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posted: 9/5/2012 5:00 AM

Will column misstates history

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In his Aug. 28 column, George Will either willfully or negligently misstates two important facts.

First, he claims that Gov. Willard Romney's foreign policy credentials "are not weaker than Barack Obama's were four years ago." Gov. Romney's foreign policy credentials consist of two years in France as a Mormon missionary, and his recent gaffe-filled trip to London, Israel, and Poland.

Republicans have attempted to downplay their ticket's lack of foreign policy experience. Thomas Mann, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution stated that "[e]specially with the addition of Ryan to the ticket, you'll be hearing very little on foreign policy from the Republicans."

As a candidate, Sen. Obama's credentials were much more robust. As a single example, on Jan. 11, 2007, the Lugar-Obama proliferation and threat reduction initiative was signed into law. Authored by U.S. Sens. Republican Dick Lugar, the longtime dean of foreign policy in Congress, and Democrat Obama, the initiative expanded U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons. It also expanded the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction.

Second, Mr. Will states that "two Democratic presidents committed the U.S. to a protracted war of attrition in Indochina." As is often the case, history eludes Mr. Will. Prize-winning historian William Manchester in his The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932-1972, wrote "[t]he original American commitment to Saigon has been made in 1954 and renewed in 1957" by Republican President Eisenhower. In an attempt to rally congressional and public support for increased U.S. aid, President Eisenhower gave an historic press conference on April 7, 1954, when he suggested the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a "domino" effect in Southeast Asia. President Eisenhower's announcement of the "domino theory" laid the foundation for U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

If these are the foreign policy credentials and approach that Mr. Will wants Gov. Romney to foist-off on the American people, God help us all.

Tom Bartlett-Svehla


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