Across the Bay

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Freudian Slip

This came from an utterly useless guest commentary by Keith Watenpaugh on Juan Cole's site:

"As a rule historians should avoid the use of history to predicate the future. Yet, in an essay I wrote shortly before the war for Logos, I opined that thinking about the exit strategies of the various interwar colonial powers could shed light on what the US would do in Iraq. At the time, I argued that the way the British left Iraq – install a loyal client leadership backed by a strong military, gain basing rights and oil concessions – would be repeated. I was convinced that the US would not leave Iraq like the British left Palestine in 1948: merely abandoning it to the UN and laying the groundwork for a half century of ongoing and unremitting war and suffering. I think I was wrong."

Leaving alone all the other exhausted, post-colonial, "Saidian" clichés he uttered in that piece, this one in particular struck me as it explicitly shows contempt for the UN from an anti-Bush, anti-war academic! What Watenpaugh basically says is that it would be a mistake to leave things for the UN to run as it might be a recipe for ethnic conflict!!! This was the only insightful thing said in that entire bunch of nonsense!

But that was countered by the following "Cole-on Cleanser" by Juan Cole, which endorsed this "wisdom saying" by Gen. Zinni:

"Gen. Zinni has presented a concise diagnosis of the follies of the Bush Administration's Iraq policy. A summary by way of excerpts (I've omitted ellipses, but these grafs are not continuous with one another):

"And I think that will be the first mistake that will be recorded in history, the belief that containment as a policy doesn't work. It certainly worked against the Soviet Union, has worked with North Korea and others.
" (Emphasis added)

You can put that one right up there next to Blix's imbecility.