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The Bay of Pigs debacle is one incident that the United States would like to forget.

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The Bay of Pigs debacle is one incident that the United States would like to forget. It came as a slap in the face at a time when the United States was looking to earn credibility and respect in a bipolar world. "How could I have been so stupid, to let them go ahead?" was the sentiment expressed by then president Kennedy. Indeed, how could he be so stupid and lead fourteen-hundred men to their capture or death? The answer is a complicated one, and lies in several parts. First of all, the organizational structure of the government has to be blamed. The American government is run on a bureaucratic system, one in which there is a definite hierarchy in which powers are delegated in order to carry out certain tasks. Certain problems which arise are factored, or broken down and assigned to certain people or organizations, as was the case in the Bay of Pigs debacle. Once problems are factored a complicated scenario arises where all parts of the "machine" have to work together in order to achieve the desired results, or goals. ...read more.


The decision to approve the Cuban invasion was taken amidst strong opposition of the plan coming from people like Schlesinger and Undersecretary of State Bowles, but these two people were in positions of relatively low power as related to the CIA chiefs. The CIA chiefs were adamant that an invasion take place soon as time was running out, while Kennedy was concerned that the Trinidad plan was "too spectacular" and a quieter landing was needed. In the end an irrational compromise was made to allow troops to land in the Bay of Pigs, an area where they wouldn't be able to blend into the mountains, like the earlier plan suggested, if they encountered any problems. Another good example of players in position pursuing their own goals would be when Kennedy did not sanction the use of American force to help the invasion force when it so desperately needed it, as that would make this blow up into even a larger conflict than it already was, leaving the onus on Kennedy to respond to critics and other countries while on a face saving mission. ...read more.


The Bay of Pigs debacle was sanctioned by President Kennedy not as the result of one single factor, but as a collection of all factors such as organizational behavior, governmental politics, and psychological factors. The first step taken to avoid another such incident should be to change the organizational behavior of the government so there is more cooperation and communication between people and institutions to whom problems are factored. It is obvious the lesson wasn't learnt till after September 11, 2001 as a communication gap between the CIA and the state department i.e. Pentagon, was cited as the basis of the intelligence lapse; the Homeland Security office has now been made to bridge the gap. There was also a problem with the action channels as evidence which hinted at attacks on American interests did not reach the proper quarters. Perhaps the only thing that can be done is a shake-up of the bureaucratic governmental system, all other factors such as psychological factors are impossible to eliminate, and players in position will always want the best for their institution or department. 1 Rhodes, International Relations: Introductory Readings p. 287 2 Rhodes, p. 302 Bilal Haye 5/10/2007 ...read more.

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