January 22, 2005


On Tyranny: George W. Bush's Second Inaugural was a powerful and subtle speech. It will also prove to be historic. (William Kristol, 01/31/2005, Weekly Standard)

A social science that cannot speak of tyranny with the same confidence with which medicine speaks, for example, of cancer, cannot understand social phenomena as what they are.
--Leo Strauss, On Tyranny

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered. Yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.
--Thomas Paine, The Crisis

INFORMED BY STRAUSS and inspired by Paine, appealing to Lincoln and alluding to Truman, beginning with the Constitution and ending with the Declaration, with Biblical phrases echoing throughout--George W. Bush's Second Inaugural was a powerful and subtle speech.

It will also prove to be a historic speech. Less than three and a half years after 9/11, Bush's Second Inaugural moves American foreign policy beyond the war on terror to the larger struggle against tyranny. It grounds Bush's foreign policy--American foreign policy--in American history and American principles. If actions follow words and success greets his efforts, then President Bush will have ushered in a new era in American foreign policy.

That era will of course build on the efforts and achievements of his predecessors--especially Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. The invocation of Truman is clear. Here is Truman, in his address to a joint session of Congress on March 12, 1947, announcing what came to be known as the Truman Doctrine: "I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." And here is Bush: "So it is
the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Truman's basically defensive formulation of the doctrine of containment was appropriate at the beginning of the Cold War.

The opening is just there to get Pat Buchanan's goat, but that last sentence is thoughtless. The Soviets were quite vulnerable and the regime could easily have been toppled, sparing us the Cold War.

The Fire Raids on Japan

Curtis LeMay had experienced the bombing of cities in Germany as the leader of the 8th Air Force. Now in the Pacific theatre, he was convinced of one thing – that any city making any form of contribution to Japan’s war effort should be destroyed.

As the Allies had advanced through the Pacific Islands using MacArthur’s ‘island hopping’ tactic, they captured Saipan, Tinian and Guam. These islands became bases for the B-29’s of 21st Bomber Command. The bases for the B-29’s had to be huge. At Saipan the airstrips were 200 feet wide and 8,500 feet long and they were served by 6 miles of taxiways and parking bays. The runways at Tinian were 8,000 feet long and 90 miles of roads were built just to serve the bomber base there. The runways on Saipan and Tinian were ready by October 1944, just 2 months after the fighting on the islands had finished.

The first bombing raid against Tokyo occurred on November 24th. The city was 1,500 miles from the Marianas.

Pick one: Cities located close to Moscow

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 22, 2005 7:42 AM

And how long had LeMay and the British been bombing Germany? Four years.

And did Germany surrender because of it?


Moscow had been bombed quite a bit by 1945, too.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at January 22, 2005 5:37 PM

One nuke. No Berlin.

Posted by: oj at January 22, 2005 5:43 PM

I am guessing here, but I'll bet the last German bomb fell on Moscow sometime in 1943. And was there ever a campaign like the Blitz?

Anyone know for sure?

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 22, 2005 6:04 PM