Backtalk, April 8, 2008

Was WWII Really ‘The Good War’?

Pat Buchanan says: “[T]he destruction of the Jews of Europe was a consequence of this war, not a cause.” Perhaps it was not a “cause” of the war, but neither was it a consequence. The murder of the Jews was uppermost in the minds of the Nazis from the very beginning. The abrogation of the rights of Jews began in 1933, and the Nuremberg Laws, which effectively stripped Jews of all rights and led to their destruction, were promulgated in 1935, six years and four years, respectively, before the invasion of Poland. …

~ Marshall De Bruhl, author, Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden

Why They Hate China

“If the Chinese are wrong to hold on to their province of Tibet, then Lincoln was wrong to insist that the South stay in the Union – and we ought to immediately either grant the American Southwest (and California) independence, or else give it all back to the Mexicans.

“The same goes for Taiwan – China’s rulers are no more likely to give up their claim to that island than Lincoln was inclined to let the Confederacy hold on in, say, Key West, Fla.”

The Dalai Lama is not asking for independence, and has not been for some time, but rather for autonomy for the Tibetan region within China akin to Hong Kong’s current status.

Nevertheless, Lincoln was wrong, as you know, and Daniel McCarthy called on the conservative value of prudence in rejecting the cult of Abraham Lincoln, stating that “we fallible humans should proceed with maximum caution when it comes to enforcing axiomatic moral claims at gunpoint.” He offers a conservative solution: “we’d probably all be better off separating into different communities based on shared beliefs and values rather than imposing one set on everybody.”

This is precisely what the Dalai Lama is calling for: separating into a different community with autonomy.

Justin, please do not slip into the Lincolnian cult to make your point.

~ John Suarez

Diego Garcia: The Other Guantánamo

The secret expulsion of the Chagossians is one of the most deeply shameful episodes of recent British history. It continues to be covered up – the BBC customarily refers to Diego Garcia as “uninhabited”; if it spoke the truth and said “forcibly depopulated,” more of the British public would become aware of the issue, which is little-known among the general public. Given the famous British love of animals, if a popular newspaper revealed that the islanders’ dogs were killed in a form of psychological warfare to force them to leave, there would probably be a large outcry, more so than just the stating the fact of the indigenous people’s expulsion – a sad comment on some of my fellow-countrymen’s priorities.

The UK MSM are not quite as supine as their U.S. equivalent, but they still mostly are cravenly aligned with power, and so the poor Chagossians continue to fester in poverty and injustice in Mauritius.

~ Julian Jackson

A Liberal Politician Libertarians Can Appreciate

While I generally agree with David Henderson’s piece at today, one must point out the ambiguity of John Quincy Adams’ oft-cited statement “America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy (7/4/1821).” It should be evident it was case-specific with respect to U.S. involvement in the Greek revolt against the Turks, for which there was a great deal of sympathy in the U.S.

At the same time, J.Q. Adams was James Monroe’s secretary of state (often rated as our best!) and was busy authoring the Monroe Doctrine (1823) for the president.

That was, of course, our declaration of hegemonic rule in the Western Hemisphere, not disavowed verbally until the 1920s, and not in reality even today, as evidenced by our continued interventions to the south, first begun by George Washington in 1792 in Haiti. In the 1930s the U.S. forbade any such “doctrine” for the Japanese in Asia, and that led to a war. The U.S. tends to be against intervention, except when we do it. Now, George W. Bush has, in effect, proclaimed a global Monroe Doctrine called GWOT.

Some “liberal” politician, John Quincy Adams! As president in 1825, he soon laid out plans for what remains perhaps the most extensive mercantilist program for American government ever enunciated. At that time the railroad corporations were already getting state subsidies not exceeded by the Feds until WWI, and our even more generous policies today, such as the latest Fed/corporatist bailout of Wall Street.

The election of Andrew Jackson in 1828 halted that particular grand scheme for a time!

What kind of grass are you smoking, David? If your article is any indication, “libertarian” scholars need to read a bit more history.

~ Bill Marina

David R. Henderson replies:

Dear Mr. Marina,

Thank you for your letter. It did inform me about a number of things I hadn’t known about. Notice, though, that it doesn’t contradict anything that I wrote. I wrote, “I believe that, in the words of our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, the government should not go abroad ‘in search of monsters to destroy.'” In other words, I agree with Adams’ words. You pointed out that Adams, as secretary of state, was applying that idea to a very narrow case. I’m sure you’re right. I wasn’t applying it to a narrow case. Adams’ failure to be consistent should not be grounds for rejecting the idea he stated. Also, I said nothing about any of Adams’ other policies. So although your background on his domestic policy views – which do sound horrible – is interesting and important, it does not contradict anything I wrote.

And no, I don’t smoke grass.

Surge Success Runs Into Sadr

Why do so many writers feel an obligation to repeat the Bush regime’s propaganda that the surge has contained violence?

Violence was contained by three factors: (1) the Sunnis and Shi’ites have succeeded in cleansing each other from mixed neighborhoods, (2) the U.S. government began paying Sunni insurgents not to fight U.S. troops, and (3) Sadr ordered his militia to stand down.

These factors have nothing whatsoever to do with the surge.

~ Paul Craig Roberts


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