So I can't blame the right for using WWII as a jumping-off point for defending their latest war. But what does make me a little sore is the habit -- much beloved especially by James Lileks and Jonah Goldberg (who did it just last week) -- of implying that if today's liberals were in charge back then, we never would have gone to war, and we would have just sat on our asses worrying about Tojo's civil rights while letting Hitler skull-fuck everyone on Europe to death. Well, I got news for you, boys: today's liberals were in charge back then. In fact, FDR, who won the war, was about a hundred times more liberal than Bill Clinton, or anyone else in the modern Democratic party, for that matter. And who were the people urging us to stay out of the war? Who were the ones saying Europe could take care of its own problems? Who were the ones who sniffed that enough Americans had died for a bunch of toffee-nosed aristos in the last war, while cozying up to the business-friendly Mussolini and exchanging knowing winks about Hitler's attitude towards the Jews? That's right: the Republicans. The conservatives. The right wing.
Not that every Republican was against intervention; indeed, once we were finally in it, the GOP, as a whole, threw their entire weight behind the war effort. Nor, of course, was every lefty in favor of the war. But in the political arena, by far the most opposition to aiding the British and the Chinese came from conservatives. The biggest stumbling-block to European aid, to programs like Lend-Lease, came from the Republican Party. And the people with the nicest things to say about Hitler and Mussolini were almost all right-wingers. Naturally, it's absurd to say that the GOP opposed WWII, or did nothing to help win it, or were Nazi sympathizers. But it's even more absurd to speculate that the American left would have hidden under a rock and let the Nazis take over the world. No speculation is even necessary, because the historical record is clear: it was a liberal administration that won the war, and a conservative opposition who opposed it until it was no longer possible to do so. So any time we can bury that bogus reimagining of real history would be fine with me.