Warren Commission Report Is Proving True
Around the time of this 30th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, as at every preceding five-year interval, there were a number of television programs about the assassination. In a recent Los Angeles Times review of one of the programs, a PBS report on Lee Harvey Oswald (“PBS’ ‘Oswald’ a Riveting ‘Frontline,’ ” Calendar, Nov. 16), Robert Koehler suggested that recent works concluding that Oswald acted alone in assassinating President Kennedy may be correct, but nevertheless, refers to the Warren Commission Report, which came to the same conclusion 29 years ago, as “discredited.”
This year, unlike at previous anniversaries, there are serious works that suggest that the Warren Commission was right. Recent scientific evidence not available to the Warren Commission, as well as reviews of the X-rays of the President’s body by pathologists, have confirmed the Warren Commission’s conclusions on the physical evidence--including the source, number, trajectory, timing and effect of the bullets.
In 30 years, no credible, direct evidence of a conspiracy has emerged. Not one among several hundreds, if not thousands, of the supposed parties to imagined conspiracies has ever surfaced--even in a deathbed or testamentary statement--to admit participating in the alleged plot. The recent release of previously withheld documents, the President Johnson tapes and the KGB files have produced no “smoking gun.”
That the CIA and FBI wrongfully withheld some information from the Warren Commission does not reflect on its report, for that information would not have affected the commission’s conclusions.
In a relatively short time, the Warren Commission assembled the material evidence, covered almost every conceivable aspect of the lives of Oswald and Jack Ruby, utilized available scientific techniques, explicitly dealt with every rumor and theory that then existed, released an 888-page report and 26 volumes of evidence, and came to the correct conclusion--a conclusion that is beginning to be accepted by responsible authorities if not public opinion, and, in time, will be viewed as established. Many who have not even read the report state that it was inadequate, without specifying why and by ignoring the fact that its conclusions were accurate.
Historians some day may find the reaction to, and treatment of, the assassination more interesting than the actual events of Nov. 22, 1963. The Warren Commission Report was widely accepted shortly after its release.
Thereafter, thousands of books, films and articles came out espousing various conspiracy theories. Even though it should have been apparent that writers, book publishers and film companies had an economic incentive to promote conspiracy theories, these works appear to have reversed public opinion.
Throughout history, Americans have been prone to believing in the existence of conspira-cies--including with respect to past assassinations and to various religious, ethnic and political groups. Certainly, revelations about the activities of some government agencies have justified skepticism about their integrity. Thus, the conspiracy promoters had a receptive audience.
I understand that it does not seem reasonable that a man who commanded the greatest power in the world can be destroyed by a pathetic man who commanded nothing. The idea of a lone assassin is not enough to explain such a nationally traumatic event. People need a cause to match the effect and therefore a conspiracy is simply more satisfying.
But public opinion polls cannot create reality.
The propagation of false history and the resulting obsession with a myth can be harmful. The living and the dead are wrongfully accused and maligned. Also, if we believe there is a secret government killing our leaders and covering up the truth, then many might conclude that there is no point in following or being involved in public affairs.
This is not conducive to solving today’s problems. If for-profit producers and publishers can get people to accept unfounded speculation about the Kennedy assassination, what will they get the people to believe next time?
The public should be just as skeptical of such producers and publishers (and even of reviewers) as it apparently is of our government.