Dwight Eisenhower loved the army, in which he served for almost all of his adult life. His favorite form of relaxation, after golf, was to sit down for a drink and swap war stories with some old West Point classmates. When he left the White House in 1961, he puzzled his successor, John F. Kennedy, by asking to be returned to his five-star army rank, which meant that in retirement he would be referred to as “General,” not “Mr. President.” But to know and love the military was not necessarily to trust it, at least when it came to
Reply 4 - Posted by:
Country Boy, 12/16/2012 7:02:01 AM (No. 9068635)
Excellent read. And how far we have fallen in 50 years, now to be scolded on a daily basis by the Usurper-in-Chief.
Was in Ike´s farmhouse in Gettysburg 10 years ago. Very nice. Stories about Churchill and Monty, who slept in the house and which Prima Donna didn´t (the latter).
Ike had a desk made during his years as POTUS. He had the White House carpenters do it. It is an exact replica of George Washington´s desk. The carpenters made it out of discarded floor boards that were at one time part of the White House. The desk is in his farmhouse in Gettysburg (at least it was 10 years ago). Pretty cool.
Sorry for the double post but I would give a lot to have a poker-playing West Pointer who was willing to defy the Military Industrial Complex as president; or a millionaire plutocrat like Theodore Roosevelt who was willing to defy Wall Street, or a Harry Truman who knew whose desk stopped the buck; or anyone who was really and actually devoted to the greater good of the majority of Americas, not a poll-watching, scheming demagogue.
This should be a Must Read. We have a whole generation who knows nothing about what made this country great. With today´s leaders, we would either be speaking German or Japanese, or Russian or Chinese.
Bring back the 50´s. It was exciting as we learned of new technologies. The only thing that wasn´t pretty in the 1950´s were the new models of houses - they all looked like chicken coops. They had none of the grace of the architecture from earlier days, but the intent was to be affordable for the returning GI´s.
He´s probably one of the most under rated presidents. Sure, he could have done some things differently, but we had 8 years of relative peace and prosperity (even considering the recession of ´58). And as the article says at the end, that didn´t just happen by accident. Perhaps the biggest loss is the kind of people who voted in droves for Ike. Today he would probably lose in a landslide.
Did eisenhower ever carry a gun in combat? I don´t think he did. The closest would have been when MacArthur had the WWI veterans driven out of D.C., when they protested for their promised pensions. Ike was assigned that duty. Wo when they say he liked to swap war stories, I have to wonder what those stories would have looked like.
Petraeus, I have read, never carried a gun into combat, and acquired those medals so proudly displayed the way some foreign leaders earn their medals. By some sort of personal acclaim.
This is a good read. Several points made which are timeless--
The military is seemingly almost always scheming to get us into a war. (They tried to get JFK into a hot war in Cuba which could have brought us to nuclear war with the Russians)
The people in charge of the C intelligence service, likewise cannot always be counted on to tell what they know (They tried to get us into a war as well, and may have had a hand in having Gary Power´s U2 flight go down to ruin talks with Kruschev)
The idea of going "all in our get out of Vietnam" was what JFK resisted while he was alive, only sending in "advisors" until he was killed (he had told a handfull of people he would be very unpopular for pulling our troops out after re-election because he felt it was an unwinnable war since the French couldn´t hold it)
How our country has changed in the last 50 years! Now we have people with pop culture values leading the nation, and rather than caring about what policies will govern us without the protection of the rule of law, we worry about what kind of underwear the president wears, or keeping up with Jersey Shore and Honey Boo Boo.
One of the most important takeaways from the article is that when Ike was in conflict with Congress he met with Congressional leaders and worked out a compromise. He did not go on a multi-state speaking tour and paint those who disagreed with him as evil. Nor did he blame everyone else for his problems. Ike also had a history of actual accomplishment. My how things have changed.
As to military strategy, there are historical writers that say Ike excelled, and those that say he was inept. Perhaps that was not so important since Ike was a political general in WWII. He made some bad choices in who to support during the planning of the North Africa invasion in 1942, but he learned. In succeeding years he gained cooperation between armies of different countries with political skill to position for military success.
As president Ike worked behind the grandfatherly image to achieve the goals outlined in this article as well as other goals not so well recognized. He is said to have contributed nothing to end of segregation and the subjugation of black citizens. But what about those de-segregationalist judges he appointed to district courts. And what about the three civil rights bills he had introduced in congress. The first of them were opposed by LBJ and voted against by JFK. The last one, watered down by Johnson´s complaints, passed. Many people think it came later, but was in these actions that black voting rights were advanced and the racial scene changed. Overall, Ike was a strategist. He positioned his political assets for success, as he had his military assets in the war.
What we should get out of the article is a severe indictment of the press / mainstream media. They will vilify competence, wisdom, experience, judgment, and humility and celebrate vulgarity (JFK and RFK chasing after Hollywood stars), self-promoting peacocks (LBJ), speech-giving (JFK, Obama), fashionable fops (JFK, Jackie K, Michelle Obama), self-righteous fools (Jimmah) and bloviators (Bill Clinton, Obama) who have little competence as commander-in-chiefs. They don´t like "bo-ring!" and want excitement, something to write about and gossip about while waiting for their next spoon-feeding of propaganda from the White House spokesperson.
Reply 17 - Posted by:
J F Ackerman, 12/16/2012 10:37:21 AM (No. 9069032)
Read M Stanton Evans´ "Blacklisted by History" to see how Eisenhower sabotaged Senator McCarthy´s efforts to expose communist infiltration into the US government. Mao might never have succeeded in taking over China had Chiang Kai-shek been supported properly by the US. The commies lied about Chiang´s "corruption" and Mao´s "land reforms", and Ike bought into those lies.
"...Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation´s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
The prospect of domination of the nation´s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society."
I look forward to Mr Thomas´ sequel that addresses the exceses of the Scientific-technological elite. /s
Gen. Eisenhower is my all time hero and have read many books written by and about him. Several of the quotes in the article did not sound like Eisenhower. He simply would never have boasted or assigned importance to himself.
BTW, I have had "I Like Ike" bumper stickers on my back windows for years. Can´t tell you how many strangers comment or cars passing me on the Interstate honk and give a thumbs up.
In 1954 he put "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1956 "In God We Trust" became the country´s motto. Called his war "Crusade in Europe." He could have been the nominee of either party. God was with him and Mamie. So who could be against him?
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