Think Again: Mission Accomplished? Really?

History has sped up, no question about it. Vietnam revisionism took decades. During Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, that multifaceted catastrophe became a "noble cause" that we could have won if we had just stuck with it over a period of about a decade. But Iraq revisionism has begun even before the war is over.

Newsweek has crazily used this past weekend's Iraqi election to declare "Victory At Last" over a photo of President Bush next to the justly infamous "Mission Accomplished" banner. The article is not nearly as foolish as the cover, but it is nevertheless comically Pollyannaish in its diehard commitment to wishful thinking. The authors write, "something that looks mighty like democracy is emerging in Iraq. And while it may not be a beacon of inspiration to the region, it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East."

The Newsweek story, however misleading, is serving as a kind of beachhead for similarly misguided pronouncements by people who cannot bear to admit how wrong they were to buy into the lies that delivered the United States -- and the Iraqi people -- into the morass of the past seven years. Nigel Biggar uses the pathetic tack in the Financial Times, for example, of comparing criticism of Iraq to fighting Hitler. Sure there were flaws, he writes, "Most just wars are flawed. Take the war against Nazi Germany," as if the need for one were somehow equivalent to the other.

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