Thursday, November 20, 2014

Still Another View of Eisenhower

My last post on Ike HERE really caused a stir. Like I said then, I've not made a study of Eisenhower, but I reprinted the piece from the Irish Savant because I found it intriguing. Greg Cochran, who is one of the half-dozen people I know who are almost always right about things, commented on it thus:

Every line is false. Eisenhower never killed off lots of German prisoners, he wasn't Jewish , his class rank at West Point was 61st out of 164.

When you're a Nazi, you gotta lie. The truth isn't any too appealing.


His reference to being a Nazi, I would guess, refers to Rense, about whom I know very little, but whom I've seen lots of references to on the right. If I'm wrong about that, Dr. C, please let me know.  Other commenters reacted to this by calling it an instance of Godwin's Law, or "reductio ad Hitleram," but it isn't. Cochran means what he says literally, not polemically, I'm certain.  Elsewhere, Operation Keelhaul was mentioned, which is worth reading about, though I have no idea to what extent Eisenhower can be linked to it, if at all. I leave all of this to your own thoughts.

But, coincidentally, a completely different take on Eisenhower just came up at Takimag. It begins:

Ike the Ringer

I have been reading Paul Johnson’s new short biography of Dwight Eisenhower. This fulfills a long-standing intention of the feebler kind—a velleity, Bill Buckley would have said. Thus:

In his 1983 book Modern Times, Paul Johnson made a point of talking up U.S. presidents then regarded by orthodox historians as second-rate or worse: Harding, Coolidge, Eisenhower. He wrote:

Eisenhower was the most successful of America’s twentieth-century presidents, and the decade when he ruled (1953-61) the most prosperous in American, and indeed world, history.

That planted in me the wish to read a full biography of Ike. I kept putting this off, though, perhaps because my desire to read about underrated U.S. presidents was sated by the researches I did in the 1990s on Harding and Coolidge. (I even read Carl Anthony’s biography of Mrs. Harding, which is more interesting than you’d think. She had an illegitimate child at age 20, and supported herself and the child by giving piano lessons.)

It was the author’s name that prompted me to read an Ike biography at last. Paul Johnson has been a companion—in the literary sense; he doesn’t know me from Adam—all my adult life. I’m a fan from way back: from the mid-1960s, when P.J. and I were both lefties.

Read the rest here:

3 comments:

  1. "Every line is false. Eisenhower never killed off lots of German prisoners, he wasn't Jewish , his class rank at West Point was 61st out of 164.

    When you're a Nazi, you gotta lie. The truth isn't any too appealing."

    May I ask who Cochran is calling a Nazi?
    Bacque, Rense, or Savant?

    I don't seem to recall any claims about Ike's ancestry or West Point rank in Bacque's "Other Losses".

    So Cochran seems to be conflating obvious and extraneous falsehoods with the main thesis - that the Western Allies systematically killed about a million not-anymore-on-a-technicality-POW's by systematic neglect after the end of the war. This does not inspire confidence in his analysis.

    One should note that Bacque specifically exempts the British from the charge and further acknowledges that much of the deaths under the French are due to the Americans shipping them masses of men who had already been starved to death's door.

    It is worth reading Bacque and evaluating him for oneself.

    Like others, I am fond of Ike and troubled by the conclusions. But IMO there does appear to be some fire along with this smoke.

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  2. Please think about it at least a little. How many American guards do you think they would need for these camps where a million German POWs starved? And not one of them has ever come forward to corroborate the tale. And a million bodies are... where?

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  3. Like I said:

    It is worth reading Bacque and evaluating him for oneself.

    Your answers are there.

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