Abraham Lincoln on the Iraq, err, Mexican-American War

More great anecdotes from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln:

The following week, on January 12, 1848, Lincoln defended his spot resolutions and his vote on the Ashmun resolution in a major speech. He claimed that he would happily reverse his vote if the president could prove that first blood was shed on American soil; but since he “can not, or will not do this,” he suspected that the entire matter was, “from beginning to end, the sheerest deception.” Having provoked both countries into war, Lincoln charged, the president had hoped “to escape scrutiny, by fixing the public gaze upon the exceeding brightness of military glory … that serpent’s eye, that charms to destroy.”


The Democratic Illinois State Register charged that Lincoln had disgraced his district with his “treasonable assault upon President Polk,” claimed that “henceforth” he would be known as “Benedict Arnold,” and predicted that he would enjoy only a single term. Lincoln sought to clarify his position, arguing that although he had challenged the instigation of the war, he had never voted against supplies for the soldiers. To accept Polk’s position without question, he claimed, was to “allow the President to invade a neighboring nation … whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary.”

Sounds an awful lot like Paul Krugman and others who spoke out against President Bush during the first few year of the Iraq War. History really does repeat itself.

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