Nick Kristof on the noble history of containment:
So it’s useful to conjure a conservative war hero like Dwight Eisenhower and consider what he would do if he were president today. After his experience with Hitler, Ike would stand up to the lily-livered pussy-footing peaceniks and squish Saddam Hussein like a bug, right?
No, probably not.
Eisenhower, who led the European Allies to victory in World War II and was president from 1953 to 1961, faced a crisis in Egypt similar to today’s and effectively chose containment rather than invasion. Likewise, even when faced with the threat of weapons of mass destruction, President John F. Kennedy chose to contain Cuba rather than invade it, and President Ronald Reagan chose to contain Libya rather than invade it. I hope we have the courage and discipline to emulate such restraint by Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan today and choose containment over war for Iraq.
Eqypt was “effectively contained” by Eisenhower?!? The same Eqypt whose same leader, Nasser, went on to launch two wars of aggression against Israel? If anyone kept Egypt contained, it was defeat at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces in ’67 and ’73 — and the 1973 war was a very close call.
Kennedy chose to contain Cuba? The same Kennedy who gave the go-ahead to the Bay of Pigs invasion? The same Kennedy who plotted with his brother, the attorney general, the kill Castro? The same Kennedy who threatened to land Marines on Cuban beaches?
Reagan chose to contain Libya? Libya finally cut down on the mischief-making when Reagan very nearly and very personally killed Khadaffy’s very own person in a 1986 bombing raid.
Nick might want to read a newspaper now and then. I hear he works for one — just not very hard.