Pearl Harbor in Reverse’
Arthur Schlesinger, former JFK confidant and the country’s preeminent liberal [ Harvard ] historian, views America’s war on Iraq with “deep gloom”
[ In 1962 the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and advisor to President John F. Kennedy witnessed first-hand the tense unfolding and peaceful resolution of the Cuban missile crisis. Today he is witnessing “with deep gloom” what he calls a dangerous shift in American foreign policy towards the ideological. ]
This is one of my favorite news articles, where I refer to for some perspective (written prior to Iraq "invasion"). His perspective as a historian rings true, especially with this thread.
NEWSWEEK: How would you describe Bush as a wartime president?
Well I think he’s made a fatal mistake. I think we’ve made a fatal mis-turn in our foreign policy by abandoning the doctrine of containment-plus-deterrence (which won the Cold War peacefully), and adopting as the basis of our foreign policy preventive war. Preventive war, anticipatory self-defense, was the doctrine with which the Japanese justified Pearl Harbor. FDR, an earlier American president, said that it was a date that will live in infamy. And now the Bush doctrine is a doctrine of preventive war, which makes America the self-appointed world’s judge, jury and executioner. However benign the motives, it’s bound to have a corrupting effect on our leadership. I think the whole notion of America as the world’s judge, jury and executioner is a tragically mistaken notion.
Newsweek: Robert Kennedy called preventive war “Pearl Harbor in reverse.” Is that what we’re seeing now?
That’s what we’re seeing now. And no wonder we look to the rest of the world as a lumbering bully. I regard this with deep gloom.
Newsweek: Are you suggesting that Bush and his administration lack a sense of history that is required of someone in this position?
Yes. I think they lack a sense of history. They lack an instinct of respect for the views of other countries. It’s “the rest of the world is OK only insofar as it conforms to the views of the White House.” And I don’t think this is a healthy position for the White House to have.
Newsweek: So if personalities play a role in shaping history, then, what can you say about the personalities of Bush and Rumsfeld?
They’re ideologues. Bush seems to feel that he’s been appointed by the almighty to go to war with Iraq. But Iraq is far less of a clear and present danger than North Korea. North Korea has nuclear weapons. The difference in our treatment between Iraq and North Korea is strong incentive for other countries, other rogue states, to develop their own nuclear arsenal.
Newsweek: Still, we are witnessing a rally-round-the-flag phenomenon of a new war-Bush’s approval ratings are above 70 percent. How long do you expect that to hold true?
Well, it all depends on how the war goes. I think the British have lost more men in the war than we have. I think the war will be over in two or three weeks, if it lasts more than a month,
[ Hey people, we are over 1 month..into 3rd year, for crying-out-loud. NOW, we're talking about doing Iran? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
"You've got to be SH*TTING ME!?"
-- F105 Thunderchief pilot ("Wild Weasels"), Vietnam war
[ he was referring to crazy orders from White House, for their missions. I.e., Politicians mis-using the Military. Same deal now. ]
then I think the polls will be less enthusiastic about the war.
[ Yep, shrinking ratings for Bush ]
UNBELIEVABLE. I'm just NUMB to the whole fiasco of the Bush "administration". I don't even bother trying to find any reason for their actions (or get mad about it). I try to keep focused on my work. My old grade-school History teacher (Woodrow Wilson scholar, masters degree) told me
"We'll get over it..The World was ALREADY outrageous when you were born into it"
[ she began to tell me about "The Last of the Mohicans", where people quietly carved out their little niche & made their mark in History. I.e.,
"Dont' try to Save The World"
-- xx, friend (Vietnam veteran, served with 1st I.D. aka "Big Red One"
She also told me about her favorite movie "My Fair Lady", where her favorite line was
"All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air.
With one enormous chair; Oh wouldn't it be loverly?.."
I have a geologist friend, who has adopted this philosophy. He has secluded himself in his own world (Arizona desert), & created his own world. Blocked out the "outrageous world", essentially given up on Changing the World. The group of Nobel Laureates writing this letter are of a different philosophy, Pro-Active action. ]
BTW, she left Teaching & his running an antique store with her husband. ("It [ education bureacracy ] got too COMPLICATED") I had her in '69-'70 in 6th grade, & I can still remember seeing Nixon's speech in our family room in '70 about "invading Cambodia" (from Vietnam). I just got back from a school musical recital where the song was "What the World needs now, is Love sweet Love".
"..The boy is surprised, but does not understand. Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions. If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence. This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life; Life will give you back everything you have given to it.”
-- Mirror of Life
[ apparently G Bush never got this lesson..idiot ]
Here we are again..talking about invading not 1..but TWO countries.