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Goldwater: JFK Peddling “Fear-of-War Psychosis”

Apr. 25, 1963 - Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), in reply to a challenge from President Kennedy, said today he was not afraid of going to war over Cuba. But he did not advocate an early invasion of the island. “If we are not willing to take risks in this world,” Mr. Goldwater said in an interview, “we might as well give up.” At his news conference yesterday, Mr. Kennedy had said his critics were sidestepping the main question — should the U.S. go to war to topple Fidel Castro? “It would seem to me,” the President said, “that we have pretty much done all those things that can be done to demonstrate our hostility to the concept of a Soviet satellite in the Caribbean except take these very steps — these other steps which bring in their wake violence and may bring a good deal of worldwide difficulty.” In reply, Mr. Goldwater said: “I don’t think that is the question. The question is are we afraid to go to war. Republicans have not advocated invasion of Cuba, neither have they shrunk because of fear from the possibility of this happening.” Another critic of Mr. Kennedy’s policy on Cuba, Rep. William Cramer (R-Fla.), said: “President Kennedy is peddling a fear-of-war psychosis to hide his own fear of action.” Congressman Cramer described the Kennedy policy as “talk big and carry a wet mop.” “Nobody in Congress is proposing war,” Mr. Cramer said. “But the U.S. has sent troops to Thailand and Vietnam. It has troops in Berlin. And the President says we can’t do anything about Cuba. That sounds very hollow to me.”


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