Not connected to writing in any way.  But we have had some interesting historical discussions in this place.  Was FDR the greatest ever President of the USA?  And what would Fox (or the Murdoch owned media) have broadcast against him if they had been around in the 1930s and 1940s? 

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I often think that Chester Nimitz is an unsung US commander of men.  Unlike many land based commanders; Taylor, Grant and Eisenhower spring to mind, he had the good sense to avoid politics after retirement.  And for good measure, we must remember that he halted the Japanese advance in the Pacific, after the attack on Pearl Harbour.

Well, to speak of military stars who WEREN'T presidents,  there was also Douglas MacArthur.

Sure he was a climber and drama queen, but check this out.

When I was born in Occupied Japan, he was the head of state. There was no "Nation of Japan" at that time.  He ruled the country with almost monarchial, military control.

When the war ended, the Japanese were largely convinced that they had been sneakly defeated by big hairy barbarians that ate babies.   They were literarlly prepared to defend every last inch of their soil to the death.

By the end of the occupation, Japan and America were fast friends and allies.  And not just politically like Saudia Arabia, but at a meaningful personal level.  Despite a high count of xenophobia in the Japanese character.

It was 5 years of peace and prosperity and nation re-building that worked superbly.  There were strong attempts by Communists to take over the vacuum, and by ultra-nationalist groups to grab the reins.  Didn't happen.  (My father was Army Intelligence at the time and there was some pretty interesting spookery going on)

No wars, no poverty, no rebellion... it could well be the most successful government in the history of mankind.

Same thing in Germany.  The trouble is that Americans started to believe that it would work with any nation. It doesn't. Both the Germans and the Japanese had a high work ethic, which meant that, given a hand initially, they pulled themselves out of the total defeat. In Germany, it was the Marshall plan that did it. Not sure if that was also applied in Japan.

The lesson of WW I was that ruinous and punitive settlements after a lost war will simply cause a rise of undesirable factions, like communism and fascism, in the devastated country. Hitler was a direct result of the post war years after WW I and the conditions imposed on the country. 

Yes. It's when we looked around, as did others, and saw that we were powerful enough to take the lead and keep it, then did it, becoming the world's police force. For good or bad.

The images of Japanese civilians leaping from cliffs to their deaths, on Okinawa in 1945, are upsetting to this day. But the survivors were won over by the G.I.s.  A filmed image, which I prefer to recall, is of a child accepting chocolate from a soldier: after he had bitten and eaten some of it first.

Yup.  The first chocolate I ever tasted was given to me by a black G.I. I was scared of him.

Obama has not earned any of the opprobrium I see here; far too many people actually believe conservative media, which is openly biased and often lies outright. This has served to create an atmosphere of hate unseen in American politics since the Civil War.

Obama has accomplished quite a lot in the face of an organized hate and obstruction machine unheard of before recent times. Take his recent brilliance in maneuvering Syria into giving its chemical weapons up without firing a shot. (Anybody who believes Putin suddenly developed a conscience in this needs a serious lesson in international politics.) Had Kennedy or Nixon done the exact same thing, they'd have been hailed as heroes.

Obama's only real flaw as President is governing while black. Nothing else explains the intense vitriol. 


Umm. Now that I don't believe. It's a stretch to imagine Obama has manipulated Putin into suggesting such a move to the Syrians.


I have some other quibbles also. I had hoped our involvement in all those wars would stop much sooner.  In that respect, Obama has acted more like the Republicans. There have also been some sell-outs (possibly necessary) in the settlements with the banks etc and in getting Obamacare at all by buying in the insurance companies. I had hoped that the grasping methods of the ueber-wealthy would be severely curtailed, especially in the field of healthcare. U.S. cost of basic healthcare is still among the highest in the world.

Oh, and our education is still among the worst in industrialized countries.

This is not to say that matters would be any better with Republicans at the helm. They would probably be worse.

Best bring Hilary back.


Using color to cover up for screwups is just a racist as anything else.

He didn't maneuver Syria into anything.  Did you not read the paper?  He pushed for a war, gave a stupid ultimatum, couldn't sell the maniact idea to anybody else, and PUTIN stepped in and solved it.  One of the biggest foreign policy fuckups in US history and everybody seems to know that but you.

Playing a "race card" as an excuse is shameful

Actually, Stephen-- and this is without animosity here--Obama was elected specifically because he was black. He was the First Black Hope, elected by almost every Black and white liberal, without respect to policy or philosophy. It simply did not matter to his voters; he was Black and that was enough. Even Colin Powell, an avowed moderate conservative who could have had the nomination from either party, by the way, pitched his values for the great unknown personality strictly out of racial concerns. Well, we can understand it, maybe, with Powell, but the white liberals who chose Obama over the more experienced Hillary Clinton, with her entourage, her cache, were inexplicably caught in the headlights of the race card. Now that is a human emotion hard to understand. And they did it again by reelecting him. So it isn't that his detractors dislike him because he's black, but that his supporters love him because he is. So who might be the real racists here?

Frankly, not sure we should be getting into all this here. I'm thinking maybe Daniel might drop the hammer on us any minute.

Well one might save the thread Dan if I point out that very few human beings do anything for one reason. Human beings harbor contradictory beliefs, attitudes and motives. And I think when you capture that real world complexity in a a fictional character then you are doing well as an author.

Agree completely.  And I like your "love him because he is" formulation.

In fact, it's one thing I liked about him.  And I still like the idea that, whatever else he's done of screwed up, for the rest of history, nobody can say a black candidate can't be elected President of the US, or a black kid can't possibly grow up to be president. 

I love stuffing it down throats of smug Europeans--"yeah, call us racists when YOU get a black head of state"

The other thing I liked about him was his promise to extricate us from the Mideast wars.  You see how that turned out.


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