JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass by Oliver Stone
by Edward Curtin
January 16, 2022
A Film Review
Two of the greatest speeches ever delivered by an American president bookend this extraordinary documentary film. It opens with President John F. Kennedy giving the commencement speech at American University on June 10, 1963 and it closes with his civil rights speech to the American people the following day. It is a deft artistic touch that suggests the brevity of JFK’s heroic efforts for world peace and domestic racial equality and justice before he was assassinated in a public execution in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
In the former anti-war speech, he called for the end to the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the halt to the arms race, and the abolishment of war and its weapons, especially nuclear. He said:
What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
In the latter address to the American people, having just sent National Guard troops to the University of Alabama to make sure two black students were admitted despite the racist objections of Governor George Wallace, his words transcended the immediate issue at the university and called for the end to the immoral and illegal discrimination against African Americans in every area of the nation’s life. He said:
One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.
Having framed the documentary thus, Oliver Stone and the screenwriter James DiEugenio do a masterful job of explaining what really happened in the years of Kennedy’s short presidency, why he was such a great threat to the CIA and the military industrial complex, what really happened when they killed him, and how the Warren Commission, the CIA, and the corporate media have worked hand-in-hand to this day to cover up the truth. The current two-hour version of JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass will be followed in a month or so by a more detailed four-hour version.
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