Thursday, June 17, 2004

Never has American prestige in Europe been lower.
Recent quote from the New York Times?

No...Life Magazine, 1946.

The President evoked history yesterday in his speech at McDill AFB. Here is more evidence of that history. And it is worth reading.

Those who stamp their feet and wring their hands over Iraq choosing to dwell on the difficulties while ignoring the significant progress being made their are not unlike children who cry from the back seat "Are we there yet?"

As I've said here a hundred times what we are doing in Iraq is hard to do. And it comes with its competition and its setbacks. But it is worth doing and can be done so long as we have the will to do it.

History proves this over and over. The ante-bellum period of any conflict is hard. Recall the former Confederate states after the US Civil War. Sherman had left a scorched earth in his wake. The economic systems in the South had to be completely revised and reborn. Reconstruction was a bitter battleground between the President and the Congress. It took five full years before the final four secession states were readmitted to the Union. FIVE YEARS!

Take a moment and go read these headlines from the ante-bellum period of WWII: Gloom and despair! Compare them with the headlines you read and hear today. The similarity is startling.

I've been thinking it is frequently more important to know what processes are at work than what symptoms those processes display. Parents do that all the time, attributing certain common behaviors in children to "the stage he's going through" instead of declaring "OH NO! My child is the spawn of Satan himself and is destined to be a criminal and a lout!" and flow...and of course politics...lets not overlook politics. The processes are at work. And the symptoms are, as history shows us, strikingly familiar (a bad mouthing, hyper-negative press, partisan bickering, predictions of "losing the peace".

It would do me good to remember more frequently that this is normal. I'm disappointed that this is normal...but normal it is.

And with any luck at all perhaps many of the American people will recognize this as normal too.

1 comment:

andrew said...

Jessica's Well had this Life magazine article up for over a year now. Web link:

Like you said, we have to remember that it takes longer to build then destroy and we forget that the success Europe had in the rebuilding did not take place overnight but over years. Anyone to expect Iraq to be rebuilt in months is living in a dream world. The US, UK and the rest are doing a great job as are the Iraqi's (most of them) in rebuilding the country.