Editor, Daily Nexus,
As a history major, I feel a minor obligation to correct the gross simplifications of history made by Justin Ruhge in his column “Hippies Aside, George Bush Is the Bomb” (Daily Nexus, Oct. 4). To begin with, the United States would not have been taken over by Hitler or Hirohito had the U.S. not been involved in World War II, as Ruhge asserts – the industrial capacity of the U.S. and its ocean borders ensured that it was more than capable of defending itself. I would also like to point out that the U.S. did not enter World War II voluntarily in order to combat violent despotism – it was dragged in by Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s declaration of war against the U.S.
I also fail to see how U.S. involvement in Vietnam stopped the communists – or Stalin, who was dead by the time that we became actively involved in Vietnam – who took over South Vietnam upon our departure. At no point did the U.S. engage in a direct war with the USSR – if we had, it is highly probable that civilization as we know it would have ended. U.S. victory – or Soviet failure – in the Cold War was a result of successful diplomacy that managed to avoid direct confrontation with the Soviets and thus preserve the world from a nuclear holocaust.
Ruhge overlooked one war: President Clinton did in fact oppose a violent, murderous despot in the war against Serbian President Milosevic. He defeated Yugoslavia, using a multinational force, without a single American casualty.
As a final correction, I’d like to point out that Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for 9/11, is not a dictator, but a terrorist. Ruhge claims that it “takes courage and leadership to stand up and fight; that is what President Bush has shown he has.” But it takes discretion and sound judgment to know how to pick your battles and win – this is something Bush has shown he lacks. I’d like to suggest to Mr. Ruhge that he take a refresher history course at SBCC or pick up a high school textbook before he gives us another lecture about “the lessons of history.”