Knowing no one is perfect, I try to judge a person for all that they try
to do, even if their choices end up occasionally being wrong. Truman
chose not to continue the Korean War into China, because he realized a
few things: First, they outnumbered us by hundreds of millions. Second,
we had just finished one world war, and most Americans and our allies
weren't ready for another. Third, we were there under UN authorization,
and they had not authorized entering China. Fourth, as much as I like
MacArthur, he disobeyed prime military orders about speaking out against
the Commander in Chief, and the president's orders to stop, in the
press. MacArthur pushed, and Truman didn't blink. Truman fired him
because he was forced to do so. Had Truman left him in, he would have
lost tons of political capital and integrity.
We can attack individuals for the choices they made through hindsight, or
we can realize that such decisions are complicated. Chaos theory states
that a butterfly flapping its wings today in China can cause storms in
America in two weeks. Do we condemn Truman for limiting the Korean war,
yet then you condemn George W Bush for seeking to extend the war on
terrorism to Iraq? Just where is the consistency?
Do we condemn Reagan for ending the Cold War? Because there is no longer
the two major powers balancing each other, it opened a vacuum for the
terrorists to step into. Personally, I think I prefer having the soviets
balancing our freedom, because at least we knew where they were and what
to expect of them. They didn't blow themselves up in order to gain
Or do we praise Reagan for his efforts in the short term, knowing that no
one can know the long term effects, good or ill; nor can we know what
effects would occur if we did nothing.
If you were in an airplane and somehow had a valid prediction that your
plane would hit another plane and go down in flames, what would you do?
Would you turn the plane around? Yet, what if that is what causes the
plane to crash? Do you do nothing, and hope that you don't end up in the
wrong place at the wrong time? You see the conundrum? All we can see is
the short term. Truman couldn't anticipate 50 years ago that we would go
through such a long Cold War, or a period of freedom for those nations.
Wilford Woodruff divided the nations after WWI, including making a new
nation called Yugoslavia. How was he to know that he was combining ethnic
groups that had been trying to kill each other for centuries, and that
his carving of nations would be affecting us almost a century later? It
is easy to condemn in hindsight. It is very hard to predict the long term
outcomes of any choice.
Now, with Jimmy Carter (I'm watching his Bio on PBS right now), we can
condemn him on many things, because he was wishy washy. He didn't make a
real choice, and dragged things down. In running for Governor, he played
the racists and the black side of the issues. In his run for presidency,
he said he was liberal, centrist, and conservative, all at once. Ford
condemned his wishy washiness, and it continued through the entire
Gerald/gary Smith gszion1 @juno.com http://www
"No one is as hopelessly enslaved as the person who thinks he's free." -
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
JWR:Truman fired MacArthur. It is unlikely that he did anything else
right. All MacArthur wanted was permission to win the Korean War. He
should have quit before Truman fired him. But Truman was a first class
villain. My feelings about Truman are 180 degrees out of phase with
I feel for Washington, Reagan, etc.
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