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
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 10 things you need to know today: September 22, 2014
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- How U2 became the new Nickelback
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- Save the world... by changing how you pee
Subscribe to the Week