battleshipkropotkin wrote:Errol Morris on the Umbrella Man, Nov 22 2011.
Then she writes:
At one point, after leaving the room to take another urgent phone call, he came back shaking his head and said to me, “I’d rather my children be red than dead.” It wasn’t a political statement or an attempt at levity. These were the words of a father who adored his children and couldn’t bear them being hurt.
If true, it’s a telling comment. JFK was echoing a popular slogan of the peace movement of the 1960s: “Better red than dead.” The idea was anathema to the American right but common on the left in Europe: It would be better to live under communism than to die in a nuclear war. At the climactic moment of the Cuban missile crisis, Alford says JFK voiced this sentiment.
Some will say Alford’s story cannot be true because JFK was not a leftist but an anti-communist — but there’s nothing unusual about a politician having different views publicly and privately. Others may say Alford made up the story to sell books — as if an anecdote about JFK’s liberalism would entice readers interested in his libido. In the context of the crisis at hand, it is more plausible to think that the president was expressing an abhorrence of the nuclear terror that defined the Cold War and voicing a desire to escape its clutches as his advisors pressed for war.
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