tv [untitled] December 13, 2013 9:30pm-10:01pm EST
president john f. kennedy it's an incident still surrounded by questions that many americans are trying to answer one filmmaker has made the best attempt to put the disparate pieces together for a time academy award winning director all over stone now he's commemorating the canby anniversary by rereleasing has epic film j.f.k. and an ultimate director's cut the collector's edition also includes a segment from oliver stone's showtime series the untold history the united states a film adaptation of the joint book authored by stone and historian her cousin that take a look. if the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike. that the torch has been passed to a new generation of americans. is murder three the torch was passed back to an old generation the generation of johnson nixon ford and reagan leaders who would. systematically destroyed the promise of kennedy's last year as they returned
the country to war and repression joins me now to discuss j.f.k. and their five year long project oliver stone their cousin excellent to have you thank you so much all i want to start with you it's clear that your series sets j.f.k. apart from other presidents what makes you think he would have been different if he led. he was different in those three years he came into office after thirteen years of national security state build up a monstrous build up we had we had thirty thousand nuclear weapons by nineteen sixty mandated by eisenhower and national security complex that was basically had a first strike capability of the soviet union and could get away with it and that is the basis for which the cuban missile crisis and the berlin wall the berlin crisis of one nine hundred sixty one two brought us to the edge to the brink of war eisenhower as secretary of state dollars had called it brinksmanship going against
the soviet union going to rollback containment but is a far more aggressive policy in that scene we've had five or six nuclear threats we made against the chinese and against the soviet you kennedy inherited this office as a young man. and he was suspected by the military leaders the hardliners of the us that he did not have the the wherewithal to really continue the eisenhower policy he had failed to do so in laos to go in to send ground troops he failed in cuba at the bay of pigs to give it to suit the air support that it needed when he failed in the vietnam to really carry through a a much more in gauged process with the vietnamese he said non-combat advisors but not combat people so if this was going on that he was fighting and this is known now this is all come out now not when the film came behind the scenes tremendous civil war. and fifty years later right now if irrefutable evidence came out that implicated the u.s. government or ellen. it's up the government and his assassination how do you think
the american people would react what you're asking me if it came out now i think we've reached a sort of a because of kennedy's death and we went back in time i think we had a backlash of conservatism ronald reagan and all the presidents i mentioned in those clips that they they brought us to a place where were far more to the right than we were when kennedy was alive this is a shame and but this is a bit american military intelligence policy security policy that has built up since world war two look the soviets disappeared in one thousand nine hundred one we kept right on going we got bigger and bigger now we have eavesdropping across the world we have a we have seven hundred thousand foreign bases six thousand domestic us we have. full spectrum dominance air sea land cyber warfare space war we are way ahead of everybody else we have first strike superiority once again so it's a very troubling time but you asked me if it important question i didn't answer it
before about if kennedy had lived well we wouldn't be alive if kennedy had not done what he did at the cuban missile crisis with khrushchev we were really at the edge of war the sit com they wanted which the joint chiefs of staff wanted to go they wanted to invade cuba we didn't even know the situation in cuba how many bombs they had how many soviet troops were ready to fight there they were led by the commander of stalingrad was there it was a serious war we were facing in cuba it would have escalated into a major international conflict we had bombers ready to go off okinawa dropping nuclear weapons on china we had a whole war plan that eisenhower had devised was massive war calling for something like six hundred million casualties we were thinking ahead you have no idea what we faced and that's what kennedy's courage came at that moment when he said no to the hardliners as khrushchev said no to his hardliners and both men disappear within a year well i can't move on without talking about robert mcnamara joint chiefs of staff under kennedy who act. they presented him with the operation northwoods
document and it was rejected thankfully i mean this is an amazing declassified document actually came out after you kind of reignited a sheet of provoking an attack on cuba that's that's very that's black ops it's shocking and it goes on all the time that's the part create an atmosphere of war stir up conflict raise the fear truman did it through the truman doctrine with greece the united states has done it quite a lot more than you know and that's why we wrote this history peter you can talk about nuclear threats bush had a similar plan to provoke an attack on iraq and he's going to paint us plain that i did nations colors that it shot down and use that as a pretext to invade iraq so this thing goes on all the time still in the bush the father of push in kuwait way why do you think these are a false flags and more historically explored in these provocations kind of the use of these false provocation to start this do for this we're excited especially to
try to expose this to national security archives putting out great documents about these things so people know some of this but it's at the heart of our story because we're telling the other side of american history the dark side all the interventions the assassinations the dirty tricks the psychological warfare the torture of don't forget the arrogance it's behind and once you have those two it's always able to drop the moment you're going to get away with it successfully by calling it a moral victory and say that it ended world war two then you adopt the attitude that because you want you were right and because you're right you're good that's what follows and therefore you create your own moral code oh i love i love the series because i think a recurring theme is the atomic bomb not only the dropping of the bombs but the way that we were able to use that leverage almost just the world feared us because. we dropped the use atomic bombs twice but we shows that the united states has used the top of bob's repeatedly in the same sense that a person who. a gun to someone's head to rob them uses the gun without pulling the
trigger and truman uses that and iran right after world war two we use it over and over again to price. korea so was korea have soo i mean this happens over and over again proposed every presidential or different nuclear because it had nixon eisenhower the madman nixon proposed that he would use nuclear weapons in vietnam he never came about because he was already bombing the hell out of the place most massive bomb but later one who followed him in said that the united states threatened nuclear war thirteen times against. unbelievable and this brings me to reagan's obsession with the star wars fantasy and i think it was almost the most despicable part of the story was seen that there was actually a once in a lifetime chance for nuclear disarmament and he just started under it. because they were that regular at reykjavik reagan clung so fiercely to is fantasy about
star wars gorbachev was proposing that we give up all nuclear weapons and he said that as long as you keep star wars testing in the laboratory rather than do outside testing for ten years we'll sign off on eliminating nuclear weapons and reagan refused to do it shultz and the others were so heartbroken because they saw how close we came but reagan would not let go of that and gorbachev was furious i mean let's go right to now this situation exists now we are back in that position we were nine hundred sixty we have you know the bush father made a deal with gorbachev to that he would not expand nato eastward next nato was originally a defensive organization to put you into europe and that was a big deal by the way we can't overlook that nato was a huge commitment on our part but then he made a deal that he would not expect that was denied by clinton and by the so they moved nato and up. all right on the border of russia as you know we're fighting very hard
to get into georgia and we find it hard ukraine we're trying to make a split off the ukraine we're constantly undermining the south caucasus the muslim population we don't care if we excited the muslim terrorist we really don't and that's when putin knows that so there's a lot of sense seen going on in the china side of the equation our alliances extended out of vietnam australia philippines we have a military presence korea and japan are heavily armed bases are everywhere let's take a look at that map because you guys talk about the iron curtain the reverse one more point is that we drop the bombs where they come from space from planes from submarines we have a.b.s. they are not there rake in steel that's another deal that's been developed by the pentagon those are the type of sickness so whatever the idea is if we have first strike we could use it because we know that their capability to return could be limited and can we can we can we endure the retaliation the same theme that existed in one nine hundred sixty. saying we have first strike superiority and probably the
ability to pull it off if it was a very important article in foreign affairs magazine which is the bible of the council on foreign relations the establishment magazine in march of two thousand and six by a lever in press at the united states now as a first strike capability against russia that if we attack them with nuclear weapons they would have no a bill that it to retaliate if they had a few planes a few bombs that they could set off against us missile defenses there to get those and i wanted a map that shows kind of that reversal on where we are now surrounded and you know we only started. really according to u.s. policymakers has the cold war ever you know never we grabbed everything we could at the end of world war two we held on never turned the back and spending skyrocketed again and after two thousand and one japan is i mean japan in the asia was our main bulwark germany in europe was i mean both work we broke off for. a treaty with the
russians that we made in west germany the country which terrified the soviets that's why there was so much tension when kennedy came to office. was convinced as were his hard liners that they were being set up for the first strike with this president who was acting a bit like a cold warrior at the beginning they were worried very worried that's why they put missiles into cuba it was really to to tear the us from thinking that it could completely dominate. the ball game but they had good reason to fear the united states during that time because we had about overwhelming if you talk about the missile gap deployed patrick right from the beginning his administration to find out what the real reality was in the missile gap they found that there was a missile gap but the united states was far ahead of the soviet union by the time of the cuban missile crisis we had about a ten to one advantage of every capability more on cuba right when we get back. thank you.
welcome back i'm speaking with award winning director oliver stone historian to talk about the untold history of the united states you guys i wanted to start with you peter the u.n. vote two days ago one hundred eighty eight to only two nay votes to basically. criticize the cuban embargo and of course israel and the u.s. were the only two countries to vote to uphold it is this just a cold war grudge what does the u.s. have at stake here and. i don't think the u.s. has anything at stake as a nation there are certain right wing interests in the united states to get the cuban community in miami although the younger generation of cuban americans is
going a very very different direction than the older generation but with united states is concerned about is the rise of the left wing governments in latin america and those governments are very friendly toward cuba so there is much more of an effort in the oas and other bodies to isolate the united states now safety united states doesn't change its policies toward cuba and these countries are just not going to go along with the united states has put it's symptomatic as part of a broader international lessening of u.s. influence we see what's happening in the middle east can really influence the situations are war making we've got this powerful military the most powerful military in the history of humanity and it doesn't work since world war two you look at korea you look at vietnam you look at afghanistan you look at iraq i mean we we can we can invade grenada and we can defeat a couple dozen cuban construction workers and reagan could go on television saying it's morning. and in america the united states is back and standing proud but this
military solutions don't work to any of these problems even in libya situation there is falling apart we need some we need to rethink how we approach the world as most enjoying it really truly join in not as a dominant partner but as a co-equal partner and that would really take an active enormous mental your military and i don't know if president can win. on that idea because the americans like strong friends with except except that the american public was so overwhelmingly opposed to an attack on syria that both houses of congress were ready to vote to repudiate that that's amazing so i think that the american people are learning slowly and consistently some areas yes some areas no but there's not only a war weariness there's a sense of being totally fed up as robert gates of all people who is with the cia for so long that
a lot of damage was part of an architect in afghanistan and iraq robert gates said recently don't you learn from iraq afghanistan and libya i said if any secretary of defense recommends united states any troops again and asia africa latin america they should have his head examined right and i knew that would be a quagmire you know. what peter says is partially true i mean if there were another terror attack on u.s. soil would we do people react over react as they did last time would we go crazy again because we have these bomb power this military that's what scares me and we're putting in place this architecture that exists whether obama is a good reasonable manager of empire which is not the issue the issue is what you have the ability to use this technology. you will use it it will be one president will come along will not have the restraint of an obama will be a george bush again and want to run of course once his policies are enact and they never go away. no matter who you start building the atomic bomb as truman found out
he's a little boy on of toboggan according to leslie gross no one was going to stop that bomb from being dropped rose said from the moment we started building that bomb russia was our main. you know you said in the in the film series that those who control the world technologically it's almost that they will inevitably use it tyrannical do you think that now with the drone wars these mechanize murder weapons out of war and whistleblowers and also just the n.s.a. spying on the world is that just exemplify the tyrannical evolution of the us absolutely once you have a bomb you want to use it so we have put up this system where we were looking for terrorists right there what two thousand and three thousand i don't know it's a small pile band of people but people would now have the right to look at the entire haystack for the needle we get so the result is it's like hitler when hitler got used a lot of it got a lot of his power from the people because he was wailing about terrorists inside germany always they talk about terrorists that justifies a totalitarian state it's always the first method and george orwell's nine hundred
eighty four it's always about terrorists even in the car theo all the nut cases feel the current the terrorists communists planted in our schools and our government it's always creates this fear that the american people i love when gorbachev left and they were at home that day that we will have to use technology so this is very scary very scary unless we educate people not to be scared to be beyond their fear to accept that uncertainty exists in life that terrorism does happen it did exist in europe for thirty years i was over in europe it was bombs in england the ira france there was cafes blown up in downtown paris for algeria there's all kinds of issues iraq iran italy japan spain terrorism they dealt with it with good police work detective work they found the terrorists you don't have to put out a this mega alert system that we have or the national security agency and what they call the homeland security bureau fifty billion dollars are already seriously claim to them. color coded system there tom ridge finally resigned
people because he said they were using it to manipulate the public. how do we find it again this is very hard question other thing that stuck out for me. was the voltaire quote those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities how does that concept play and the way that being against george bush you know made the terrorists to be evil people who were against the freedoms that we have here because we're you know our freedoms which was not true there was a blowback situation the terrorists acted because it was a definite desire to hurt the united states for hurting them i mean put five hundred thousand troops in saudi arabia the holy land that's what george bush the father did five hundred thousand troops he sent to saudi arabia on the kuwait attack and you have to go to the kuwait invasion to understand it but it's crazy we suddenly commit we did that in vietnam and we went to an agony to do it remember we
had five hundred thousand troops we lost we had no business being there we had no business thirty five thousand troops in the middle east in one thousand nine hundred two and the other thing is. at that point all i was going to say about nine eleven you know in this talk about the august sixth presidential briefing that said you know the term a strike within the u.s. but since that we've known that it's not just that it's dozens and dozens of warnings from all over the world and also internal cia warnings to the highest echelons of the department i just find it hard to believe it was pure negative i mean we already know that this government has a track record of just completely not caring about human life is there any inkling in your mind at all that they allowed these attacks to happen. i think that's you know i i you know it's a question i'm not an expert in that situation and it did accomplish what's important to me as the conclusions of nine eleven made you know. it's
a different country. far more conservative for more skeered and when we strike out in iraq at the who do with. destroying the people of this country we're basically for that invasion including the liberals hillary clinton voted for the new york times and all those all those supposedly liberals in the mainstream they went for the wrong. some of us did not so you know what they what those warning though and not only is there warning the project for new american century which was the think tank the people who filled the bush administration almost everybody in that administration the neo cons came out of the project for a new american century and they issued a report saying that we need to massively rebuild america's defenses it's going to take us a long time unless there's a new pearl harbor and that's what they seized upon the after nine eleven so even though they probably were too inept to have been involved in causing it. blind to stop it even though they had all the warnings in the world that they should have
been able to stop it they seized upon it and use it to do everything they would if there were a new pearl harbor which is what the way they saw this exact thing just fell right into the. document was written the thing that i love about this book in the series is that it completely counters the myth of american exceptionalism this is the concept we've heard obama doubled down recently to other world leaders at the u.n. g.a. how does this notion impact america's standing in the world and why our leaders continuing to reinforce this. that he dressed obama down over this. state should not think of itself as being exceptional in that way of being better than other countries you go to a ball game and you get up there and they sing god bless america you know if there was a god that god would certainly bless everybody not just the americans what kind of crazy notion but this idea is very deeply rooted goes back to john winthrop sermon aboard the arbella in sixteen thirty matches bay so the united states. city upon
a hill the world's eyes will be upon it woodrow wilson says after. now the world knows america is the savior of the world that idea catches on big time in the one thousand days of ronald reagan the same time he said he supported death squads in central america supported the dean and afghanistan he's talking about american benevolence and altruism and how we're so different but you see it in everybody you see madeleine albright the secretary of state and clinton says if we have to use force it's because we're the united states where the indispensable nation has a reclear and says the same thing obama says the same thing it's not a step for obama it's different obama recently again but over and over again the beginning was the ministration he said well i believe in american exceptionalism just as the brits believe in british exceptionalism in the greeks and greek exceptionalism but now he got attacked they got pilloried by the right wingers led by mike huckabee for saying that now he's out there waving the flag talking about american exceptionalism due to our standing is the notion.
do you think there's an arrogance implied in you because you know it's the problem is that we've never had a war that came to this home with their brick spears i. felt a slice of it in vietnam it was a no i got it war destroys both sides the problem with a victor in a war is that he believes he's right and he believes he has the right to use violence because he's doing the right thing so that that's what happened we had we were given a gift in world war two you know we fought in that but the soviet union basically wiped out the german war machine they took the brunt of the cash twenty five million russians on us at three hundred some. four hundred thousand casualties nothing confirmed so we had this tremendous advantage to what we did so if he had lived another three months i think would've kept an alliance we had with the with the with the soviets a lot. because he did not want to be called the british empire he saw the problems
with a version he did not believe in colonialism colonialism was to be eradicated and it was not because truman. roosevelt's position took a pro british empire position right away winston churchill was one of his biggest allies convinced of the necessity to take on the soviets as well as the old hard line so from that point of view was gone on this rollercoaster and it just got worse and worse and we have a minute left but you guys point to figures in history like kennedy gorbachev moments in time that were completely squandered and you guys posed the question what would be ready when these moments. and take the right course of history what do you think that answer is i think the answer is if everybody who watches untold history as a result book that's why we wrote this because we want we know that that as i like to say the curve of the ball can break differently in different situations especially after the world series and we have to be ready we have to learn the
lessons of the past learned where we messed up in the past and learned why we made the mistakes of the past and begin to think differently we got to begin to envision the understand that the world could be very different political outcomes can be very different while we point to the henry wallace is at the franklin roosevelt and the john kennedy's and the other people who saw the world differently george mcgovern had a very different vision of the world think the time is now and people are waking up you guys thank you so much for being such an integral part of the awakening c. series untold history united states thank you so much for. really pushing us back. and that's it for our show tonight you guys thanks for watching.
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