Monday, April 17, 2006

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.


Blogger Moneyrunner said...

Sometimes it helps to be reminded of things that make us ashamed.

Thank you.

4/17/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin said...

This is part of what the John Kerrys and the Jacques Chiracs of the world consider "nuance" in foreign policy.

That's one of the reasons they hate GWB so much. Meaning what you say? Keeping your promises? How stupid, how "simplistic."

4/17/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


This last series of 3 or so posts is a bit disheartening. Any special reason? Or, am I reading more into it than should be read?

4/17/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

No, I take that back. Not disheartening, a bit gloomy I guess. I am excluding the BDS woman post. That was rather cheery....

4/17/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


My wife was reading a book on the Great Influenza epidemic and came across a quote from Einstein in it. He said something like "some people are compelled to research to make sense of the world around them". The hardest thing to make sense of in this world is generosity and goodness. Betrayal one expects. It is generosity in despite of everything that is truly unexpected. How did Sherlock Holmes put it?

"It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers."

4/17/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

JFK is the triumph of style over substance,illusion over the hard slog.The "best and the brightest"were really a group of filthy dreamers who didn't have the iron in their souls to defeat real enemies and make the world the better place they postulated about.Camelot was a mystical place;but our enemies were (and are)hard men with our demise in mind.

4/17/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Narrative of Air Activity

Page 2

B-26 Invader in Miami, 16 Apr, 1961 Invader, not Marauder

4/17/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

You seriously underestimate the intestinal fortitude and sheer grit of their hatred of Dubya if you think that any logical argument will make a scintilla's difference in their world view.

China and Russia could invade that woman's backyard in a pincer movement and she'd STILL find a way to blame it on Bush!

And the NY Times would write a front-page story backing her up.

4/17/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Douglas A-26 Invader - Chapter 27 -- Bay of Pigs

Since Castro's air force was also equipped with Invaders, the exile Invaders were painted in FAR colors and were provided with fake FAR serial numbers in the hope that when the operation took place, it would be perceived as a strictly local uprising within Castro's own air force and not an American-led invasion. However, it seems that the CIA was unaware of the fact that most of Castro's Invaders were transparent-nosed B-26Cs rather than solid-nosed B-26Bs.

B-26Ks in the Congo

4/17/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

JFK's Abandoned Invasion

4/17/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/17/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


I had a long post in answer to your response... Deleted it...

Synopsis - we don't have it nearly as bad as others before us. Our job is to make it so for our future generations. So far I give us a C-

4/17/2006 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Thus began all our woes. Kennedy should have sent in the Marines to restore order to Cuber (as he was wont to say), instead he ignored the brave words of his campaign and his inaugral speech and tried the first Democrat half-a$$ed, cheap-out, not quite ours response to a foreign policy challenge, and he dishonored the Monroe Doctrine to boot.

From there on in the Russians just kept pushing him. His response was VietNam, and no he wouldn't have done better than Johnson.

4/17/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Make that a C-, with an upward trend.

4/17/2006 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Mr. Wonderful, Mr. And Mrs. Clinton, give is our ball. Give us the style and the panache that we admire. May we tither and wink. Let the Dafurians all go to hell, life is a ball, may happy days be here again… it’s a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more? Every bodies coming leave your body and soul at the door.

4/17/2006 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

Bush is blowing it in Darfur -- it should be explicity the responsibility of the Democratic Party to call either for regime change with US military force, or acceptance of genocide.

Darfur is the "global test" failure of the alternative to Bush's invasion. It is "unnecessary", if human rights supporters are willing to accept words of condemnation rather than action to stop genocide.

Bush should, in every press conference, be asking his anti-war critics, how many must be murdered in Darfur before war is better than acceptance of slo-mo genocide.

4/18/2006 01:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think that an army that had been recruited, trained and equipped by the CIA only to be betrayed on the battlefield by the President would exact revenge. No?

4/18/2006 03:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, again it's the Russians and the Chinese joined this time by our "friends" in Qatar.

The isolationist tendencies we have been warned against are beginning to germinate. The urge is to say let them all go to ...

4/18/2006 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Shameful little episode. Kennedy is a disappointing playboy. Also shameful that our 19th century playboy presidents have been justly forgotten, while this one is some sort of apotheosis.

Whatever we do, let's not have another babyboom. Let usby all means breed more, but 100 million 15 year olds at once warps the hell out of the national imagination.

4/18/2006 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger Eleanor © said...

A younger man, my husband trained to go in a subsequent wave. That he could not free the island still haunts him. He never will forgive Kennedy nor give up hating Castro, but he believes that, at this point, the embargo is useless.

4/18/2006 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The Bay of Pigs invasion was supposed to be preceeded by airstrikes using B-26's based in Nicaraga. With Castro's Air Force wiped out, and with air support, the invasion should have gone fairly well - but the intention was not to land with a large enough force to take over the island, but simply to create a opposition force Cubans could rally to.

But at the last minute, Sen Fulbright complained to JFK that too large an air attack would draw suspicion toward the U.S., and the air attacks were cut in half. Castro's air force ended up with a couple of lightly armed T-33's, a Hawker Sea Fury, and a B-26B. When the promised P-51 escort fighters never materialized, that sealed the fate of both the Invaders and the invaders.

Out of this half-assed escapade JFK drew the Cuban Missile Crisis and broght the world to the brink of nuclear war. He is remembered for his resolute stance in that crisis, but not how he created it in the first place - or that he agreed to pull Jupiter IRBMs out of Turkey in return for the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.

His whole adminstration, from the Bay of Pigs to Vietnam to the Moon race, was marked by bold, half-assed measures that ultimately proved to be failures - if not in his hands in that of others.

Interestingly, enough, the night before the election that made him President, JFK confided to a close friend "If I was not running myself tomorrow I would be voting for Nixon."

4/18/2006 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

No wonder JFK was Slick Willy's hero.

My parents voted for Kennedy, and were so proud of their "1st Catholic President." They sure don't feel that way anymore; they couldn't feel more ashamed of the man.

4/18/2006 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger PD Quig said...

danmyers said, "Make that a C-, with an upward trend."

I would amend that slightly. I'd give my Boomer generation a D- and I'd give the subsequent generations a B ...averaging out to a volume-weighted C-.

4/18/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Well, he was more of a Hawk on Quemoy and Matsu than Nixon in the debates.
(I took Nixon's side in a HS Mock Debate)

4/18/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ledeen asks why we don't bomb the Iranian IED factories and terrorist training camps in Iran and Syria.
Seems a more reasonable question than threats about future Nuke capability.
Our warriors die, as do Iraqis.
Now is now.
Faster Please!

4/18/2006 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dan 5:04 AM, demographic warp:

Is that your original thought?
Haven't ever looked at it that way myself.
Worth bouncing around in and between minds.

4/18/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/18/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hypocrisy Update:
Human Rights Saint Cardinal Mahoney has been ordered to divulge the names of two pedophile perps.

4/18/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The US has been in retreat now for decades. A couple, three times,Panama and Greneada, the US has acted overtly and once semiCovertly in Salvador to reverse the course.

Add the populations of those Countries, they should have fallen to US.

But Real Conflicts, against armed opponents. Cuba, 'Nam, Iraq, Somolia, Bosnia, even Haiti were to much for US to successfully "Close out".

In Rawanda a US President apologized for US inaction.

In Darfur, no apology will be required, as Mr Bush never makes major mistakes.
It is just the biased News coverage that makes him look and the Military appear ineffectual.

The Reality is Darfur is over, Baghdad secure and Iran is on a path to peaceful energy.
Well, not in reality

Oh, but the real kicker

Islam, Religion of Peace.
Mr Bush, you can bank his word, on that.
That is Official US Policy.

4/18/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

We learned our lessons well in Vietnam, 'Rat:
Talk loudly, allow cross border foes to work w/impunity.

4/18/2006 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

No hot pursuit, no denial of Sanctuary. That is US Policy. tear up that Bush '02 State of the Union.
Lot's of Selfserving but false promises, there.
Worse than a retired Marine Corps General.

4/18/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Compare and contrast with subject of post.
No Credit.

4/18/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That '02 State of the Union speach it ranks up there with JFK's "pay any price, bear any burden"... rhetoric, like JFK rhetoric is what we have gotten from Mr Bush, not Victory.

Like JFK, Mr Bush has no problem in deploying others to far away arenas with soaring rhetoric and Rules of Engagement that preclude US Victory, as yet.

4/18/2006 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"That '02 State of the Union speech"
I was highly impressed.
And I STILL think
"Bear any Burden, pay any price"
Sounds really good.
If only.

4/18/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/18/2006 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Doug - not sure. I've just been reading those articles about the dangers posed by China's apparently 100 million mate-less young men and the affects of having 75% under-25s to exploit in the Lands of the Failed Caliphate and so on.

4/18/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As to appropriateness, doug, to the thread
"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. ... "

I would add to that Iraqi Shia, Christian Afghanis.

Mr Bush has started US on an Adventure he cannot lead to a conclusion, and he & Mr Cheney both say he cannot. Then those folks should ALL take note of ours host's warning.

It is totally relevent to the thread, that this President is already falling short of the rhetoric, and he his successor has not yet been elected, let alone sworn in.

4/18/2006 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

fwiw, which is exactly nothing:
If the unthinkable had happened, I think Cheney and Rumsfeld would have had no qualms about hotly pursuing and denying.
But here we are.

4/18/2006 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Iraqi Shia"
Screwed by the father, and now talk of Powell '08!
Please say I'm having a nightmare.

4/18/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/18/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dan 7:36 AM:
Always easier to talk about them.
You're the first one to apply it to us.
Wish we could do that when we put down the French blindness to their obvious problems.

4/18/2006 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And in the case of President Bush, many do not depend upon his "word" but on their understanding of what Mr Bush "really means", the wink and nod school of projection.

Read the quotes, the Policy papers, watch the reports from the Front. Watch the Iranians enrich Uranium
Reality is all there for the viewing.
Hoy y manana.

4/18/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

7:45 AM,
We'll enforce the law as soon as we change it.
Wink, wink.

4/18/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

tal vez manana, doug.
Con ellos es siempre manana.
action es para manana
Hoy el Presidente es muy cansado

4/18/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'm Bushed too.
Manana, Amigo.

4/18/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

JFK paid for his mistake on a warm day in Dallas. Unless, of course, You believe in the Warran commission's majic bullet.
Meanwhile, I'm still hoping that PRESIDENT Bush wakes up one day and realizes that to the Batte de lunas of the left,the issue is him, NOT anything as trivial as Terrrorism and WMD's or the destruction of America. PRESIDENT Bush leaving office will not end BDS. The moonbats will follow him around for the rest of his life. I understand that, since the one goal I have left in life is living long enough to pee on Jimmy Carters grave.

4/18/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Cuba Scmooba. Cuba will sort itself out shortly. Castro, home grown, was fed by The Soviet Union and that ended when the Russians could no longer finance Cuba. Castro is no longer a threat to Latin America. Neither is a new Soviet Russia. But there is trouble in paradise, and it is not just Hugo Chavez. There is a dramatic leftward shift and a red star in the east. While the US squanders itself in the middle east pursuing the long march for democracy, it does so with borrowed money which is conveniently being used by the Chinese to finance a new rising world order. Think not? Think again, it is shocking what a Chinese dollar surplus is financing in Latin America. And it gets worse, this massive shift of US dollars to oil producing states is weakening America and strengthening an interesting club including Iran, Venezuela and Russia. The US could stop this nonsense and do it fast but not with the crew running things now and the feckless opposition party.

4/18/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

there is a way, just no will to pursue it.

Instead a ever growing greater disaster looms, while years have been wasted, waiting for Iraqi Elections and their results to influence Iranian politics, positively.
We are still waiting for the results of the last Iraqi Election. It was what, three months ago, now?

Just who can the US negotiate a Status of Forces agreement with?

4/18/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Samford, leave room to one side--just out of splash range preferably.

4/18/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger doolz said...

Everything I know about JFK, I learned from James Ellroy.

China is a major player in Sudan's oil industry. I'm not sure what Russia's interests in Sudan are, although they may just be 'triangulating' as they are in the case of Iran. They seem to get their jollies from thwarting the only remaining superpower, possibly out of spite. Meanwhile, the measure (if passed) would probably not have accomplished anything towards helping Darfurians anyway. The problem is that if it's this difficult to pass a trivial censure of officials and militia leaders, how hard would it be to actually try to stop the slow-motion genocide?

4/18/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How hard, really?
In a military reality two combat brigades
In a Political Reality, more Darfurians will die, 'til their gone, dead or in Chad.

4/18/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

google darfur and the genocide, you'll see most of the stories are datelined a year ago.

Is it just Darfur's time in the BS cycle?

4/18/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

This is just such a sad chapter in American history.

I wonder how much of the rest of "prosecution" of the cold war was based on this single incident.

4/18/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger doolz said...

Tom Grey said...

Bush is blowing it in Darfur -- it should be explicity the responsibility of the Democratic Party to call either for regime change with US military force, or acceptance of genocide.

That's an intriguing idea. I agree that the Democrats should make the case for war on humanitarian grounds (although that almost sounds like something a neocon would say). The humanitarian case for war against Sudan is about a mile long. There are also rumors about WMD's, and past support of terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden himself.

Yes, the Democrats should be hawks on Darfur, outflanking Bush on the right in a surprise maneuver. They should advocate the unilateral invasion of an African (largely Muslim) nation without so much as 14 UN resolutions against it. They should not let the fact that Sudan has brown people bother them, nor the fact that Cheneyburton will steal all of Sudan's oil during Operation Darfur is Flying.

You can trust the Democrats, once they have voted to support a war, to vote to continue funding it, and not to try to pull out troops before the job is done. And above all, remember that they will support the troops for the entire duration of this mission, and don't let anyone question their patriotism.

4/18/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...


It was the boomer dope heads who did the personal computer revolution.

Look at the eary photos of Microsoft, or Waz and Jobs - the infamous VW van. Give me a break.

In my opoinion the computer revolution makes up for the rest of their mistakes.

4/18/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Packard was a dope-head?
BSD started in Beserkley, but it wasn't on dope.

4/18/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

There I go, you were being personal, and I took offense.
Just like me.

4/18/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger doolz said...

How did this become 'revenge of the living dead hippie Unix nerds' again?

Actually Richard Stallman (of the Open Source movement) is about as hippie in outlook as you can get. It also looks like he washes infrequently.

4/18/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

9:10 AM,
Running at 100% plus on our ancient refining capacity means we'll most likely see rationing in a domestic dust up, or even large accident/hurricane.
That should wake folks up for about twice the duration of the sacrifice, I'd guess.

4/18/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

He was mesianizing ? over here in front of a bunch of adult computer guys at the supercomputer. Actually, I guess my kid was 17 at the time.
Confirmed the apparent bathing habits, picked up in the breeze.

I'll try to find an article about the guy that "invented" wireless messaging. He made little, and could care less.

4/18/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

26 oil choke points, few secured by US.

Mr al-Jaafari is still in there, swingin'

Border Infiltration is way up all along the Frontier. Arrests are up as well.
The flood gate was opened with the timeline to citizenship. That two year residency, that's what did it.
Forgers can "prove" you were here, along with a "sworn" statement.
Or so it is widely believed.

4/18/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Like Mr Bolton said to Mr Bush's staff
"If you are thinking about leaving, now's the time"

The message was heard across Latin America, now's the time.

4/18/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Samford & Buddy:
Move over guys I have been eating a lot of prunes so I can pay Mr. Carter the homage he deserves.

4/18/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'm going to watch Alore's Global Warming Movie on a laptop above the grave.
When I gag and upchuck, that'll be the topper, followed by the flys in the ointment, and where there's flys, there's maggots.

4/18/2006 08:16:00 PM  

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