Charles Krauthammer reminds us that Cindy Sheehan is not the first parent to say unkind things about a war President. Check this out:
"'Harry, what the hell are you doing campaigning for that crippled son-of-a-bitch that killed my son Joe?' [Joseph P.] Kennedy said, referring to his oldest son, who had died in the war. Kennedy went on, saying Roosevelt had caused the war. Truman, by his later account, stood all he could, then told Kennedy to keep quiet or he would throw him out the window." ("Truman," by David McCullough, Page 328)
Harry is soon to be VP Truman. The cripple is Pres. Roosevelt. Joe is 20-something Joe Kennedy, who was killed in Germany. The critic is Joseph P. Kennedy, father of the current Senator from Massachusetts.
All of this stuff about lying and "causing a war" has a familiar ring. What they are saying about Bush is the same thing that they said about FDR.
Many years ago, there was a huge cottage industry about how FDR lied about his intentions to take the US to war. Some people even believed that FDR had prior knowledge of Pearl Harbor but did nothing about it.
FDR had a huge advantage over Bush. He shut down the US media during WW2. You were either with us or against us back then. FDR did not allow reporters to second guess him or the military.
Bush has to run a war with a news media that voted in large numbers for his opponent and goes out of its way to emphasize the negatives. FDR did not have that problem. In fact, most Americans did not even know that FDR conducted the war from a wheel chair.
Just ask yourself this question.
How much support would FDR had maintained if the American people had read about all of the military failures of '42, '43 and '44?
How much support would FDR had maintained if the NYTimes had been writing editorials about how he lied about the war?
What if the Republicans had said: We were attacked by Japan but spent most of our resources fighting Germany?
What if a filmmaker had a made a documentary saying that the war was illegal?
What was our exit strategy in mid-1944? or in the summer of 1945? The atomic bomb? An invasion of Japan?
FDR did not have to give us an exit strategy or read about leaks in the media. WW2 critics were not allowed to say anything.
Are today's terrorists more dangerous than Hitler?
History will answer that question definitely.
Churchill spent much of the 1930s being ridiculed because he was warning Europe about the Hitler threat.
Today, he is regarded as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.
Over here, the overwhelming majority of Americans did not see a good reason to go to war. FDR spent most of 1939-41 trying to persuade Americans that Hitler was a terrible threat. Yet, most Americans did not agree with him.
Did FDR lie? Frankly, I don't know. It's difficult for me to make that claim. I wasn't in the Oval Office. I did not see the information that FDR saw.
Hitler may not have been a direct threat to the US in late '41. Yet, a nuclear Hitler would have been in the mid 1940s.
Hitler's military machine had to be destroyed. Sooner or later, his war machine would have threatened commercial sea lanes or other US interests.
Sooner or later, bad guys have to be dealt with, specially when everyone believes that the bad guys have WMDs!
Nevertheless, there is a huge difference between today and 1941. As Christopher Hitchens wrote:
"When Jeanette Rankin was speaking so powerfully on Capitol Hill against U.S. entry into World War I, or Sen. W.E. Borah and Charles Lindbergh were making the same earnest case about the remoteness from American concern of the tussles in Central and Eastern Europe in 1936 and 1940, it was possible to believe in the difference between "over here" and "over there."
There is not now as we have good reason to know from the London Underground to the Palestinian diaspora murdered in Amman to the no-go suburbs of France any such distinction." (http://www.slate.com/id/2130883/ )
At the end of the day, I am not the kind of guy who wants to take chances with people who want to blow up my neighborhood. I believe that you deal with problems now or you deal with bigger problems later.
In the enemy's mind, we are either strong or weak. Frankly, I'd rather be strong because weakness invites more attacks.
We will likely be attacked again. It won't be because because we were too tough. It will be because we were not tough enough!
FDR was right in '41 and Bush is right today.
P.S. I would recommend a couple of articles:
1) The Secret Polish Documents (http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v04/v04p135_Weber.html) by MARK WEBER
2) How Franklin Roosevelt Lied America Into War by William Henry Chamberlin ( http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v14/v14n6p19_Chamberlin.html)