Posts Tagged ‘World War II’
September 6th, 2013 at 6:58 pm
Let’s Cool it with the “Chicken Hawk” Nonsense
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I sometimes find the best way to settle your views on an issue is not to read the opinion of those you admire, but rather those whom you despise. Even my favorite thinkers go astray sometimes. The hacks are slightly more consistent.

One of the kings of errancy is the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, who spends today’s column trying to act as a moral backstop for President Obama in regard to Syria. It’s a throwaway remark early in the piece, however, that gets my hackles up:

At Wednesday’s hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I thought for a moment that [Secretary of State John] Kerry was going to blow. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., launched into a self-righteous soliloquy about Benghazi, the IRS, the National Security Agency and what he portrayed as Kerry’s longtime aversion to using military force.

Kerry, you may recall, is a highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran. Duncan is an armchair warrior.

A few quick thoughts:

    — I’ll grant you that Duncan comes off as a blowhard in his questioning of Kerry. Hearings on the possibility of war are about as serious a task as a member of Congress faces and his insistence on turning it into a glorified campaign ad are both misplaced and unimpressive. He comes off like a guy trying to sell you insurance at a funeral. That being said, non sequitur droning constitutes about 90 percent of all congressional questioning. You know who used to be the king of that? John Kerry. So forgive me if I can’t muster sympathy when he’s on the receiving end of the same kind of firehose-intensity stream of inanity he spent over two and a half decades dispensing.

    — I’ve never understood why, in a nation that from its inception has insisted upon civilian control over the military, we try to settle policy arguments by determining who’s the closest approximation of Leonidas. You know who else was an “armchair warrior”? Franklin Roosevelt, who prosecuted World War II and never served in the military. Abraham Lincoln spent three months in the Illinois State Militia.

    And Mr. Robinson should be careful about tying credibility on foreign affairs to time in uniform. Barack Obama didn’t serve. Neither did Joe Biden. And neither did Eugene Robinson, who spends the rest of this column telling us how we should think about Syria.

    Liberals spent the last decade mocking conservative “chicken hawks” who had never served in the military but advocated for American intervention overseas. It was a bogus argument then and it’d be bogus (if not satisfying) to turn it back on them now. If we’re going to debate ideas, let’s do it on the merits, not according to the resumés of the people advancing them.

    November 5th, 2010 at 8:43 am
    Podcast: International Author Shares Diary from World War II
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    Interview with Belgian-born author Joseph M. Callewaert, Knight of the French Order of Merit, on his book, Lights out for Freedom:  Four Years under the Nazi Boot, a personal account of growing up among the upheaval of war and the fear, hunger and oppression suffered by so many during the Nazi occupation of Belgium.

    Listen to the interview here.

    September 27th, 2010 at 10:49 pm
    Paul Krugman Aggresively Refutes Paul Krugman
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    If America continues to be a sober nation, there will be a time a few decades from now when Paul Krugman’s economic hypochondria will be viewed with the same sneering contempt as Paul Ehrlich’s crazed claims that hundreds of millions would die from famine in the 1970s and 1980s or the fears of the rise of Japan that dominated public discourse in the late 1980s and early 1990s (the old empire’s economic lost decade intervened).

    On his blog at the New York Times today, Krugman frets aloud (his muscle memory prevents him from doing otherwise) that Americans may tank the economy by attempting to pay down their unsustainable levels of debt (further proof that Keynesianism is the economist’s version of a drunken weekend in Vegas). But the big story here is buried in the complaint that undergirds his thesis:

    So what will happen? In the end, I’d argue, what must happen is an effective default on a significant part of debt, one way or another. The default could be implicit, via a period of moderate inflation that reduces the real burden of debt; that’s how World War II cured the depression. Or, if not, we could see a gradual, painful process of individual defaults and bankruptcies, which ends up reducing overall debt.

    Hang on a tick. World War II? Hasn’t Krugman spent the past two years using every inch of column space available to him to advocate that President Obama embrace aggressive neo-Rooseveltism? But now it’s the war — not the New Deal — that ended the Depression? We know that Krugman is a specialist in non-falsifiable theories (if only the stimulus had been bigger …), but if the eight years that FDR had set aside for “bold, persistent experimentation” prior to Pearl Harbor weren’t sufficient to heal the nation’s markets, maybe that was a sign that the problem was strategic and not tactical. Maybe the Sage of Hyde Park should have taken some pointers from the benighted Warren Harding.

    This is all a bit shocking coming from a Nobel Laureate. After all, if Paul Krugman doesn’t speak with authority on economics … then maybe Barack Obama doesn’t speak with authority about peace.

    August 11th, 2010 at 7:39 pm
    An Encore for Obama’s Apology Tour
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    Last week, CFIF’s Timothy Lee did a terrific job laying out the justification for President Harry Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 65 years ago this month to bring about the end of World War II.

    As I mentioned in this space during President Obama’s visit to Japan back in November, the President doesn’t seem to appreciate the significance of that historical moment. At the time of his Asia trip, Obama was unwilling to close the door on attending an anniversary ceremony to commemorate the bombings — something no previous American president had even considered.

    While we can be thankful that Obama himself didn’t make the trip (Michelle probably couldn’t get a connecting flight from Spain), the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, John Roos, is attending as a member of the official delegation — another unprecedented display of undue deference. Translation: same groveling, less press stateside.

    Writing in the Korea Times, former Scripps Howard editor Dan Thomasson gives blistering rebuke:

    The military-industrial complex that brutalized much of Asia for more than a decade, killing millions, had loosed the furies that in the end brought about the horror that was visited on these two cities and their residents. The dead and dying there were victims of their own government, not the United States.

    No matter what revisionists would have us believe, without that ultimate retribution, America and its allies faced the loss of up to a million men and women in the invasion of the Japanese home islands where the fanatical leaders were prepared for whatever it took to resist, including the immediate murder of prisoners of war. President Harry Truman had little choice other than to give the order that ultimately would change the world and its balance of power.

    There might have been some justification for the appearance of an American official at these ceremonies had there ever been such an official presence from the Japanese at any Pearl Harbor memorial or any admission of guilt in the horrendous atrocities committed on the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos and Burmese.

    The mass beheadings and rapes at Nanking are only one small example. As far as I know, no official Japanese wreath has been laid at the tomb of the U.S.S. Arizona where American sailors rest, true victims one and all.

    It’s bad enough that the president is abandoning American greatness in the here and now. But it’s entirely intolerable for him to dishonor the memories of those who have secured it in the past.

    August 6th, 2010 at 10:18 am
    On This Date: Atomic Bomb Dropped on Hiroshima, Japan
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    “He who controls the past controls the future.” ~George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    Sixty-five years ago today, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.  That decision was a no-brainer.  After four years of wretched, filthy, excruciating, scorched hellhole-by-hellhole Pacific warfare vividly portrayed by HBO’s recent series The Pacific, American leaders preparing to invade Japan expected one million U.S. casualties, not to mention two million Japanese deaths.  Apparently, however, that is of little import to contemporary historical revisionists.  Pontificating from the comfort of their armchairs and coffeehouses, they sanctimoniously second-guess President Truman’s decision and imply a false moral equivalency between the Japanese and American war efforts.  Imagine the misery of Iwo Jima multiplied by forty (we suffered 25,000 casualties at Iwo Jima), because that’s what such sophists suggest as the more humane alternative.

    The facts simply do not support the revisionists’ self-righteous argument.  First of all, conventional bombing of Japanese cities killed over twice as many as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.  Would revisionists prefer that instead of ending the war more quickly with the atomic bombs, we should have burned Japan to the ground city-by-city, causing even more Japanese deaths?  Second, revisionists are wrong to say that Truman could have brought surrender by “demonstrating” a nuclear explosion on some deserted island.  After all, the Japanese didn’t surrender even after one bomb had incinerated Hiroshima.  They required a second at Nagasaki.  Third, would revisionists have been happier with a drawn-out blockade of Japan?  How many people would that have slowly starved to death?  How many American airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines would have died through Japanese naval, air and ground attacks in that interim?  Fourth, as referenced above, do revisionists contend that an inch-by-inch invasion would have been preferable?  Not only would that have cost millions of American and Japanese lives, but it would have left Japan nothing more than a heap of dust.

    This debate is about more than historical trivia.  In seeking to rewrite history, as Orwell suggested, revisionists encourage a future where a nation attacked refrains from vigorously defending itself and its ideals.  That, in turn, facilitates tyranny.  In the name of those who gave their lives in defending this nation, and in the name of future generations, our current generation cannot allow that to happen.