Saturday, March 29, 2003

History or Hysteria the title of an NRO post by Victor Davis Hanson. It's all worth a look, but here are two of the better paragraphs:
We should recall that in the first Gulf War we bombed for over 44 days. Critics in 1991 by day 10 were complaining because after the first few nights’ pyrotechnics, Saddam’s army had not crumbled. In turn, earlier swaggering air-advocates had promised victory in three weeks — only to be unjustly slandered that they had failed to end the war in six. Gulf War I is considered a great victory; it required 48 days of air and ground attacks by an enormous coalition to expel the Iraqi army from Kuwait. Our present attempt, with half the force, seeks to end Saddam Hussein altogether — and on day 7 already had him cut off, trapped, and besieged.

In the campaign against Belgrade, the ebullience was gone by day 10 when Milosevic remained defiant. By the fifth week, criticism was fierce and calls for an end to the bombing widespread. On day 77, Milosevic capitulated — and no critics stepped forward to confess that their gloom and doom had been misplaced. Does anyone recall the term “quagmire,” used of Afghanistan after the third week — and how prophets of doom promised enervating stasis, only days later to see a chain of Afghan cities fall? Yet no armchair doom-and-gloom generals were to be found when the Taliban ran and utterly confounded their pessimism. Our talking heads remind me of the volatility of the Athenian assembly, ready to laud or execute at a moment’s notice.
But don't stop there - read it all.

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