August 28th 2004

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The Olympics return to Athens ...

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Mark Latham caves in on free trade deal

MARRIAGE ACT: Major triumph for marriage in Australia

FAMILY: Hard-won victory on Marriage Amendment Bill

YOUTH: X and Y generations suffer intergenerational theft

POPULATION PART ONE: What abortion is costing Australia

POPULATION PART TWO: The economic cause of falling fertility

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Growing old disgracefully

FAMILY LAW: Dads bear the burden of proof

THE MEDIA: Mark Latham and Big Brother

CINEMA: FILM REVIEW - Gillo Pontecorvo's 'The Battle of Algiers'

Lies, damned lies and coathangers (letter)

John F. Kennedy's reputation (letter)

Sugar industry sold short (letter)

BOOKS: KOKODA, by Peter FitzSimons

BOOKS: HIS DARK MATERIALS: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman

2004 Fighting Fund launched

Books promotion page

John F. Kennedy's reputation (letter)

by Michael Arnold

News Weekly, August 28, 2004

R.J. Stove is completely missing the point about John F. Kennedy's reputation (News Weekly, July 17).

It was Kennedy's global image, and the image he projected of the United States, that carried so much weight, irrespective of the domestic issues. Many Americans at the time were unaware of this but it was certainly the case outside the US.

Whatever Mr Stove may rake up - and it's not difficult to dig up something about a public figure - is irrelevant in the context of the message that Kennedy articulated with such eloquence.

Kennedy may well have had good speech-writers, and was flawed at a personal level, but that does not alter the message of youthful hope and vigour that went with him. World reaction, had it been Eisenhower that was assassinated in Dallas, would have been muted by comparison.

Inhabiting a particular age group has nothing whatsoever to do with reproaching past world leaders, but it does help to place the reputations of those leaders in context and to understand their stature at those times. Many had personal flaws - Churchill, for instance - but would Stove do the same character demolition on him? Perhaps so.

Let it be understood, Kennedy may have had some unbecoming traits, but none of these will alter the way he was perceived at the time.

Michael Arnold,
South Coogee, NSW

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