Archive for the 'Democratic Party' Category

Truman’s Cheek

[Now here is something to see.  My Catholic friend Ben Finiti (at benfiniti.com) has written a historical essay in rebuttal to a Catholic cleric’s historical interview. Don’t these guys have enough theology to talk about?  Hasn’t the Pope said something outrageous in an airplane press conference? Shouldn’t they be fighting over that?

Anyway, here are BF’s thoughts on a monsignor’s thoughts on Hiroshima and dear Harry.  Enjoy. (I wrote most of it myself, if truth be known.)]

 

Hindsight from the High Ground

by Ben Finiti

On August 6, the terrible anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, I was listening to the indispensable Catholic media outlet Relevant Radio, and I heard a curious interview with Msgr. Stuart Swetland on the subject of the day.

It made me think of Calvin Coolidge who is credited with many laconic (and probably apocryphal) anecdotes; my favorite is his supposed comment on returning from church one Sunday. Asked what the preacher spoke on, he answered: “Sin.” Further asked: “What did he say about it?”, Cal responded: “He was against it.”

It would be unjust and uncharitable to summarize the monsignor’s take on Hiroshima in so many words. He acknowledged the difficult situation and the tough decisions that faced those engaged in what was unquestionably a just war. But his conclusion was as straightforward as Coolidge’s: It was a sin, and Truman should not have done it.

The monsignor argued from Catholic doctrine, which appears to have recently reached the same conclusion. And he offered some historical “facts” in support. But the facts are questionable, and the arguments seem confused.

I am certainly not qualified to argue theology with any monsignor (though I will try, later.) But facts are facts, and assumptions are not.

There are many points to consider. Monsignor Swetland stated, with varying degrees of certitude, the following “facts”. The Japanese government was about to surrender anyway. The Russians were about to tell Truman about a Japanese peace proposal. Invasion of the Japanese homeland would not have been necessary. The invasion’s half-million US casualties anticipated by US military planners would not have occurred.

These things are nice to know. I bet Truman would have liked to know them with the certainty that his posthumous critics know them.

Now, some of these facts fall into the category of 20/20 hindsight (the Japanese/Russian peace proposal.) Others are in the realm of counterfactuals, the history that never happened (the invasion was unnecessary, since the Japanese already knew they were beaten.)

But my main objection to such thinking is that it side-steps the one all-important question, the only question that matters, from a moral standpoint. What should Truman have done?

The moral high ground is the position which allows those far from the decision to boldly affirm what should NOT have been done. But the moral high ground does not allow consideration of the real question facing the real decision-maker. The only way the moral-high-grounder can address the real question is with hindsight and counterfactuals.

Well, here are some counter-counterfactuals.

1. The Japanese government probably knew they were beaten by 1943; they fought on. From their early offensive high-water, they were steadily pushed back on every front. After Midway, they never again struck in the eastern Pacific. After Guadalcanal, they were in constant retreat throughout the Pacific. And yet, as the tides of war rolled against them, the death tolls rapidly accelerated. The bloodiest battles, on land and sea, occurred in the last 6 months of the war – long after the Japanese government knew what the outcome would be. The death toll on Okinawa, the closest island to the Japanese homeland, was 12,520 US soldiers, 110,000 Japanese soldiers, and over 100,000 Japanese civilians, many by suicide. Continue reading ‘Truman’s Cheek’

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A Simple Question

Why do Democrats (the McGovernite New Democratic Party, that is) so regularly beat up on our allies (see Hillary Clinton here getting tough with Israel), while turning on all their considerable charm towards the regimes that despise us the most (Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro)? Continue reading ‘A Simple Question’

Just Wild About Harry

A while ago I did some research and found striking descriptions of 1930’s Appeasement by one of its architects and one of its opponents (Chamberlain and Attlee).  Continue reading ‘Just Wild About Harry’

The Obama Doctrine?

Peter Wehner at Contentions, the Commentary blog, has an excellent short posting about the Obama Doctrine:

“At a new conference yesterday, President Obama took a shot at defining the Obama Doctrine. Here’s my effort at defining it: The Obama Doctrine means criticizing past presidents, Democratic and Republican; apologizing for past American sins, real and imagined, to both allies and enemies of the United States, on domestic and, preferably, foreign soil — in the hope that doing so allows Obama to speak with greater moral force and clarity. The overriding goal of the Obama Doctrine is to make the person it is named after look good, rather than, and if necessary at the expense of, the nation he was elected to represent.

He omitted only to mention the tendency to show toughness by pressuring our allies, and to show understanding by going easy on our enemies.   To repeat myself only slightly:

President Obama’s recent forays into the wider world have been positively Chamberlainesque (although there is no evidence that Chamberlain ever actually bowed to Hitler.) His humble apologies for our sins, his delicate refusal to criticize Iran’s warmongering or Saudi Arabia’s persecution of women or China’s dictatorship, his pious moral equivalence of Israel and Iran/Hamas/Hezbollah. And now the bi-lingual embrace of “mi amigo” Chavez.

Obama’s entire pre-presidential experience and body of work can be summed up as “effective self-promotion.” If he continues to think that the solutions to every problem is “More Obama,” then we are all in for a very rough time.

Dear Wikipedia: About those Democrats…

The Democratic Party is… the oldest political party in continuous operation in the United States and it is one of the oldest parties in the world.

“The Democratic Party traces its origins to the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792.”

–Wikipedia

 

 

Dear Wikipedia:

 

The above-quoted information is incorrect.  You have apparently confused the currently-existing Democratic Party with its predecessor, the Democratic Party of Jefferson, Jackson, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and LBJ.  That party was driven out of existence by the new Democratic Party founded by George McGovern in 1972.

  Continue reading ‘Dear Wikipedia: About those Democrats…’


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