Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thought While Shaving: “Who Lost Afghanistan?” Will Doom Democrats in 2010.


Who Lost Afghanistan?

The year 2010 may be a replay of 1950. Here’s how.

While current myth-makers about the greatness of Harry Truman ignore it now, let someone who lived through his era tell you: The disastrous foreign policy mistakes that were made in the Far East during his time live with us yet. The fact that he has become an unjustified myth does not obscure the truth. The Marshall Plan was brilliant but it is more than overbalanced by the fall of China which was largely our doing, our miscalculation.

Under Dean Acheson and George Marshall, the forces of Chiang kai Shek were deprived of massive U. S. aid to force a “coalition government” between the Red Chinese and the Chinese nationalists. The “coalition” never materialized because there is no such thing as a coalition between democratic forces and the Communists, and the government of China fell in 1949—affecting the balance of power to the Communist side that affects us yet.

The liberals said Chiang’s government was corrupt…the same thing they said about South Vietnam’s Diem: notice the similarity? Not a word about the corruption of Peking. But the Communist victory over China precipitated a gigantic political convulsion in this country…worsened when Truman began the Korean War on Sunday, June 15th 1950 caused largely by Acheson’s failure to distinguish…in a national speech at the Washington Press Club…that Korea was vital to our defense. His failure to include it as he sketched our line of defenses on a map was attributed as a signal to the Communist North Korea that they could move to conquer the South.

Rapidly the dissatisfaction with our foreign and defense posture robbed Truman of the high stature he had by winning against almost insuperable odds his election over Dewey in 1948. Successive scandals led to the slogan mouthed everywhere “To err is Truman.” In New York city a bartender heard a patron mutter to another that he was going to buy a gun and “kill that little sonuvabitch in Washington.” The FBI raced to the bar and collared the guy, saying that he had threatened the life of the president of the United States.

The guy said “I did not! All I said was `I’m going to kill that little sonuvabitch in Washington!’ I never referred to Truman at all!” An FBI agent responded: “Oh no, what other little sonuvabitch is there in Washington?” The story broke in Walter Winchell’s column and raced across the nation…especially when radio commentator Gabriel Heatter used it (cleaning up the language)… as the elections of 1950 dawned.

The toppling of Truman’s reputation from a plain-spoken little man…representing Everyman…to a symbol of incompetence and corruption…was the most complete turnaround I ever saw. I was going to grad school and working during the day as a blueprint machine operator at Sun Electric…and the dissatisfaction both in the white collar business office and with blue-collars on the line where I worked…was enormous. Still and all, the congressional elections didn’t see Republicans capture control of either house but the number of Democratic falloff was terrific. The Democrats lost 27 seats in the House and five in the Senate, barely managing to hang on by two seats. Here in Illinois, a senator viewed as impregnable…much as Dick Durbin is now…the Democratic majority leader of the Senate, Scott Lucas was defeated in a near landslide by Everett Dirksen (the Democrats elected Arizona Senator Ernest McFarland as majority leader and he lost reelection two years later).

The issues were Democratic mismanagement of foreign and defense policy and corruption in the Truman administration.

What seems uncannily like a repeat of history is the likelihood that the very war Barack Obama called “the Good war” and “the Real war” in Afghanistan may well decide 2010. The very general Obama named to pilot the Iraq and Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is calling for an increase of 40,000 troops in Afghanistan and the rumor is that if he doesn’t get it, he’ll resign. Rahm Emanuel…the eternal reincarnation of Iago in MacBeth…is seen as huddling close to Obama’s ear and telling him that he must be no means increase the troops or he will gain the onus of “owning” the Afghanistan war as LBJ did when he increased the troops in Vietnam. Condi Rice has broken her silence for the first time, saying the fall of Afghanistan is near if reinforcements are not sent speedily. If Afghanistan falls in this way, terrorism will be vastly increased here at home and across the world.

The parallels are closing in. The year 2010 will see a huge Republican resurgence, preparatory to election of a Republican president in 2012. If Obama shoves Emanuel aside and reinforces the troops in Afghanistan…risking his Far Left base…he might re-set his faltering presidency and truly become a president of the Center. I pray he’ll do it but to do it he has to break with a lifetime of subservience and affiliation with the Third World nihilistic Left. Obama will be seen as the goat—just as Truman was the goat…before David McCullough decades later started his massive reconstruction…mentioning the fall of China only as an inevitability: wrong; very wrong.

I doubt he will do it. Were he to do it he would lose the favor of the Leftwing media…but he would re-direct his presidency and stand a good chance of winning in 2012. Make no mistake: he is intoxicated—as many pols are—by favorable press. If Obama goes in 2012, much of the supine media which sold him unconscionably as a great man when he never so much as managed a candy store, will go with him…the perky Katie Courics, the incompetent Bob Schieffer who should have been fired for journalistic malpractice a year by shielding John Edwards…Pretty Boy Brian Williams. The big networks will revamp their news operations rather than see their news divisions hemorrhaging profits.

The big urban papers are changing already. The Washington Post is becoming more conservative, weighing in on the side of the CIA in its terrorist interrogations. Here at home, it is finally a pleasure to see that the Chicago Tribune is starting to become less of a mushy know-nothing concoction of liberals than a paper that is taking on crusades against government excess. They are changing overnight from being an Obama-acolyte to a critical organ. But as for Obama, will he change from the Lefty he is to one determined to save his presidency by becoming a tougher critic of the Palestinians and more assertively pro-defense? Will he?

No such luck. He is a media creation; he is a Leftwing creation. And it is as a Leftwing creation he will be defeated.

Until then, we will just have to grit our teeth and hold on…hoping that the fall of Afghanistan will not endanger too many cities. But if it falls and if the cities burn…as is likely if this Hamlet cannot get his act together…he will be toast in 2012. And there will be no David McCullough interested enough to spin cotton candy fiction out of a debacle as happened with Truman.

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