There was a well-defined tension between President Kennedy and his Joint Chiefs. One was given the impression that the difference of opinion was based largely on the difference in politics between the two. The Joint Chiefs were portrayed as unanimous in there dislike of the President’s handling of the situation, thinking him too weak to make what they thought was the correct decision during the crisis. President Kennedy, on the other hand, saw the Joint Chiefs as pushing for all out war with the Soviet Union. This was made especially clear when the Chiefs went behind the President’s back and signaled an intent to escalate the tensions between the two countries by going to Defcon 2 rather than remaining at Defcon 3 as the President ordered. The knowledge by President Kennedy of the Joint Chiefs true intentions led him to privately contact a Navy pilot and bypass the chain of command to avoid war. This was the correct action to take, as can be illustrated by appeal to “just war theory”.
First, one of the tenets of just war theory is that there must be a just cause for war: an actual harm against the state, this was not at all the case in this situation. The Soviet Union, by moving their weapons on Cuban soil, were not in any way harming the United States. Second, there must be a “right intention” for going to war. War must be used as a means toward an end, in this case, peace. Third, war must be a last resort, used only after all other possibilities are exhausted. President Kennedy had all these in mind when he decided to bypass the chain of command and for these reasons, he was correct in his decision to do so. (Audi 458-458)
Although most members in Ex-Comm decided to blockade Cuba rather than have a full-fledged invasion and war, some of the members, including the head of the CIA and the Joint Chiefs, were still pushing for a militarized solution. In deciding what to do, Ex-Comm weighed the consequences of both the blockade and an invasion and decided the blockade would be the best option. The blockade would not allow any more missiles into Cuba, but it would not do anything about the ones already there. However, it would allow the Soviets the option of pulling back and removing the missiles. This shows a decision based on the rational model. It is grounded on goals and objectives while considering alternatives and consequences to every action. It utilizes a method of reasoning in which war could be avoided at great benefit to the United States and was ultimately the method of choice of President Kennedy. Contrasted to this, the Joint Chiefs were utilizing the political model of decision making. By withholding information and making the situation seem unrealistically simple, the Joint Chiefs were pushing for the option that would further there own agenda at a great cost to the country. It was a decision based on personal biases and attitudes and motivated by self interest.
The two different models of decision making highlighted in the movie show the reality that both have advantages and disadvantages. Although both have their positive and negative attributes, when dealing with world affairs and a situation as important as nuclear war, the rational model far surpasses the political model in its usefulness. President Kennedy made the right decision in avoiding the Joint Chiefs recommendations for war and ultimate made the right decision of pursuing a diplomatic solution in the Cuban missile crisis.
Audi, Robert, ed. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
This is the source that I used in dealing with just war theory. I would use the book that you got the definitions of the models form for the other source. Or just the movie itself. It is cited in MLA. Let me know what you think. Thanks.