Thursday, July 05, 2007

History isn't your strong suit, Georgie

Churchill Historian on Bush: He's Chamberlain, not Winston.

Truman Historian on Bush: Just shut up and try not to break any more than you already have. The Truman historian in question is the late, great David Halberstam, who writes of the Korean War:
In time, MacArthur made an all-out frontal challenge to Truman, criticizing him to the press, almost daring the president to get rid of him. Knowing that the general had title to the flag and to the emotions of the country, while he himself merely had title to the Constitution, Truman nonetheless fired him. It was a grave constitutional crisis—nothing less than the concept of civilian control of the military was at stake. If there was an irony to this, it was that MacArthur and his journalistic boosters, such as Time-magazine owner Henry Luce, always saw Truman as the little man and MacArthur as the big man. ("MacArthur," wrote Time at the moment of the firing, "was the personification of the big man, with the many admirers who look to a great man for leadership.… Truman was almost a professional little man.") But it was Truman's decision to meet MacArthur's challenge, even though he surely knew he would be the short-term loser, that has elevated his presidential stock.

George W. Bush's relationship with his military commander was precisely the opposite. He dealt with the ever so malleable General Tommy Franks, a man, Presidential Medal of Freedom or no, who is still having a difficult time explaining to his peers in the military how Iraq happened, and how he agreed to so large a military undertaking with so small a force...

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