Killing Kennedy

Killing Kennedy: The end of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly

Quote: “Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right. Not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom—here in this hemisphere and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.” – Kennedy


Analysis: 

The quote above found in Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Kennedy, is a direct quote from John F. Kennedy’s speech in response to when the Soviet Union placed nuclear warheads in Cuba. During this time, the United States and the Soviet Union were both attempting to spread their political systems to other countries across the globe. The contrast in the phrases “victory of might” and “the vindication of right,” convey President Kennedy’s stance on their affairs with the Soviet Union. The United States was not looking to expand their country, rather they were only attempting to prevent the spread of communism because of the Soviet’s bellicose influence. In fact by stating that the U.S. goal was to vindicate right shows a deferential stance to the current global crisis. The approach taken by the U.S. causes labels to be placed on the two countries. Since Kennedy’s words imply that the Soviets are the aggressors, they suggest that the Americans are the noble “good guys” only responding and standing up to this injustice.

The next statement Kennedy makes is that the U.S. will not allow the freedom of these other vulnerable countries to be sacrificed to ensure global peace. Yet again, Kennedy is able to make this a confrontation or war on Communism, not a war with the Soviet Union. By redirecting what the U.S. is fighting, they vindicate their right to engage in this confrontation as well as label themselves as the martyrs of freedom. Freedom, commonly associated with American democracy is what the U.S. will attempt to establish in the countries feeling the pressure by the Soviet Union. Since the U.S. is advocating for peace and freedom as a unison, it is clear that the only outcome the U.S. will accept is the cessation of Communism.


Citation:

O’Reilly, B., & Dugard, M. (2012). Killing Kennedy: The end of Camelot. London: Macmillan.