Lessons From the Cuban Missile Crisis

Continued debate over a pre-emptive strike against Iraq has political leaders vying for interpretation of a similar weapons crisis with Cuba 40 years ago. Then, President John F. Kennedy sidestepped an attack against Cuba, instead choosing a naval blockade and diplomatic action with the Soviet Union to avert a possible nuclear war. The Bush administration has invoked Kennedy's decision as an example of "pre-emptive action" taken to disarm a nation that could harm the world with its nuclear power. But some lawmakers who oppose a strike on Iraq say the key lesson in the Cuban missile crisis is the Kennedy administration's use of restraint in not choosing a military assault against Cuba. NPR's Tom Gjelten reports.

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