Sunday, January 08, 2006

A left Liberal asks: What if George W Bush was to prove to be one of the great American presidents?

For a left liberal like me, it is not easy to commit heresy. After all, we are meant to be open-minded free thinkers, unshackled by taboos. Nevertheless there is one thought so heretical, merely to utter it would ensure instant excommunication. I hesitate even to pose it as a question. But here goes. What if George W Bush was to prove to be one of the great American presidents?
Johnathan Freedland asks with a thanks to Norman Geras for the link.

One of the greatest. That's my bet. But it's only a bet. I have cystal ball and lots depends on what Bush's successors do. Geras doesn't even want to speculate but makes this comment on Freedland's observations of Bush,
But Jonathan Freedland's reflections - the reflections, it should be emphasized, of someone who has opposed the Iraq war consistently - bring out an important distinction there has been from the beginning within the anti-war camp. That is the distinction between people who opposed the war as if there was just nothing that could reasonably have motivated liberals and leftists to support it, and those who acknowledged the weight of the 'other' considerations, as set out above, even if they weren't finally persuaded by them. This distinction maps roughly, though only roughly, on to the difference between those in the anti-war camp who accepted that there could be a pro-war left in good faith and those who haven't.
I did hear Sen Obama today on the radio say the war in Iraq has no military solution. Of course not, Bush's whole war on terror is based on a political strategy of political and social revolution in the Arab world. Unlike Vietnam, we have the politics right in Iraq and the whole War on Islamic Terrorism.


Paul Wilczynski said...

The whole War on Islamic Terrorism is, of course unwinnable. Any war against an idea is unwinnable.

Bill Baar said...

No Paul, we've fought and won wars of ideas before.

When I lived in Germany in the 80s I would talk to Germans of the right age about what they thought during the War. They'd often preface their stories with a comment about how things they took for granted about racial superiority. How hard it seemed to believe now, but was just taken for granted then.

It was really an amazing thing to hear, and they seemed more amazed then me.

It was a war of ideas, and we won. The only way we lose really is if we lose faith in ourselves and our own values.