John Wayne is the Duke. Elvis is the King.

John Wayne's Holster: May 2005
John Wayne's Holster
Visit my main blog at Monkey Wrench Revival. Visit my birdwatching blog at The Birding Nerd.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Is Pat Buchanan Right? Was WWII Worth It?

Pat Buchanan, in an essay posted on his American Cause website, says that WWII was not worth it!

And he is right!....sort of.

Now before you paint him as an anti-Semite who borders on denying the Holocaust, as an ignominious Newsday article attempting to pass itself off as journalism suggests, you should take a look at Mr. Buchanan’s remarks, in context, to see what he actually said. Then you can weigh it out for yourself.

The point of Mr. Buchanan’s article is that WWII was a false victory – a failure if you will. Not because Hitler was overthrown, or because France was liberated. As Buchanan states, “If the objective of the West was the destruction of Nazi Germany, it was a "smashing" success.” WWII was a failure because the Nazi oppression was replaced by an even more pernicious Stalinist dictatorship.

The ending of the Holocaust was undoubtedly one the greatest successes of WWII. But that is not the whole story! One must also consider what happened under Communism in the generations after the war. As Buchanan points out, “Where Hitler killed his millions, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and Castro murdered their tens of millions.”

Buchanan goes on to question why men like Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt are venerated by modern historical scholars. Certainly one can make the case that each of these men contributed to their own countries, and to Western Europe. And for that, they deserve due credit. But what about the so-called “East Block” countries of Europe - Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Finland? These countries were ceded to Stalin at Yalta. I don’t think there are many who lived in those countries after WWII who have the same affection for Churchill and FDR as some in the West do.

Are Mr. Buchanan’s comments intended as a criticism or a negation of the sacrifices made by those who fought in the war?

Absolutely not!

Those who fought in WWII, including both my grandfathers, are among the bravest men - or as Tom Brokaw put it - "The Greatest Generation". They fought nobly for the liberation of oppressed people. They succeeded in doing what was asked of them. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice in doing so. It is not they who failed.

Buchanan is simply drawing our attention to the fact that the leaders of the West abandonded Eastern Europe. The West entered WWII in response to Hitler’s attack on Poland. At the end of the war, Poland (not to mention the other East Block countries) was an occupied country. When all the dust settled, the end result was that Nazism was replaced by Stalinism – at the cost of the 50 million people who died during the war, and countless millions that suffered and died under communist oppression.

As President Bush stated in his comments during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of VE day, "The captivity of millions in Central and Eastern Europe will be remembered as one of the greatest wrongs in history."

In that light, one must seriously reconsider Mr. Buchanan’s question. But perhaps the question should be rephrased. The question is not Was WWII worth it? For certainly it was, regarless of the outcome. I beleive the proper question is "Did our leaders do the right thing?"

I think the post-war history of Eastern Europe has already provided us with the answer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Go Nuclear!

President Bush has nominated seven judges to fill vacant positions in the Federal Courts. The nominees have all been approved in committee and have been sent to the Senate floor for up or down votes. The nominees appear to have majority support and will likely be approved...assuming a vote takes place.

The stakes at play here are big! The issue at hand is an ideological one between the Left and the Right over control of the courts. Presently, the focus is on the federal courts. But in reality, this is just a side show. The main attraction is likely to take place later this summer when it is expected that there will be one or two vacancies on the Supreme Court. Rumor has it that Chief Justice Rehnquist, and maybe Justice O’Conner, will be stepping down. Bush is likely to promote Anton Scalia (or perhaps Clarence Thomas) to replace Rehnquist as Chief Justice. His other appointments will undoubtedly be ideological conservatives, thus shifting the court’s balance of power to the right. Issues such as voluntary school prayer, same-sex marriage, and the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade are likely to rest on the outcome.

The Democrats have threatened to filibuster the nominees, who they consider to be too far out of the mainstream. Republicans, led by majority leader Bill Frist (Tenn), have countered by threatening to change Senate rules and do away with the filibuster for judicial nominees – the so-called “nuclear option”. Not to be outdone, Democrats say that they will shut down the Senate if the nuclear option is exercised. Has anyone seen Newt Gingrich lately? Other Democrats say that if the nuclear option is exercised, it would have a negative impact on the bipartisanship that will be important in upcoming issues, like simplifying the tax code and social security reform. Senate Minority leader Harry Reid has gone even further, stating, “I know procedures…I know there will still be Senate business…I will, for lack of a better word, screw things up.” And who said statesmanship was dead?!

Senator Biden (Del) has offered a more sensible plan – a compromise if you will. Essentially, he has agreed shelf the filibuster and accept four of the seven Bush nominees (the more moderate ones), if the Republicans will jilt the rest. Admittedly, the compromise has some endearing features that make it attractive. But the Republicans are not in a position where a compromise is warranted. In fact, to compromise under the circumstances would be a sell-out.

The moral and social issues at the heart of current public debate rightly deserve to be decided democratically, by the people, through their elected representatives (govt. of the people, by the people, for the people). As it stands now, democracy is being thwarted. The will of the people is being circumvented via judicial activism. The Republicans now have the chance overthrow the judicial dictatorship imposed on us by the secularist courts of Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall and Harry Blackmun.

Frist should not compromise! He should go nuclear!