Who Will Control the Past?

Americans don’t like to admit that they have changed their minds. We convince ourselves that somehow or other, in some way or another, we have always thought what we are thinking now.
The media are foremost enthusiasts of this fantasy, driven by their own heartfelt passion for self-justification. So, inevitably, Iraq, like Vietnam, will come to be boilerplated as “an unpopular war,” as if it had always been unpopular.
The overwhelming, 24/7, gun-barrel chauvinism, the imbecile credulity about evanescent WMDs, and the subsequent more flaccid, but equally resolute pandering of “Stay the course!” all will fade away. There will be no headlines, “Exposed! We Ignorantly Led You into Murderous Catastrophe!”
Here are two things I fear we will not see:
–Apologies and gratitude to those who helped to make the war unpopular.
–An effective distinction between preemptive hegemony and humanitarian intervention (Darfur, Rwanda).
Meanwhile, I’d watch the denouement of the Iraq Study Group, after its inexorable humiliation of George Bush over the next few months is complete, for “Who Will Control the Past?” this time around.



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