Gene Callahan writing at Lew Rockwell has noticed how the neocons like to use history and their deterministic view of history to justify the continued occupation of Iraq and their not unconnected failures in Afghanistan. In The Lessons of History Callahan might go to far the other way almost asserting there is little to be learned from history, but he makes a very cogent observation about how right-wing historians like Victor David Hanson,
Because history is a world of detailed, specific events, the idea of ‘general laws’ of history is self-contradictory. Of course, historical actors should be understood as obeying the general laws independently derived by other disciplines, such as the law of gravity or the law of diminishing marginal returns. But history itself can generate no such laws, since they would involve abstracting away all of the details of events, in other words, abstracting away the very subject matter of history.
England’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is a favorite whipping boy and is frequently used to flog those that do not oppose fighting terrorist, but do oppose the bizarre idea that terrorism as an entity can be defeated by occupying Iraq. Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement in 1938. The neocon argument is the lesson learned is that Chamberlain “appeased” Hitler. That is pur3e supposition on their part. There is no way to tell what would have happened if other courses of action had been taken. England by most accounts was not ready for a war in 1938, suppose Chamberlain had not signed the Munich Agreement and Hitler started the Blitz of London in 1938 instead of 1940. Would England have been able to have survived. I don’t know the answer to my supposition about how things would have been in that scenario anymore then those like Hansen that continue to make shrill claims of “appeasement” at every opportunity. One thing that the historical determinist all do and Hanson in particular is claim that war is inevitable and even desirable, Callahan nails it succinctly,
But for Hanson, it seems, besides never starting quite soon enough, no war ever lasts quite long enough. (After all, the end of a war results in those tedious periods we call “peace.”)
There is a lesson or two to be learned from Hitler to be sure. One is to not blindly follow eliminatists like Hanson and his frat boy hero in the Whitehouse.
* Hanson among others have also claimed that the reason we’re not “winning” in Iraq is because we’re not using enough force consistently on a large scale and we’re too squeamish about civilian casualties. While that is certainly the not the problem in Iraq the German bombing of London during the Blitz and for years afterward show that even when an aggressor is ruthless when it comes to killing civilians it not only doesn’t work, but can make the nation under such attacks become even more determined to prevail. While that is an interpretation of history it is as valid as anything the Right has offered up in tenuous war analogies.
The Bush administration says the 2002 congressional authorization to go to war in Iraq gives it the authority to conduct combat operations in Iraq and negotiate far-reaching agreements with the current Iraqi government without consulting Congress.
[ ]…The Bush administration also feels it does not need to seek the authorization of Congress to ratify two pending agreements with Iraq: a “Strategic Framework” that would govern “normalized” relations with the U.S., and a Status of Forces Agreement that would govern the “authorities and protections” of U.S. troops in Iraq past Dec. 31, the expiration of a U.N. resolution that the administration says authorizes their presence.
There is some grey area here, but the president does not have unfettered power to sign off on agreements with foreign government. Could you imagine the Right’s reaction if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama made such a claim, Article. II. – The Executive Branch, Section 2 – Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers…
Advice and consent means exactly that, but then we’re dealing with Conservatives that think presidents, at least when they hold that office have king like powers.
CNN might lose their ratings gains if they continue to be a pale imitation of Rabid Fox News, Glenn Beck Watch: ‘Is Obama The Anti-Christ?’
Yea, verily, last night, Glenn Beck hosted anti-Catholic bigot/fervent John McCain supporter John Hagee. And lo, there was a sound that arose from deep in Beck’s wordhole. And those sounds formed a question that sounded out across the airwaves unto disbelieving ears. That question: “Is Barack Obama the anti-Christ.”
We are not making this up. Glenn Beck, serious newsman, needed to find out if Barack Obama was the Devourer of Worlds, Son of Harlots, Bearer of the Mark of the Beast. John Hagee had to be thrilled by the question: somehow, Beck managed to make Hagee look reasonable
In what world is it OK to ask such a question. It is not an issue of free speech Beck can say whatever he likes.Its a question of sanity and values. Is George Bush the anti-Christ? Is Rush Limbaugh the anti-Christ? I don’t hear the same begging questions directed at the Right on CNN by a more moderate pundit. It could be because CNN doesn’t provide a forum for moderates.
People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes. ~
Abigail Van Buren