April 17, 1961: Arguably the worst foreign policy mistake of the Kennedy era began: Operation Zapata, the attempt to oust Cuban Communist leader Fidel Castro through a failed CIA-backed military invasion of Cuba. Operation Zapata — better known as the Bay of Pigs — was planned during the Eisenhower administration, but JFK gave it the final go ahead. Both the White House and CIA blamed each other for the debacle. Some historians think one lesson JFK learned from the Bay of Pigs was to be skeptical of military advice — a lesson that came in handy during the Cuban Missile Crisis a year-and-a-half later.
Quote of the day
"Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan." — John F. Kennedy
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- How to stop misogynists from terrorizing the world of gamers
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
Subscribe to the Week