McNamara, Castro, Cuban Missile Crisis
January 23, 2003 5:31 AM   Subscribe

Robert McNamara and Fidel Castro met in Cuba last October at a conference on the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Interesting article about this meeting and the professor who arranged it.
posted by staggernation (7 comments total)
Fog of war indeed; "Such meetings, part of Blight’s unconventional fifteen-year study of the crisis, have led McNamara and others to a startling conclusion: we were much closer to nuclear war than anyone thought. "

Meanwhile, I heard from the gods of NPR, two days ago, that recently released documents from the Cuban Missile Crisis show Kennedy Adminstration officials "making the sorts of deliberations as are now being made by the Bush administration over Iraq." No further comment.
posted by troutfishing at 6:53 AM on January 23, 2003

The document reveals the Soviets had tactical nukes unknown to the USA, that the Soviet commander in Cuba was a grizzled WWII vet who would have used them and that Kennedy was very close to sending 180,000 US troops to invade the island.

Exactly, troutfishing. No further comment.
posted by stbalbach at 7:15 AM on January 23, 2003

a startling conclusion: we were much closer to nuclear war than anyone thought.

That's funny, everybody I've talked to about it who was around at the time thought that we actually were going to nuclear war.
posted by goethean at 7:36 AM on January 23, 2003

The evidence for Russian tactical nukes is mixed at best, and the notion that the Soviets would give a local commander authorization in advance to use them is ludicrous - control of the use of those was maintained at the very highest levels.

But of course the Russian commander will say differently- who's going to pay attention to (or pay for) this story "I was an unimportant sideshow in the big scheme of things."

McNamara and Castro are not exactly dis-interested party - both have a history of being less than honest and remembering events in a more than self serving way that runs right up till today. They have an interest in 'shocking revelations'.

Sadly, like after so many other important events, we know less about them 'cause the surviving players spin and fog the truth as time goes on.

Wanna get extra-scared? Study the Berlin Crisis of Sept. '61. It's much less well know, so it's still possible to do good research on it. It's possible that we came even closer to nuclear war then than we did in Cuba. Kennedy came very close to ordering a nuclear first strike - because he thought we could win.
posted by Jos Bleau at 9:06 AM on January 23, 2003

I did some heavy research (almost 1 year) on this as part of my previous job.

In my opinion, it was the US who was the provacateur and instigator for the whole Cuban Missile crisis.

You see, a few months before the Cuban Missile crisis, the US put tactical nuclear weapons in Turkey - within striking distance of Moscow. So given the pissing match that the whole Cold War was, the USSR responded by trying to put tactical nukes in Cuba - within striking distance of Washington, DC.

posted by Witold at 9:16 AM on January 23, 2003

Wow... and here's me planning on going to Cuba in October... When will old Dubya be done with Iraq and Korea and decide to go bomb my hotel?
posted by twine42 at 9:19 AM on January 23, 2003

twine42 - no. I don't think Cuba is currently on Bush Adm. the "regime change" hotlist -- just don't go to Iran.

Jos_Bleau - that darned Kennedy (was it the testosterone pills? the opiates?......) - he was just one crisis after another! Maybe they (whoever 'they' are) bumped him off because of his brinkmanship.
posted by troutfishing at 9:51 AM on January 23, 2003

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