Anti-war kooks in general, and Democrat presidential candidates in particular, continue to hammer the President for his pre-emption policy of "do it to them before they do it to us." But if you thought Democrats went nuts over comparisons of President Bush's tax cuts to JFK, you ain't seen
nothing yet. Wait'll they hear who originated the doctrine of pre-emptive defense.
First, let's get everybody on record here.
Earlier this year, an online left-wing organization called MoveOn.org hosted a "virtual" Democrat presidential primary in which Howard Dean came out on top.
In competing for votes from the MoveOn members, Dean posted a position statement on the organization's website. Included in the statement was this line: "On my first day in office, I will tear up the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war." In his online Candidate Interview with the MoveOn folks, Dean elaborated: "I've said all along that the Bush doctrine of preemptive war is wrong for America, and sets a dangerous precedent."
But Dean's not the only current Democrat presidential candidate to tell the MoveOn folks that they oppose the pre-emption doctrine.
"The Bush Administration's pre-emption doctrine is unnecessary and unwise," declared John Edwards in his interview. "The Administration's provocative new doctrine has been distracting and damaging." Dick Gephardt chimed in, "The U.S. should not have a pre-emptive war doctrine." Sen. John Kerry said "it's counterproductive to make pre-emption a doctrine." Dennis Kucinich stated flatly that "As President, I will repeal the pre-emptive war doctrine." And Al Sharpton declared that "It's a dangerous and traditionally un-American doctrine."
This is unarguably the same position held by the vast number of MoveOn members and left-wing Democrat activists. It's not too much of a stretch to suggest this is the official Democrat position for the 2004 campaign.
So I wonder how Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the patron saint of liberal Democrats everywhere, would have responded to the question of pre-emptive defense in that interview? Actually, I don't have to wonder. I have it right here.
In a Fireside Chat on - and you're not going to believe the coincidence of this date - September 11, 1941, FDR told the nation, "When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck before you crush him."
Hmmmm. Response, Mr. Dean? Rep. Gephardt? Sen. Edwards? Sen. Kerry? Rep. Kucinich? Rev. Sharpton?
At issue at the time was German submarine attacks on American ships, particularly a September 4, 1941, torpedo attack on the American destroyer Greer en route to Iceland. Roosevelt warned that "It is time for all Americans...to stop being deluded by the romantic notion that the Americas can go on living happily and peacefully in a Nazi-dominated world." He described the Greer attack by Hitler as "one determined step toward creating a permanent world system based on force, on terror, and on murder."
Roosevelt continued: "Normal practices of diplomacy - note writing - are of no possible use in dealing with international outlaws who sink our ships and kill our citizens."
"Let us not ask ourselves whether the Americas should begin to defend themselves after the first attack, or the fifth attack, or the tenth attack, or the twentieth attack," FDR declared. "This is the time for prevention of attack." With that, Roosevelt declared open season on any German or Italian
vessels in the water.
By the way, discovery of this FDR policy statement isn't something new. But funny how the media never seem to bring it up when questioning the Democrat candidates who criticize the Bush policy, isn't it?
At any rate, the doctrine of pre-emption didn't originate in the Bush administration. It was a policy adopted and implemented exactly 50 years, to the day, before the September 11 al Qaeda attacks on U.S. citizens. And it was articulated, not by a 21st century Republican president, but by the
Democrat Party's liberal icon who recognized that America's security and defense were of paramount importance - and didn't require the approval of France.
They don't make Democrats the way they used to, do they?