Friday, December 29, 2006

A footnote on page 264 of "Controversy" illustrates the old adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same":

Lord Sydenham, when he wrote of the "deadly accuracy" of the forecast in the "Protocols" of about 1900, might have had particularly in mind the passage, ". . . We shall invest the president with the right of declaring a state of war. We shall justify this last right on the ground that the president as chief of the whole army of the country must have it at his disposal in case of need". The situation here described became established practice during the present century. In 1950 President Truman sent American troops into Korea. "to check Communist aggression", without consulting Congress. Later this was declared to be a "United Nations" war and they were joined by troops of seventeen other countries under an American commander, General MacArthur. This was the first experiment in a "world government"-type war and its course produced Senator Taft's question of 1952. "Do we really mean our anti-Communist policy?" General MacArthur was dismissed after protesting an order forbidding him to pursue Communist aircraft into their Chinese sanctuary and in 1953, under President Eisenhower, the war was broken off, leaving half of Korea in "the aggressor's" hands. General MacArthur and other American commanders later charged that the order forbidding pursuit was made known to the enemy by "a spy ring responsible for the purloining of my top secret reports to Washington" (Life, Feb. 7, 1956), and the Chinese Communist commander confirmed this (New York Daily News, Feb. 13, 1956). In June 1951 two British Foreign Office officials, Burgess and Maclean, disappeared and in September 1955 the British Government, after refusing information for four years, confirmed the general belief that they were in Moscow and "had spied for the Soviet Union over a long period". General MacArthur then charged that these two men had revealed the non-pursuit order to the Communist "aggressor" (Life, above-quoted).

On April 4, 1956 President Eisenhower was asked by a reporter at his regular news conference whether he would order a United States marine battalion, then recently sent to the Mediterranean, into war "without asking Congress first" (by that time war in the Middle East was an obvious possibility). He answered angrily. "I have announced time and time again I will never be guilty of any kind of action that can be interpreted as war until the Congress, which has the constitutional authority". On January 3, 1957, the first major act of his second term, he sent a draft resolution to Congress designed to invest him with unlimited, standing authority to act militarily in the Middle East "to deter Communist armed aggression".


That submission was 50 years ago next week.

Your homework today is to study the "Office of Special Plans".

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