Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Reconstructing Harry

So I'm reading David Halberstam's Coldest Winter, a history of the Korean War. (Definitely worth a read, FFBers.) And I've been thinking about how everyone today wants to claim to be Harry Truman--Palin, McCain (sort of), W.--but that the true historical analogy for these people, in Korean War terms, is Gen. Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur ignored, or rejected, or made it clear to his underlings that he didn't want to hear, intelligence reports that conflicted with his "view" that the Chinese would not intervene in Korea. Even after U.S. troops had captured Chinese troopers, and had reports from civilians that large masses of Chinese were in the area . . . MacArthur and his intelligence staff continued to discount intelligence that conflicted with their beliefs. MacArthur lived in a bubble, surrounded by yes men. Sound like anyone you know?

MacArthur was vainglorious, arrogant, megalomaniacal . . . he liked to play dress up.

He was a hard-liner, a never-say-die hero of U.S. conservatives back in the day. By the beginning of the Korean War, he was also old (70) and in questionable health.

One thing that is interesting to consider is how MacArthur has "faded away" as time has passed. He has never been discredited in the way that he deserves. Instead, he just isn't part of the conversation. In his place, today's conservatives embrace MacArthur's historical counterpart, Truman. Strange. It's time to bring Mac back.

"Mac is back," anyone?


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