Chronicles is my favorite magazine, a fact I register by resubscribing every year and occasionally donating a few bucks to its fund drives, so I feel no guilt that my first comments to its editors are harsh.
“Don’t Feed the War Machine” by Bill Kauffman (August) is nothing but babble. Mr. Kauffman is sliding fast from an honorable “America First” attitude down to a ridiculous one that blames America first and always. It would be a waste of time to attack any of the points he makes in his article because those points add up to nothing but the fact that he despises most of the men who have been President of the United States or worn the stars of a general in its army.
For all of Mr. Kauffman’s bitterness that the United States fought in World War II, the Japanese did bomb Pearl Harbor, a savage sneak attack they did not have to carry out, no matter what President Roosevelt did. The Japanese could have given up the business of invading other countries and butchering the conquered by following Mr. Kauffman’s advice for the good life: mind their own damn business by raising families and participating in the life of a small and vital community.
From his sarcasm toward General Grant and his quoting of Paul Fussell, the reader gets the sense that Mr. Kauffman considers our military men to be the killers of their own troops. What nonsense. You don’t have to like war to understand that men must face death when one is fought. Douglas MacArthur, Mark Clark, and George Patton no more used their men for cannon fodder than George Washington or Andrew Jackson did. They fought the war the best way they could. Of course, Truman ordered two atomic explosions in Japanese cities to avoid the deaths of our troops, but Mr. Kauffman is not pleased with that either.
Participating in the life of a small community produces a lot of good people. Now and then, it comes up with a prime fool.
Mr. Kauffman Replies:
Peace and love, Mr. Eason. It’s very brave of you to “face death” on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of American men who were stolen from their families and hometowns and sacrificed at the altar of the un-American Empire—you’re a real he-man, in the best tradition of McGeorge Bundy, Tom Clancy, and the authoress of that moronic phrase, “Blame America First.” By the way, I find at least something to like in most of our pre-FDR Presidents. I love my country; I love the Old Republic; foreign wars are the enemy of both. Belleville or the Empire, Mr. Eason; you can have one or the other. Betray your town if you wish, but don’t lecture me on patriotism, and don’t use mv flag to shroud the vaporized children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.