Thus, we are now warned that the war against terror is failing because it has lasted as long as World War II — as if the length of war, not the cost, determines success.Read it all, of course.
Yet the nearly 2,000 U.S. combat fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq, while tragic, are a fraction of the 292,000 American battle deaths in World War II — about 0.6 percent, in fact.
The mantra "Bush lied; thousands died" charges that President Bush altered his reasons for the war from the original worry over weapons of mass destruction. But aside from the fact that the U.S. Senate voted for the war on 22 additional counts, wars, rightly or wrongly, have often had a variety of changing public explanations.
Lincoln led the North into the Civil War emphasizing that it was a struggle to preserve the Union, not outlaw slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was not passed until January of 1863, when enough Union progress allowed Lincoln to publicly redefine a practical struggle of restoration into one of sweeping idealism.
Woodrow Wilson ("He kept us out of war") and Franklin D. Roosevelt ("Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars") won re-election by promising non-involvement in Europe's fighting. Yet, when voted back in, they both prepared for war, convinced that there was no living with either Prussian militarism or Axis fascism.
Since America entered World War I without first being attacked, should we conclude "Wilson lied, thousands died"?
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) intoned of the USA Patriot Act he voted for, "We are a nation of laws and liberties, not of a knock in the night." Though, so far, that mild statute pales before exigencies of past liberal wartime presidents who really did jail innocents, night and day, without warning or sometimes even justification.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
VDH on the Solace of History
Victor Davis Hanson has some words to say about how history is being distorted to score political points. Hard to believe, I know, but here is a sample: