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June 19, 2004

FDR Into War NOT Same As Bush

A response to Dean's
assertions in NG Dogma's comments (you'll have to scroll down) that FDR broke the neutrality laws of the 1930s and thus got about 200 soldiers killed and got ships deployed and more in violating them.

FDR Had Laws On His Side

Dean, in the interest of backing up my high-horse screed I will take up that challenge. Also, you’ve stayed on the level.

1stly, as you, yourself point out: there were other voices, other countries involved in World War Two, before 1940. By that time countries had been invaded and overtaken.

Therefore, with regard to FDR, we were at that time in the role of Tony Blair in 2002-2003 (in this respect alone). And with the US in 2003 it was us against most of the rest of the world in wanting to attack Iraq OR in seeing justification for it. Here I include the Spanish and British public who were in large majorities against such an invasion and against their governments for doing so. I do not know enough about the Polish citizenry.

You will notice that FDR made the argument for war for about five or six years, forthrightly and often, and by the time he did and as he did so there had been numerous invasions by aggressors Japan, Italy and Germany all.

That’s much more than Bush had to go on. It’s much more than he still has to go on — and Bush’s invasion liberation has grown the war on terror, not decreased it.

That is also one important difference in the two scenarios. Your citations of ship deployment and escort are not acts of war, though they are participation. I understand that could be considered close to the level of parsing you’d have to be party to to support Bush’s assertions at this point. The same so-called discernment you’d have to have to separate “lies” from “deliberate deception,” but I digress.

To FDR’s actions – There was a Neutrality Act in place. What did it say?

Well before going into that, you might want to look into the Land-Lease Act of March 1941. Ring any bells? Do you think it might have any relevancy in this discussion? Maybe ALL the relevancy?

The Neutrality Acts from 1935 to 1939 all apply to non-government business operations, which is why what you said made no sense. And none of them, in any case, has bearing on the acts of the Bush administration and whether they mislead the American public.

That assertion is backed up by 1) reading the act and, more simply, 2) providing you with the section titles of the Neutrality Act if 1937 (Link to Act):

--- Export of Arms, Ammunition, and Implements of War
--- Export of Other Articles and Materials
--- Financial Transactions
--- Exceptions - American Republics
--- National Munitions Control Board
--- American Vessels Prohibited from Carrying Arms to Belligerent States
--- Use of American Ports as Base of Supply
--- Submarines and Armed Merchant Vessels
--- Travel on Vessels of Belligerent States
--- Arming of American Merchant Vessels Prohibited

The last paragraph of this 1937 act says this:
Regulations: Section 11. The President may, from time to time, promulgate such rules and regulations, not inconsistent with law, as may be necessary and proper to carry out any of the provisions of this Act; and he may exercise any power or authority conferred on him by this Act through such officer or officers, or agency or agencies, as he shall direct....

This 1937 act was the so-called “permanent neutrality act.” A surface history of other such neutrality acts, starting in 1935 (when Italy invaded Ethiopia) are here

The 1935 Act, upon which the 1937 act built (here)

Two lines of that, reaffirmed in 1937 say:

The President, by proclamation, shall definitely enumerate the arms, ammunition, or implements of war, the export of which is prohibited by this Act.

The President may, from time to time, by proclamation, extend such embargo upon the export of arms, ammunition, or implements of war to other states as and when they may become involved in such war.

Note also:

August 1940s executive order to: “trade destroyers for bases - also allowed British pilots to train in U.S., British ships to be repaired in U.S. ports, Flight Ferry Command, Eagle Squadron.”

Also: June 6 - FDR seized 80 foreign merchant ships in U.S. ports under new law of Congress.

These examples would seem to cover many of your concerns and was signed before your “undelivered speech (the quoting of which does not make much sense in the historical record of what actually happened).

Whatever you’ve been told or learned – look into what I’m saying. It’s simple.

On your third point:

>>--FDR put American forces in harm's way, resulting in American casualties, then lied about it to the American people.

11 killed, 22 injured on USS Kearney in Oct. 1941 (again notice timeline as illustrated above). More here at a USS Kearney dedication site. The ship was not sunk but later deployed.

USS Reuben – Oct. 31, 1941. 115 killed (again notice timeline as illustrated above)

Yes, I did also found your similar comments here in Feb. 2004.