During his appearance on The Tonight Show, Fred said something that is rather stunningly and obviously untrue:

Our people have shed more blood for the liberty and freedom of other peoples … than all the other countries put together.

There’s nothing terribly edifying in this kind of claim of national nobility-through-high body counts, but you have to wonder what the man could possibly have been thinking that would cause him to say this.  Even leaving aside WWI, where the claims to fighting for liberty are a bit more strained (and where all other belligerents lost far more people than America), this claim is demonstrably false.  It requires either an amazing ignorance about the past or contempt for American allies in WWII. 

Britain and France entered WWII at least officially to safeguard the independence of Poland, which I think gives them some right to claim that they suffered their losses for the sake of the “liberty” of other peoples.  In 1940 alone in a war fought on behalf of Poland, the French lost 90,000 KIA, and the British lost over 68,000.  The British, Commonwealth and Free French soldiers who died during the war were certainly fighting at least in part for “the liberty and freedom of other peoples,” and the number of their fatalities and casualities was necessarily higher than that of the United States.  Our casualties were on the order of 600,000 killed and wounded, while British and Commonwealth casualties (not including India’s 100,000) were approximately 915,000, which does not include civilian deaths in Britain and France.  If we were to judge these losses according to the size of the populations of the different countries, the disparity would be even greater.  Given how much smaller its population was, Britain’s losses were proportionally over three times as great as ours. 

None of this is to minimise the sacrifices that Americans have made.  But leave it to some showboating politician to take something noble and admirable and distort it as part of his talking points, insulting the war dead of our best allies in the process.  This claim of Thompson’s is just the sort of nationalist mythologising that we could stand to have much less of nowadays.  It doesn’t speak well for the management of foreign relations in any future Thompson Administration that the man has no idea how much the rest of the Allied nations sacrificed in WWII.

P.S. It might also be noted that Americans, like all other nations, did not enter the wars of the 20th century primarily because they were interested in fighting for the “liberty and freedom of other peoples.”  Those justifications followed once the country was already involved.  In the process of fighting for our own national interests, we also happened to be defending the cause of the “liberty and freedom of other peoples,” but had we not been provoked and had our government not already been so eager to intervene America would not have done much in the way of fighting on behalf of others’ freedom.  The reasons given for our involvement in the world wars were those of self-defense and retaliation, just as other nations were technically fulfilling their treaty obligations to allied states or fighting in self-defense as well.