Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 9, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

UNHINGED HAWKERY....Matt Yglesias responds to Joe Lieberman's risible idea that George Bush is the real heir to the Democratic Party tradition of hawkish internationalism:

You'd have to be an idiot to draw from the FDR-Truman school of internationalism the simple lesson that a disposition to start wars is a good idea. After all, JFK was "hawkish," too, but Lieberman seems to forget that his act of hawkery in Vietnam turned out to be a huge fiasco, and his foreign policy triumph came during the Cuban Missile Crisis when he wisely rejected the counsels of the preventive war crowd and instead struck a pragmatic deal.

Obviously all-war all-the-time has long been Lieberman's signature contribution to Democratic Party thinking (like Bill Kristol on the other side) but the willingness of others to swallow the idea that the "internationalism" of the liberal tradition amounts simply to a disposition to kill foreigners is really insane.

"Insane" really is the right word here. Thanks to guys like Kristol, our foreign policy decisions have been increasingly framed through the lens of whether you're willing to go to war. Not any particular war, but simply whether you're willing to go to war in general. It's Prussianism gone wild: every war is a good war.

What makes Lieberman's idea even crazier is that Truman avoided more wars than he joined. That was the whole point of containment. He didn't try to roll back Soviet gains in Eastern Europe; he provided aid to Greece and Turkey but no troops beyond a tiny advisory group; he airlifted supplies to Berlin but didn't start a war over the Soviet blockade; and when he did go to war in Korea, he worked hard to get UN support. Given their actual records, does anyone seriously think that FDR, Truman, or JFK would have invaded Iraq if any of them had been president after 9/11? Anyone?

Kevin Drum 12:37 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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You'd have to be an idiot

Well, that's Lieberman.

Posted by: Jenna's Bush on November 9, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Killing lots of brown people:

The [only] force that gives life meaning.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on November 9, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Given their actual records, does anyone seriously think that FDR, Truman, or JFK would have invaded Iraq if any of them had been president after 9/11? Anyone?

Of course. We all remember how, after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, FDR responded by declaring war on Belgium. He surely would've followed that pattern and responded to 9/11 by attacking Iraq.

Posted by: TR on November 9, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

. . . does anyone seriously think that FDR, Truman, or JFK would have invaded Iraq if any of them had been president after 9/11? Anyone?

Well, probably Joe Lieberman does, but he's an ass.

Posted by: David Bailey on November 9, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Given the hollywoodization of our culture this seems inevitable. Most good epic stories demand a war, so our thinking gets skewed into thinking of war as a universal solution. Should we be surprised that this sort of militarism is becoming pervasive in our politics as well? Politics has evolved into a toughness worshipping cult. What more direct way to show ones toughness bona-fiides than to rush into war!

Posted by: bigTom on November 9, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Hear, hear! (Though the Yglesias point is far from new or unique.)

There IS a pacifistic wing of the Democratic party, but it's neither big nor powerful. It really is astounding how conservatives have managed to paint the party of FDR, Truman and fer chrissake even Clinton as pacifistic or overly-timid about the use of force.

We've got one party that more-or-less stands for the judicious use of force, and one party that's largely run by people willing to bomb just about anybody who can't bomb us back. Add to that that this latter party flip-flops back and forth, as convenient, between asserting that (a) military intervention can never be based on moral considerations and (b) we have a moral obligation to bring democracy to more-or-less EVERYWHERE more-or-less NOW, and you've got a really toxic and unstable combination...

Posted by: Winston Smith on November 9, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone think Kristol or Leiberman would have supported Truman over MacArthur?

Posted by: JIMMY on November 9, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman is a vulture picking over the icons of a dead republic, and nothing more.

Posted by: Boronx on November 9, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

does anyone seriously think that FDR, Truman, or JFK would have invaded Iraq if any of them had been president after 9/11?

I was going to say that Bush does, but realized he doesn't seriously think.

Posted by: tomeck on November 9, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

This is no joke: if you Google the words "batshit insane," one if the top links you'll find is to a NYT article entitled "Mideast Hawks Help to Develop Giuliani Policy." I know the Times doesn't use that kind of language -- maybe it's from the online comments. But appropriate nonetheless.

Posted by: Chris K on November 9, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

"he airlifted supplies to Berlin but didn't start a war over the Soviet blockade"

The Berlin Airlift was America's finest moment. Not only did we avoid war, but we proved that would bear any cost to help people in need. Not bomb them, help them. And we also proved that with our economic system, we could afford to bear any cost without much harm to our economy. Had the situation been reversed, the Soviets simply could not pull off such an operation. And everyone knew it. No wonder we were so popular back then.

Posted by: fostert on November 9, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I really resent your upholding of "insane" as Senator Lieberman's proper depiction.

Posted by: The word "Evil" on November 9, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

About the Prussians, if there was ever a statesman who used war to his country's advantage, it was Otto von Bismark. The modern state of Germany was created by his wars against Austria and France, after all. But Bismark knew when to quit also, as this quote illustrates:

"The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier." - unsourced

Posted by: David W. on November 9, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Kevin, for taking on this latest bit of Holy Joe crapola.

Posted by: JohnN on November 9, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

It is not surprising Lieberman is forever eager for war while JFK and Truman tried to avoid it where possible. For Lieberman (Bush, Cheney and the neocons) war is an abstract concept. To them geopolitics is like a giant game of Risk.

For JFK and Truman war was a life experience. If you have ever encountered war you try to avoid it if at all possible.

Posted by: corpus juris on November 9, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's also worth noting that Truman did not attack North Korea pre-emptively or in any other way. North Korea attacked South Korea and the U.S. was caught by surprise.

The Berlin airlift was brilliant counter to the Soviet Blockade for another reason as well. Three years after they had been risking their lives to destroy German cities, American and British fliers were risking their lives (there were several fatal crashes) to keep Berlin alive. The German people took note and in a real sense, the Berlin Airlift was the real end of the Second World War in Europe, at least as far as the Germans, Americans, French and British were concerned. All were standing against a common foe and when the Airlift succeeded, they had become allies in successful cause.

Once American pilots began dropping candy in tiny parachutes to the kids gathered around the approaches to watch the planes come in, the specter of a third German War vanished forever. Today, a war between Germany and France is as absurd as the notion of a war between Wisconsin and Minnesota. T'was not always so.

Posted by: Edward Furey on November 9, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

While I am sure that JoMentum has a less than objective academic motive for linking G.W.Bush to traditional Democratic hawks, its not totally crazy. It is basically the idea put forward by Greg Grandin in his excellent book Empire's Workshop. Until reading that book I had not known that JFK was responsible for setting up the vast network of paramilitary death squads that terrorized Latin America.

Posted by: Jell on November 9, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the Bush method is great if you don't actually want to resolve the problems in the Middle East.

Posted by: maurinsky on November 9, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

FDR? Oh, hell yes.

Posted by: Brian on November 9, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Didja see this one? Sore Loser-Man calls Democratic base "paranoid".


Posted by: jrw on November 9, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Speakign of unhinged hawkery, I'm surprised "ex-liberal" hasn't weighed in with more of his disingenuous neocon bullshit.

Posted by: Gregory on November 9, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

A party which "more-or-less stands for the judicious use of force" needs some ready guidelines for when and how force should be used. What constitutes the judicious use of force is usually scenario-driven. As is readily learned from history, once the decision to use force is made, using too little force can be or worse than using too much.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 9, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

I would say, categorically, that FDR, Truman, and even JFK would NOT have invaded Iraq if any of them had been president after 9/11. Iraq remains a colossal, unique piece of bad judgment, and no amount of after-the-fact rationalizing (we're looking at you, Lieberman) can make it right.

In general, wars do not start out of the blue; Leaders of nations--FDR, Truman, JFK-- are informed by paradigms. Even the quagmire of Vietnam had the 10-year logic of the Cold War behind it. WW2 could be previewed five years before Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia although Germany's neighbors--still recovering from WW1--kept hoping they could deflect German ambitions.

But what paradigm informed the invasion of Iraq? A series of incidents over a 10 year period prior to 9/11 had made clear that a band of crazy religious extremists had emerged. In light of that, invading Afghanistan--the rogue state that was sheltering those extremists--made sense.

But Iraq? No single paradigm informed that decision. One paradigm was the simple one idea of toppling Saddam Hussein to finish the business of the first Gulf War. A second one was the Neo-Con RISK game move of producing peace and protecting Israel by destablizing the ME. A third was to secure American oil interests in Iraqi. A fourth was Bushco's ambition to consolidate the conservative grip on the USA. A fifth was the enactment of a conservative psychodrama to prove their manhood, Conservatives being convinced that Americans "lost" in Vietnam because we didn't have the guts to stick it out. That bee has buzzing been since the last helicopter lifted off in Saigon in 1975.

But it took a special trifecta of cold-blooded incoherence combined with reckless bravado and indifference to the pain of others to muddle all these influences into a "Global War on Terror." I still can't understand why Americans were so easily duped into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ready to launch at the USA.

FDR, Truman, Kennedy were more or less sane. They just weren't "brilliant" in the same way as Dubya, that special boy.

Posted by: PTate in MN on November 9, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Given their actual records, does anyone seriously think that FDR, Truman, or JFK would have invaded Iraq if any of them had been president after 9/11? Anyone?

I concur with TR and Brian. FDR would have eagerly invaded. Franklin Roosevelt was a warmonger his entire career. In the Wilson administration he was one of the driving forces behind our meddling in the Caribbean and Central America, frequently going over the head of the more cautious Secretary Daniels. He eagerly supported our entry into WW I, and he resisted demobilization between the wars.

Franklin Roosevelt was always looking for the right opportunity to attack Japan. From his family background (the Delanos lived in China and witnessed Japanese atrocities there) he absorbed a hatred of Japan and a general sense that it was an evil nation. In this his attitude was very like Bush's toward Iraq.

Posted by: mdl on November 9, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Given their actual records, does anyone seriously think that FDR, Truman, or JFK would have invaded Iraq if any of them had been president after 9/11? Anyone?
No, not even FDR. I believe all three would have invaded Afghanistan &, possibly, Pakistan, given the evidence of Musharraf's sponsorship of AQ. None would have drawn down in Afghanistan, which was necessary to attack Iraq, before pacification of the area. Remember that during WW II, FDR fought only a holding action in the Pacific, even giving ground when necessary, until the Germans were completely defeated. Only then did he launch the all out Pacific offensive against Japan.

Here's another interesting question. Would any of the 3 have initiated the 1st Gulf War? If so, would they have finished off Saddam rather than leaving the job for later?

Posted by: bob in fla on November 9, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

As Bob Dole once said "If we total all the dead and wounded from all the Democrat Wars over the past century..."

You don't think JFK, Truman or Roosevelt would have invaded Iraq after 9-11? Maybe yes, maybe no. But if you're talking Democrats you also have to include Woodrow Wilson, you got the U.S. involved in the disaster of World War I; LBJ, who's bombs help kill millions of Vietmanese and of course Bill Clinton, who dropped bombs on Serbia in another undeclared war just like Iraq.

In a party filled with ex-Democrats (Southerners, Northeast intellectuals) wouldn't it be only natural that Bush II would claim that legacy for the Republicans? What's the difference between the 1940s Democratic Party and this centuray's Republican Party? Both are Southern based, both are pro-Israel, both are hawkish, both traditionalist, the similarities are endless.

Don't you see what Ron Paul's fighting against? He's the one who represents real Republicanism. Bob Taft Republicanism. Robert LaFollette Republicanism. Only he can stop these bastards and leave them without a party. Wouldn't you all like to see that? Well it can happen if you only took off your ideological blinders and studied your history a little bit.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on November 9, 2007 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

mdl - "From his family background (the Delanos lived in China and witnessed Japanese atrocities there."
The Delanos were active in the Chinese tea, silk and opium trade during the 1830-60's. The Japanese first invaded China during WWI and occupied the German-ruled port of Wei-he-Wei (and possibly a small area around it). They next invaded China in 1931 (Manchuria) and expanded that invasion to South China in 1937.
If anything, FDR (as did Churchill) suffered from the prevalent view that the Japanese military, while effective against the Chinese, simply wasn't in the same class as the British or the U.S. They weren't white, doncha know?
Pearl Harbor, the Philipines, and Singapore changed that assessment.

Posted by: Doug on November 9, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman is simply paying back the people who got him re-elected, Republicans. Why would you be surprised to watch Joe kiss,kiss,kiss GwB. Plus he and GwB share a love of Israel, the only country GwB had ever been to before he became Prez.

Posted by: TJM on November 9, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Thank You!

I find it ridiculous anytime someone suggests that there is no difference between the Dems and the Republicans. Not even our most hawkish contender for the nomination this year would have gone into Iraq in response to the attacks of 9/11. To do so would violate the traditions of Democratic Foreign Policy.

Posted by: Chris Andersen on November 9, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't you see what Ron Paul's fighting against? He's the one who represents real Republicanism. Bob Taft Republicanism. Robert LaFollette Republicanism."

Bob Taft Republicanism was different from Lafollette Republicanism.

Paul may be a little bit like Taft on the domestic economy, but Taft took advantage of Joe McCarthy's red-baiting without hesitation and opposed what he considered bad - Truman's interventionism and expansion of executive power, by supporting worse, MacArthur and his nuke China philosophy.

Paul has more in common with LaFollette's foreign policy views, but LaFollette was not a pure free-marketeer by any means.

Posted by: Spockamok on November 9, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Liberman's intellect cannot grasp that for every action there is a reaction; he only gets the action part. Or perhaps he does not care about reactions and consequences because they will fall on someone else. He is a dumb little man.

Posted by: bob h on November 10, 2007 at 6:27 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, Lieberman hasn't changed much since 2000. The Dems have been hijacked by a lunatic fringe, in case y'all haven't noticed.

Posted by: daveinboca on November 10, 2007 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Ubiquitous troll Dave from the party of Bill Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Dick Cheney and Pat Robertson shows up accusing the other party of being highjacked by a lunatic fringe. Complete with a link that doesn't go anywhere.

Very impressive, Dave. Projection on a grand scale.

Posted by: Pug on November 10, 2007 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

It gets WAY down in the weeds, but what the hell, it's not often relevant: one of the great switcheroos of all time is the way Germany declared war on the US after Pearl Harbor. It's such a WTF? moment that folks almost never mention it -- but it does sorta shed light on the otherwise entirely speculative WWFDRD.

As I remember it, on December 4 1941, one of FDR's political enemies (an isolationist Republican) leaked America's secret war plans in the event of a war with Germany to the Chicago Tribune, which was sorta the Weekly Standard/National Review of the day, defined largely by its opposition to Democrats.

Hitler saw the plans, which IIRC did not impress the non-Nazi German generals much, since of course all countries have plans for war with all other countries. (Canada has a detailed plan for invading the US, researched by a guy who travelled all over upstate NY checking out the transportation routes in the 30s, as I recall. Beware the friendly guy in the flannel shirt shopping for roadside cider, eh?)

But it impressed hell out of Hitler that FDR was actually ready for war with Germany -- so when America was FORCED into a war with Japan, he immediately (and inexplicably) decided to give America a war with Germany at the same time, which is the war that FDR wanted to fight first, anyway. Hitler actually cited the leak when he declared war on the US on December 11th.

The contrasts are amazing -- for one thing, it isn't actually that hard to imagine a modern Republican (Tom DeLay, regarding the Balkans) openly undermining a Democratic President on a national security issue, but the irony of contemplating Republicans in 1941 doing something that would be hard to describe as anything BUT treasonous, and which is directly connected to their current iconography (Reagan resurrected the career of General Wedemeyer, who wrote the plan and was the probable source of the leak).

But since Leiberman's idea is that FDR would have invaded Iraq without much int'l support while still fighting in Afghanistan, it's worth noting that there is some evidence that FDR himself arranged to the leak to -- oops! -- happen in the first place: Stephenson, the man called Intrepid, hinted that he was authorized to leak the plan to FDR's isolationist opponents SO THAT they would leak it to the press, provoking Hitler.

It's simply false that FDR knew that Japan would attack at Pearl Harbor and let it happen, to unite the country: that's a very old Republican lie. But the way Hitler declared war on the US when, if ya really want to speculate, he might have chosen NOT to (since after all he was already losing at Stalingrad), well...

I dunno as I subscribe to the FDR as Machiavellian Superman myth, but it IS an impressive contrast with Bush's bumbling.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 10, 2007 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

daveinboca: The Dems have been hijacked by a lunatic fringe, in case y'all haven't noticed.

20% of Americans who want the next president to be like GWB - NBC/WSJ 11/08/07

20% = lunatic fringe

Posted by: mr. irony on November 10, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK


Posted by: mhr on November 10, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Roosevelt didn't get the attack he wanted until Pearl Harbor, then got the needed public support to go to war for Europe.

Bush didn't have the support for the war he wanted until 9/11, then got the needed public support to go to war for Israel.

With hindsight is it clear we needn't have suffered the casualties of the Greatest Naive Generation. The Nazis never even made it across the English Channel, much less threatened the U.S. We probably could have just supplied England and the Soviet Union and put a nuke on Japan and Germany simultaneously.

... For 20 years, Americans felt we had been had by the Brits and had been suckered into war "only to pull England's chestnuts out of the fire." This sentiment fueled the greatest of all antiwar movements in U.S. history, America First.

The achievements of that organization are monumental. By keeping America out of World War II until Hitler attacked Stalin in June of 1941, Soviet Russia, not America, bore the brunt of the fighting, bleeding and dying to defeat Nazi Germany. Thanks to America First, no nation suffered less in the world's worst war.

Pearl Harbor, which FDR cynically provoked after assuring Americans he was doing his best to keep us out of war, finished the America First movement. But, four years later, with victory won, America demanded that Truman "Bring the Boys Home."

Hard to say about Truman and JFK. They were certainly no prizes.

Posted by: Luther on November 10, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Luther -- you're like, what, 12?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 10, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

The Americanist:Hitler actually cited the leak when he declared war on the US on December 11th.

Hitler, as I'm sure you know, withdrew his "declaration of war" on 12/12/41. The previous day, a note was delivered by the Charge d'Affaires, Dr Hans Thomsen. This is the note The retraction was, however, delivered.
See here.

The major national public opinion polls of the time were the Gallup Poll and the Roper/Fortune magazine poll. They reveal that in the period covering December 11, 1941 through February 1942, somewhere between 64 and 68.5 per cent of Americans surveyed agreed with President Roosevelt's public statements that blamed Germany for Pearl Harbor by asserting that Germany was the driving force behind the actions of its Japanese puppet.[10]

Prior to Pearl Harbor week, interventionist Congressmen insisted on several occasions that they would not be stampeded into any greater warlike policy by a mere declaration from the mouth of Adolf Hitler.

The only known instance in which President Roosevelt directly answered the question of what would be the U.S. response to a possible German declaration or ultimatum, was recorded on the FDR Oval Office tapes.

The Americanist:on December 4 1941, one of FDR's political enemies (an isolationist Republican) leaked America's secret war plans in the event of a war with Germany to the Chicago Tribune,

Near as can tell, the article you reference was more about the Japanese codes broken by the US Navy. The only reference I can find the your version is from the blog "Hot Air".

This is from Jack Kelly (one crazy mo'fo') The Chicago Tribune spilled the beans in a story that ran under the headline: "NAVY HAD WORD OF JAP PLAN TO STRIKE AT SEA."

Posted by: TM on November 10, 2007 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

This is the Chicago Tribune headline from 12/4/41

Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963) - Chicago, Ill.
Date: Dec 4, 1941

Posted by: TJM on November 10, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yup, that's the article -- December 4th in the Tribune, like I said.

The way the US was slurped into WW2 doesn't suffer from a lack of fever swamp thinking, so FWIW this is the easiest way to sort it out, IMNSHO: It wasn't as easy as it looks in retrospect to see, fear, and resolve to resist the rise of fascism in the 30s. As late as 1936, major players in Britain (e.g., the Times) were saying that Germany was more to be pitied and helped than anything to worry about, and all the way through Munich the goal of Britain's policymakers was to get Hitler and Stalin to fight each other (that's why Chamberlain gave him Czechoslovakia), but certainly not for France and Britain to fight him: no need, Communism was the greater threat at home and abroad.

FDR saw through that crap from at least 1934. He realized that Fascism was a DIFFERENT, and potentially more dangerous threat than Communism when most of his peers thought the opposite, often with anti-Semitic overtones.

Japan was never a German puppet, and for family reasons (mostly Teddy and his widow, not the Delanos) as well as cuz of his naval experience, FDR understood Japan as well as anybody in the US. By the fall of 1941, FDR was willing to basically strangle Japan's access to oil, knowing that this would surely lead to war, which he rightly figured Japan was trying to provoke anyway cuz they thought they could take Indochina and East Indies, as in fact they did.

But nobody saw Pearl Harbor coming, though there WERE signals intercepted that, like the signs for 9-11, were missed in all the noise. Everybody figured Japan's primary targets were the places with oil, like the West Indies, maybe the Philippines, with an eventual goal of Indochina and even Australia: Hawaii was thousands of miles away and the American Navy was nobody to punch in the nose. So give the Japanese Navy their due -- they pulled off one of the great surprise attacks of all time -- didn't just bloody our nose, but broke it with the first punch. It was sheer luck that they didn't get the carriers, just like it was sheer luck that McCluskey and Best's divebombers found Japan's carriers when they did, at Midway. Luck counts in war. 'Nuff said.

What I was pointing to is the amazing contrast between FDR and Bush, cuz after all they DO have the same job. FDR was one cunning sumbitch the way he manipulated his political enemies into doing what he wanted, from Hitler to Wheeler -- appointing the leading anti-British isolationist to be Ambassador to Britain at the beginning of the war, f'r instance: what was Joe Kennedy gonna do, say no? (FDR showed him who was boss, btw, by literally had him pull down his pants first, no less: in the Oval Office, with Pa Watson.)

But it's important FOR the contrast to remember that FDR had real enemies, no less ferocious for being merely political rather than killers like Hitler: Burton Wheeler, for one. The country wasn't united before Pearl Harbor any more than it was united before 9-11. And yet time and again, FDR's political enemies do stuff that helps him, rather than hurts him: damndest thing to see, the closer you look at it.

Most historians think America's plans for war with Germany were leaked from Wedemeyer to Wheeler to the Chesly Manly at the Tribune. That would certainly make sense -- FDR said about this time that one of Wheeler's speeches was "the most untruthful, dastardly, unpatriotic thing that has been said in public life in my generation."

But even though you can't prove it, the Stephenson hint that he was authorized to leak the plan to FDR's enemies so that THEY would publicize it, which Roosevelt certainly knew would provoke Hitler, makes ya wonder. FDR certainly never underestimated the isolationists: did he really plan to provoke HITLER into declaring war, to save America the trouble?

The fact that it is even responsibly conceivable that an American President would have authorized an ally's top spy to leak an American war plan in order to provoke the dictator who had conquered nearly all of Europe into declaring war on the US, to get FDR's military priorities which might otherwise have been difficult to achieve, is a HELLUVA contrast with Bush.

I suppose an equivalent three corner shot would have been if in 2003 Bush had managed to get Saudi Arabia to provoke Saddam Hussein to invite bin Laden to Baghdad for a conference hosted by AQ Khan. (I wonder if that one is still in Judy Miller's notes.)

LOL -- watch for it in Joe Leiberman's next speech.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 11, 2007 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK



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