June/July 1986 | Volume 37, Issue 4
To one who lived through the Eisenhower era and worked close to certain large issues in the nation’s capital, Steve Neal’s apologia for this President is pretty weak. He raised more questions than he answered.
Ike—with great power and prestige- controlled a burgeoning defense establishment for eight long years, so why did he wait until the very end to raise his famous warning about the “militaryindustrial complex”?
Why did this man scorn the proposed national health plan as “socialized medicine” when he had lived a whole life under that very system in the U.S. Army? Typical of his unthinking way. Why did he continue to endorse Richard Nixon? Was it not he who brought That Man into high office?
What proof has Neal that Eisenhower “personally approved” Francis Gary Powers’s ill-fated U2 flight? As a member of the team behind it, I doubt Ike knew of the flight beforehand, as he had no more control over the CIA than any other President and displayed a consistent lack of interest in such matters.
I find Neal at his worst trying to defend this President’s record on civil rights. He did nothing—including sending troops to Little Rock—until he was forced to. He flinched before the racist Orval Faubus, and he left a grave situation for Kennedy and Johnson to grappie with. Our nation lost much by his inaction.
Sorry, I can’t believe history will be kind to Ike. I wish it were otherwise.