T Nation

Sorry Mr. President, You're No FDR

I know, we’ve been here before, but I thought this op-ed was so good I had to share… Especially as Mr. Bush’s self-absorption is becoming so obviously cartoonish in light of his continued incompetence as a human being:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2125344/?nav=ais


Sorry Mr. President, You’re No FDR

Bush’s worst war analogy yet.
By Fred Kaplan

[Caption: Should have taken some history books to Crawford]

A little history is a dangerous thing, and George W. Bush has been sipping from its well all too skimpily. Last week, in an effort to put a positive spin on the breakdown of Iraq’s constitutional assembly, the president noted that Federalist America went through a decade of turbulence before completing its own constitution?a dreadful analogy, in part because the two situations are so radically different, but more because, if the comparison were apt, it would imply that Iraq will be a cauldron of blood and chaos for many decades to come.

Now, President Bush is going further?this time, gulping more than anyone should have to swallow?likening the nature, scope, and stakes of America’s battle in Iraq to those of World War II.

He made the comparison in a speech at San Diego’s Naval Air Station on Aug. 30 to mark the 60th anniversary of V-J Day. In a sense, this is what presidents are supposed to do on such occasions?draw links between the heroes of “the greatest generation” and the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who are fighting for freedom today. But Bush took the analogy beyond the demands of protocol. The clear claims of this speech: Bin Laden and Zarqawi = Hitler and Mussolini. Terrorists = Nazis. Suicide bombers = kamikaze pilots. 1930s isolationists = Clinton-era Democrats. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s determination to spread democracy across the globe = … (could it be?) Bush’s own freedom-spreading policies.

As with his constitutional comparison, it’s a tossup which aspect of this rhetorical game is more egregious: the fact that the two wars are so vastly different in nearly every way imaginable, or the fact that, if they were as similar as President Bush proclaims, he is doing so remarkably little to wage this one.

Accept for a moment the argument that Iraq is but one theater in a global war on terrorism. Overlook that, to the degree this is true, it’s because Bush’s invasion of Iraq?and his many miscalculations afterward?helped make it so. Even so, it would be an enormous leap to claim that the war in Iraq?or the broader war on terror?is the political, strategic, or moral equivalent of World War II.

Al-Qaida or its sundry offshoots could crash many more airplanes, wreck many more buildings, and bomb many more subways?and the magnitude of their power, and the urgency of their threat, would still fall far short of that posed by Nazi Germany. The panzers of the Wehrmacht rolled across the plains of Europe, toppling governments with ease, imposing totalitarian regimes, and killing millions in their wake. This was a war of civilization on a level that today’s war?however you might define it?doesn’t begin to approach.

But let’s say that the two wars?World War II and Iraq (or the broader war on terrorism)?are comparable, that their stakes are even remotely as high. Then why is President Bush fighting this war so tentatively?

From December 1941 to August 1945?the attack on Pearl Harbor until the declaration of Allied victory?the United States manufactured 88,430 tanks and 274,941 combat aircraft. Yet in the two years after the invasion of Iraq, much less the four years since the attack on the World Trade Center, the Bush administration has not built enough armor platings to protect our soldiers’ jeeps from roadside bombs.

To fund World War II, the United States drastically expanded and raised taxes. (At the start of the war, just 4 million Americans had to pay income tax; by its end, 43 million did.) Beyond that, 85 million Americans?half the population at the time?answered the call to buy War Bonds, $185 billion worth. Food was rationed, scrap metal was donated, the entire country was on a war footing. By contrast, President Bush has asked the citizenry for no sacrifice, no campaigns of national purpose, to fight or fund the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. In fact, he has proudly cut taxes, heaving the hundreds of billions of dollars in war costs on top of the already swelling national debt.

If this war’s stakes are comparable to World War II’s, the entire nation should be enlisted in its cause?not necessarily to fight in it, but at least to pay for it. And if President Bush is not willing to call for some sort of national sacrifice, he cannot expect anyone to believe the stakes are really high.


Reflecting on the part of the article stating that if the stakes were the same as WWII most people would be enlisting support. The problem today is that the mainstream media makes it “cool” to be an anti-American, American. What better way to be anti-American than protest our involvement in war. If the liberal bias wasn’t so far reaching in the media there would be alot more support for this war and this president. I think it’s comparable to the way the media slants how dangerous steroids are and draws comparisons that supplements are equally as dangerous as steroids. Because you see, the general public is very uninformed and lazy, they would rather draw their conclusions from the new york slimes or washington post as opposed to research anything and draw their own conclusions.

This author is a moron. First, he doesn’t understand what an analogy is, so he wanders off into some murk about how since this war is not an all-out effort, therefore it’s not the same. Then he has no conclusion to the article. I’ve seen 9th grade essays that were more enlightening than this drivel.

I think comparing Bush to FDR is a crock as well. Anyone who loves FDR should ask why he waited years to suspend oil and other material sales to the Japanese? What did he do about the rape of Nanking? Why did he have to increase the size of and then stack the Supreme Court to get his agenda through (perhaps some of it was unconstitutional?)? Bush is a much more honorable man than FDR ever was.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

I think comparing Bush to FDR is a crock as well. Anyone who loves FDR should ask why he waited years to suspend oil and other material sales to the Japanese? What did he do about the rape of Nanking? Why did he have to increase the size of and then stack the Supreme Court to get his agenda through (perhaps some of it was unconstitutional?)? Bush is a much more honorable man than FDR ever was.[/quote]

Not that I’m a big fan of Bush but Im glad he isnt being compared to FDR (though I think some negative comparisons can be made). I wasnt going to say so because this has the potential to ruffle a lot of feathers and Im not in the mood for an argument but I think FDR was one of our worst presidents.

FDR’s legacy is so entrenched that to question his presidency is seen as heresy by most, making an honest debate on the issue next to impossible.

In my opinion, FDR overstepped his constitutional boundries more than any other president in our history. In doing so, he sent this country on a downward spiral that may one day end, IMO, in totalitarianism of one sort or another. I know that sounds extreme but I think that is where our country is headed (in the long run)and FDR carries much of the blame (though not all, of course).

[quote]LBRTRN wrote:
Not that I’m a big fan of Bush but Im glad he isnt being compared to FDR (though I think some negative comparisons can be made). I wasnt going to say so because this has the potential to ruffle a lot of feathers and Im not in the mood for an argument but I think FDR was one of our worst presidents.

FDR’s legacy is so entrenched that to question his presidency is seen as haracy by most, making an honest debate on the issue next to impossible.

In my opinion, FDR overstepped his constitutional boundries more than any other president in our history. In doing so, he sent this country on a downward spiral that may one day end, IMO, in totolitarianism of one sort or another. I know that sounds extreme but I think that is where our country is headed (in the long run)and FDR carries much of the blame (though not all, of course).[/quote]

Oh Lord, I actually agree with LBRTRN. Something must be wrong.

If I could could I would grind his face off of every single dime in the U.S. I think he is responsable for enabling people to suck on the governments teet while contributing nothing to our society.

[quote]reddog6376 wrote:

Oh Lord, I actually agree with LBRTRN. Something must be wrong.

[/quote]

Lol…Im willing to bet we agree on a lot actually.

[quote]BJBliffert wrote:
If I could could I would grind his face off of every single dime in the U.S. I think he is responsable for enabling people to suck on the governments teet while contributing nothing to our society.[/quote]

If it weren’t for FDR, you would be grinding the faces off of Deutchemarks. But, thanks anyway.

I think you mean if it weren’t for the United States Armed Forces you would be grinding the faces off deutsch marks. Didn’t FDR hesitate at great lengths to get involved in WWII? Didn’t he himself consider it strictly a european matter? I believe he would have willingly allowed hitler to take all of europe had japan not hit pearl harbor.

[quote]snipeout wrote:
I think you mean if it weren’t for the United States Armed Forces you would be grinding the faces off deutsch marks. Didn’t FDR hesitate at great lengths to get involved in WWII? Didn’t he himself consider it strictly a european matter? I believe he would have willingly allowed hitler to take all of europe had japan not hit pearl harbor. [/quote]

I dont like FDR but Im pretty sure he wanted to get involved in WWII prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was Pearl Harbor that got the rest of the country on board.

[quote]snipeout wrote:
I think you mean if it weren’t for the United States Armed Forces you would be grinding the faces off deutsch marks. Didn’t FDR hesitate at great lengths to get involved in WWII? Didn’t he himself consider it strictly a european matter? I believe he would have willingly allowed hitler to take all of europe had japan not hit pearl harbor. [/quote]

That’s like giving credit to the hammer and saw for the house, instead of the architect.

FDR wanted desperately to get into the war. He armed Britian through the lend/lease program. He also had the foresight to appoint Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of the Allies ecen though Ike was somewhere around 500th in line for the job. He also gave a couple guys named Oppenheimer and Teller some money and a quiet little parcel of land to build a new kind of bomb.

[quote]snipeout wrote:
I think you mean if it weren’t for the United States Armed Forces you would be grinding the faces off deutsch marks. Didn’t FDR hesitate at great lengths to get involved in WWII? Didn’t he himself consider it strictly a european matter? I believe he would have willingly allowed hitler to take all of europe had japan not hit pearl harbor. [/quote]

The crazy thing is FDR did want to get involved in WWII. So much so that after WWII there were questions about Pearl harber. That is why the marshall report came out. This is another time in our history where we thought the Prez knew about the attack before hand and did nothing because he wanted in the war.

Give a Prez half a century. People will find one good thing he did, and will make him an icon (of course I don’t think he did much).

Thank God

[quote]BJBliffert wrote:
If I could could I would grind his face off of every single dime in the U.S. I think he is responsable for enabling people to suck on the governments teet while contributing nothing to our society.[/quote]

Amen Brother - I could not afford another FDR - or as I call him the American Stalin

[quote]thor wrote:
BJBliffert wrote:
If I could could I would grind his face off of every single dime in the U.S. I think he is responsable for enabling people to suck on the governments teet while contributing nothing to our society.

Amen Brother - I could not afford another FDR - or as I call him the American Stalin[/quote]

Lol…I like that one…

[quote]hspder wrote:

Sorry Mr. President, You’re No FDR

…[/quote]

Bush can walk.

Is the author trying to say we should reinstitute rationing and the draft?

Or is he trying to say the the war on terror is not worth fighting?

Either way it is a shitty article that adds no information or insight to our situation. Typical partisan political BS.

Those of you blaming FDR for starting government programs need to remember a few things:

  1. This country was at its very lowest during the great depression. There were darn few jobs at that time. If it were not for government programs such as the WPA etc. there would have been a great deal of more social pain. It was needed at the time. However, it should have been a temporary fix.

  2. More blame should be placed on possibly the worst President whoever lived: Lyndon Johnson for his “war on poverty.” The programs set up during LBJ’s administration cost the taxpayers for many many years to come. It also encouraged a system of government dependence which still exists today.

As long as we are on the subject, LBJ was also responsible for escalating the war in Viet Nam…

As far as Bush not being an FDR; it’s not at all fair to compare a sitting President with one who has already given all he had. Time will tell where GW will sit in relationship to other Presidents. There are key issues (obvious to everyone) which will determine whether or not GW is ranked near the top or near the bottom.

For now I am thankful that he’s our President…we could have done far worse!

FDR’s solution to the Great Depression is what bothers me: he set a precedent that allows government to seize more and more control of our lives. When people are in trouble now, they whine for the feds to ‘do something’. Then it’s usually the small businessmen, the true American heroes (I’m a teacher btw) who pay for the mess. Then the same whiners bitch when those real workers get a tax break – what fucking nerve!!

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
This author is a moron. First, he doesn’t understand what an analogy is, so he wanders off into some murk about how since this war is not an all-out effort, therefore it’s not the same. Then he has no conclusion to the article. I’ve seen 9th grade essays that were more enlightening than this drivel.

I think comparing Bush to FDR is a crock as well. Anyone who loves FDR should ask why he waited years to suspend oil and other material sales to the Japanese? What did he do about the rape of Nanking? Why did he have to increase the size of and then stack the Supreme Court to get his agenda through (perhaps some of it was unconstitutional?)? Bush is a much more honorable man than FDR ever was.[/quote]

If Bush was president during ww2 you would be speaking Japanese right now. That comment is the most rediculous I’ve heard in quite some time. You should be ashamed for your comments.