“We’re closer to a nuclear exchange than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962,” warned 2024 Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in a video message addressed to the Humanity for Peace rally.
Kennedy was invited to address the attendees of the Humanity For Peace rally and concert in New York City on August 6th. However, due to the rigorous demands of his campaign trail, he was unable to be there in person. Nevertheless, demonstrating his commitment to the cause and to his supporters, RFK Jr. thoughtfully prepared and shared a video message for the event attendees.
Here is that message:
“Hi, everybody. It’s Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. here. And I want to thank all of the organizers at Humanity for Peace for putting this conference together and for giving me the opportunity to address you.
“My uncle, John F. Kennedy, once told one of his two closest friends, Ben Bradley, who was the editor of the Washington Post. When Bradley asked him, what do you want on your gravestones as your epithet? My uncle told him, ‘He kept the peace.’ And when Bradley questioned him on that — further pressed him. My uncle Jack said that the primary job of a President of the United States is to keep the country out of war.
“And he succeeded in doing that during his three years in office. He never sent a combat soldier abroad. He kept the country out of Laos. He kept us out of Cuba. On two occasions, he kept us out of Berlin in 1961, and he kept us out of Vietnam. He sent only 16,000 military advisors there — mainly Green Berets. And on October 20 — 22nd, they didn’t have — they didn’t have permission to fight, although some of them did.
“And then, in October 1962, he learned that one of his Green Berets had died, and he asked his aide to give him a combat casualty list, and the aide came back and said 75 had died so far. He said, ‘that’s too many.’ That afternoon he signed National Security Order 263, ordering all 16,000 troops home, with the first thousand coming home beginning at the end of November. And, of course, a month after that, right at the end of November, he was killed within a week later. President Johnson remanded that order. Within a year, Johnson had sent the 250,000 troops that the military had wanted from the beginning.
“But my uncle understood one thing about war, and it’s something we need to understand today because today we’re closer to a nuclear exchange than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962.
“My uncle understood that if you want to keep the country out of war, you have to be able to put yourself into the shoes of your adversary. When he came into office, the intelligence agencies and the people around him knew almost nothing about Nikita Khrushchev. President Eisenhower had said that it wouldn’t be a president who had started out as a soldier, who would put Americans into world war III because the soldiers knew about it. He was a soldier himself. My uncle had been a soldier — was the only president to win the purple heart. And Khrushchev, of course, was a soldier and had been in the most brutal battle of world war II in Stalingrad.
“But the CIA knew almost nothing about him because there was a mole. And Langley and all of the Kremlin officials who had defected to the United States or who had tried to work as spies for the United States were immediately detected. So, the CIA knew almost nothing about Khrushchev, and they assumed that everybody in the Kremlin was a monolith. My uncle felt disabled by that lack of knowledge. And in 1961, he started out his relationship with Khrushchev on a rocky road. They met in Vienna, and he found Khrushchev was pugnacious and bombastic and had practically dared my uncle to go to war with him. My uncle quickly understood that he himself was surrounded by military warhawks in the intelligence apparatus and the military brass at the Pentagon who saw nuclear exchange with Russia as not only unavoidable but also desirable.
“They made a proposition to my uncle to go to war on several occasions. They said that we were going to win that war because we had more missiles than the Russians, which we do not have today. They have 1000 more than us. But his brass told him that there would be only 30 million American casualties and 130 million Russians, and that would be victory. And my uncle left that meeting saying, “And we call ourselves the human race.” In 1961, in August, there was a confrontation at the Berlin Wall where US tanks were facing down Russian tanks at Checkpoint Charlie. The world was this close to nuclear war at that point. And my uncle made a backchannel cable to Khrushchev, asking him to pull out his tanks. Khrushchev sent a note back to my uncle’s cable saying, ‘My back is to the wall. I have no place to retreat.’ And my uncle realized at that point that Khrushchev was in the same position that he was. He was also surrounded by military warhawks who were egging for a fight with the United States. And they realized that only the two of them were going to prevent that full-blown nuclear exchange.
“My uncle made a proposition, a promise to him, that if he withdrew, that if Khrushchev withdrew his troop, his tank battalion, that my uncle would follow within a few hours. And they did that. And afterwards, they trusted each other. And they realized they had to communicate directly with each other. They began a series of 26 letters that they exchanged with each other, highly personal letters that were smuggled by a Soviet GRU spy named Georgi Bolshakov that (indistinct) their own State Department, their diplomatic corps, their military and intelligence apparatus. So, they were talking directly to each other. They also installed hotlines at Cape Cod, where I live. And those wires are still protruding out of the home with the summer lighthouse, which my brother now owns — and another hotline at the White House where they could pick up the phone and talk directly to each other. And that’s more important today than it ever was.
“Today, we’re in a very analogous situation where we are putting Vladimir Putin in a place where his back is against the wall. And it’s a time more than ever that we need to be talking to each other. We have made no effort to talk to the Russian leadership for many, many months — almost a year. And there have been many efforts by the Russian leadership to engage us and engage Ukraine in peace negotiations. And we have rebuffed those. In April of 2022, the Russians, and we now know, the Russians and the Ukrainians, the initial peace agreement that was based upon the Minsk accords, and the Russians were already beginning to withdraw their troops. And yet the US. White House sent Boris Johnson over there to torpedo that deal.
“We need to be doing the opposite of that. We need to be talking directly with Vladimir Putin and all sides, and we need to settle this insanity before we initiate another nuclear exchange that would destroy all of humanity.
So I want to thank you for all the work that you’re doing, and I want to congratulate you [Humanity for Peace] and send you all my gratitude for making this a priority for all of humanity. Thank you very much.”
Original Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWg9g50MyIc
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