May 2, 2009

NO, WE STARTED IT:

Inside Lend-Lease: TO KEEP THE BRITISH ISLES AFLOAT: FDR’s Men in Churchill’s London, 1941 by Thomas Parrish (JENNET CONANT, NY Times Book Review)

Parrish, the author of several books about World War II, uses Boothe to back into his thesis that a sleepy, isolationist America needed to be roused, and that Roosevelt relied on two remarkable men — Harry Hopkins and Averell Harriman — to help sound the alarm and secure aid for Britain. In “To Keep the British Isles Afloat,” the story of the ­destroyers-for-bases deal seen, as he says, “from the inside,” Parrish recounts how the ever-­pragmatic Roosevelt dispatched Hopkins to London as his “personal representative” to investigate the boozy Churchill and assess Britain’s chances against Germany. Then, reassured by Hopkins’s favorable report, he sent over Harriman, a well-connected financier, to do “everything that we can do, short of war, to keep the British Isles afloat.” Maneuvering behind the scenes in even more elite circles than Boothe, Hopkins and Harriman not only oversaw lend-lease — pushing through the transfer of planes, munitions and warships — but also played a crucial role in orchestrating the increasingly close relationship between the president and the prime minister.

One of the silliest myths that the liberal historians perpetuated is that Hitler just declared war on the US out of the blue after Pearl Harbor. Sure, FDR acted not just provocatively but anti-democratically, but it's hard to understand why they were so ashamed of his manufacturing a war with Hitler. Despite some feeble protestations about the threat of WMD by the neocons, we don't feel any similar reticence about W ginning up a war to remove Saddam. The quality of a regime is sufficient justification for American intervention, and always has been.


Posted by Orrin Judd at May 2, 2009 7:13 AM
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