Opinion

Trump Honors Bay of Pigs Vets at White House

|
Posted: Sep 26, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Trump Honors Bay of Pigs Vets at White House

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

“Today, we are profoundly honored by their (Bay of Pigs veterans) presence. We’re joined by these 20 incredible veterans — Brigade 2506 — and their families. Could I ask you to stand, please? …I appreciate you being here.  This is tremendous. It’s an honor. You’ve been honoring me for four years, and now I’m honoring you, and that’s a nice way to do it…The courageous veterans here today bear witness to how socialism, radical mobs, and violent communists ruin a nation.  Now, the Democratic Party is unleashing socialism right within our own beautiful country... We will honor your courage with my administration’s determination to defeat communism and socialism.” (Remarks by President Trump Honoring Bay of Pigs Veterans. September 23, 2020.) 

During the event above President Trump also announced that he was further tightening economic sanctions against the Castro regime: 

 “The Obama-Biden administration made a weak, pathetic, one-sided deal with the Castro dictatorship that betrayed the Cuban people and enriched the communist regime.  I cancelled the Obama-Biden sellout to the Castro regime...Today, as part of our continuing fight against communist oppression, I am announcing that the Treasury Department will prohibit U.S. travelers from staying at properties owned by the Cuban government. (Applause.)  We’re also further restricting the importation of Cuban alcohol and Cuban tobacco…These actions will ensure that U.S. dollars do not fund the Cuban regime and go directly to the Cuban people. Big difference.”

Naturally this triggered Castro’s U.S.-based propaganda auxiliaries (The Fake News Media) to denounce the ceremony and the new sanctions as shameless pandering for Cuban-American votes: 

“The announcement seemed to be a clear attempt to appeal to Cuban-American voters in Florida, which is seen by many analysts as a must-win state for Trump if he is to be re-elected,” sneered CNN, along with many others.

Interesting logic here, considering that a few years ago—citing a series of “polls” and the cocksure proclamations of some Cuban-American “leaders”—these identical media outlets all gloated that most Cuban-America voters SUPPORTED Obama’s opening to Castro—and OPPOSED the embargo.

What would Dr. Spock say of such logic?  

Some background on the tragedy president Trump honored this week: 

“The Republicans have allowed a communist dictatorship to flourish eight jet minutes from our borders!” charged John F. Kennedy during his famous debate with Nixon before the famous 1960 elections. “We must support anti-Castro fighters. So far these freedom fighters have received no help from our government.” But unlike the John Lovitz character on “Saturday Night Live,” JFK lied expertly, with a straight face.

Weeks before the debates CIA director Allen Dulles (on Ike’s orders) had briefed Kennedy about Cuban invasion plans (what became the Bay of Pigs invasion). So Kennedy knew damn well the Republican administration was training Cuban freedom fighters. And since the plans were secret, he knew damn well Nixon couldn’t rebut. So Nixon bit his tongue. He could easily have stomped Kennedy on it. But to some candidates national security trumps debating points.

Four months later, 1,500 of those very Cuban freedom-fighters that “we must support” were slugging it out with 21,000 Castro troops, squadrons of Stalin tanks, and his entire air force at a beachhead now known as the Bay of Pigs.

JFK was no longer a candidate. He was now commander in chief. It was time to put up or shut up. He’d already done plenty of putting up by forcing the CIA and military planners to change the landing site. Then by holding up his approval of an invasion a year in the making till 24 hours before the planned D-day. Then by canceling 80 percent of the pre-invasion air strikes. This last was a vital element of the invasion as planned under Eisenhower.

The Cuban invasion was born under a Republican administration, with Vice President Nixon its main booster. The man who saw through Alger Hiss was also the first to see through Fidel Castro. Then it landed in Camelot’s lap.

“Where are the PLANES?” kept crackling over the invasion ships’ radios. That was their commander, Pepe San Roman, roaring into his radio from the beachhead between hundreds of artillery concussions from huge 122 mm Soviet Howitzers. “Send planes or we can’t last!” San Roman yelled while watching the Soviet tanks close in and his casualties pile up.

The pleas made it to Navy Chief Admiral Arleigh Burke in Washington, D.C., who conveyed them in person to his commander in chief.

“Two planes, Mr. President!” Admiral Burke sputtered into his commander in chief’s face. The fighting admiral was livid, pleading for permission to allow just two of his jets to blaze off the carrier deck and support the desperately embattled freedom-fighters on that heroic beachhead.

“Burke, we can’t get involved in this,” replied JFK.

“WE put those Cuban boys there, Mr. President!” the fighting admiral exploded. “By God, we ARE involved!”’

Interesting match here. In one corner, the man who blasted almost half the Imperial Japanese fleet to fiery rubble and sent it to the bottom of the Pacific at the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

In the other, the man who managed to get his PT boat Karate-chopped in half by a Japanese destroyer, a feat of nautical ingenuity that still has naval men scratching their heads – and one that almost got him court-martialed. Only some heavy political pressure saved John F. Kennedy in 1944.

Alas, politics prevailed again that night in April ‘61. JFK refused to help the freedom fighters. The election was over, you see.

“Can’t continue,” crackled the final message from San Roman a day later. For three days his force of mostly volunteer civilians had battled savagely against a Soviet-trained and led force 10 times their size, inflicting casualties of 20 to 1. To this day their feat of arms amazes professional military men. Morale will do that to a fighting force. And there’s no morale booster like watching Fidel Castro and Che Guevara ravage your homeland and families, believe me.

Ammo finally ran out. “Russian tanks overrunning my position” ... San Roman on his radio again ... “destroying my equipment…How can you people do this to us?” Finally, the radio went dead.

“Tears filled my eyes,” writes CIA man Grayston Lynch, a multi-decorated WWII and Korea vet who took that final message. “I broke down completely.  For the first time in my 37 years I was ashamed of my country.”