Opinion: Debunking more JFK revisionist history
To the editor: James Reston Jr.’s notion that Lee Harvey Oswald’s real target was Texas Gov. John Connally was firmly rejected by Vincent Bugliosi in his definitive investigation published in 2007, “Reclaiming History.” (“Lee Harvey Oswald’s little green book shows JFK wasn’t the real target,” Opinion, Nov. 22)
Reston claims Oswald’s supposed enmity for Connally goes back to the former Marine’s entreaty to Connally to help reverse the undesirable discharge the Corps slapped on him after he tried to defect to the Soviet Union. The “dismissive” and “classic bureaucratic brushoff” that Reston says Connally sent back to Oswald is contradicted by Bugliosi. He reports that Connally wrote to Oswald that he had left his position as Navy secretary before Christmas 1961 in order to run for governor of Texas, and he was passing along Oswald’s request to his successor, Fred Korth.
Reston notes the case of Secret Service Agent Mike Howard, who claims to have seen the missing hit list when he found Oswald’s address book the day of the assassination. But Bugliosi quotes Howard interviewing Oswald’s brother, Robert, on Nov. 23, 1963, about the idea that Connally was the target because of the undesirable discharge issue.
Bugliosi writes, “‘I don’t think that was the motive,’ Robert says, explaining that he never heard Lee express any kind of resentment toward Connally and knew for a fact that Lee had received a letter notifying him that Fred Korth ... would be the one to rule on Oswald’s efforts to have his discharge changed to honorable.”
Neal Matthews, San Diego
To the editor: Reston’s hypothesis that Oswald was actually trying to shoot Connally and not Kennedy could have an enormous impact on Oswald’s reputation.
Given Texas’ love of guns, Reston has likely sullied Oswald’s reputation, since he is accusing Oswald of something that for some Texans is far worse than ending a liberal presidency: being a bad shot.
Ariel Sotolongo, Los Angeles
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