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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:15 PM
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Ike and The Bomb

This is the cure if your leg gets a tingly feeling like Chris Matthews
when thinking about Gen. President Eisenhower and his military industrial complex speech:

The Real Eisenhower: Planning to Win Nuclear War

by Ira Chernus
Common Dreams
March 18, 2008

Peace activists love to quote Dwight Eisenhower. The iconic Republican war hero spoke so eloquently about the dangers of war and the need for disarmament. He makes a terrific poster-boy for peace. But after years of research and writing three books on Ike, I think it's time to see the real Eisenhower stand up. The president who planned to fight and win a nuclear war, saying "he would rather be atomized than communized," reminds us how dangerous the cold war era really was, how much our leaders will put us all at risk in the name of "national security," and how easily they can mask their intentions behind benign images.

From first to last, Eisenhower was a confirmed cold warrior. Years before he became president, while he was publicly promoting cooperation with the Soviet Union, he wrote in his diary: "Russia is definitely out to communize the world....Now we face a battle to extinction." On the home front, he warned that liberal Democrats were leading the U.S. "toward total socialism."


For Eisenhower, the point of amassing a huge nuclear arsenal was not to deter war but to win it. This was enshrined as official policy in NSC 5810/1: "The United States must make clear its determination to prevail if general war occurs." The only meaningful war aim, he told the NSC, was "to achieve a victory." He described his war plan as "Hit the guy fast with all you've got if he jumps on you"; "hit 'em ... with everything in the bucket."


Eisenhower assumed that a post-holocaust America would be a totalitarian state, ruled by martial law. But he worried about (among other things) what would happen to the credit structure of the country and how to print and sell war bonds to finance the next war if Washington were destroyed. At one NSC meeting he complained that if the President and the Vice President were "knocked off," the "damnable" law of succession would result in the Democrats (he called them "the other team") taking the White House. "To assure against that happening, the President thought the Vice President should be put in cotton batting."


And we ignore it at our peril, because it was a policy that put anticommunist ideology above human life, made by a man who would "push whole stack of chips into the pot" and "hit 'em ... with everything in the bucket"; who would "shoot your enemy before he shoots you"; who believed that the U.S. could "pick itself up from the floor" and win a nuclear war, even though "everybody is going crazy," as long as "only" 25 or 30 American cities got "shellacked" and nobody got too "hysterical."


Don't know about you, but, to me, 40-100 million dead Americans isn't acceptable, Nixon or no Nixon.
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rurallib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:19 PM
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1. yet he was by far the best republican in the last 100 years
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:33 PM
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3. Good point.
The thing is, his friends still haunt us.

From and extended version of Chernus' article...

During his second term, Eisenhower watched the size and lethal power of the nations nuclear arsenal spiral out of control. Many historians suggest that his fear of global destruction made him soften his anticommunist policies and strive harder for peace, because war was now unthinkable. But the once secret, now declassified, documents tell a different story. (Almost all the quotes that follow are from those documents.)

The only real change during the second term was that he spelled out his views, in private, more explicitly. Discussing spiritual values with the Queen of Greece, Eisenhower explained: To accept the Communist doctrine and try to live with it would be too big a price to be alive. He said he would not want to live, nor would he want his children or grandchildren to live, in a world where we were slaves of a Moscow Power. If World War III erupted during his term in office, he told Congressional leaders, he might be the last person alive, but there wouldnt be any surrender. In a private conference with the British ambassador, he summed up his basic premise most concisely: The President said that speaking for himself he would rather be atomized than communized.


Dulles being John Foster Dulles, brother to DCI Allen Dulles.

I bet Ike got a lot of his anti-commie stuff from his golfing buddy, Sen. Prescott Bush.
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MannyGoldstein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:27 PM
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2. Looking At His Actual Record...
He ended the Korean war. He did some bad stuff (e.g., Iran) but he didn't start any hot wars, and certainly didn't use nuclear weapons.

He insisted on a 91% top tax bracket - and both Republican-dominated houses of Congress agreed. Ah, those were the days... can you imagine today's elected Democrats doing the same?

Some quotes:

"All of us have heard this term 'preventative war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time... I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing."

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:09 PM
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4. True, that.
Excellent quote about pre-emptive war being NAZI. Eisenhower made clear to the USAF and Pentagon that the White House would decide when and where to use nuclear weapons. To me that's become a very odd way of looking at questions of nuclear war, seeing how the Constitution makes out that Congress shall declare war.

Ike also said he wanted Nixon preserved for Continuity Of Governance, GOP-style. Meaning, the "liberal democrats" wouldn't lead America to socialism, notwithstanding income tax rates of 91-percent. They got to keep everything they already owned. And that top rate eventually got rolled back to today's rates, where the richest who make their money off money get taxed at abotu 35-percent for capital gains. Working folk get taxed at a much higher rate.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 02:46 PM
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5. John Foster Dulles wanted to dispell a nuclear taboo
Secretary of State Dulles wanted Eisenhower to know nuclear weapons were, in essence, no different than other weapons:


by Thomas Schelling


Nuclear weapons again went unused in the debacle following the entry of Chinese armies into Korea, and were still unused during the bloody war of attrition that accompanied the Panmunjom negotiations, which led to the end of the Korean War. Whether the threat of nuclear weapons influenced the truce negotiations remains unclear. But the ambiguity in the "role" of nuclear weapons became evident at that time, and during the ensuing years they clearly remained a threat and a deterrent.

McGeorge Bundy, one of the architects of United States foreign policy in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, documented the fascinating story of President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles and nuclear weapons in his book Danger and Survival: Choices About the Bomb in the First Fifty Years. At the National Security Council on February 11, 1953, Dulles discussed "the moral problem in the inhibitions on the use of the A-bomb," and it was his opinion that "we should break down this false distinction." Evidently the secretary believed that the restraint was real even if the distinction was false, and that the restraint was not to be welcomed.

Again, on October 7, 1953, Dulles said, "Somehow or other we must manage to remove the taboo from the use of these weapons." Just a few weeks later the President approved, in a Basic National Security Document, the statement, "In the event of hostilities, the United States will consider nuclear weapons to be as available for use as other munitions." This statement surely has to be read as more rhetorical than factual, even if the National Security Council considered itself to constitute "the United States."

Taboos are not easily dispelled by pronouncing them extinct. Six months later, at a restricted NATO meeting, the United States position was that nuclear weapons "must now be treated as in fact having become conventional." But tacit conventions are sometimes harder to destroy than explicit ones, existing in potentially recalcitrant minds rather than on destructible paper.

According to Bundy, the last public statement in this progress of nuclear weapons toward conventional status occurred during the Quemoy crisis, during which the Peoples Republic of China repeatedly launched attacks on the island of Quemoy to regain control from Taiwan and the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek. On March 12, 1955, Eisenhower said, in answer to a question, "In any combat where these things can be used on strictly military targets and for strictly military purposes, I see no reason why they shouldn't be used just exactly as you would use a bullet or anything else."

Was Eisenhower really ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Quemoy, or Taiwan itself? The conspicuous shipment of nuclear artillery to Taiwan was surely intended as a threat. Bluffing would have been risky from Dulles's point of view, and leaving nuclear weapons unused while the Chinese conquered Taiwan would have engraved the taboo in granite.

At the same time, Quemoy would have appeared to Dulles as a superb opportunity to dispel the taboo. Using short-range nuclear weapons in a purely defensive mode, solely against offensive troops, especially at sea or on beachheads devoid of civilians, might have been something that Eisenhower would have been willing to authorize, and nuclear weapons might have proved that they could be used "just exactly as you would use a bullet or anything else." The Chinese did not offer the opportunity.


The above was written the year before the attacks of 9-11. These are facts we must keep in mind as our nation continues down the warmaking path of "might makes right." Having the biggest gun may make us feel safe, but it also certainly attracts the criminal element who are out to make a name for themselves. We have to find a better way of defending ourselves.
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