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Reasons behind the failed invasion of cuba at the bay of pigs

Even in the decade after the Second World War, as a new conflict in Korea suggested there were limits to what the United States might accomplish reasons behind the failed invasion of cuba at the bay of pigs, it would have been a cynical American who doubted he or she lived in a powerful nation engaged in worthy exploits.

And then came the Bay of Pigs. In the early hours of April 17, 1961, some fourteen hundred men, most of them Cuban exiles, attempted to invade their homeland and overthrow Fidel Castro.

The invasion at the Bahia de Cochinos — the Bay of Pigs — quickly unraveled. Three days after landing, the exile force was routed and sent fleeing to the sea or the swamps, where the survivors were soon captured by Castro's army. Despite the Kennedy administration's initial insistence that the United States had nothing to do with the invasion, the world immediately understood that the entire operation had been organized and funded by the U.

The invaders had been trained by CIA officers and supplied with American equipment, and the plan had been approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the president of the United States. In short, the Bay of Pigs had been a U. Bad enough the government had been caught bullying and prevaricating; much worse, the United States had allowed itself to be humiliated by a nation of 7 million inhabitants compared to the United States' 180 reasons behind the failed invasion of cuba at the bay of pigs and smaller than the state of Pennsylvania.

The greatest American defeat since the War of 1812, one American general called it. Others were less generous. Everyone agreed on this: They were wrong on both counts. Mention the Bay of Pigs to a college-educated adult American under the age of, say, fifty and you are likely to be met by tentative nods of recognition.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion and its Aftermath, April 1961–October 1962

The incident still rings discordant bells somewhere in the back of our national memory — something to do with Cuba, with Kennedy, with disaster. That phantasmagorical phrase alone — Bay of Pigs — is hard to forget, evoking images of bobbing swine in a bloodred sea or at least it did in my mind when I first heard it. But what exactly happened at the Bay of Pigs? Many reasons behind the failed invasion of cuba at the bay of pigs us are no longer certain, including some of us who probably ought to be.

Bush, good-naturedly confessed on a radio program that she confused "the Bay of Pigs thing" April 1961 with the Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962. Perino was born a decade after these events, her uncertainty was understandable. But coming from the woman representing the president who launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 — an exercise that repeated some of the very same mistakes made in Cuba in 1961 — it also reasons behind the failed invasion of cuba at the bay of pigs unsettling.

Presumably, somebody in the Bush White House considered the history of the Bay of Pigs before sending Colin Powell to the Security Council of the United Nations an episode, as we shall see, bearing striking similarities to Adlai Stevenson's appearance before that same body in April 1961 or ordering a minimal force to conquer a supposedly welcoming foreign land.

Then again, if history teaches us any lesson, it is that we do not learn the lessons of history very well. Almost as soon as the mistakes of the Bay of Pigs were cataloged and analyzed by various investigative bodies, America began committing them again, not only in Cuba, but elsewhere in Latin America, in Southeast Asia, in the Middle East, in Africa.

By one count, the United States has forcibly intervened, covertly or overtly, in no fewer than twenty-four foreign countries since 1961, not including our more recent twenty-first-century entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these have arguably produced long-term benefits for the United States.

Most clearly have not. The surfeit of interventions gives rise to a fair question: Next to Vietnam and Iraq, among others, the Bay of Pigs may seem a bump in the road fading mercifully in the rearview mirror. One hundred and fourteen men were killed on the American side, and only a handful of these casualties were U. Add to this the fact that America was embarrassed by the Bay of Pigs and the tale has everything to recommend it for oblivion. Even if we would forget the Bay of Pigs, though, it will not forget us.

There among the mangrove swamps and the coral-jeweled waters, some part of the American story ended and a new one began. Like a well-crafted prologue, the Bay of Pigs sounded the themes, foreshadowed the conflicts, and laid the groundwork for the decades to follow. And what followed was, in no small measure, a consequence of the events in Cuba in 1961. It would be facile to credit the 1960s to a single failed invasion — many currents combined to produce that tsunami — but the Bay of Pigs dragged America into the new decade and stalked it for years to come.

Three of the major American cataclysms of the '60s and early '70s — John Kennedy's assassination, the Vietnam War, and Watergate — were related by concatenation to the Bay of Pigs. No fewer than four presidents were touched by it, from Dwight Eisenhower, who first approved the "Program of Covert Action" against Castro, to Richard Nixon and the six infamous justice-obstructing words he uttered in 1972: Copyright 2011 by Jim Rasenberger.

Excerpted by permission of Scribner.