Skip to comments.American mythology (Ref: Fred Thompson) [Barf Alert]
Posted on 09/24/2007 2:00:31 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
'You know," drawled Fred Thompson at a recent rally in Des Moines, Iowa, "you look back over our history and it doesn't take you long to realize that our people have shed more blood for other people's liberty than any other combination of nations in the history of the world."
This is an interesting statement, and not only because Fred Thompson has a good shot at being the Republican nominee for president in 2008, and an outside chance of winning. It's also interesting because of who Thompson is.
Fred Thompson is a Washington lobbyist. That's not what his campaign highlights, but it's what he has been for most of his working life. He is also an actor typecast as the growling, no-nonsense authority figure. And Thompson was, briefly, a U.S. senator who was mainly known for his affable manner and relaxed work ethic. And for being tall. Fred Thompson is very tall.
Thus, Thompson has little experience in management and less in elective office. He has no original ideas that anyone has been able to discern. He has embraced no particular cause. He doesn't even seem terribly interested in being president; it is widely believed his smart and ambitious wife cajoled him into running.
But despite all this, rank-and-file Republicans love the man for one, simple reason: Fred Thompson says only what they believe and he says it the way they want to hear it. And that is what makes Thompson's statement particularly interesting.
Thompson and his speechwriters know that a large swath of the American public believes the United States, alone in the world, fights wars to liberate oppressed people far away. America may occasionally make mistakes -- only very rarely, of course -- but it is always pure of heart.
This belief is dogma. It is a given. And any attempt to critically examine it will be answered with a few factoids and a barrage of condemnations. In that sense, it is the mirror image of the belief held by Noam Chomsky and his followers that the United States is a uniquely wicked power whose actions have brought nothing but woe and misery to the world. What distinguishes the two dogmas is the number of faithful sitting in the pews: Chomsky's cult is vastly outnumbered.
Happily, lots of Americans have not taken leave of reason and so a fact-checker at the Washington Post put the statement that opens this column under a microscope. In eight foreign wars since the late 19th century, the Post found, 623,288 Americans lost their lives. But Soviet losses in the Second World War alone were an order of magnitude greater than that and it was the Soviet Union's victories in the east that broke Nazi Germany's back and led to the liberation of Europe.
Of course the Soviets replaced Nazi chains with their own so it's a little disturbing to think of them as liberators. It's also true the Soviets only got into the war after being attacked, so it's a stretch to see the liberation of Europe as a factor in the country's decision to go to war.
But the same can be said about the American record. Remember that the U.S. sat out the first three years of the First World War and only got involved after German submarines attacked American ships and Germany was exposed urging Mexico to declare war on the U.S. That's quite a contrast with the British Empire, which decided to go to war after Germany invaded France and neutral Belgium. Thus, unlike the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and other countries can plausibly claim to have entered the war for the purpose of liberating foreigners.
And in the course of that war, the British Empire lost one million soldiers -- far more than the U.S. lost in all wars combined. Among the Empire's casualties were 65,000 Canadians -- a per capita loss far greater than the U.S. suffered in any of its foreign wars.
This scenario was repeated in the Second World War.
The U.S. did not declare war on Japan when it invaded China. Nor did it declare war on Germany when the Nazis invaded Poland, or overran Western Europe, or raced across the Soviet Union. Only in December, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, did the U.S. declare war, and even then only against Japan. The U.S. may never have gotten involved in Europe if Hitler hadn't foolishly declared war on the Americans.
Not so Britain, France, Canada and others. They all declared war in response to Germany's invasion of Poland, and so they can all argue they went to war to liberate people far away.
Now, I don't want to answer dogma with dogma. Strategic and national interests played major roles in the decisions of all combatants in the First and Second World Wars. They do in every war. It's a messy world and the motives of nations are seldom simple and pure.
The sort of Americans who cheer for Fred Thompson would agree with that statement -- as it applies to other countries. What they cannot seem to accept is that it applies to their country, too. For them, Americans are unique. The United States is unique. And what sets America and Americans apart is purity of heart.
"We are proud of that heritage," Thompson said in Iowa after citing the mythology of America-the-liberator. "I don't think we have anything to apologize for."
Nothing to apologize for. Never did anything wrong in 231 years of history. Nothing.
This is infantile. And dangerous. A superpower that believes it is pure of heart and the light of the world will inevitably rush in where angels fear to tread. And then it will find itself wondering why the foreigners it so selflessly helps hate it so.
For further reading, see: "Iraq, invasion of."
Dan Gardner's column appears Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. E-mail: email@example.com
Naturally. Canadians are mainly the lapdogs of US liberals.
The American democratic experiment has been successful in many ways. Millions of people around the world look to the United States as a model in their search for freedom, dignity, and prosperity. But the continuing success of American democracy depends on the degree to which each new generation, native-born and immigrant, makes its own the moral truths on which the Founding Fathers staked the future of your Republic. Their commitment to build a free society with liberty and justice for all must be constantly renewed if the United States is to fulfill the destiny to which the Founders pledged their "lives . . . fortunes . . . and sacred honor."
John Paul II
Pure Marxist BS. The Russians got to Berlin eating American grown food, marching in American made boots, supplied by American made trucks, with weapons repaired and maintained by American made tools carried to the Russians on American made trains. Since Easter Europe were not a freed by the Sovs, and only American lead Cold War made them free from either Nazi or Sov domination, Thompson's statement is correct and this author a silly ass.
LMAO, this is some pretty humorous stuff. Fred’s wife cajoled him into running...
I thought the student editor, or at lest the teacher would give thumbs up or down on eighth grade diatribes like this.
I’ll bet the kid got free hamburgers for a week and enough acne jel to last for three months for writing this sophmoric fender bender.
He made Fred’s case very nicely. We are slow to enter wars and we do so for the benefit of freedom.
Here’s one for the FRead, jb.
"the Soviets only got into the war after being attacked"
Nazi-Soviet Pact...Russo-Finnish War.
So this guy basically makes tha accusation that there are a group of see-no-evil Americans who will react in a certain way to the statements he makes and then, naturally the FR horde proves him right.
The real point to be made here is not necessarily what gets a country into a war. It is what that country does after it wins a war. Those nations that were “liberated” by the Soviets are now just emerging from their half-century of “liberation”. Whereas within 15 years of being occupied by America, most countries are paragons of freedom, wealth and responsibility.
The problem with Iraq was by no means the motive or intention - it was the unbelievably incompetent and negligent mismanagement that is inherent in this administration. WWII gives some very good lessons as to the number of boots on the ground it takes to win the peace.
“In eight foreign wars since the late 19th century, the Post found, 623,288 Americans lost their lives. But Soviet losses in the Second World War alone were an order of magnitude greater than that and it was the Soviet Union’s victories in the east that broke Nazi Germany’s back and led to the liberation of Europe.”
This guys about as nutty as a fruitcake. The Soviets weren’t sacrificing their lives for the freedom of others. They weren’t even sacrificing their lives for their own freedom. They were defending Joe Stalin.
So you disagree with Senator Fred Thompson’s statement, I take it?
“Thus, Hillary has little experience in management and less in elective office. She has no original ideas that anyone has been able to discern. She has embraced no particular cause. She just seems terribly interested in being president; it is widely believed her smart and ambitious wife cajoled her into running.”
Kind of disconcerting that of all these, we could probably only provide the food anymore.
Nope, we could still do all of it.
But not without converting our factories to mass produce those items we’ve outsourced.
And not without it taking considerable time.
Remember when we bought our military berets from China?
And yet he only mentions a few... what about the rest of the eight? How did we fail to fight for freedom in Korea and the others? And interesting that he fails to note the most important, and bloodiest, American war... the American Civil War, where each side was fighting for freedom, as they saw it.
“relaxed work ethic”
Liberal buzz-words for “limited government”.
They see a laissze faire (sp?) government as *lazy*.