Ten dunce caps

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on September 20, 2007

Capt. Ed rips into this "fact check" of this Fred Thompson statement:

"You know, you look back over our history, and it doesn't take you long to realize that our people have shed more blood for other people's liberty than any other combination of nations in the history of the world.''

-- Fred D. Thompson, stump speech in Des Moines, Sept. 7

Capt. Ed's rejoinder:

The Post awards Thompson "four Pinocchios" for his statement. I'd award the Post about ten dunce caps for borderline illiteracy.

Thompson specifically mentions that we shed our blood for "other people's liberty", not our own. That excludes any nation that fought to defend its own territory. The Soviet Union had allied itself with Nazi Germany -- right up to the moment of Hitler's invasion of June 1941. The Soviets did not fight the Germans to liberate anyone except themselves. True, they bled massively in their defeat of the Nazis, but they didn't do it out of love of liberty or selfless devotion to France or Britain. Their effort certainly helped the West in achieving victory on Hitler's Western front, but that wasn't why Joseph Stalin insisted on crushing the Nazis. Had Hitler not launched Operation Barbarossa, Stalin wouldn't have lifted a finger for anyone's liberty, let alone those of his own people -- which he proved in the post-war Iron Curtain he imposed on Europe.

Anyone who can't figure this much out has no business writing for a professional newspaper. It's a ludicrous, almost ghoulish argument in the face of what followed World War II in Europe. It's worthy of Walter Duranty, the disgraced Soviet apologist of the 1930s New York Times.

The rest of the piece is almost as bad. The unidentified writer uses the conquests of the Alexandrian Greeks (actually Macedonians, to be accurate) as a counter-example to Fred's claim, as well as Napoleon. The Post seems to have some trouble distinguishing imperial acquisition from liberty, a lost distinction that explains quite a bit of what appears on the pages of its newspaper.

It also uses the British as a counter to the claim, an example that actually may have some merit -- but only in World War II, and only if one believes that Britain defended North Africa to bring liberty there. In fact, Britain was defending its empire and its trade routes, and had they lost in Africa, they would have lost the entire southern empire. France and Britain declared war on Germany in response to the invasion of Poland, but then did nothing until both were attacked by Germany almost nine months later. The British fiercely held off Germany through waves of devastating aerial bombings in London and its environs until the US finally joined the war. They were magnificent, but they fought for their own survival and that of their empire, not to liberate anyone else except possibly the French, and only secondarily.

There's more, but this foolishness from the Washington Post is depressing. This is the sort of thing I'd expect from The New York Times.

I'm beginning to think that the media may be good for more than 15 points in the election come 2008.


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September 2007



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