Thursday, August 14, 2008

T.R.: Warmonger?

The insightful and witty James Poulos thinks that William Jennings Bryan needs to shut his silver loving, evolution hating mouth about Teddy Roosevelt.... not in so many words of course.

He argues that T.R. gets the short shrift from critics who call him a warmonger. Sure, as President he kept his cool, but as undersecretary of the navy? He was a bit overzealous about the Spanish-American war... what with trying to start it and all. And that wasn't even his first choice of wars, what he really wanted was a war with Germany. After overseeing the arming of the U.S.S. Maine, Roosevelt thought it would be swell if there was war to be had, any old war would do, really:

"I wish there was a chance that the Maine was going to be used against some foreign power; by preference Germany-but I am not particular, and I'd take even Spain if nothing better offered"

Luckily for Roosevelt, unluckily for the Maine, he got his wish when the Maine exploded in a Cuban harbor and provided him with an excuse to begin pushing for a war. How hard did he push for war? I'll let his boss, Secretary of the Navy John Long, tell you:

"I find that Roosevelt, in his precipitate way, has come very near causing more of an explosion than happened to the Maine... The very devil seemed to possess him."

I've gotta say, with all due respect to the James Poulos and the 1906 Nobel Prize Committee, that sounds a bit like a warmonger.

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