Towards A Good Samaritan World

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm going to take a turn at policing my own side's rhetoric. Here's Bush:

"Our nation's first effort at a governing charter, the Articles of Confederation, failed," the president said in a speech at a hotel in the shadow of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution was debated.

"It took years of debate and compromise before we ratified our Constitution and inaugurated our first president. It took a four-year civil war, and a century of struggle after that, before the promise of our Declaration was extended to all Americans," he said.

Like the Vietnam analogy, this historical analogy to the American revolution is quite misleading. The British rule that we overthrew was far more benign than Saddam's rule was. We also had foreign help (the French) but we, not foreigners, took the initiative in the Revolutionary War. And there were no suicide bombers or improvised explosive devices. There was no counterpart to Zarqawi in that war.

More importantly, the form of government we adopted then was new. A federal, representative democracy had never before existed. The Iraqis, by contrast, are adopting a form of government that is most widely practiced, and, at the ideological level, hardly has any plausible competitors. We were embarking on a revolutionary experiment. The Iraqis are escaping from a (far more malign) revolutionary experiment, and converging to normalcy.


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