November 20, 2014

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As for his command of language, Johnson says:

He had written position and situation papers of every kind at all stages of his career as a staff officer, and all were in beautiful English.

Reading about Ike, in fact, even at mere hundred-page length, gives one a sinking feeling. His stupendous accomplishments in military administration; his deft presidency of Columbia University (“€œIke raised Columbia high amid its peers, and left it big, busy and secure”€); and above all his career as U.S. President, all leave one wondering: Where are today’s Ikes?

With the political air full of immigration talk on both sides of the Atlantic, for example, compare the dithering and duplicity on that topic of our current “€œleaders”€ with Ike’s brisk, effective “€œOperation Wetback.”€

The goal of political leadership is to secure for one’s country, so far as circumstances will allow, the things that most ordinary citizens wish for: prosperity and peace. 

On that score, Ike did superbly well. America’s 1950s prosperity glows golden in the memory of us who witnessed it, if only from afar. Peace? Paul Johnson draws a withering comparison between Ike’s masterly 1958 deployment to Lebanon”€””€œthe only American military operation abroad that Ike initiated in the whole of his eight years at the White House”€”€”and the Bay of Pigs misadventure of the vain, shallow John F. Kennedy in the following administration.

Discounting as best I can my partiality to P.J.’s prose, I”€™m convinced:  This was our best modern President.

Now: How are we getting on with that cloning business?


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