Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Criticizing President During Wartime is Patriotic – Just Ask Republicans of the Past

Criticism of the president even during war is a Republican tradition that goes back to the first Republican president and continues to the present age.

The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, while he was a Congressman during the Mexican American War – a war declared by Congress – openly challenged Democratic President James Polk insisting that the president had lied to Congress and the American people in order to start the war. Lincoln demanded the proof of the claims that Polk had made (the equivalent of Bush’s claims that Iraq had WMDs including nuclear weapons and that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 – both claims have since been proven false) history records that Lincoln was right to accuse the President of lying the country into war.

Being critical of the decisions of a particular president does not constitute disloyalty to the United States. Many other patriotic Americans of the past have made that point. Teddy Roosevelt made that clear when he, as a former Republican US President, often criticized then Democratic US President Woodrow Wilson during World War I. Roosevelt wrote in a famous quote:

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonous to the American public.”
- Teddy Roosevelt, in 1918 during the First World War

His point was that even in a time of war the US people must be allowed to criticize elected officials including the President, and anyone who tries to prevent or block such criticism is the un-American unpatriotic even treasonous one. This is because our nation became the greatest nation on earth because we allow the citizens to openly criticize the President even in a time of a declared war. And to block that will ultimately result in a less great United States. Anyone who participates in the lessoning of the US by blocking criticism is, in Teddy Roosevelt’s estimation, a traitor.

Another Republican leader said much the same during World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese:

“Too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think it will give some comfort to the enemy... if that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments they are welcome to it... because the maintenance of the right to criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a good deal more good than it will do the enemy.”
- Republican Senator Robert A. Taft, head of the Republican Party, criticizing FDR after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Here Republican Party chief Robert Taft was saying that the excuse that criticism of the Government during time of war is giving aid and comfort to the enemy is nonsense. Since any comfort the enemy may take in the criticism is more than made up for by the benefit to the United States of having the free right to make such criticism. Taft was highly critical of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt after we were attacked at Pearl Harbor and throughout the Second World War. Taft and his fellow Republicans had every right to be critical of the President even during wartime. It’s every American’s right.

Another former Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, said much the same:

“Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”
- Dwight D. Eisenhower in the aftermath of McCarthyism

Eisenhower really hit the nail on the head with that quote. Our country was founded by men and women who had the guts to criticize and oppose polices that were against the best interest of the people of our country. Continuing with that process is quintessentially American and patriotic and therefore beneficial and essential to the bettering of our nation. Opposing the right to do so is naturally the opposite of that.

These Republican leaders of the past were 100% right to defend the American right to disagree with the President even during war. To question the President’s truthfulness and even accuse him of lying to start a war if there is any suspicion he did so. They were 100% right to dismiss the charges that criticism of the President or his administration gives aid and comfort to the enemy. The enemy gets great comfort when the American people’s right to criticize the President is taken away or disparaged as unpatriotic. That is Treason as Teddy Roosevelt observed. Our nation was born out of the efforts of Americans brave enough to stand up to those in power and challenge their authority and we should not dishonor them by denying citizens the right to continue that American tradition.

During Clinton’s Presidency many Americans including Republican leaders were critical of him and his policies even during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 when US forces were attacking Saddam’s military installations. No one was stupid enough to call those critical of Clinton un-American or traitors.

But as soon as George W. Bush became President his supporters called those who protested his policies traitors and un-American. As the Iraq War continued they said those critical of him were giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They claimed that they alone carried the spirit of the founders of our nation when the exact opposite was the truth.

Let us continue the tradition of Republican leaders of the past and the founding fathers and celebrate the right and obligation of Americans to stand up to politicians who fail to act in the best interest of the people of our nation. That is our American heritage! That is what it means to be truly American!


Anonymous Dave Wisker said...

Given former Vice-President Cheney's diatribes against President Obama, I loved finding this.

7:20 AM  

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