Schlesinger Omits Key Facts

In his WaPo column, “Bush’s Thousand Days,” former Kennedy advisor turned liberal hagiographer, Arthur Schlesinger, argues that Bush improperly led America into a preemptive war.

Schlesinger cites Lincoln, Truman, Eisenhower and of course, JFK (How could he not cite JFK.) as Presidents who had the opportunity to use preemption but wisely chose not to.

But there is one problem with Schlesinger’s column: The Facts.

Kennedy supported a pre-emptive invasion of Cuba. This was called the Bay of Pigs invasion where a group of Cuban expats, trained and equipped by the CIA landed on the shores of Cuba.

Schlesinger then cites Lincoln who, as a member of Congress, opposed the Mexican War.

But, when the Confederacy attacked Ft. Sumter, Lincoln did not wait for a Congressional Declaration of war, he went forward and fought back.

Schlesinger also must have forgotten Kennedy’s sending advisors to Vietnam another “pre-emptive-ish” action.

Truman also sent military advisors to aide the French in Vietnam under the Truman Doctrine.

Schlesinger also fails to note that Eisenhower used the CIA to overthow the Prime Minister of Iran and install the Shah, overthow the elected government of Guatemala, sent the Marines into Lebanon, and got the whole Bay of Pigs invasion going.
Of course, the use of the CIA to overthrow governments was condemned by liberals in the 70s and over the next three decades the CIA became a sclerotic bureacracy whose only covert operations are leaks to the Washington Post.

But the greatest err on Schlesinger’s part is ignoring the long line of U.N. Resolutions against Iraq and that toppling of Saddam’s regime had been U.S. policy since the 1998 passage of the Iraq Liberation Act.

No Arthur, the Iraq was was not the messianic adventure you describe, unless you call votes by an overwhelming membership of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and Security Council Resolutions messianic.

Just as Schlesinger is so willing to forget the facts of the past, he is willing to twist the facts of the present.

He is not a historian, he is political operative whose role is to write history favorably for his ideology–no matter the facts.

2 Responses to “Schlesinger Omits Key Facts”

  1. Lonnie Says:

    Schlesinger praise JFK and selectively forget Bay of Pigs? No!

    He doesn’t live in reality, just a community ‘based’ on it.

  2. Bob R. Says:

    None of the actions cited about Presidents Lincoln, Eisenhower, or Kennedy amounted to a pre-emptive war by any stretch of the imagination. And none of the above seemed to obsess about a “bad guy” like Saddam Hussein to the point of initiating war plans (as GWB and co. apparently did well before 9/11).

    The only comparable act that I can think of in American history was the invasion of Mexico (under the orders of President Buchanan?), fueled by an illusion of “Manifest Destiny.”

    Frankly, I cringe in shame at the actions of GWB’s administration.