Friday, November 07, 2003

On a happier note...

Required reading: two speeches, one by Bush and one by Josh Chafetz. The President's speech was remarkable and hopefully seminal (we shall see if it filters out there). If you haven't read it, please do so. One line that grabbed me yesterday and which I was glad to see others pick up on it:
Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.
The end of Carterism, the end of what we never liked about Kissingerism. Those who say that the strategy used by Bush is dangerous have to first answer the threat and perils posed by continued appeasement. And they can't.

The other speech by Chafetz at Oxford had this zinger:
Three of the most widely read American magazines have recently run stories on how the occupation is going, and the verdict is unanimous. "Americans are Losing the Victory" screams one. "How We Botched the Occupation" is on the cover of another. "Blueprint for a Mess" is the verdict of the third.

Actually, I've taken some liberties with two of those headlines, so let me start over. "Blueprint for a Mess" is indeed the cover article in this week's New York Times Magazine. But "Americans Are Losing the Victory" is from the January 7, 1945 issue of Life magazine, and the full headline is "Americans are Losing the Victory in Europe." The Saturday Evening Post on January 26, 1946 ran "How We Botched the German Occupation." The Life article solemnly declared that, "Never has American prestige in Europe been lower" and that "we've lost the peace." It cites the prevalence of looting, the disorganization of the reconstruction authorities, the prevalence of disease, the continuing disorder. "We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease," it intoned.
Chavetz goes on to say correctly that
"I mention this, not to make the (obviously fallacious) claim that it "proves" that Iraq will turn out as well as Europe did. But I mention it as a caution against impatience and as a reminder that setbacks and rough patches are to be expected."
Some perspective is actually important. Finally, two articles of note, one by Our Man Hitchens and the other by the incomparable Victor Davis Hanson. Their perspectives are invaluable.

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