DECEMBER 21, 1953
NEW YORK, Sunday—Governor Thomas E. Dewey overlooked certain things, it seems to me, in the speech he made at Hartford last week. Certainly, when the Governor of a great state makes statements without proving them, he must expect that they will be challenged.
Mr. Dewey chooses to assert that the war in Korea came about because misconduct in the Democratic Administration invited the North Koreans to attack. I suppose he takes it for granted that the North Koreans had nothing to do with it, and that it was simply an attack by the Soviet Union in which they used the people under that mandate. But the Governor forgets the fact that the Democrats had loyally carried out the mandate of the U.N. and that the attack was none of their doing. In a later accusation Mr. Dewey goes, I think, rather far even for political party advantage.
I am accustomed to all political parties making extravagant statements for their own benefit. Yet I believe the Governor went far beyond that when he said: "Whenever anybody mentions the words Truman and Democrat to you for the rest of your lives, remember that those words are synonymous with Americans dying thousands of miles from home, because they did not have the ammunition to defend themselves." The Governor forgets that the conduct of the war was in the hands of the military leaders. These are nonpartisan. General MacArthur, who was put in charge by the U.N., acted as a nonpartisan during his command even though, when he came out of the army, he declared his Republicanism. His duty and that of all other Republicans in the armed forces was to act as loyally under the Democrats as under the Republicans.
I think it is a wicked thing to make our people who suffered losses in the Korean war feel, not pride in having undertaken a great and courageous crusade for collective security, but instead shame that there was no need for the losses that occurred. To state that these losses were incurred only because of incompetence is, I believe, a dreadful thing to do to the parents and families of men who died in this effort which may well have kept us from the spread of aggression throughout Asia and from the beginning of World War III.
This Governor is bitter because he says the attacks at present being made on the Republican Administration by the Democrats were begun 20 years ago against poor President Hoover who was in no way responsible for the depression. Perhaps the poor man could not have done anything. But that is a long time ago, and we can let bygones be bygones since something was done in the end by the Democrats. When the Governor reminds us, however, that "the Democrats do the talking while the Republicans do the work," we cannot help but remind him that in Washington, at least, the Republicans have only been at work since 1953. The Democrats were at work from '33 to '52, so they must have been able both to talk and to work.