Saturday, March 28, 2015

Appeasement of Communism is “the most dangerous course we could pursue”: The Eisenhower Quotes You Never Hear About

Today is the anniversary of the death of Dwight David Eisenhower, the general and Republican president whom leftists love to quote when it concerns warnings against the military industrial complex (i.e., America's military industrial complex alone and no other country's).

It may come as a surprise, then, to learn that, in Ike's viewpoint, appeasement of Communism is not only a dishonorable course but is
the most dangerous one we could pursue.
From an International Herald Tribune "50 Years Ago" item:
Appeasement of Communism is not only a dishonorable course but is “the most dangerous one we could pursue,” President Eisenhower said [on April 5, 1959]. Speaking in academic robes before 4,000 persons at a special convocation of Gettysburg College, the President said: “The world paid a high price for the lesson of Munich — but it learned it well.” The President made an emphatic plea for his foreign aid program as vital for the security of the non-Communist world despite the view of “uninformed” Americans who want to end, cut or terminate it. 
I remember an internet page from many, many years ago that tried to thoroughly debunk the idea that Ike's statement about the military-industrial complex were the alpha and omega of his thoughts — ignoring, fr'instance, the far more numerous quotes on the dangers represented by the communist block — but I have never been able to find it again.

(Might any readers be able to help here?)

In any case: compare 1959's “the most dangerous [course] we could pursue” to 1961's "we must guard against" ("we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex"). Which is the strongest language here? I.e., which threat, in Ike's mind, is the greatest of the two here? Is it really America's military–industrial complex? Is it not correct that in no way is there any talk of disarmament or pacifism in the 1961 speech?

Related: Ike on War and the World's True Pacifists

How many Democrats (including the one in the White House) truly believe the following? It hardly seems to be an Eisenhower quote widely distributed in leftist histories…
There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure. 
How about this one — which tends to discredit somehow Democrats' lesson-giving to everyone on war and peace, especially members of the military for whom they harbor contempt?
I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. 
Notice that that quote also goes far towards shredding the left's chickenhawk "argument". (…"more importantly: notice how this position can be turned against the so-called peace camp. If only a soldier can speak for the war, then how can somebody who is not a soldier speak against the war?")

How about this Ike quote on the governance of his Democratic successor in the White House? (Ike does not seem to have been a George W Bush, refusing to criticize a "fellow" president.) The quote doesn't seem to be preeminent in many leftist history books either…
Gen. Eisenhower took out after the President himself in his harshest criticism yet of Mr. Kennedy’s handling of foreign policy. He said it was the product of aimless drift. While he did not mention Cuba by name, he said tartly at a televised political rally tonight that “no threatening foreign bases were established” and no Berlin walls were built during his own Administration.