Thursday, February 17, 2011

We're All Neocons Now

A couple of items from the WSJ Notable and Quotable column - First from Tuesday's issue (2/15/2011).

From an article in the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Feb. 7:

Suddenly it seems everyone knew all along that President Mubarak was a villain and the U.S., who supported him until recently, was even worse. However it was actually former President George W. Bush who always believed in the democratization of the Muslim world and was broadly ridiculed by the Left for his convictions. . . .

Painful as it may be to admit, it was the despised George W. Bush who believed in the democratization of the Muslim world and incurred the scorn and mockery of the Left for his conviction. Everyone was sure—without knowing any Muslims—that the Western model of democracy could not be applied in a backward society like Iraq. Everyone knew that the neo-conservative belief in the universal desire for freedom and progress was na├»ve nonsense. It is possible that the critics were right, albeit for the wrong reasons. The prospect of stability and order seems to be at least as important to many people.

Then from Thursday's issue (2/17/2011), on a somewhat related subject,

Historian Victor Davis Hanson writing at, Feb. 13:

In times to come, the period between the failed campaign of John Kerry and the Democratic control of the Congress, coupled with the beginning of the successful surge, should be known as "The Insane Years." This was the era in which Guantanamo was a gulag, renditions were the stuff of Hollywood movies, and Bush and Cheney were deemed veritable war criminals. Was it all a dream, those nightmare years of 2004-07?

I recall all that only because Oprah was just quoted as calling for more civility to be shown President Obama ("even if you're not in support of his policies, there needs to be a certain level of respect"), echoing the president's own post-Tucson insistence on a new amity between opponents. Bill Maher recently expressed outrage over the uncivil tone shown Barack Obama in Bill O'Reilly's Super-Bowl Day interview. I think such concern for deference and conciliation is altogether fine and good; but, again, do we recall the crazy years of not so long ago?

This was the period in which Michael Moore called for U.S. defeat in Iraq and dubbed the Islamists who were killing our own soldiers "Minutemen." . . .

I do remember 2007, when the New York Times gave a discount to for the ad hominem "General Betray Us" ad. Hillary that day suggested the general's testimony required a suspension of disbelief. Barack Obama assured us the surge had failed, and Joe Biden lectured Petraeus on trisecting Iraq—in the days before Iraq became, in Biden's words, "our greatest achievement."

Hanson gets one thing wrong. It wasn't the time (2004-2007) that was insane. It was, it is, the left - which seeks to vilify, ridicule and delegitimize any person or idea opposing its own. In the unlikely event of a Sarah Palin presidency, there would be an "insane era" far surpassing any that have come before it.