By Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)
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He argued that it was limited pressure, which could be increased as the circumstances warranted. Further, it was dramatic and forceful pressure, which would be understood yet, most importantly, still leave us in control of events. Later he reinforced his position by reporting that a surprise air strike against the missile bases alone - a surgical air strike, as it came to be called - was militarily impractical in the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that any such military action would have to include all military installations in Cuba, eventually leading to an invasion.
The President went on to say that he recognized the validity of the arguments made by the Joint Chiefs, the danger that more and more missiles would be placed in Cuba, and the likelihood, if we did nothing, that the Russians would move on Berlin and in other areas of the world, feeling the United States was completely impotent. Then it would be too late to do anything in Cuba, for by that time all their missiles would be operational. General David M. Shoup, Commandant of the Marine Corps, summed up everyone's feelings: 'You are in a pretty bad ftx, Mr.
Perhaps we would come to that, 37 he argued. Perhaps that course of action would tum out to be inevitable. 'But let's not start with that course,' if by chance that kind of confrontation with Cuba, and of necessity with the Soviet Union, could be avoided. Those who argued for the military strike instead of a blockade pointed out that a blockade would not in fact remove the missiles and would not even stop the work from going ahead on the missile sites themselves. The missiles were already in Cuba, and all we would be doing with a blockade would be 'closing the door after the horse had left the bam'.