Skip to comments.Case Closed: a letter to Gerald Posner (re: Kennedy assassination)
Posted on 11/25/2003 1:51:37 PM PST by veronica
I paid no attention to the many television programs broadcast this past week on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of President Kennedys assassination. The reason for my lack of interest was that the questions about the assassination that had obsessed me all my lifeand not only the factual questions, but the deeper moral and emotional issues left by Kennedys killingwere resolved for me by Gerald Posners 1993 book Case Closed. Here is a letter I wrote to Posner about his book ten years ago, shortly after the 30th anniversary of the assassination: December 15, 1993
Dear Mr. Posner:
I would like to tell you how deeply grateful I am to you for your magnificent book, Case Closed.
Over the years, I had shared the general sense that we did not have the truth about the Kennedy assassination. While I never gave credence to the various wild conspiracy theories, I did feel that there was probably a second gunman, and perhaps Mafia involvement. But it seemed impossible ever to get closer to the truth. A year or two ago there were new television programs and articles about the assassination with some interesting information, but trying to follow the issues that were raised only led one into a morass of confusion.
One of the problems was that, while the conspiracy proponents seemed a contemptible bunch (especially Oliver Stone, who I think is truly evil), the defenders of the Warren Commission report, such as David Belin, also seemed fishy. They just went after the most obvious weaknesses in the conspiracy theories while blandly and self-righteously insisting on the total correctness of the obviously flawed Warren report. (It was that same sort of bland defense of the Warren report, the glossing over of its many troubling flaws and gaps, that had helped set off the conspiracy paranoia, along with the general suspicion of our government, back in the mid 1960s.) The Warren defenders never responded to the hard questions that continued to trouble me and everyone else who thought about the issue; and they never seemed to appreciate the factwhich you certainly bring out in your bookthat there were many odd events surrounding the assassination that could reasonably give rise to suspicions of a conspiracy. It was all terribly, deeply frustrating. It seemed that this mystery would last forever, and that there was no point in even trying to figure it out.
Then one day this past September, at the National Airport in Washington, D.C., I picked up the U.S. News and World Report with the long excerpt from Case Closed. Reading the article on the shuttle flight back to New York, I experienced an epiphany. The clarity of your presentation, your story of Oswald, the fascinating new information about the timing of the shots and many other things all added up to an account that for the first time in all these years had the ring of truth. The magazine excerpt, of course, did not answer all my questions (I had to wait to read the book for that), but it did satisfy me that Oswald did it alone. Oswald emerged as a totally believable, real person, not this shadowy figure upon whom the conspiracy theorists could cast any fantasy they wanted.
There is another, perhaps unintended, benefit of Case Closed. Reading it made me realize that for years, all the bedeviling issues surrounding the assassination had blocked the assassination itselfthe horror and tragedy and poignancy of itfrom full consciousness. The conspiracy theories had become the main historical event, not Kennedys terrible death and what it did to the country. But your account, by clearing away those questions, has restored the assassination itself as an event in my experience and I think our collective experience as well. It was as though I began feeling the trauma and the meaning of Kennedys death afresh, undiminished after three decades.
Apart from the tragedy of the event itself, it was truly a fateful turning point in our countrys historybut, I believe, in a sense exactly opposite to what Oliver Stone imagines. Rather than marking the rise of Stones fictional militaristic right-wing to national power, it marked the rise to influence of a left-wing culture of alienation typified by people like Oliver Stone himself. These members of the adversary culture, unable to absorb Kennedys murder as the terrible event it was, chose to see it as a confirmation that America itself was evil, that America would always block the exaggerated hopes for unlimited individual fulfillment and social progress that Kennedy seemed to personify for many people. It was shortly after Kennedys death that the deadly notion became current that the system was blame for everything, thus turning Americans against their own country. Of course, the rise of black rage, the Vietnam war and so on were also important parts of this historic catastrophe, but the Kennedy assassination was crucial.
The unresolved assassination puzzle also fed the alienating notion that truth is indeterminable, that all we can know are self-serving narratives. This idea opens the gates to all kinds of viciousness. For example, the egregious Stone could present his paranoid fantasy as a revelation of hidden truth to a mass audience of millions of unformed, suggestible minds, and at the same time cover himself with the elites by saying that his movie was a mere counter-myth, not intended to be a factual presentation. Thus he got to convince millions of people that horrible lies were the truth, while denying that that he was doing anything of the kind. With Case Closed, you have not only uncovered the specific truth of the assassination; youve demonstrated that truth itself exists and can be known.
But for me, what is most remarkable about Case Closed is that this old festering sore of uncertainty and discouragement surrounding the assassination, which I never expected to be cured, has been cured. In bringing the truth to light out of all that confusion, you have performed not only a great public service, but a heroic act.
Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust kidding....... ;-)
I wanna go back to being ignorant.....
Makes ya' wonder............... ;-)
I'll just apply a few selected pieces of tinfoil, adjust my FreeRepublic secret-decoder-time-travel ring, say the words "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" and all will be as it was.
Umm .. Oliver Stone served in Vietnam after the Kennedy assasination. He "served in four different combat units, was injured two times in battle, and received the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart with First Oak Cluster."
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