Monday, June 02, 2008

See You In 2038?

Ross Douthat (via AS):

Now Bush’s hopes for vindication depend on the Middle East’s following a gradual, Fukuyaman track toward free markets, democratic government, and the “end of history.” And just as crucially, they depend on American troops’ staying in Iraq for as long as it takes for that to happen. If these events come to pass—if the Iraq of 2038 or so is stable, democratic, and at peace with its neighbors, and if American troops have maintained a constant presence in the country—no one should be surprised to hear hawkish liberals as well as conservatives taking up the idea that George W. Bush deserves a great deal of the credit.

We'll see what "hawkish liberals" say a few decades from now, I guess. (And Douthat goes on to lament the part of our national character that idealizes "activist" leaders.) As for conservatives, at least the unrepentant kind, we already know how the script will read until then. President Bush, 12/19/05: "I still think it was the right decision to make. But history will judge." Condoleeza Rice, 3/16/06: "I think the outcome, the judgment, of all of this needs to await history." Donald Rumsfeld, 3/19/06: "History is a bigger picture, and it takes some time and perspective to measure accurately." Karl Rove, 8/31/07: "History’s concern is with final outcomes, not the missteps or advances of the moment."

History's verdict is the last refuge of a failure -- and psychologically, a rejection-free zone. So expect the no-expiration-date rationalizations to bubble up from Texas for the next few decades.

9 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

One wonders: how do 'hawkish liberals' reflect on Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia?

6/02/2008 12:05 PM  
Blogger Miss Bliss said...

"History's verdict is the last refuge of a failure..." AMEN!

I would seriously like to see the Republican Party kick these yahoo's through the door and into the streets so America can get back to good healthy debate among people who truly respect Constitution and care about it's future rather than the attempt to turn us into yet another failed fascist state for nothing more than personal gain.

6/02/2008 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Hedley Bowes, you beat me to it! By the verdict of history, I guess the Vietnam war was a huge success. Unless you include Cambodia and Myanmar in that calculation..........

-Whammer

6/02/2008 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and if American troops have maintained a constant presence in the country"

What they don't mention is the "constant presence " will be in the middle of nowhere near Kurdistan. Parachuting in troops and supplies every month or so.

6/02/2008 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Young Douthat is a brainless apologist, still hoping that something good will come out of the reign of the worst president in history.

6/03/2008 10:29 AM  
Anonymous NeilS said...

It is unclear to me how Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia are related in this discussion. They are all completely different societies.

Vietnam has moved to something of a market economy. Not really and open society, but is making that happen our responsibility?

The change in Vietnam are generally for the good. Is that because we were there, or because we left, or because of larger societal forces in general? I think the last is closest to the truth.

Bush/Rove/Cheney did not sell the war saying in 30 to 40 years the mission might be accomplished. They were plannig to have a success by 2004. That was even part of the campaign before it became obvious that it wasn't going to happen.

They screwed up and are simply passing the buck.

6/03/2008 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Neils, I think we're all agreeing. I don't think you can argue that the changes in Vietnam have arisen because of our involvement in the Vietnam war.

Nevertheless, that is the argument that some of the neocon/GOP/Bush apologists want to tee up -- that if some day Iraq is a peaceful democratic society, that Bush should get the credit.

That argument is crap, IMO.

- Whammer

6/03/2008 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Neils, I think we're all agreeing. I don't think you can argue that the changes in Vietnam have arisen because of our involvement in the Vietnam war.

Nevertheless, that is the argument that some of the neocon/GOP/Bush apologists want to tee up -- that if some day Iraq is a peaceful democratic society, that Bush should get the credit.

That argument is crap, IMO.

- Whammer

6/03/2008 3:20 PM  
Anonymous NeilS said...

Whammer

Yes, that is true. I suspect that they will also take credit for any moves towards democratic societies in the middle east even though our bungling has made it more difficult rather than less for these ideas to prsoper.

I onced kicked a can down the street so I must be responsible for all subsequent events since my actions preceded all others.

6/04/2008 11:29 AM  

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