One of the several vast mistakes that Dwight Eisenhower (a man who meant well) made during his presidency was to launch a system of national highways rather than expanding our rail systems (as the Europeans were doing). The trucking industry in those days had more political clout than the railroad companies. The costs have been and still are immense. The states are obliged to maintain the highways. It is the large trucks that destroy them. Rails use electricity which can be garnered from the cheapest and least polluting sources, e.g. hydro power.
Now Obama has returned us to transportation sanity – high speed rails — more than a half century later. I am continuously amazed at the depth and range of Obama’s knowledge.

As to Eisenhower’s other major gaff — he should never have allowed the C.I.A. to destroy Iran’s democracy — headed by Mossadeq — to retain our dominance over its oil and bring in the brutal Shah who tyrannized over the Iranians (while being on ‘our’ side against the Soviets) until the Iranian revolution drove him out in 1979. This brutal fact is presumably known by every Iranian child and never mentioned by our media or pols.

Good things Eisenhower did — ended the Korean war and tried to keep us out of a Vietnam one. He knew the costs of war and tried to warn us against the “military industrial complex” during his last weeks in office.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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