Descripción de editorial
This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. The accepted historical view of Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) involvement in the Bay of Pigs is that the JCS failed to meet President Kennedy's expectations during the Bay of Pigs because they did not meet their responsibilities. Kennedy's supporters advanced this criticism immediately following the Bay of Pigs. Their criticisms may have been manifestations of their biases and historians may have obscured important issues by perpetuating their inaccuracies. For these reasons, the accepted historical view based on these criticisms may be inaccurate. Did the JCS really fail to meet President Kennedy's expectations because they failed to meet their responsibilities?
Because Kennedy did not have the opportunity to define his expectations for JCS advice before the Bay of Pigs, it is likely the JCS did not change how they interacted with the President. Therefore, it was necessary to begin the examination of the JCS performance by examining JCS responsibilities under President Eisenhower, and then to analyze JCS actions leading to the Bay of Pigs to determine whether those actions demonstrated that the JCS understood their responsibilities. Next, it was necessary to review Kennedy's interactions with the JCS during invasion planning to determine how these interactions may have shaped JCS actions. Finally, it was necessary to evaluate JCS reviews of the invasion plans for the Bay of Pigs in order to determine whether the critic's charge that the JCS did not adequately study the Bay of Pigs plan is justified.
Ultimately, the evidence indicates the JCS met their responsibilities, but failed to meet Kennedy's expectations because his expectations were unrealistic. The expectations were unrealistic for several reasons. First, the JCS became involved in the planning for the invasion of Cuba only a week before Kennedy's inauguration. Therefore, the JCS understood and met their roles and responsibilities based on their experiences under President Eisenhower. Second, President Kennedy discouraged direct and candid advice from his JCS. Finally, it was unrealistic to expect that the JCS could thoroughly review the Central Intelligence Agency's plans for the Bay of Pigs. Criticizing the JCS provides a simple explanation for the Bay of Pigs failure, but obscures the two principal lessons from the Bay of Pigs. First, the JCS must provide their advice directly and candidly to the President in order to advise him effectively. Second, the JCS must have authority and responsibility for operations with military ramifications, even if they are covert.
By the end of April 1961, over a thousand men (including five Americans) were dead, wounded, or captured on the beaches of Cuba. The US Ambassador to the United Nations stood embarrassed in front of the General Assembly. The President of the United States contritely admitted to the American people that while victory has a hundred fathers, defeat is an orphan.