A Look Back
Turning point since September 11
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
I know that things are going pretty well in America's efforts in the Middle East when Fareed Zakaria, who was a sharp critic over the last two years, now assures us that events are working out in Iraq � just about, he tells us, like he saw all along. Joseph Nye intones that at last Bush came around to his very own idea of 'soft power,' while Jackson Diehl gushes that Bush was sort of right all along � to nods of approval even from Daniel Schorr.
Even former Clinton National Security Council member Nancy Soderberg recently lamented to Jon Stewart, 'It's scary for Democrats, I have to say.' And then she added, 'Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's still hope for the rest of us....There's always hope that this might not work.'
This newfound turnabout follows the successful election and its aftershocks in the region. Before then, it had become a sort of D.C.-insider parlor game to look back at the conflict in the aftermath of September 11 and catalogue our mistakes.
Without much appreciation that error is the stuff of war, that by any historical benchmark the removal of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein was nothing short of miraculous, that our ongoing assessments of success and failure changed hourly within the fluid 24-hour newscycle, or that acrimonious hindsight was often used to save face about earlier wrongheaded pronouncements, we continued to tally up the 'I told you so's.'
Monday, March 14, 2005
From VDH's Private Papers: