Remembering Bay of Pigs


Val Prieto has an elegant commemoration of the 44th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs disaster on Babalu.  If you are too young to recall it, it happened when thousands of Cuban exiles secretly trained with U.S. forces to take back their island—nation from the tyrannical grip of Fidel Castro in 1961. The operation was planned by President Dwight Eisenhower and executed by President John Kennedy.
It failed midway not because the exiles did not fight well, but because of a failure of U.S. leadership. Kennedy, probably not wanting to anger the Soviets, suddenly refused to permit critical air support as had been promised to the exiles. That left them without the support they needed to win, and they were easily destroyed by Castro's forces, with many killed or spending long years in prison.
The failure at Bay of Pigs is a valuable lesson because it showed that war is serious business and there are no half measures — either the U.S. goes in to win or it doesn't have any business going in at all. Sadly, it took the U.S. a few repetitions of this lesson to get it — in Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam, and in Jimmy Carter's botched Iran rescue mission.
However, this lesson wasn't lost on Presidents Ronald Reagan or George Bush, both of whom paved the way for liberations of peoples in impossible parts of the world, like Eastern Europe, Grenada and Nicaragua, and since then, Afghanistan and Iraq. Those victories derive in no small part from what was learned at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
A.M. Mora y Leon 04 18 05