SIR – I share Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire’s concerns about a review done for the Department of Education which is for history to remain as an optional subject at Junior Cert Level.
The final decision is awaited from the Minister for Education. Donnchadh believes ‘ignorance of history, whether national or international, has real consequences’.
It can cause a lack of perspective. It is said the current US president, Donald Trump, is the worst US president.
I am not a fan of his but he has not started a war or invasion of a country and hopefully he won’t unless there are genuine reasons.
One of President Trump’s predecessors, Lyndon B Johnson, an intelligent man, had thousands of laws passed in his five years as US president (1963 - 1968).
He signed the long-awaited 1964 Civil Rights Act.
But he would not tell the American people he knew by 1967 the North and South Vietnam civil war could not be won by the South’s US supported regime.
The origins of the war began before he was president but his reluctance to reveal the truth led to more suffering for Vietnam and more deaths of American soldiers and the betrayal of the people’s trust who voted for him. He felt a lot of internal conflict.
The chief of staff of the US Air Force had said ‘We’re going to bomb them back into the Stone Age’.
It was fear of the spread of Communist regimes. I think it was crazed thinking taken to the extreme.
Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon, could not end the war either and began a fierce bombing of Cambodia.
He taped his discussions in the Oval Office and said he’d like to cream Cambodia, meaning, wipe them out.
He knew of the burglary to find the Democrats’ plans for the 1972 US presidential election.
Nixon approved of its cover-up which forced him (a Republican president) in his 2nd term to resign in 1974.
He is the only US president to resign. The Vietnam war ended in 1975.
A knowledge of these events shows the US survived very different presidents.
History is not only about wars.
It is also on how we evolved to be as we are today as seen in the popular TV show Who Do You Think You Are?
DNA ancestry kits are another example as people discover they may be from a mix of nationalities or regions around the world from a long time ago.
They can be surprised and excited by the results.