News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinecoldwar-imperialism — Viewing Item

Gamal abdel nasser smear campaign { February 25 2003 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

February 25, 2003
Hitler on the Nile

There's so much chest-thumping, so many alarums about Iraqi menace, that I sometimes feel that the only patriotic thing to do is to invade Iraq and plow salt into its soil.

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.

In Ike's case, he faced a man perceived in the West as a far greater menace than Saddam is today -- Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt.

Nasser had the potential to upset the globe in a way that Saddam doesn't. Nasser was idolized by the Arab masses and aggressively intervened abroad. He helped the Algerians fight the French, forged close ties with Russia and infiltrated terrorists into Israel. (Israel also ran terrorist operations in Egypt, blowing up American libraries and cultural targets in an attempt to tarnish Nasser.) When Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, the West was sure that the canal would fall apart and disrupt global trade. Cairo Radio once boasted: "Millions of Arabs are . . . preparing to blow up all of America's interests, all of America's installations, and your entire existence, America."

Oh, the hawks will protest: Nasser didn't have weapons of mass destruction. Actually he did. Nasser's troops used mustard gas in Yemen.

European leaders were determined not to appease this "Hitler on the Nile." France, Israel and Britain conspired to invade Egypt and oust Nasser. "It was too risky to allow this adventurer, this miniature Hitler, to develop," Prime Minister Guy Mollet of France later told Nasser's biographer Jean Lacouture.

Ike was outraged and did to the Europeans what they are trying to do to us now: He forced the invaders to retreat and solve the crisis peacefully. "The United States is committed to a peaceful solution," he declared.

Thank God for Ike. If the hawks had been running the show then, we might still have troops in Egypt.

The hawks, to their credit, have a good recent record in their military forecasts. They correctly saw that the first gulf war and the Afghanistan invasion would go easily, while doves worried about quagmires. But the Nasser hysteria also reminds us that the hawks have a consistent track record of shrieking obsessively and seeing one minor country after another as global threats -- in an eye-bulging, alarmist way that in retrospect looks hysterical.

In the 1950's and 1960's, the hawks magnified the threat from Vietnam and Cuba. In the 1980's they obsessed about Nicaragua (only a one-week bus ride from Texas!). None of these threats were imagined, but they were exaggerated.

Now the focus is on Saddam, and it's true that he has been brutal and threatening for 25 years -- particularly in the 1980's when Don Rumsfeld was cozying up to him in Baghdad and the U.S. was shipping him seven strains of anthrax. The last 10 years have been the best behaved of Saddam's career (not saying much), and he's now 65, controlling an army only one-third its peak strength, and in the twilight of his menace.

The arguments against containment of Saddam were also made about Nasser: It will not work; Western credibility will vanish if we back off; if we do not invade now, we will have to fight him in a few years when he is stronger. And yet Nasser faded away, as Saddam is already fading.

So one can accept that Saddam is a threat and that Iraq would be far better off without him, and yet prefer the Eisenhower approach of containment. We might remember that Eisenhower warned Britain in 1956 that its insistence on ousting Nasser was leading to sweeping anti-British sentiment, and that while "initial military successes might be easy . . . the eventual price might become far too heavy."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company | Privacy Policy

180k east timorese slaughtered with US help
1996 intelligence community congressional findings
Accidental imperialist { December 30 2002 }
Britain torture camp photos revealed { April 3 2006 }
Carter legacy { October 18 2002 }
Castro at 12 asked fdr for 10 dollars { June 18 2004 }
Century [htm]
Cia asset blew up cuban airliner in 1976
Cia crimes report
Cia to declassify illegal abuses { June 22 2007 }
Civil military apart { October 18 1999 }
Congo bush gold funds civil war { April 6 2001 }
Coup coup coup { April 14 2002 }
Dramatic drop in conflicts since the cold war
Eisenhower british suez
Fdr churchill and stalin divided europe in 1945 { May 10 2005 }
Fdr cuba batista goodneighbor policy { April 9 1952 }
Fred korematsu fought internment of japanese americans
Gamal abdel nasser smear campaign { February 25 2003 }
Global economic history 1800 { July 26 2003 }
Japanese american who fought internment dies { April 3 2005 }
Judge decides if bay of pigs is terror act { August 30 2005 }
Judge looks if 1961 bay of pigs is terrorist act
Kissinger accused
Kissinger harpers
Kissinger irresponsibility own people { September 11 1973 }
Kissinger policies in lebanon { April 8 2005 }
Laos thailand
March 35th anniversary tlatelolco massacre { October 2 2003 }
Mark twain war
Mexico dirty war
Middleeast family dictators { December 11 2002 }
Mideast history { April 9 2003 }
Military wanted to provoke war with cuba
Nazi images outlawed germany
Operation paperclip
Palestine britian 1945
Papers on 1964 brazil coup declassified { April 3 2004 }
Papers show us support of 1964 brazil coup
Paul nitze architect of cold war { October 21 2004 }
Pope helped overthrow communism
Pri party rules mexico { July 5 2000 }
Probe ties ex president to 68 massacre { October 3 2003 }
Putin says US foreign policies worse than soviet { June 23 2007 }
Red scare to mccarthyism
Report reveals 1981 kgb plan to kill pope { March 30 2005 }
Seize oil planned during 73 crisis { January 2 2004 }
Skorea in 1950 slaughtered thousands of peasants { May 19 2008 }
Smedley butler
Sri lanka { September 18 2002 }
Suez end empire { March 14 2001 }
US britain france asked reparations for east timor massacre { January 21 2006 }
US detains former cia agent cuban terrorist { May 17 2005 }
Ww2 godfather

Files Listed: 54


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple