The Bay of Pigs Invasion: Partial Commitment, Total Failure
During the first 100 days that he would hold the office, President Kennedy had to weather the storm from one of the most infamous military and intelligence failures of the Cold war era. A group of Cuban refugees, numbering around 1500, having been trained and armed by the CIA, attempted a land invasion of their native land on the morning of April 17, 1961. Around 125 of the group would be killed; the rest were captured. A feeble attempt to expel Castro from power had ended miserably. The failures of the CIA, Eisenhower administration, and Kennedy administration doomed the Cuban invasion and resulted in shattered relations with Cuba. The idea of replacing Castro had come from the Eisenhower administration, which had ruthlessly pursued communism in Latin America. Kennedy adopted it upon taking office, but was concerned with one major aspect: plausible deniability. It was desirable to displace Castro only if the United States appeared to have no role in it. Kennedy felt that the U.S. could not afford to damage already delicate relationships with other Latin American nations. This obstacle caused Kennedy to drawback from taking certain actions that he felt would draw too much attention. As a result, the mission was revised, rethought, and ultimately weakened beyond repair. The CIA also shares a good deal of the blame with Kennedy. The agency greatly overestimated the amount of anti-Castro sentiment in Cuba. Consequently, few would come to fight with the invasion force upon their landing.