Critique of JFK and the Kennedy Myth
In response to audience questions, Stockwell takes apart Oliver Stone’s movie JFK. He criticizes the film’s basic thesis: Kennedy was killed because he was going to withdraw from Vietnam. “It does not add up,” says Stockwell and Stone’s reliance on Jim Garrison was “off base.” The film lacks, he says, “convincing evidence,” adding “I don’t mind Hollywood making a good story but why not use the truth?” Stockwell lambasts JFK as a “confused man with a lot of charisma” who ran “a secret war against Cuba.” But “a cult of Kennedy followers” has portrayed him as a “great, liberal saint.” And Stone contributes to this myth making. Toward the end there are discussions on Reagan and Bush One policies and CIA destabilization campaigns. Stockwell also warns, “Most people watch six hours of TV a day. Go home and unplug your TV set. You cannot watch it and develop your mind.” He concludes with, “We hold the intellectual and moral high ground and you can draw a lot of strength from that.”
John Stockwell is the highest-ranking CIA officer to go public. During his 13-year tenure at the Agency, he was involved in operations in the Congo and Vietnam. As Director of the Angola Task Force, he ran the secret war in that country. He is the author of In Search of Enemies and The Praetorian Guard.