Monday, May 12, 2008

Which One Of these Is Not Like the Others?

From this morning's Patriot Post
For The Record:
Which One Of These Is Not Like The Others?
Jack Kelly
In his victory speech after the North Carolina primary, Sen. Barack Obama...[defended] his stated intent to meet with America’s enemies without preconditions...: ‘I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.’

That he made this statement, and that it passed without comment by the journalists covering his speech indicates either breathtaking ignorance of history on the part of both, or deceit.

I assume the Roosevelt to whom Sen. Obama referred is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Our enemies in World War II were Nazi Germany, headed by Adolf Hitler; fascist Italy, headed by Benito Mussolini, and militarist Japan, headed by Hideki Tojo. FDR talked directly with none of them before the outbreak of hostilities, and his policy once war began was unconditional surrender. FDR died before victory was achieved, and was succeeded by Harry Truman.

Truman did not modify the policy of unconditional surrender. He ended that war not with negotiation, but with the atomic bomb. Harry Truman also was president when North Korea invaded South Korea in June, 1950. President Truman’s response was not to call up North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung for a chat. It was to send troops...

Sen. Obama is on both sounder and softer ground with regard to John F. Kennedy. The new president held a summit meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev in Vienna in June, 1961. Elie Abel, who wrote a history of the Cuban missile crisis (The Missiles of October), said the crisis had its genesis in that summit... Mr. Abel wrote, ‘There is no evidence to support the belief that Khrushchev ever questioned America’s power. He questioned only the president’s readiness to use it.’... It’s worth noting that Kennedy then was vastly more experienced than Sen. Obama is now. A combat veteran of World War II, Jack Kennedy served 14 years in Congress before becoming president. Sen. Obama has no military and little work experience, and has been in Congress for less than four years...

History is an elective few liberals choose to take these days... The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling. But in a presidential candidate it’s dangerous. As Sir Winston Churchill said: ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it’.” —Jack Kelly


Stella said...

Hi again, Bostonmaggie.

History is an elective few liberals choose to take these days... The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling. But in a presidential candidate it’s dangerous.

I live by Churchill's words: "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

However, your assumption that liberals do not study history is fallacious. I worked my way through school and earned two Master's degrees. Churchill's comment about history could equally apply to conservatives who forget those presidents who broke the law: Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes. I am an 18th Century aficionado, an era during which politics and reason became key points and journalism began to flourish.

A president who received a "gentleman's C" from Yale neither studied enough history nor posesses an adequate education. I find Bush far more dangerous than Obama in his inability to articulate correctly or even read a book.

Where I agree with you about the apalling lack of knowledge of journalists such as O'Reilly and Limbaugh, I would counter that your statement regarding liberals' lack of historical knowledge or desire to take history is an inaccurate conclusion and cannot be quantified by any basis in facts or statistics.

BostonMaggie said...

You are falling into a media trap if you think President Bush can't read a book. It's common. It's false. He did graduate from Yale and his Masters is from Harvard. If you think they were ill-gotten, then your complaint should be with Harvard and Yale.

Obama may be articulate, but I do not care for the views he articulates. Not on the war, no on taxes, not on anything.

Don't get me wrong I cringe every time "W" mangles "nuke-u-lar", but I agree with his thoughts on going into the 'Stan and going into Iraq. Iraq was poorly executed, but I believe it was the right thing to do.

As far as O'Reilly and Limbaugh go....Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann do no better. I myself feel the only way to deal with the press in general is to take some from column A and some from column B. I listen to NPR and PRI, but then I watch Fox and CSPAN. I try not to miss the Sunday morning talk shows.

Stella said...

Well, we certainly have our differences—but we also have our commonalities. You're right. I should take up these issues with Yale and Harvard. His Yale transcript reflects, at best, a mediocre student.

I would greatly like to find transcripts of W's B-school days. ("In 1973, 'making the bar' [at Harvard] was 98% meritocracy.") My understanding is that Bush earned a C- average and was given a "gentleman's C," as I wrote before, so he could graduate.

An MBA is not, technically, an academic but a practical degree, so here's one conservative that did learn history. A study of Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Jefferson would have helped his presidential policies immensely.

Hussein and bin-Laden were bitter enemies, so I cannot support the excuse for war. Nine of 15 attackers on 9/11 were Saudi Arabian; the Bush family are close friends of the Saudi Royalty. If the U.S. concentrated their efforts on the Saudis and Afghanistan, could needless deaths been averted? I respect your opinion but, as you probably guess, I never believed in invading Iraq, not even during the aftermath of 9/11. I do credit his Bush Sr. who had the foresight to stop short of invading Iraq possibly from the lessons he learned from studying Theodore Roosevelt's policies.

We do have both sides of the media represented in this country. I take your point about Olberman, and probably Bill Maher if I'm guessing correctly about your perspective, but I do admire their wit and intellect. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of Chris Matthews.

You mention the media trap, but we are similar in seeking out differing points of view so we can expand our knowledge.

Bostonmaggie, I do counter your comment about liberals' "lack of historical knowledge..." a statement of bias in that you grouped all liberals together. We are a diverse, and often well-educated, group of people. I would not group all conservatives in this way.

However, like you, I listen to all points of view, particularly conservative. How else will I learn anything at all? (I already know what I think.) I was surprised to discover that one of my friends, a Republican and veteran, and I had almost identical views on many social issues.

Your blog fascinates me, and I again want to tell you how glad I am you stopped by. I think the most important political issue is to find common ground and that each of us seeks to learn that we need to agree to disagree to create peace.

A good day to you. Thank you for posting my comments and for your response.