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The War Conspiracy

The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War

by Peter Dale Scott
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Order this book online or see its Selected Book page for comments and reviews.

Peter Dale Scott has for decades been "minding the darkness," studying and reporting on the deeper aspects of our national tragedies. The original 1972 edition of The War Conspiracy dissected the many ways in which the escalation and continuation of the Vietnam conflict was not driven from the top down, but rather by means of a series of seemingly accidental bombings, aggressive operations in the field, suspicious intelligence failures and the like.

Kennedy & Vietnam: A Serious Question. Peter Dale Scott poses the often-asked "What would JFK had done in Vietnam had he lived?" and explains why he thinks it's the wrong question.

Declassifications and more recent accounts have generally supported Scott's analysis; for example, it is now commonly conceded that the second Tonkin Gulf attack, after which Congress granted LBJ a blank check to prosecute the Vietnam war, never actually occurred. In this fully updated 2008 edition, Scott provides a current view on the events described in the book, whose pattern is unfortunately not limited to the Indochina war.

This new edition also features two major additions:

The Kennedy Assassination and the Vietnam War. In this essay, written in 1971 but not included in The War Conspiracy, Scott argues that the alleged JFK-LBJ continuity in Vietnam policy is anything but. This view has been corroborated by documentary releases and other accounts by Newman, McNamara, Galbraith, Jones, and others.

JFK, 9/11 and War: Recurring Patterns in America's Deep Events. This lengthy new essay draws a striking number of parallels between the Kennedy assassination and the 9/11 attacks, and by doing so points the way for further examination of both.

Peter Dale Scott on JFK & Vietnam

Historians and JFK-LBJ Continuity on Vietnam. Peter Dale Scott, author of the first scholarly article arguing that the Kennedy-LBJ transition was not one of continuity, discussing the conflict among historians on this issue.

▶ play video (running time: 3:51)

The Change in Policy. Peter Scott discusses JFK-LBJ continunity on Vietnam for this and the question of why the battlefield assessments in Vietnam took a marked turn for the worse after Kennedy's death.

▶ play video (running time: 2:29)

For more details, read Peter Scott's essay The Kennedy Assassination and the Vietnam War on History Matters website. An updated version of this essay appears in the new edition of The War Conspiracy.

See also this walkthrough of 1963 Vietnam policy documents.

For more on Kennedy Vietnam policy and the JFK-LBJ transition, see Kennedy and Vietnam.

Peter Dale Scott on the Tonkin Gulf Incident

Alleged attacks on U.S. vessels on 4 Aug 1964 provided the "causus belli" for escalating the war in Vietnam. The original 1972 version of Chapter Three of The War Conspiracy pointed out the problems with accounts of the alleged attacks and the electronic intercepts which were supposed to have confirmed them. In recent years, mainstream historical opinion has shifted decidedly to the view that the attack indeed never occurred. The new edition of the book provides up-to-date information on the Tonkin Gulf Incident and poses the remaining questions.

Korea (1950), the Tonkin Gulf Incident, and 9/11: Deep Events in Recent American History. In this essay, Peter Scott draws parallels between these seemingly disparate events.

For more, see Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

Peter Dale Scott on the Kennedy Assassination

Peter Scott has written two books which feature the JFK assassination as a central topic:

Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

Deep Politics II: Essays on Oswald, Mexico, and Cuba.

Related to them is Crime and Cover-Up: the CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection.

Overview: The CIA, the Drug Traffic, and Oswald in Mexico discusses the "managed stories" which alleged an Oswald connection to Cuba and the Soviets, and explores the role of drug trafficking in the Kennedy assassination saga.

CIA Files and the Pre-Assassination Framing of Lee Harvey Oswald discusses the manipulations in CIA files on Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Kennedy-CIA Divergence Over Cuba analyzes the split between the Kennedy administration agenda on Cuba and that of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Peter Dale Scott on 9/11

Peter Scott's 2007 book The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America discusses the lengthy history leading up to the 9/11 attacks including the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the mujahideen, and also the events of 9/11 itself, with particular focus on the actions and role of Vice-President Cheney.

Conversations with History - Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America: A Conversation with Peter Dale Scott. In this hour-long YouTube interview from 8 Aug 2007, Peter Scott discusses his book The Road to 9/11.

Peter Dale Scott - Cheney on 9/11. Scott discusses Cheney's actions on the day of 9/11, his role in Continuty of Government plans, what 9/11 Commission papers should be released to the public, and related topics at a 9/11 Accountability conference.


In the essay The JFK Assassination and 9/11: the Designated Suspects in Both Cases, Scott examines parallels between the 19 hijackers and alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald. A much-expanded version of this essay, which includes parallels beyond the designated suspects, appears in the new edition of The War Conspiracy.

9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics. In this essay, Scott casts 9/11 as one in a series of "deep events" which include the Kennedy assassination and the alleged Tonkin Gulf attacks.

Selected Talks and Essays by Peter Dale Scott

Peter Dale Scott: 9/11, Canada, left gatekeepers & Zelikow. In this YouTube video of an interview at the Vancouver 9/11 Truth Conference on 22-24 Jun 2007, Peter Scott discusses his disagreements with the "structuralist" approach of Chomsky and other leftists, and also discusses the 9/11 Commission.

Congress, the Bush Administration and Continuity of Government Planning. This piece in Counterpunch draws attention to National Security Presidential Directive 51, asserting the right of the president to invoke Continuity of Government (COG) plans in the event of a "catastrophic emergency," as defined by the president himself, and shifts authority for these plans from the Dept. of Homeland Security to the White House.

Peter Dale Scott addresses the Santa Cruz Media Strategy Summit. This short talk notes the strategies used by Solidarity and the American Revolution to foster political change at a grassroots level, and notes the usefulness of the Internet as a tool towards that end.

Other Resources

www.peterdalescott.org. Peter Dale Scott's website is continually updated with links to his most recent talks, essays, radio interviews, and congressional appearances.

Press Release

August 5, 2008

The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, & The Deep Politics of War. Mary Ferrell Foundation Press Publishes Updated Classic on the Deep Politics of War.

About Peter Dale Scott

Peter Dale Scott is the author of more than ten books, including Deep Politics and the Death of JFK and The Road to 9/11. He is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

Praise for the 1972 edition of The War Conspiracy

"In this remarkable collection of articles, Scott, a co-author of Politics of Escalation in Vietnam (1966), argues that U.S. extensions of the Indochina war have not been in ‘response’ to aggressive moves by North Vietnam but that the intelligence agencies have conspired to ‘prepare conditions for escalation’ by feeding false information and arranging pretexts for heightened U.S. military action; and that these agencies have always been tied up, in different ways at different times, with private wealth and power, both American and foreign. . . . Scott's research is impressive and his presentation subtle and usually careful. This is undoubtedly one of the most important overviews to date of the subterranean reaches of the U.S. intelligence machine in Southeast Asia."

-- Kirkus Reviews

“Peter Dale Scott succeeds in achieving new insight into the American war in Indochina with his meticulous and fascinating analysis of intelligence conspiracies and the links between the ‘intelligence community’ and corporate power. The logic of the Nixon doctrine leads to a still greater reliance on the devious workings of this system of bureaucratic and private power. The great importance of this book extends well beyond the new understanding it provides with regard to past escapades. Scott exposes an element in the American system of global power that poses an increasing threat to the victims of this system, the American people among them.”

-- Noam Chomsky

Praise for this edition of The War Conspiracy

"Peter Dale Scott is among our leading historians of what he calls Deep Politics, the murky realm at the interface of intelligence, the military, multinational financial and oil interests, and drug trafficking that drive the politics of global intervention and place the United States on a permanent war footing. Ranging widely and perceptively across the terrain from the Indochina Wars to 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghan Wars, and from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the attacks on civil liberties of the Bush administration at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and throughout the United States, Scott painstakingly probes interconnections that profoundly shape American and global poltics.”

-- Mark Selden, Research Associate, Cornell University and coeditor, War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan and Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century.

“A welcome reissue of a provocative ‘alternative’ history now pushing its way into the mainstream as a result of several events, including America’s wars in Vietnam and Iraq.”

-- Howard Jones, author of Death of a Generation

Other Books by Peter Dale Scott

Deep Politics and the Death of JFK
University of California Press, 1993
Deep Politics II: Essays on Oswald, Mexico, and Cuba
Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 1996, 2007
Purchase online
Crime and Cover-Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection
Westworks, 1977
The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America
University of California Press, 2007
The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era
(with Jonathan Marshall and Jane Hunter)
South End Press, 1987
Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America
(with Jonathan Marshall)
University of California Press, 1998
Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and IndochinaRowman and Littlefield, 2003
The Politics of Escalation in Vietnam
(with Franz Schurmann and Reginald Zelnik)
Fawcett, 1966

Books of Poetry by Peter Dale Scott

Coming to Jakarta: A Poem About Terror
New Directions, 1989
Listening to the Candle: A Poem on Impulse
New Directions, 1992
Minding the Darkness: A Poem for the Year 2000
New Directions, 2000

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