September 11, 2011

President Bush, reading Lincoln's letter at the 9/11 ceremony in NYC.



"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom."

74 comments:

centralcal said...

God Bless George W. Bush.

TWM said...

"God Bless George W. Bush."

Amen.

SMGalbraith said...

It's interesting that Mr. Bush quoted from Lincoln at the memorial site in Pennsylvania as well.

I thought Mr. Clinton's address yesterday was superb. Just superb.

I wish we could bottle this up but we know the feelings won't last.

We're really in a mess this time, aren't we? Yeah, depressions, wars, unrest - we overcame that.

But these times seem different. Although I guess the folks who went through other times said the same thing.

Still...

pm317 said...

How Obama must wish he had beaten Bush to it. After all he is the present day Lincoln.

BJM said...

This too is an odd choice as most of the victims of 9/11 were civilians who hadn't volunteered to fight and die for their country or freedom. They were simply going to work or traveling by plane. Perhaps this would have been more appropriate at the Pentagon memorial service.

We could have dispensed with everything but a brief dedication ceremony, an invocation, reading of the names and Taps...everything else was, to put it baldly; pandering to our worse impulses of maudlin sentimentality, jingoism and political opportunism.

pm317 said...

SMGalbraith said...

I thought Mr. Clinton's address yesterday was superb. Just superb.
------------
Thanks for bringing attention to this. Here is the youtube link (only audio)

pm317 said...

BJM said...

This too is an odd choice as most of the victims of 9/11 were civilians who hadn't volunteered to fight and die for their country or freedom. They were simply going to work or traveling by plane.
-------------
Clinton makes this point in his speech that they were citizens.

SMGalbraith said...

Thanks for bringing attention to this. Here is the youtube link (only audio)

Not to make a political point but the abscence/lack of a teleprompter magnified its power.

I think giving it that way allows the speaker to capture a rhythym that a teleprompter reading simply can't. A pacing, a timing, an emphasis that reading words simply can't do.

Reading the words versus speaking the words.

EDH said...

I saw Saving Private Ryan too. But Bush might not be the only president cribbing this letter. Jeez, am I overly suspicious of all the 9-11 writers Althouse links to?

In a poignant moment near the start of the movie Saving Private Ryan, a general reads a letter of condolence from Abraham Lincoln to a Boston mother whose five sons were killed fighting for the Union army.

Lincoln scholars have long considered it to be his finest letter, ranking among the Gettysburg and Second Inaugural addresses as his greatest literary achievements.

The death of Lydia Bixby's five sons made a grand story that aroused public sympathy during the Civil War and whipped up patriotic ardor. But elements of the story have been debunked over the years.

Since the 1920s, historians have said that Bixby lost only two sons in the war, was a Confederate sympathizer, destroyed the letter in anger, and ran a Boston whorehouse.

And for years, some have said the famous letter to widow Bixby, dated Nov. 21, 1864, was actually written by Lincoln's assistant personal secretary, John Hay. Most Lincoln scholars, however, have resisted this conclusion.

Now, Michael Burlingame, a professor of history at Connecticut College and author of "The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln," says he has recently uncovered evidence further indicating Hay is most likely the author of the letter.

The three-sentence letter notes "how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine," but adds, "I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save."

It concludes by noting "the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride, that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."

Speaking by telephone in Springfield, Ill., where he is conducting research, Burlingame said the Bixby letter has the stylistic fingerprint of Hay.

The letter contains words and phrases that appear frequently in various letters, poems, and other compositions by Hay but were rarely or never used in Lincoln's works, said Burlingame.

The letter contains the word "beguile," which Lincoln never used, while Hay used it at least 30 times in materials Burlingame has examined. Phrases such as "I cannot refrain from tendering you" and "I pray that our heavenly father" are occasionally used by Hay but not Lincoln...

BJM said...

@pm317

Clinton makes this point in his speech that they were citizens.

Clinton put in place the stupid policies, I'm looking at you Jamie Gorelick, and feckless responses to attacks that allowed 9/11 to happen. Fuck him.

pm317 said...

SMGalbraith said...
--------------
I agree, no comparison. When I hear Clinton I learn something new about American history (and other things) -- he gives you something to think about and in this speech it was about the Alamo and a tribute to Bush for what he went through as president on 9/11.

pm317 said...

BJM said...
----------
yeah, yeah, I know I am in hostile territory talking about Clinton here.

BJM said...

btw-why hasn't the govt clawed back the tens of millions that incompetents such as Gorelick received for their "corporate governance" of Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae?

AJ Lynch said...

Altouse - please add a "class" tag.

Bob Ellison said...

What a talented wordsmith Lincoln was!

Alex said...

What a bullshit all this 9/11 memorial stuff is. I don't give a shit about any of it.

Bob Ellison said...

What a talented wordsmith Alex is!

SMGalbraith said...

When I hear Clinton I learn something new about American history

Yeah, but it was the delivery that put it above the rest.

Think if he had simply read those words. I think his emphasis and pauses and rhythms would have been missing.

He wasn't just reading the words. He was expressing them.

Teleprompter speeches have an artificial quality that really doesn't fit with memorials.

Mike said...

Well Alex, there are those of us who don't give a flip about you!

But to return to the topic at hand--both Clinton and Bush are vastly better ex tempore speakers than Obama can ever hope to be. For one thing both of them are able to feel and convey real emotion.

As I watch Obama stumble and stutter through these events, I'm looking forward to January 20, 2013--the end of an error.

SMGalbraith said...

Here is Mr. Clinton on tape. I think it needs to be watched as much as listened.

Link: Clinton at Shanksville Memorial

Donald Douglas said...

Well, Ann, this is exactly how I would post on this too. And God Bless him and all of our fellow countrymen.

CEO-MMP said...

I don't agree with GWB about much, but I do honestly like the man. And here's a really good example of his basic humanity. Especially compared with Prez Barry O'Bama and his halting robotic delivery. Everyone who voted for Barry O'Bama should be publicly flogged. Yes, I'm looking at the professor--but also some friends and family.

And yeah, Clinton can give a hell of a speech when he wants to. I bet the one he used to get Monica to let him shove the cigar up her twat was a hell of one.

Fuck him.

ironrailsironweights said...

Here's an entirely different video. Setting off fireworks indoors is a custom at weddings in China. Nothing can go wrong with that, right? Well, even when things don't go quite according to plan, this bridesmaid remains as cool as a proverbial cucumber.

Peter

CEO-MMP said...

Yes, because obviously that chinese wedding vid is totally relevant and wouldn't have been better placed in the damn open thread two or three posts down the page.

JAL said...

I miss George W. Bush.

EDH said...

Bush sources his speech on Saving Private Ryan.

Clinton sources his speech on 300 and Davey Crockett.

I'm almost afraid to watch Biden's speech.

What did Biden cite: "A very special episode of Blossom"?

Big Mike said...

Interesting to look at Clinton. In 1992 he was elected from the moderate wing of the Democrat party. Today there's no such thing.

BJM said...

@pm317

Don't assume. I voted for Clinton in 92 and just as many Indie Obama voters in 2008, regretted it soon and forever.

Twice I've been fooled, once by the image machine (Kennedy) and voting single issues (Clinton and the Headwaters). No more.

We elect Presidents, not kings. We have the right, if not a duty, to critique their governance and their behavior in office.

Another thing I'd like to see is the FLOTUS position reeled in. It's become excessive and too politicized. We forget that she's the First Wife, the nation's HOSTESS, not an elected or appointed official.

FLOTUS should have a bipartisan list of charities/causes from which to choose and apart from State events, a more austere entertainment budget. Previously we managed to honor citizens of note without such lavish trappings. When did the Presidency become Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?

FLOTUS and the children should travel with her husband or like the rest of us who are footing the bill, stay the fuck at home.

I've been fed up with the Imperial Presidency and the pretenious trappings of wealth for some time, I'm looking at you Nancy Reagan, especially when we taxpayers struggle to live within our means.

It smacks of hucksterism, like evangelists who live large off an aged and poor congregation.

Sorry to rant and hijack the topic...but today's mealy-mouthed, PC bullshit has put me in a dour mood and enough is enough.

Carol_Herman said...

Was there an attempt, in Egypt, to make the "starring attraction" of 9/11, the destruction of human life within the Israeli Embassy?

Or is this Sunday a "stand alone" event, without the muslems still trying to "own" the news cycle?

I already know when Israel wins the media falls silent.

Instead, we're back at the 9/11 site. Never rebuilt. Never will be rebuilt. And, where are we, now, 10 years later?

TSA and Homeland Security stand out as terrible ideas. But oddly enough, I still give George W. Bush credit for taking military TERRITORY in the Mideast. Where we should stay INDEFINTELY. Since it's better than keeping our troops in Europe! And, other than the "details" that the press publishes ... which makes it seem terrible ... What if that's where we did stuff BRILLIANTLY. (And, yes. Learning about how to keep our troops on the ground. And, the air, overhead, belonging to the USA!)

Even Afgahnistan? Aren't we there AGAINST THE BORDER WITH PAKISTAN? Isn't this a good thing, too?

India would be having heart attacks, if we weren't there, blocking one border into and out of Pakistan!

Our response to 9/11 ... except for our domestic faux pas ... where I fault Congress ... I think we're in better shape FOR taking actions ... than just waiting for diplomats to learn some new dance steps.

I also know that when we're successful we get NO NEWS. It's the same silence that engulfs Israel ... when it has a successful outcome to the Islamic terrorists ...

Especially, in this go-round in Cairo. Where I learned the mob isn't specifically Muslem Brotherhood ... BUT SOCCER FAN MANIACS to boot!

I think behind the scenes the military junta will tighten things up ... "even better" than Mubarak did! As for "arab spring" ... I think they should re-name the whole thing "Candy Land."

Some events move like earthquakes. They're over with very, very quickly. And, you think it's all about what fell off the shelves. NOPE. Dig deeper. The flaws are extremely deep, indeed.

And, yes. We did see the earth move!

GOOD FOR BUSH! He deserves credit!

JAL said...

I went over to the video link SMG provided of Clinton's speech. Very gracious. Very good. Almost a sweetness.

There have been some changes in him as he has matured. Maybe hanging around with GHWB has had an effect.

All in all a wonderful speech.

As for President Bush using a letter about military deaths -- parts of it touch is the anguish of loss, the prayer for remembrance.

And in this huge salvo delivered in the war against Freedom (for that is what Islamists are trying to destroy)these men, women, and children were killed by evil because we are were free.

CEO-MMP said...

It means more WHEN YOU capitalize random words AND PHRASES within your POST.

ironrailsironweights said...

Since the 1920s, historians have said that Bixby lost only two sons in the war, was a Confederate sympathizer, destroyed the letter in anger, and ran a Boston whorehouse.

Historians have been unable to confirm reports that she gave Honest Abe a discount on a Happy Ending.

Peter

BJM said...

@CEO-MMP

It means more WHEN YOU capitalize random words AND PHRASES within your POST.

That's a dick move.

Fisk, rebutt or get off the pot.

edutcher said...

The eloquent words of a humble man, spoken eloquently by a humble man.

What Dubya meant when he gave up golf while he was POTUS.

And to all the Lefties, it says, "Shut. The Hell. Up".

And, boy, did it make Barry look small.

Big Mike said...

Interesting to look at Clinton. In 1992 he was elected from the moderate wing of the Democrat party. Today there's no such thing.

There wasn't then, either.

Willie and the Living Redwood were wolves in cheap clothing.

Look at the first 2 and last 2 years of his Administration. That's Willie.

The middle 4 are Dick Morris keeping him out of jail and in the White House.

Cedarford said...

Bush. Failed President like his successor is.
Took America down the path of decline.
But his heart was in the right place on several matters.
Give him that.

Though perhaps his speech extolling military deaths and the great sacrifice and loss of voluntarily putting oneself in harms way in battle would have been more appropriate for the Pentagon ceremony. The WTC was civilians, and "the civilian heroes in government uniforms".

================
Also, as a speaker, Bush has fixed a lot of his decline as a public speaker that occured after he was elected. He is actually a better ex temp speaker than Obama. But Clinton was an order of magnitude better speaker in his 9/11 role than either Bush or Obama.
Seeing Clinton, I thought of his friend GHW Bush. Wondered if his age & health prevented him from a role in the ceremonies. Hope not.

Chase said...

Cedarford,

I don't what world you are living in, but there is not a commentator on any side who thought Bush at the National Cathedral after 9/11 was a poor speaker.

Or that anyone could have stood on the rubble in NYC with the Firemen and done better.

As to being a failed President, the record is already in his favor on many things and will only get more so as the years pass.

Start by asking the people of South Sudan first.

miller said...

A gracious and moving reading by GW.

Robert Cook said...

"Interesting to look at Clinton. In 1992 he was elected from the moderate wing of the Democrat party. Today there's no such thing.

"There wasn't then, either."


Oh, there was probably a bit of a moderate liberal wing of the Democratic Party in 1992, but it doesn't exist now...now the Dems are all moderate Republicans.

Robert Cook said...

Similarly, there was probably a moderate wing of the Republican Party in 1992, but that's also gone...today they're all latter day John Birchers and religious fanatics, (some real, some fake).

Cedarford said...

Chase - "As to being a failed President, the record is already in his favor on many things and will only get more so as the years pass.

Start by asking the people of South Sudan first."
======================

I really don't care about how much time he neglected to put into America he put in to helping the "noble Iraqis" and wonderful South Sudanese. Same with Jimmy Carter, kind towards Boat People, welcoming to the poor Marielitos..

As for his speaking abilities, Bushs were great in the 2000 campaign, declined, popped back when he senses he had to make an effort after 9/11 then went down in sloth and torpor to a John McCain level of sloppiness and incoherency after that. He couldn't even make an effort to defend himself, his Administration people, the CIA being savaged by the Left starting with the Iraq buildup.
What he did today reminded me of the brief periods of the 2000 campaign then the few months after 9/11 where Bush proved he could lead and speak well if he put his heart and his effort into it.

BJM said...

@edutcher

Willie and the Living Redwood were wolves in cheap clothing.

*Snicker*

I'm gonna have to steal that to use on a couple of girlfriends who still crush on Clinton.

Robert Cook said...

I, like EDH, wonder if this letter was actually written by Lincoln. I am certainly no kind of Lincoln maven, but the use of the word "gloriously" when referring to the deaths on the battlefield of the mother's five children seems not merely incongruous, but startlingly unfeeling.

I don't think any President or commanding officer today, none, surely, who are Lincoln's equal as a writer, would choose to send a letter of official condolence referring to the dead soldier as having died "gloriously." I don't think any bereaved person receiving such a letter would appreciate it...now or then.

But then...who knows?

Simon said...

Robert Cook said...
"I don't think any President or commanding officer today … would choose to send a letter of official condolence referring to the dead soldier as having died 'gloriously.'"

In these PC days, I suspect you're right; nevertheless:

"I don't think any bereaved person receiving such a letter would appreciate it...now or then."

I find it hard to imagine anyone not appreciating it. Everyone dies. That's non-negotiable, and so the only question is how; to do so in the performance of a great duty in which one believes is a glorious thing to those loved ones who shared their sense of the cause's importance. It would not comfort fifth columnists like Cindy Sheehan, who don't believe in the cause, of course, but I think we can safely set them aside.

Robert Cook said...

It is not "glorious" to die in war, but is only and always a terrible waste, even in those exceedingly rare wars that are necessary to be fought and whose aims and outcomes are honorable and valid. (We have fought in no such wars in my lifetime, and precious few, ever.)

David said...

Humility. We need much more of it in our world.

Toshtu said...

"What a bullshit all this 9/11 memorial stuff is. I don't give a shit about any of it."

Alex, think about irony the next time you open up.

wv: grasing - the original, proper spelling of grazing

Simon said...

Robert, I have to ask what your definition of "glorious" is, because as most people use that word, is is certainly possible to die gloriously in battle, that is, in a way that is praiseworthy and honorable.

Toshtu said...

"Interesting to look at Clinton. In 1992 he was elected from the moderate wing of the Democrat party. Today there's no such thing."

Precisely why this Reagan/Clinton voter will never vote for another democrat.

Simon said...

For example, we've read about the two pilots who went to ram Flight 93. Do you not believe that their sacrifice would be considered glorious had it happened? That the same could be said those of the civilians who brought the plane down?

Phil 3:14 said...

Gosh folks, such ado about a speech. I'd cite another famous speech by Lincoln.

" The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

SMGalbraith said...

Holmes's famous lines about the Civil War:

"We are "the generation that carried on the war [and] has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to scorn nothing but indifference, and do not pretend to undervalue the worldly rewards of ambition, we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us.......We have shared the incommunicable experience of war; we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top."

Whether you want to call that glory or not is your choice.

Paul said...

President Bush you are welcome at my table anytime.

And I am mighty proud to be your fellow Texan.

Robert Cook said...

Simon, if one finds oneself in a war or other perilous circumstance (such as the passengers on the planes on 9/11), it is certainly possible and probably common for people to behave gallantly and bravely and honorably, (just as other, less admirable behavior is also common in war).

However, I cannot agree that the word "glorious" is appropriate to apply to any deaths in such circumstances. The word serves to exalt deaths which should never have been, which are, by definition, wasteful, and usually pointless.

Ralph L said...

"Our Glorious Dead" was probably a familiar expression by 1864 and not meant ironically--they had gone to Glory. WWI changed all that.

Simon said...

Robert, then I have to ask the same question again: What does the word "glorious" mean to you? Its propriety depends on its meaning, and I don't see how your reply comports with the word as we generally use it. That suggests that you're understanding it in a different sense, and I'm wondering what that is?

Also, when you say that terming battlefield deaths "exalt[s] deaths [that] should never have been, which are, by definition, wasteful, and usually pointless," do you mean to suggest that you are against all war (liberally-understood), at any time, for any purpose?

alj said...

This letter hangs in Westminster Abbey as an example of great english prose.

alj said...

This letter hangs in Westminster Abbey as an example of great eglish prose.

mjerik58

Monkeyboy said...

The last stanza of "The Vacant Chair" - a popular northern song.

True they tell us wreaths of glory,
Evermore will deck his brow,
But this soothes the anguish only,
Sweeping o'er our heartstrings now.
Sleep today o' early fallen,
In thy green and narrow bed.
Dirges from the pine and cypress
Mingle with the tears we shed.

Glory was a common theme at that time, and used quite a lot.

Robert Cook said...

Simon, "glorious" has a connotation (for me) of celebration and jubilation. I'm reminded by Ralph L.'s post of the phrase "gone to glory." In this context, "glory" is a synonym for heaven, or the afterlife, and I can accept that. However, saying to a bereaved survivor that one's loved one "died a glorious death" does not seem to convey this meaning, and implies that one should take satisfaction or pride in the way the deceased...ceased.

Cold comfort, indeed.

I wouldn't necessarily say I'm against all and any wars, no matter the circumstance; I'm against any war that isn't absolutely necessary to defend against an attacking force that cannot be stopped any other way, and who, if not stopped, will kill many of one's countrymen and perhaps destroy one's country.

We haven't fought any wars in my lifetime that fit those criteria, and in surveying all of the 20th Century, only WWII could be said to have been a justifiable war.

The truth is, most wars are fought over access to or control over resources, or for political reasons having nothing to do with the purported reasons. War is mass murder, and if one is going to be party to mass murder, it can only be because there was no other choice.

All of our post-WWII wars have been wars of choice.

Alex said...

Robert - then by your definition any death suffered in a war is a pointless waste. After all, if there was no religion, hatred, greed, envy then we would have no wars. People would only die from old age and accidents.

Simon said...

Robert Cook said...
"Simon, "glorious" has a connotation (for me) of celebration and jubilation. I'm reminded by Ralph L.'s post of the phrase "gone to glory." In this context, "glory" is a synonym for heaven, or the afterlife, and I can accept that. However, saying to a bereaved survivor that one's loved one "died a glorious death" does not seem to convey this meaning, and implies that one should take satisfaction or pride in the way the deceased...ceased. Cold comfort, indeed."

I understand, but the problem here is that you're rejecting the use of the word "glorious" based on an idiosyncratic gloss, aren't you? Also, while I think you're right to say that "saying to a bereaved survivor that [their] loved one 'died a glorious death' … implies that one should take satisfaction or pride in the way the deceased...ceased," I fundamentally disagree if your point is that this is wrong, either descriptively or prescriptively. People do draw comfort, satisfaction, and pride from the circumstances of their loved ones' deaths. We just watched the documentary on the 9/11 firefighters again; don't you think that the families of the hundreds of firefighters who were killed helping on that day and who are now dying from the effects of doing so, draw great comfort in the glorious work those men did? Don't you think that they take pride in the fact that their partners, fathers, sons, friends, etc. were killed saving the lives of hundreds of others? It seems to me that they do, in fact.

"The truth is, most wars are fought over access to or control over resources, or for political reasons having nothing to do with the purported reasons. War is mass murder, and if one is going to be party to mass murder, it can only be because there was no other choice. ¶ All of our post-WWII wars have been wars of choice."

If that is the criterion, virtually every war is a war of choice, is it not? World War II certainly was; why do you exempt it? Capitulation to Japanese rule of the pacific was a valid alternative choice, and we could well have cabled Herr Hitler and said "we decline your invitation to hostilities; please go about your business unmolested." It was not necessary to fight Japan, still less Germany, "to defend against an attacking force that cannot be stopped any other way, and who, if not stopped, will kill many of one's countrymen and perhaps destroy one's country." Likewise, the civil war was a war of choice, insofar as we could have let the south go, and the the war of of independence likewise, insofar as we could have let the British stay. Of all the wars this country has ever fought, only the war of 1812 comes close to a situation where we had no other option but to fight—save for the fact that we were only in that situation because we declared war in the first place. Accordingly, the whole concept of a "war of choice" strikes me as among the left's more bizarre contributions to the public lexicon. And all it really seems to mean is "we don't approve of the cause for which this war is fought": Korea and Vietnam were wars of choice because saving yellow people from Communist subjugation isn't a worthy cause, but World War II is retroactively validated as not a war of choice because saving the Jews from the holocaust was a worthy cause (even if we didn't know it at the time).

AST said...

I can't watch these memorials that treat 9/11 like it was an unintended disaster. It was mass murder, and I would prefer that we renewed our determination to hunt down all terrorists and give them an early funeral. These people were victims, not volunteers. I share the sorrow of their families and friends, but I can't forget the evil that still remains to be rooted out and destroyed.

We should be free to fly without being scanned through our underwear. I hate the political correctness that says we can't single out the most likely to be terrorists. If I were a young Semitic or South Asian, I'd expect to be given extra scrutiny, and curse the luck, but I wouldn't like it any better because everybody else is humiliated with me.

madAsHell said...

George....history will love you.

Obama....not so much.

Alex said...

I still feel like a piece of America died on 9/11 and we're a diminished country. A real country, a real manly-manly country would have nuked the FUCK out of the Muslim world right away. We showed that we're just a bunch of weak pussies.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irZmknvOB4I

Robert Cook said...

Simon,

Okay, you've convinced me...WWII was a war of choice and we shouldn't have participated in that, either.

Eh...not quite.

We were attacked by the Japanese air force and German declared war on us. Germany also seemed well along the way to conquering Western Europe, and had Hitler bided his time and not been so hot to trot to press eastward, he may eventually have conquered Russia. Such a German empire controlling the other hemisphere certainly would have seemed a daunting threat to our freedom and security, (and rightly so).

In such circumstances, I can support our joining that war.

Our other wars had no such exigent circumstances driving them, and were really about, as I said, and as most wars historically have been, securing access to or control of resources, or about expanding our political and imperial dominance to other lands to compel their compliance with our goals of economic rapine. That we paint every war we've joined or started as "defense of our freedom" or as intended to oust tyrants and "spread democracy" is self-congratulatory propaganda meant to sway the public to the cause.

Simon said...

Robert, so you're saying that war with Germany was okay because although Hitler's original declaration of war was a little silly, he might have ultimately posed a threat to us if he continued to conquer Europe, as bastions like Britain and Russia fell like dominoes, right? Ultimately, all the dominoes might have fallen, and a hostile empire that controlled the lion's share of the other hemisphere "certainly would have seemed a daunting threat to our freedom and security, (and rightly so)," right? So war in that situation would have been justified
under a kind of preemptive theory, under a kind of, I don't know, "domino theory"—is that what you're saying?

Wouldn't this newly-minted domino theory have another application? For example, if another country had seemed well along the way to conquering large parts of Europe, if it had set up the conquest of the remaining parts of Europe and was waging wars through proxies to acquire control of large parts of the third world, if it seemed to be seizing control the lion's share of the other hemisphere one domino at a time, would that empire not have seemed a daunting threat to our freedom and security? And if so, would it not have been prudent to seek to prevent the dominoes from falling, at least where doing so did not require open conflict with that empire?

In justifying WW2 by this domino theory, have you not just justified also the wars in Korea and Vietnam? Moreover, by suggesting that a preemptive war can legitimately be fought based on good-faith speculation that the country may ultimately pose a threat to us, have you not also justified the second war in Iraq?

Monkeyboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monkeyboy said...

I'll add that the war in the Pacific, from the Japanese side, was in many ways to prevent us from interfering in their conquest of China and the natural resource rich areas that were European colonies. Had we given Japan free reign in taking down "white imperialism", likely there would have been no Peal Harbor in 1941.


No blood for Oil!

SGT Ted said...

For Mr. Cook


"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice--is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature, who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other...."~John Stuart Mill

Robert Cook said...

Simon,

No. Germany really was engaged in a campaign of conquest in Europe, and it really did appear that Hitler had a likelihood of succeeding in his aims. The conflicts in Korea and Viet Nam bear no resemblance at all to Hitler's threat.

Neither was WWII a "pre-emptive" war; it was already underway, and had been started by Hitler. By contrast, we started the war in Iraq, a nation that posed no threat to us, and on the basis of lies and exaggerations...merely to serve our political aims.

Now, if you're hoping to show me the error of my ways, to get me to accept that some (or all) of the wars we've joined or started in the years following WWII were justified or necessary, you can stop now. If anything, the more you make a case for the lack of necessity for our getting involved in that war, you'll just convince me that no war we have ever fought was justified.

And perhaps that's right. As I was not alive during WWII, perhaps I have succumbed to the fear-mongering surrounding Hitler's war-making, and perhaps we could have sat out that conflict until it all blew over and the world returned to equilbrium.

Alex said...

Cook - so you would have obviously done nothing about Hitler. Then tens of millions of others would have been exterminated by the Nazi machine. You ok with that?

Robert Cook said...

"Cook - so you would have obviously done nothing about Hitler. Then tens of millions of others would have been exterminated by the Nazi machine. You ok with that?"

Alex, I suggest your comments might not be so silly if you actually took the time to read for comprehension.

booktheif said...

George had watched Saving Private Ryan the night before...