HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

August 20, 2007
History is Coming

Jerome Richard


A visit to the neighborhood bookstore or library can be a dispiriting venture for supporters of the administration policy in Iraq. The shelves are full of books written by defeatists claiming the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq is a debacle, or even a disaster.  To name just a few, there are: Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks; Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War by Michael Isikoff and David Corn; The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End by Peter W. Galbraith, and Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power by Joseph Margulies.

Why is this important? History, it is said, is written by the winners, but so far the history of the Iraq war is being written by people who think we have lost, or are losing. This is no idle matter. The future is at stake.

What will people say about "Operation Iraqi Freedom" generations from now? Surely, it is too soon to say, and yet there seems to be a rush to history on the part of critics. If those of us who believe in bringing democracy to Iraq at any price don’t get busy, we will lose popular opinion for generations to come.

As the presiding officer of the Senate observed on the Larry King show (07/31/07), the only poll that truly matters is the last one.  He was speaking of President Gerald Ford whose approval rating was not so good while he was in office, but it had gone up by the time of his funeral.  "…when the history is written," Cheney said, "it will reflect credit upon this president and upon his administration." Well, it's not too soon to start writing that history. People would have a better opinion of our war in Vietnam if there had been some books written at the time extolling our efforts there.

Where, I ask, are the books about how brilliant the enterprise was? Why aren't we seeing tomes such as: Cakewalk: The Story of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq; Flowers and Candy: How Our Troops were Greeted by the Iraqis; Where the WMDs Are.

Let's get busy!


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