Thursday, 21 July 2022 05:05

Fletcher Prouty vs Edward Epstein

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Reader James Finn has clipped two valuable stories from the MSM that illustrate the point Fletcher Prouty was making about Kennedy’s withdrawal plan already impacting the war economy and that fact that JFK’s death turned that deceleration around in a hurry. As an intro, Jim DiEugenio reviews Prouty’s position and Edward Epstein’s attack on it.


As most of you know, Edward Epstein rather quickly did a 180-degree somersault on the JFK case. After writing his valuable book Inquest in 1966, he then turned around and turned Warren Commission defender in quite a hurry. According to Vince Salandria, it was about a year or so later. And he never let up. He wrote one of the first anti-Jim Garrison books called Counterplot, that was first excerpted in The New Yorker.

Because of that book, Epstein was in the front ranks of Oliver Stone’s attackers when his film JFK came out in 1991. For instance, at a public debate in New York, sponsored by The Nation, he was Victor Navasky’s lead attack dog against Stone. This was pretty much a witless farrago, since Navasky had never had very much interest in or sympathy for critics of the Warren Commission. Between Epstein and the late Chris Hitchens, the event was really an intellectual disgrace.

When Jim Garrison passed on a year later, Epstein wrote an article smearing him in The New Yorker. About a year after that, he wrote another hit piece for The Atlantic. The excuse for this one was that Stone was coming out with a double tape VHS box of JFK. Because of this widened focus for the second article, Epstein could now use the occasion to broaden his focus to the celebrated director and one of his chief consultants, namely Fletcher Prouty. (For my reply click here)

After trying to attack Prouty, and—as I proved in my reply pretty much falling on his face—Epstein tried to say that Fletcher thought that Leonard Lewin’s 1967 book Report from Iron Mountain was a work of non-fiction. According to Len Osanic, the expert on Prouty, this is simply not the case. (Click here here for Len’s website on Prouty) And in fact, when Len was setting up his fine Fletcher Prouty site, Fletcher insisted that he include a link to a 1972 New York Times story with Lewin saying the book was a satiric novel. Len also has a show in his Archives—Program 825—in which Prouty says four times that the book is a novel.

But Fletcher appreciated the satiric edge of Lewin’s book, which was the idea that if a lasting peace could be achieved, it would not be in the best interests of society to achieve it. War was a basic part of the American economy. Lewin’s book was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into 15 languages. US News and World Report (11/20/67) stated they had confirmation that the report was real and that President Johnson hit the roof when he read it. John Kenneth Galbraith was one of the advisors to the book and he tried to further the deception about it in an article in The Washington Post. ( 11/26/67)

Fletcher Prouty appreciated the point of the satire. Since he knew officials at the Pentagon who acted and spoke like the people in Lewin’s book: We cannot abandon the warfare state. And, in JFK, he used some of these dictums voiced through Donald Sutherland as Mr. X in the famous scene in Washington where X tries to explain why John Kennedy was killed. Mr. X of course was based on Prouty.

Fletcher Prouty also wrote about the transformation that took place after Kennedy’s death. For instance, concerning the war in Indochina and how that fed the war machine. And conversely how that would not have happened if JFK had lived. Reader James Finn has clipped two valuable stories from the MSM that illustrate the point Fletcher was making, namely that Kennedy’s withdrawal plan was already impacting the war economy. And the second story shows how his death turned that deceleration around in a hurry. Predictably, it appears that Epstein was wrong about that and Colonel Prouty was correct. One more posthumous feather in Fletcher’s cap. And thanks to Mr. Finn.


“What Can Industry Do As Pentagon Cuts Back?”

Newsweek  October 7, 1963


“War’s Widening Ripples”

Newsweek  August 2, 1965

Last modified on Sunday, 31 July 2022 21:59
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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