Saturday, May 14, 2005

Not So Greatest Generation

A lot of buzz about Pat Buchanan’s column as to whether WWII was worth it.

I first noticed it over at the Vodkapundit where Stephen Green call Buchanan a “Nazi apologist”. Glenn Reynolds at in his MSNBC blog blow off Buchanan’s column as “counterfactual history” which is always fun to read, but on the whole the world is better off because of the results of WWII including the not electing Buchanan president. Stephen really went after Pat. I recommend his post.

Click here to see the latest links to Buchanan’s column. There were 20 links when I posted.

While I rarely agree with Pat, he does make me think. I also appreciate his ability to turn a phrase but that doesn’t apply here. Pat’s charge that since Britain and France went to war to free Poland and since it was not free after WWII then they did not win. And since we were on the side of Britain and France we did not win either. Pat’s argument that with generally Communism’s but especially Stalin’s control of Eastern Europe, the war should be considered a loss. FDR and Churchill sold out Eastern Europe at Yalta.

First, we did not go to war to free Poland. Germany declared war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor. One might argue that if we had remained truly neutral we could have avoided participation in WWII, but I think the fight against Germany was inevitable. We could have avoided it only so long. If we had not gone to war would the Nazi have been removed from power? Wasn’t a confrontation with the Nazis way of thinking inevitable?

If we had maintained a truly neutral stance as did Switzerland and Sweden, would we have been able to stay out of the war as they did? This question is similar to the argument Pat made in regards to Western Europe and whether they would have been invaded by Germany had Britain and France not declared war against it. War would have been delayed or postponed but not avoided. It would have been a much uglier war since the German military would have had time to build up as they wanted before Hitler got them into war with Western Europe. Remember we did not build our military as much as we should have because we did not want to send a signal that we were readying for war, thus we might have been too technologically behind to catch up to a Germany with the atomic bomb, jets, and missiles. Given a little more time Germany could have had war making machine that could not have been defeated. If we had waited much longer before getting into the war and getting ready to fight a war, we might have been like France’s army, larger than the Germany army but unable to respond to the new war tactics, and thus we would have been overrun by Germans.

Pat seems to think there was a third option for Poland and Eastern Europe. Occupation by Germany or Russia or freedom brought on by intervention by the U.S. and Britain. Did FDR and Churchill sell out Eastern Europe which was currently being occupied by the Russians, or did they negotiate the best deal they could given the constraints they were facing? War weariness is not to be taken as lightly as Pat appears to be doing. How much could either of them pushed their country into more war with another enemy who was just previously an ally?

And as I’ve argued before, the best way to defeat Communism was with peace not war. While containment certainly was necessary to prevent it from spreading, it was peace that defeated communism. Communist leaders could deny their fellow countrymen much as long as they had the fear of war to justify their deprivations. With peace, there was no justification and Communism’s planned economies inability to supply its people as efficiently as free markets became obvious to one and all. Not Reagan, not the Pope but capitalist economies in the relative peace of the Cold War defeated Communism. Communism’s collapse was inevitable as long as we maintained the peace.

If we had gone into Poland and Easter Europe, we might be still fighting today. (Oh, yea, we are fighting today, but it’s not against Communism. It’s against terror. I wonder, would the same strategy work against terror that worked against Communism? Peace? Contain it but go soft on terror?)

Another interesting sidebar is that if there is any blame for the resulting Communist takeover and control of Eastern Europe it has to go to Churchill. He delayed the D-Day invasion of Europe to allow Germany and Russia to annihilate each other. Just as I argued earlier about Islam’s mistake in teaching hate is that it will come back to haute them, this is another example of not doing what is right will adversely affect you in the long run.
Had Britain and the U.S. invaded Germany earlier and moved further across Europe, more of Eastern Europe would have been in friendly hands and it could realize the freedom it is seeing now a lot sooner. The Cold War was forming prior to Yalta and had Churchill not delayed, he and FDR would have been in a much stronger position during the negotiations.

Who knows we might have lived well under Nazi occupation as did many in Europe -- that is if you are not Jewish, a gypsy, homosexual, mentally handicapped, physically handicapped, Negro, any dark skinned people, or in any way different. And after those types of people are all killed, we raise the bar to include Catholics, anyone of a religion that is not acceptable, liberals, short people, left handed people, ugly people, and people who talk or think too much. And of course bloggers.
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