Monday, April 13, 2009

Advice to Obama: Ike Knew How to End a War

The New York Times writer Jean Edward Smith conjures up a historical precedent for a president to put an end to a armed conflict. In 1953 Eisenhower brokered peace in Korea.
Eisenhower rejected the argument. “If Mr. Dulles and all his sophisticated advisers really mean that they cannot talk peace seriously, then I’m in the wrong pew,” he told an aide afterward. “Now either we cut out all this fooling around and make a serious bid for peace — or we forget the whole thing.”


In bringing peace to Korea — a peace that has endured for over fifty years — Eisenhower asserted his personal authority as commander in chief. Perhaps only a five-star general could ignore his party’s old guard and overrule the country’s national security establishment, almost all of whom believed that military victory in Korea was essential. But Ike was an experienced card player. He could recognize a losing hand when he saw it, and he knew when to fold his cards. Only President Obama knows what he saw in Iraq, and only he can decide whether his hand should be folded.

It will take serious determination and willpower for Obama to end the commitment in Iraq.(And hopefully, Afghanistan some day.) He will face massive opposition to a pull out, and frankly, he's not showing that he has the fortitude to do it.

Note: What's not mentioned in the NYT article is that Eisenhower, through third party diplomatic channels threatened to use atomic bombs on the Chinese if they didn't seriously negotiate to end to the war*. (*p. 276 The Invincible Quest, by Conrad Black)

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