The conspiracy theorist view of the world is akin to a Hollywood movie or a sensationalistic TV show, where evil super villains have their tentacles in every institution that the heroes might turn to for help. From police departments and the judiciary to media outlets and scientific organizations; each group is under marching orders from the puppet masters above, and if a lone individual tries to break free from the strings pulling them into line they will end up discredited or dead.
The characters in conspiracy stories tend to be one-dimensional and often times they are only there for a scene or two. If you think you need a shooter on the grassy knoll, you put a shooter on the grassy knoll, and then forget about him. How he got away into the open trainyard behind the knoll, where escaping prisoners from the local jail had been easily caught in the past, doesn’t really matter; he just got away. How he was paid and who he talked to for the rest of his life doesn’t matter. He must have been paid by someone, so he was paid. He must not have talked about his pivotal role in history out of fear or loyalty, so he didn’t. Little thought is put into these minor details because they only get in the way of the conspiracy theorist’s narrative. We need a shooter? Fine, we’ll put a shooter there. We need evidence planted? No problem, we’ll say that someone planted evidence. We need a fake investigation to cover up the truth? Yes, we can get some fake investigators to do that. When your only goal is to tell a compelling story, you can make up anything and anyone you like, and have them behave as you please, free from real world consequences, like personal character or logistics. Studying history, however, is something different from simply making up stories.
A great example of this is Earl Warren. Most JFK Conspiracy true believers I have met, seen, or read, know very little about the man and appear to have given no real thought to any of the factoids they can recall. For the faithful, Warren was simply the figurehead at the top of, “the coverup.”
Earl Warren enlisted and served in a non-combat role during the First World War and then came home to California. He worked for a decade as a District Attorney who prosecuted murders and other common criminals, as well as fighting government corruption. In one celebrated case, he brought down a conspiracy between local officials and Ku Klux Klan members who were stealing from the taxpayers.
Warren was elected Attorney General of California, with negligible opposition, and continued to prosecute criminals while helping to professionalized law enforcement throughout the state. He also participated in his biggest regret, the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War, which much of the public favored at the time.
Elected Governor three times in a row (the first and only Californian to do so), Warren’s popularity was rooted in his integrity. President Eisenhower nominated Warren for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and once there Warren presided over some very controversial rulings, including school desegregation, the removal of mandatory prayer from schools, and what came to be known as, “Miranda Rights.” The Warren Court was one of the most powerful and independent high courts in U.S. History.
When President Johnson’s aids first asked the Chief Justice to head the investigation of President Kennedy’s murder, Warren turned them down. It was only after a White House visit, where Johnson personally insisted the nation needed him that Warren agreed, but he insisted that the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, better known as the Warren Commission, had to have complete power to do its business separate from the White House and any other Executive Department. That is exactly what Warren received; a free hand to conduct the investigation as he saw fit.
To believe that this dedicated patriot and champion of the Constitution was subservient to a grand conspiracy is to ignore everything about the man’s life and turn him into a cartoon villain. Some conspiracy theorists dodge this issue by saying that Warren was convinced by Johnson that the Soviets mights be involved and the only way to avoid World War III was to pin everything on Oswald. It is true that Johnson was overly paranoid about communism’s reach into America. LBJ even thought that the Vietnam War Protesters were being directed from Moscow, and he told Warren and others that he was worried about the international implications of JFK’s assassination, but Warren never bought into the idea that the Soviets were involved, nor is it reasonable to conclude that he would have attempted to derail the investigation if he did believe they were involved.
Warren was not from the same party as Kennedy and Johnson, but he respected these men, and above all he respected the office of the Presidency. He also, occasionally, saw these men, and their wifes, socially.
Imagine the dinner parties and gatherings that would have been held after President Kennedy’s death if Johnson’s wife believed he was involved in the plot, or Warren’s wife believed he had covered up the truth of what happened, or the Attorney General, Robert Kennedy and his wife suspected anything was amiss from these other couples. Life would not simply carry on as normal.
If you want an indication about how these people felt about one another, consider the fact that Jackie Kennedy personally asked Warren to deliver a Eulogy for her husband. Is that the way you act with someone you do not trust to investigate your husband’s murder?
Before his own death, Warren addressed the ongoing conspiracy nonsense surround JFK’s murder in his 1977 Memoir:
“In the assassination of President Kennedy, there are no facts upon which to hypothesize a conspiracy. They simply do not exist in any of the investigations made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency, or the Departments of State, Defense, and Justice. The last was headed by the late Robert F. Kennedy, brother of our assassinated President, who certainly wanted nothing short of the truth. In addition, the authorities of the state of Texas, of the city of Dallas, and law enforcement agencies of other cities throughout the country were anxious to be helpful in every possible way. All of this was supplemented by nine months of arduous work by our own staff of outstanding lawyers independent of all of these official agencies. And none of us could find any evidence of conspiracy. Every witness who could be found was examined, and it is revealing to note at this late date—nine years after the Commission Report was filed—that not a single contrary witness has been produced with convincing evidence. Practically all the Cabinet members of President Kennedy’s administration, along with Director J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI and Chief James Rowley of the Secret Service, whose duty it was to protect the life of the President, testified that to their knowledge there was no sign of any conspiracy. To say now that these people, as well as the Commission, suppressed, neglected to unearth, or overlooked evidence of a conspiracy would be an indictment of the entire government of the United States. It would mean the whole structure was absolutely corrupt from top to bottom, with not one person of high or low rank willing to come forward to expose the villainy, in spite of the fact that the entire country bitterly mourned the death of its young President and such a praiseworthy deed could make one a national hero.”
Warren’s words are so far removed from the conspiracy theorist worldview that they are almost incomprehensible to conspiracy theorists, but that is a reflection of how disconnected the conspiracy theorist mindset is from reality. They do not bother to think about how a man like Warren would be able to live with himself, day after day, year after year, and decade after decade, if he had betrayed everything that he believed in and took repeated oaths to uphold. Because, as I said before, actual people do not exist for conspiracy theorists in any meaningful way. Everyone in the story is reduced to a bit part in a two hour movie, where they appear on camera when needed, do as they are told, and walk off screen into nothingness again.
Besides the Chief Justice, the other six men who headed up the Commision each knew President Kennedy and each had a well-deserved reputation they were unlikely to discard to cover up the crimes of others.
Richard B. Russell was a Senator and former Governor from Georgia. He was Chairman of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee and a critic of Earl Warren, who needed to be cajoled by LBJ into serving his country under the leadership of the Chief Justice. He is the one member who insisted the Commission not take an absolute stand that Oswald did it; only that they could find no credible evidence to the contrary.
John Sherman Cooper was a former Kentucky Judge and a Senator, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to India under the Eisenhower Administration. Earlier in his life, at the age of forty one, he enlisted and served in Europe during the Second World War, where he witnessed the horrors of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. In the Senate he was one of the early critics of the Vietnam War.
Hale Boggs was a Representative from Louisiana and the Assistant Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. After loosing his first reelection bid to the House in 1942 (at the time he was the youngest member of Congress) Boggs chose to enlisted in the Navy where he served for the remainder of the war before returning to politics.
Gerald R. Ford was literally cool under fire. While serving in the Navy during the war, his ship, The Monterey, began to burn at sea. Ensign Ford lead a group of men who first removed the dead bodies from below deck and then returned for several hours in smoke filled rooms, refusing to give up until all the flames were extinguished. Later he was elected as a Representative from Michigan and became the Chairman of the Republican Conference Committee. Ford would later become the only member of the Warren Commission to make it to the Presidency himself, though it is conceivable that all of these men had the ambition to do so and would have used knowledge of a massive conspiracy against President Kennedy to propel their own political careers, if such a conspiracy existed for them to find.
John J. McCloy is often dismissed by conspiracists as the President of the World Bank and later the Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank (because bankers are alway evil figures in the conspiracy theorist community). But McCloy was also Assistant Secretary of War during the Second World War and later the Military Governor and High Commissioner for occupied Germany. He served as an advisor to five Presidents, beginning with President Kennedy, and he coordinated U.S. disarmament negotiations for President Kennedy.
Allen W. Dulles was an interventionist Republican, who argued against American neutrality years before the U.S. finally committed to the Second World War. He then served as a Strategic Services Officer, performing covert operations before there was a CIA, and later became the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Eisenhower Administration. After the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation, President Kennedy fired Dulles and conspiracists imagine that his inclusion on the Commission to investigate Kennedy’s death is a sure sign that something was rotten. This assumes that Dulles was bitter and vengeful against the former President, rather than accepting of the fact that Kennedy was right to remove him. This also ignores the evidence, like the memo dated November 29, 1963, from LBJ’s aide Walter Jenkins, which suggests the idea for Dulles to be on the Commission came from the office of The Attorney General, Robert Kennedy. According to Jenkins, Deputy Attorney General Katzenbach and RFK recommended, “a seven-man commission – two Senators, two Congressmen, the Chief Justice, Allen Dulles, and a retired military man (general or admiral).”
None of the distinguished individuals who headed up the Warren Commission were heartless bastards or cowards. There is nothing about the lives they led that would remotely suggest that any of them would have committed the treasonous acts that they are routinely accused. But these are just the men at the top of the Commission. Hundreds of people were involved with collecting, analysing, and cataloging the evidence in this case. There is utterly no way to keep so many individuals in line for their entire lives and no reason to conclude that they are all liars or fools. Such massive plots only work in fiction; not in the real world.
Return to the complete list of 55 reasons to accept that Oswald acted alone.