Sunday, July 09, 2006

John Glenn Said

“John Glenn Said”

A response

By Richard E. Noble

With regards to your right wing propaganda message.
To the defense of soldiering by John Glenn: John Glenn did give the defense of soldering as stated in your memo.
It was not given on the Senate floor recently nor in defense of any Republican policy, but in a campaign for a Senate seat against his Democratic opponent Howard Metzenbaum in 1974.
Metzembaum made the charge to challenge Glenn - assuming Glenn's inexperience in the business world. He made it during a very heated and vitriolic campaign. He never brought it up again.

Metzenbaum did not defend Communists during WWII - at least there is no evidence of any such activity.

But, in my personal opinion, if he did he should be commended. After all the Communists were our number one ally during WWII. The author of your memo may not be aware of this but we were fighting Fascism and Nazism during WWII - not communism.
Soviet Russia and Britain were our two main allies. Both countries suffered far more causalities than the U.S. who really didn't have any troop strength in Europe until 1943. In fact the U.S. had the fewest number of causalities of all the allied countries.
The Communist Soviet Union had more causalities than all the other allies combined. Communist China also supported the Allies in World War II. If any allied country can make claim to being the chief victor and warrior combating fascist world domination during WWII, it would be the Communist Soviet Union.
Far and away the greatest opponents of Fascism here and around the world were the communists.
The American Communist Party was key and in many instances heroic in battling for free speech, equal rights for blacks, woman and children, woman suffrage, fair and decent housing, prison reform, a living wage, family planning and birth control and the Bill of Rights in general. They also battled the American Fascists and Nazi Party here at home. As an interesting aside on this subject insert the name Prescott Bush into your favorite search engine.  
John Glenn is a Democrat not a Republican. John Glenn supported John Kerry against George Bush.
John Glenn has been a supporter of protecting the environment and a staunch opponent of Bush and Republicanism. He supports soldiering but does not necessarily support war under all circumstances and for any reason.
In reference to part one of your Republican propaganda message:
It would take too much space to clear up all the historical inaccuracies of this memo but let me make just a few clarifying remarks.
On December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked pre-emptively by the Japanese; an act which was condemned by all the non-fascist world and Republicans and Democrats alike. Shortly thereafter Germany declared war on the United States aligning itself with the Japanese. We did not pre-emptively attack Germany; nor has any Democratic or Republican president ever pre-emtively attacked another country on information known to be false at the time. Even Adolf Hitler made attempts at justifiable excuses for his multiple aggressive adventures in Europe. What has happened under the current administration (known falsified intelligence), if found under future investigations to be true, is a first in America history.
The major contention of this memo is that the United States whether under the leadership of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party has been more than willing to engage in wars of unjustified aggression against foreign countries.

This has been the argument of the Communist World since they first got a foothold in Russia in 1917. These "war mongering" charges are the basis of all anti-Americanism in general. Ones first impression from this memo would be that its author is a Communist.
Pacifist and anti-war proponents have been arguing this point of view for decades.
But then the author goes on to criticize Communist at the end of his memo? Go figure.
This author's argument seems to be on a partisan basis. In other words, because Democrats have engaged in unjust wars of aggression, then what is wrong with Republicans doing the same?
Nothing ... so long as you believe that war is a "good thing".
The author even goes so far as to say why should we be feeling sorry for a few dead and maimed soldiers when just as many are murdered by individual criminals (terrorist) in Chicago each year.

True. And why should we oppose any war when more people have been killed in traffic accidents in the United States alone since the invention of the automobile, than in all the wars of Civilization since the beginning of recorded history?
The author may consider this answer rather shallow - but the reason traffic accidents and crime are not put in the category of war is because they are - as with death, flood, famine and disease -considered to be uncontrollable acts of God ... or Mother Nature ... or fate or chance - or whatever it is that you believe is the power above that of human control.
War is considered under the category of "managed" killing. It is therefore considered to be a matter of human "choice" ... or governmental choice - not a matter of circumstance or happenstance ... fate or destiny.  
If you think that war is a good thing and in general serves to benefit mankind (population control, increased dividends, more jobs and less job competition, stable economy etc.) then you have no problem in defending any war. Adolf Hitler defends this position in his autobiography "Mein Kampf". He also thought, like so many Americans today, that war builds character - if you live through it, of course.
Third argument:
The author also makes the point that a few "soldiers" loosing their lives is really of no consequences when one considers the "greater good" of any war effort.
Although it may be true as the author of this memo claims that we do not have to feel pity or sorrow at the loss of soldiers or willing combatants in any war - especially those who make the choice to participate - those of us (Democrats and Republicans) who are of a compassionate nature hate to see anyone die - even if they freely make the choice, perform the act by their own hand; succumb to natural causes - or die in a war. They feel that any death is a sad tragedy.
Anti-war advocates oppose war in general most often on the behalf of those who did not chose to be involved but find themselves suffering the consequences nevertheless - the civilian and non-combatant populations of the country under attack or those countries so involved. The death of civilians in Iraq is now into the hundreds of thousands. If we consider the first Bush war, and the second Bush war, and the instigation and support of the Iran/Iraq war by the Reagan administration the deaths are into the several millions.
The death of the soldiers is often brought to the foreground because unlike the author of this e-mail memo some feel that the life of the soldiers involved in a war - on either side - are important. They are also brought forward because unfortunately most people seem to be unable to feel compassion for non-combatants in any war torn areas. As a result of this immunity to the pain of strangers, the death of a country's soldiers and loved ones are used in an attempt to stop the madness of the war.
I could go on but I think this is sufficient. If you would like to find left wing answers to all this right wing slanting you can go to Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky's web site; Zinn for overall history and Chomsky for politics and foreign policy. 
PS I have tried not to sink to the level of partisanship in this response because I do not consider myself to be either a Democrat or a Republican; but if one would like to search the historical record, almost every terrorist organization existing in today's world whether in South America, Asia, or the Middle East - can be found to have received funds, weapons, training, and often its original start-up money from the Reagan administration in particular or the CIA in general; this includes: Sadaam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I contacted the Consumer Federation of America (where Howard Metzenbaum works) about the "Communist" rumor and this is what I received:
"I joined Howard Metzenbaums law firm in 1953 and remained his partner for the balance of his legal career. I knew that he represented principally labor unions in the 1940s starting with the CWA and then the IAM. He never represented the Communist Party. Harold Stern"

A Time Magazine article from Aug. 10, 1987 says:
'When the Red-baiting tactic was unearthed last week, Metzenbaum denounced it as "lies, innuendos, McCarthyism and stupidity." A red-faced Rudy Boschwitz, the Minnesota Republican who chairs the G.O.P. senatorial committee, apologized for the "insulting and outrageous" smear.'