The Wintry Gales of Reason

"Half a century passes, yet our focus remains not on the moon but on the finger pointing to it.  As the 50th anniversary of the Dallas operation loomed, petitions were being signed to convince the praetorian guard of John F. Kennedy's killers to stand down and allow the truth to be spoken and justice to be pursued during the official observance of the assassination scheduled to be staged - and I do mean "staged" the appointed hour, the black mass was celebrated. Cracked bells tolled, crocodile tears flowed, deceit-driven litanies were regurgitated, truth and justice banished, and sheets of foolscap bearing the name of self-anointed warrior petitioners were cut into small, uniform squares with which the conspiracy's contemporary Facilitators would wipe their..." (Charles R. Drago)i
Some who represent the conflicting sides of a  possible assassination conspiracy have seemingly forgone reasonable debate. Many remain skeptical and willing to discuss the contending evidence, others have made their decision. They do not feasibly consider most verifiable facts to deduce probable outcomes because they cannot imagine primary evidence could refute their current ideas and this has left many on the losing side of history. While I agree that a feasible assassination conspiracy occurred, the "Dallas Operation" is not conclusively proven. Drago's lengthy diatribe regarding his feelings about the official event subsequently held in Dealey Plaza, is irrelevant and biased. His confrontational and pseudo-revolutionary prose is unnecessary and counterproductive to actual discussion. Critics and advocates have personally insulted me for my contentions based on evidence they do not "believe", yet it remains on the primary legal record. Evidence does not require you to believe, it is self-evident and if someone wishes to contend verifiable documents, it requires a factual basis to do so.  

"Anyone with reasonable access to the evidence in this case who does not conclude that a criminal conspiracy resulted in the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is cognitively impaired and/or complicit in the crime." 
Drago speculates not only that he possesses an insight keener than his detractors do but also claims those who doubt are fools or guilty of aiding his asserted dark forces. These futile demands are reminiscent of the sightless bias some past officials exhibited. Perhaps in his seeming militancy, Drago has unfortunately assumed the reprehensible intellectual standards and methods of some he decries. These baseless requirements serve only to enforce flawed standards of intellectual conformity and do not enhance his claims.   

"Are our sins, our failures of judgment and will, attributable to the sub-conscious fear that, as a consequence of the attainment of knowledge of the truth and the effecting of justice, we shall bring about the destruction of the self? Destruction of the nation? Are we prepared to declare total war on our blood enemies: the assassins and their allies? Should we impose moral constraints on our strategies and tactics? What would constitute victory in such a war? Can we untie to overcome the egotism and greed that from the beginning have divided us and guaranteed our impotency? Who are we? Should we define ourselves as warriors? Scholars? Victims? 
This seems a conflation of actual philosophical inquires and investigating a feasible assassination conspiracy. The assassination conspiracy is a vast murder case with significant evidence to support feasible limited nefarious intent and it is not a logical prism in which to develop or initiate a worldview. No actual blood enemies exist, most directly connected to the case with motive, means, and opportunity are dead. Drago seeks to find insights among higher quandaries regarding this case and these two pursuits are distant and not reasonably intertwined. The case of John F. Kennedy's assassination cannot reasonably define intrinsic philosophical standards but required context and evidentiary standards. Drago's rhetorical questions and his declaration of war offer ranting in place of compelling evidence and those who support hyperbolic grand claims without sufficient evidence are not warriors, nor scholars. They are victims of self-fulfilling speculation and they are so enraptured with their beliefs they fail to prove them.

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"I define justice in the case of the assassination of John F. Kennedy as the utilization of the attainable absolute truth to cleanse or, if necessary, deconstruct and rebuild the system responsible for the assassination and related crimes....I herein restate my original call for the extension of blanket immunity-amnesty to all surviving conspirators, contingent upon their coming forward and telling the truth (the offer to be made by an independent special prosecutor as appointed by the Congress of the United Sates; there can be no meaningful healing of America's most grievous self-inflicted wound that is not self-administered)"
What now is  proposed is not just improbable but impossible and the truth can expose but not "cleanse" errors. That Drago believes some are guilty of  sin" is ludicrous and belongs in a moralistic setting far from unbiased research. What he suggests is a social tyranny built upon his ideas and justice is not the suggesting of possible deconstruction of public offices and laws to which you do not subscribe. We live in a democratic Republic where the people can effect change. Many people have and continue to add to the body of knowledge available using methodical and reasoned discourse and research. 

Just because an assassination conspiracy is feasible does not mean it is conclusive. As some conspiracy critics assert Oswald's guilt, some conspiracy advocates indict many officials without conclusive evidence. President Johnson and Lee Harvey Oswald each deserve the presumption of innocence, unless substantial primary evidence supports their guilt. Emotional pleas do not serve as evidence and diligent evidentiary verification is more important than self-righteous bias.

"Without the succor offered by these ( and related) lies-as-history- which is to say, with their long denied counter-realities (...the disenfranchisement of the American electorate that took place on November 22, 1963. Et al) broadly accepted in their stead- no rational citizen of good character could do less than plot the drastic overhaul, if not the overthrow of a system of government clearly revealed to be without legal and moral justifications. So perhaps our illusions are more important to that most sacrosanct of crusades, the preservation of the Union, than is the truth. More important than justice...Or we can fight!"
Perhaps among the few points I agree with Drago upon is that democratic voting was indeed denied by a sniper's rifle and yet to demand an overhaul of society is preferable or required to achieve justice is untenable. It does not require a reordered society agreeable to the biased conception of any small citizen group because that is the reverse of democracy. Such action does not allow reasoned criticism based upon all the evidence and includes evidence we may disagree with. The Union according to Drago can be set aside if it should complicate his asserted goals and these pseudo-revolutionary calls do not actually have relevant effects on the case as it stands. These demands for greater conflict achieve a vague and self-assured demeanor that fails to support the claims offered. Judging officials and critics based upon merely emotion and personal bias is a quixotic endeavor.

The investigation of this matter, in my view, requires the abandonment of ridiculous beliefs and claims and I would suggest the unbiased regard of all verified evidence. I have noted claims similar to Drago's that critics and advocates of conspiracy employ and they like Drago are mistaken. I hope that in time, such people might consider the rigorous casework itself and perhaps they might ponder the hundreds of thousands of pages documents required to gain reasonable understanding. Perhaps it will one day occur to the outspoken yet unreasonable may wish to refine their methods.

Instead of calling for "crusades", "overthrow", and mass indictment of those who oppose your ideas perhaps attempt to decipher new insights regarding the case. Imagine all the wasted mental and physical exertion that has occurred to launch deficient attacks without evidence. So many personal and grand insults to the asserted faceless enemy and those Drago claims are its minions. He forgets a conspiracy of such massive scale and size is neither probable, nor supported by evidence and many famous critics and advocates of conspiracy have precipitously claimed to have solved the major questions.

"A PLEA FOR THE DECLARATION OF WAR: We are at war with the murderers of John F. Kennedy and the murderer's of America. And I am sickened by the mercy we extend to a merciless enemy each time we treat with collegiality their disgraced surrogates. But before we can know our enemy, we must know ourselves. Define ourselves. Be at peace with and possess the courage of our conviction. Unite in a common crusade, the substance of which renders our superficial stylistic differences meaningless....How should any of us care about truth and justice in this  treat the well respected JFK newsletter editor, ostensibly on the side of the angels, who wrote (I paraphrase), "We have to accept the possibility that Oswald did it alone?" 
Drago's theme is seemingly to declare war on things he contends and this vague declaration has no appreciable value. Drago's tone has the seeming of Robespierre and McCarthy utilizing emotional pleas to destroy without thought to reason and justification. Everyone who does not agree is an enemy or ignorant and those who would generally agree with feasible conspiracy do not go far enough according to Drago. His standards require denouncing opposed views, even should those views enjoy the support of primary evidence. This fails to understand we must accept the unlikely possibility Oswald is singularly guilty and only by genuine consideration of this unfeasible possibility can unbiased inquiry occur. Revealing the contending primary evidence and not calling for war shall decide the matter.  

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"Or the influential and celebrated researcher, ostensibly on the side of the angels, who, at the Boston public meeting of the Assassination Records Review Board, graciously greeted and patronized the infamous, wizened madam of the Warren whores? Or the widely praised journalist, biographer, and FOIA lawsuit-bringing blog owner, ostensibly on the side of the angles, who refuses to acknowledge the truth of conspiracy because he cannot name the conspirators..." 
Drago fails to name the people he is so obviously believes are against his "war" and he rails against any who disagree with his beliefs of treating some hostilely. He judges those who may agree as deficient if they fail to meet his various untenable standards but to prove a feasible conspiracy requires the naming of at least some key officials involved. To accomplish this great feat requires using primary exhibits to establish a preponderance of evidence. Utilizing the same legal requirements officials used as the base standard provides evidence to establish the most probable ideas. These ideas must stand against contending evidence to be feasible and reasonable public debate should illicit reconsideration of any untenable claims. No one has all the important answers supported by verifiable proof and that is why debate contentiously rages over five decades later. 

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Deputy Director of Plans Richard Helms agreed the case might be open forever, I of course disagree, yet only time will tell.ii Patient, focused, reasonable discourse and evidence are weapons greater than Drago’s suggestion of ideological plowshares to swords. Such thoughts are deficient; they in my view represent a failure to attain perspective and the death of John F. Kennedy is not a single man's cause, nor shall flawed methods further his legacy. History has revealed many ignorant, vile, and unjust actions in the name of countless governments and societies and historical judgment should rely upon historical fact and evidence only.   

"In our time we dare not be about the historian's cold work, except as a tactic in a greater campaign. Unless of course, we are willing to concede that the for justice in this case cannot be won. Unless we are willing to concede that the case has indeed as Anthony Summers feared, 'toppled over the boundary between current affairs and history.' I for one make no such concessions. We are fighting a war about which future historians can in good conscience argue with professional detachment. But be advised: Their judgments of our acts today will be harsh and even damning if we do not comport ourselves as warriors engaged in what is a truly life or death struggle. If, instead we fade away without commotion, with all of our failures and all of sins in full blossom." 
Unbiased historical research is paramount and this "cold" work should always have been the central focus of those contending the official findings. Perhaps the debate remains stagnant in some respects due to repeated misinformation touted as fact and the lack of evidentiary standards used by those engaging in it. The scholar and researcher can accomplish what grand warrior declarations have not and how many dozens of critics and advocates of conspiracy have previously claimed to solve the case? Now consider the seemingly less bold who claim to have written the definitive text on the matter.
Yet some engage in finding the actual evidence and no talk of philosophical war is upon a rational agenda, they are too busy doing research. They do not waste time personally insulting detractors but attack untenable ideas, offer evidence, and do not make emotional judgments. Corrupt officials and those who blindly seek to judge others on belief not evidence use unworthy tactics and undertaking commotions of no substance guided by speculation is far worse than fading away because all fade away to some degree in the eternal vault of history. Yet if our deeds and ideas are compelling, we are never forgotten and to abandon reasonable methods and standards of logic for self-gratifying dogma is to surrender before the debate has truly begun.

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"A CALL FOR PASSION: We must understand that, as far as our work is concerned, the repression of passion assures ultimate failure. (Quoting the memoir of Peter Hamill) 'I let out a wail, a deep scary banshee wail...' We are obliged by our special knowledge- and by the very fact that we are alive to comb gray hair- as was John Fritzgerald Kennedy obliged by his privilege, to do the good that others have not the power to do. We can begin by looking the nation searchingly in the face. By treating its deep disease. By kicking over the garbage can."
Passion is vital to many endeavors human beings undertake, yet this passion must be controlled and it must be used to benefit the endeavor. If wild passions are unchecked, they can consume us and they can overtake any semblance of objective inquiry. If we allow reason to be a servant to base passion, our cause is lost and some concede the goal in favor of comfortable declarations of war. Drago assumes "We", he and his supporters, possess a "special knowledge" and this poorly conceived tactic has been employed countless times in history. Various religious and official groups have ever claimed a special knowledge or insight unavailable to most. They attempt to claim a conclusive understanding of events that cannot be challenged despite the observable evidence. If the majority of primary evidence does not support an idea, it remains passionately incorrect.

Post Script-2014

"My reevaluation of this work nearly 18 years after its initial publication continues...Today I am mistrustful of the emotions that drive and would justify my bellicose imagery and attitudes. I am exploring...non violent resistance that "truth force" inspires...My blood still boils, my fists still clench...perhaps my original, long shelved idea for the creation of a formal, government-run JFK assassination Truth and Amnesty Commission... Anyone with reasonable access to the evidence in this case who does not conclude that a criminal conspiracy resulted in the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is cognitively impaired and/or complicit in the crime." 
I am briefly pleased to see that Drago has reconsidered his nearly impossible former ideas and self-doubt regarding misdirected passion is a reasonable conclusion. Yet his blood still boils, his fists still clench, and now he entreats a Commission according his plans may be acceptable. Having nearly two decades to reflect upon these claims, he returns to his original pronouncement that all who oppose his ideas are fools or responsible. The substance of these ideas has not truly changed and despite his enmity for the official story, Drago too has evolved little from his original claims.He like the Commission does not offer conclusive evidence but the evidence he regards as sufficient to justify his assertions. Each desires the repression and condemnation of contending primary evidence and witnesses but insults and virulent passion are not the basis of valid inquiry.  
C.A.A. Savastano
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i. Charles R. Drago, In the Blossoms of Our Sins- An Eleventh Hour Pleas for War and its Absolutions, November 22, 1996,
ii. United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect To Intelligence Activities Report Book 5: Performance of the Intelligence Agencies, Part V, Summary and Findings p. 77

Edited: January 2019

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