish it. I could not put it down. Mercifully, the film is shorter, but it is superbly acted and very well scripted. You won't be disappointed.
- Jan 12, 2006