President Bush, in the course of his recent overseas trip, in which he compared Yalta to the Hitler-Stalin pact: “We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations, appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability.”
President Bush obviously wasn't paying attention in history class in his historical methods course. (I assume he had to take one.) History teaches us to step into the shoes of those whose story we are telling. It is necessary to do so to resist the temptation, gained by the 20/20 vision available to those of us living in the future, to cast aspersions on those in the past.
In this case, President Bush would have us believe that FDR blew it at Yalta when he excused tyranny in the pursuit of stability. What would Bush have done were he in FDR's shoes (God forbid that he was!). I suppose we are to believe that he would have spurned Stalin's overtures to cut a deal and instead would have raced back to the US to fire up the Pentagon for another war.
Of course, one can argue, as some have in articles excerpted at HNN, that FDR could at least have insisted that Soviet POW's not be returned to face certain death or detention. But Bush seems to be arguing less subtly that NO DEAL WITH STALIN was moral.
Well, Bush should be lucky no subsequent president, speaking half a century from now, takes him to task similarly for his cruel handshakes with the leader of Pakistan, whatshisname, as Bush stumbled during the 2000 campaign.
The fact is politics is not solely to be judged by the moral standards of priests or preachers, as Bush seems to imply. Down that road lies misery for all. Once take the attitude that politics is a fit career only for those who are morally pure and you end up with misguided santimounious crusades which usually end with a lot of people getting killed.comments powered by Disqus
Stephen Francis Kislock III - 6/5/2005
G.W. Bush the man who neither makes mistakes nor made any mistakes, or anything to be apologetic for; surely walks on H2O and those on Olympus must be trembling at the new kid on the block!
If there be a history of this administration, it Rove not Bush, that must be the headliner.
A MBA from Yale, Master of Bungling Assets.
- T. rex fossils arrive at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
- Quote of the Day -- Time Magazine's Top 100 People
- Investigation: The Resegregation of America's Schools
- 5 Explosive Revelations Leaked from Senate Report Exposing CIA Torture
- In Parts of the South, Glorifying Slavery No Longer Pays the Bills
- UC Berkeley professor emeritus Robert Harlan dies at 84
- She Came All the Way from Melbourne to Attend the OAH
- The 7 Most Popular HNN Videos from the 2014 OAH
- Jesse Lemisch’s up-from-below history is still strikingly original
- U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War -- His second Pulitzer!