Sunday, October 31, 2010

David Broder Is A Drooling Imbecile

Caption: The U.S.S. North Carolina, the lead battleship of her class, being fitted out at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in April, 1941. This vessel, along with hundreds of other warships, cargo vessels, and their equipment and supplies are among the many reasons that the United States' economy recovered at the start of World War II.

Image credit: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia

If this weren't David Broder writing this, I'd be thinking it was some form of satire:
What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.

Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

The War Recovery?
I don't know what's more disturbing about this editorial, that it's obvious warmongering for the sake of economic and political gain, or that Broder has absolutely no understanding of what made World War II so prosperous for the U.S.

The first concern is an obvious one, I think, because anyone who has ever examined how WWII went realizes that it wasn't a good time for the economies of Great Britain, Germany, Japan, or the Soviet Union. It was catastrophic for Germany and Japan, and to some degree both the United Kingdom and Russia are still recovering. All of them lost most of a generation of young men, and quite a few cities and civilian casualties. War doesn't always go well for its participants.

Caption: B-24 bombers being built for WWII in a plant built for WWII production, which was one of the largest in the world at the time. Perhaps nothing symbolizes the economic effort of WWII more than pictures like this one.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia

The second concern is only slightly more subtle, really. The United States profited from the war by producing war machinery on an unprecedented scale. Between 1938 and 1942 we laid down twenty aircraft carriers, a dozen battleships, and scores of escort ships. We built hundreds of auxiliary and cargo ships. We built factories that built a hundred thousand aircraft, and countless tanks and military vehicles, not to mention the guns they carried and the ammunition they used. Not only did we outfit our own armed forces with this equipment, making them the strongest and largest in the world at the time, but we also helped supply a number of our allies with aircraft and military vehicles. We weren't called the Arsenal of Democracy for nothing.

Nothing even remotely like that kind of war production will be needed in a battle with Iran.

People like David Broder, who are neither inclined nor forced to understand the issues they pontificate about, are dangerous when they are given a megaphone by the news organizations of this country. Unfortunately, they seem to be the rule rather than the exception, at least in DC.


Cirze said...



they seem to be the rule rather than the exception, at least in DC.


Unknown said...

Yes, the old adage "War is good business" doesn't work in this day and age...but evidently that fuckwit never got the memo that FDR is no longer president and we no longer have plants rolling out hundreds of war machines.

Drones are the weapon of choice now and they don't take near the effort to produce and/or use.

Cujo359 said...

Perhaps the most basic thing arguing against something like WWII ever happening again, where most of the world's powers are involved against each other, is that such a war would almost inevitably go nuclear. Even if we were fighting wars in open cockpit biplanes, they'd still be limited in size, if not in duration.

In that context, the drones just make it a little easier.

There are so many reasons that Broder is wrong that it makes you wonder just how wrong a person can be, and still be taken seriously by people who own newspapers.

Formerly T-Bear said...

Suspect when it comes to the likes of D. Broder and how wrong they can be would be like looking from the top of a tall cliff to see how much down was down there. The bottomless pit of ignorance has a whole lot of down, down there.

It probable escaped attention but not only was the US rearming and remanning its military, but economically was earning great sums from selling arms to England, France and Russia, gold in many cases was transfered to the treasury to satisfy the debts. Britain surrendered the Bahamas as security for a small fleet of warships. The transfer of wealth to the US economy was what finally broke the depression and the deflationary spiral.

Unknown said...

It's not the media owners, we know where they stand...with the Corporatocracy. It's their readers dude.

Cujo359 said...

The wealth transfer was nice, Formerly T-Bear, but I suspect it was less of a help than having full employment for many years, with the resultant savings and pent-up consumer demand, and just not being the home team. We lost about half a million service members, which while a substantial number, was nowhere near what the other major countries lost. We also kept our industrial base intact. That's part of why I pointed out how things didn't go so well for the UK and the USSR.

Anyway, as I mentioned, there are a ton of reasons why WWII worked out so well for us. That includes that the manufacturing effort was an order of magnitude larger than the next largest we've been in since. Using it as an example of anything other than the potential benefits of full employment on something that's of use to ourselves and the rest of the world is likely to be specious.

Cujo359 said...

Gads, Dusty, I hope none of the readers take it seriously, but you're probably right.

Formerly T-Bear said...

Two of those tons of reasons that had probably most to do with the economic recovery were rationing and wage and price controls. Most economic effort was directed for war purposes, and only the necessary to maintain civilian economic use. The result was the forced savings (recall war bonds?) that accumulated until war's end and the repeal of rationing as well as wage and price controls. The pent up demand represented by savings became the driving force of economic recovery, aided by policies enfranchising veterans (education, housing, etc.). The war years actually forestalled economic recovery because of the application of a planned economy to meet war exigencies. So agreed, there were multiple causes for economic recovery but had the wealth not been there to finance the war effort in the first place, a whole other scenario would have probably taken place and the debts of war would have acted differently after the war was over. Britain kept their wartime rationing and wage and price controls and their economic history was quite different until those economic controls were abandoned in the mid fifties and the economy then started recovery. Maybe a lesson there, no?

Cujo359 said...

Definitely a lesson there. It pays to be a society that's safe, which means stable and reasonably well run. Not playing host to a war is always nice. Capital tends to go to such places, particularly in times of trouble.

We also benefited post-WWII from being the only country with its industrial base intact. It was a position that many folks who ran our industries, by the 1960s, were assuming we would always have. Then Japan started kicking our ass.

There's a lesson there, too.