Monday, June 2, 2008

UPDATED: McCain's Favored SecDef Appears to be a Squish on Israel

UPDATE: Ben Smith, my source for this video, has now removed it from Politico's site and issued a correction because he believes the editing is misleading. I tend to agree, but I'll leave the video up in case anyone's interested to see what the fuss is about. Smith's full correction is below.

Has any presidential election been as much about the concerns of Jewish voters as this one?

I don't mean any offense to Israel. It's just important to recognize that we have lots of de facto allies who are in tough scraps of one sort or another (Taiwan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Georgia, etc.), but I bet you couldn't tell me John McCain's attitude toward the dispute over Abkhazia or the significance of China's new nuclear submarine base on Hainan Island. I doubt John McCain could tell me.

It's tempting, of course, to believe that history has paused outside the line of countries that stretches from the Khyber to the Levant. Unfortunately, the game is deeper than that.

. . . Okay, here's Ben:

CORRECTION: I missed an edit in the middle of the video, which I shouldn't have posted, and have removed from above. It cut a crucial passage in which Smith said he sided with Truman in the dispute. The full transcript is after the jump, and the edit undermines the point the video is trying to make.

In the full video, Smith says that Truman made the "right decision," but that Marshall was "prophetic" -- words that still might give pause to some, but put him on the other side of the issue.

Full transcript after the jump.

FRED SMITH: But Marshall was the architect of the victory worldwide, not just in Europe. I think Marshall`s greatest contribution when Roosevelt made him chief of staff was to go down sometimes two and three deep in the officer ranks and take the people that had talent that he had trained in the inner war years, and it was that group of leadership, including Eisenhower, and Marshall`s amazing managerial capabilities that really was the most important element in winning World War II, I believe.

CHARLIE ROSE: But he advised Truman against recognizing the state of Israel.

FRED SMITH: Well, in retrospect, there would be a large body of thought that would have said that Marshall was correct in what would precipitate from that recognition, which is now 60-some-odd years of war.

CHARLIE ROSE: Exactly 60 years.

FRED SMITH: Yes. So I think Truman made the right decision. But Marshall`s job was to advise ...

CHARLIE ROSE: So he was prophetic about the problems that might come about.

FRED SMITH: He was certainly prophetic as to the problems that would come.

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