La Playa Giron
At the Babalu blog there's a roundup of recollections of men who fought at the Bay of Pigs forty five years ago. It's an emotive subject in the Cuban-American community. Many survivors of the Cuban 2506 assault brigade believe to this day that they were betrayed by the Kennedy Adminstration. The memoirs emphasize that the operation had been planned under two US administrations but that key details -- the landing site and the provision of support -- were changed at the last moment. The Babalu blog reproduces this dialogue.
"Where are the PLANES?" kept crackling over the invasion ships' radios. That was their commander, Pepe San Roman, roaring into his radio from the beachhead between artillery concussions. Soviet howitzers were pounding 2,000 rounds into the desperately embattled men (and boys). "Send planes or we CAN'T LAST!" San Roman yelled while watching the Russian tanks close in, his ammo deplete and his casualties pile up.
The pleas made it to Navy Chief Admiral Arleigh Burke in Washington, D.C., who conveyed them in person to his commander in chief.
JFK was in a white tux and tails that fateful night of April 18, 1961, having just emerged from an elegant Beltway ball. For the closing act of the glittering occasion Jackie and her charming beau had spun around the dance floor, to the claps, coos and titters of the delighted guests. In the new president's honor, the band had struck up the Broadway smash "Mr. Wonderful."
"Two planes, Mr. President!" Burke sputtered into his commander in chief's face. The fighting admiral was livid, pleading for permission to allow just two of his jets to blaze off the carrier deck and support those desperately embattled freedom fighters on that shrinking beachhead.
"Burke, we can't get involved in this," replied Mr. Wonderful.
President Kennedy receives the Brigade 2506 flag
from Manuel Artime and Erneido Oliva
at the Orange Bowl in Miami on December 29, 1962
and declares, "I promise to return this flag in a free Havana." (caption by the Babalu Blog)
Lord Palmerston famously said "Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests." But what those interests consist of vary from administration to administration. People who rely upon a President's word do so at their peril, whether they are Cubans, Vietnamese, Kurds or even American diplomatic personnel at an Embassy in Teheran.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge—and more.
Till the poll numbers do us part.
Just in. The Times of London is reporting that Russia and China are blocking action on Darfur. The last post was featured a liberal blogger who held the US responsible for Darfur. It would be interesting to see how that opinion may change.
On the subject of Cuba, Roger Simon reviews Andy Garcia's the Lost City, the story of a family set in pre-Castro Havana. Havana, like Jerusalem to those who remembered it by the waters of Babylon, will be to those have lost it something like a recollection of first love from a long-ago summer. The crazy thing about Castro's revolution is that it memoralized in literature, music and cinema the very thing he sought to destroy. His own moment of glory was lighted by the glow of that which he came to smash. As for his own subsequent tale, that's too tawdry for words.