Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Personal Tribute to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., 1918-2007

Yesterday Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. died at age 89. I note his death because Schlesinger had a profound impact on my life in my 20’s.

Raised by parents who believed that there was a Communist under every domino and that all the dominoes in the world were lined up ready to bury the United States, I had conflicted feelings about the Vietnam War.

Searching for answers, in 1967 I read Schlesinger’s The Bitter Heritage – Vietnam and American Democracy and was convinced that the Vietnam War was a huge mistake. We needed to get out of there.

Now in my 60’s, I’ve escaped my parent’s fear of unseen enemies and was convinced from the beginning that the attack on Iraq was wrong, wrong, wrong. Returning to Bitter Heritage, Schlesinger’s words are so relevant today: “It is not too late to begin the de-escalation of the war; nor would the reduction of our military effort damage our international influence…. If our credibility is the issue, it is rather more important that other countries believe in our intelligence and responsibility than our passion for overkill.”

You may want to take a few minutes to honor the passing of a wise man by reading this morning’s Washington Post article, Arthur M. Schlesginer, Jr., Award-Winning Historian and Kennedy Insider, Dies at 89

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