Friday, September 02, 2005

Hanson Delivers

The always reliable Victor Davis Hanson produced another column of surpassing dumbness and moral bankruptcy today. He thinks that "The Western World Shows Too Much Softness in (a) Different Kind of War." His evidence:

  1. The American military captured a suspected terrorist in Iraq, then turned him over to the Iraqis, who then released him. After getting his freedom, he shot an American officer.
  2. A Palestinian suicide bomber, "apparently" having "interpreted recent Israeli magnanimity as a new sign of weakness," blew himself up at a bus station in Israel last week.
  3. "Although no one has died at Guantanamo, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) compared Guantanamo to something out of the Third Reich or the Soviet gulag."
  4. Some people are complaining about restrictions on immigration, and yet some immigrants have done bad things.
  5. Blah blah blah harumph.

We can’t afford such softness, you see, because we’re fighting for "our very survival as we struggle to find the proper way of defeating a vicious enemy without losing our liberal soul."

It shouldn’t be necessary to point out how stupid this is, but someone’s got to do it.

  1. If Hanson’s point is that suspected terrorists should be locked up forever, even in the absence of substantial evidence of guilt, then he’s already lost his liberal soul.
  2. Hanson has absolutely no reason to believe that the suicide bombing was inspired by "recent Israeli magnanimity." Maybe it was inspired by the same things that inspired more than one hundred suicide bombings prior to the RIM– desire to drive Jews out of the West Bank, or out of the Middle East.
  3. Let go of the whining about Dick Durbin! He didn’t say that Guantanamo was as bad as something out of the Third Reich or the Soviet gulag. He said that an FBI agent’s description of horrors occurring at Guantanamo sounded like something that would have occurred in the Third Reich or the Soviet gulag. Absolutely true.
  4. Oy.
  5. Good point.

My favorite parts of Hanson’s columns are the bogus historical arguments. This is a good one:
"This fight is quite different from past conflicts. None of the jihadists have uniforms." Okay, that isn’t quite fair. Here’s the full quote:

This fight is quite different from past conflicts. None of the jihadists have uniforms. Their first, not last, resort is terrorism.

Not much better. The distinguished Stanford historian seems to have forgotten the conflict in Northern Ireland. And what about the Roman struggle against the Zealots?

And how about this History lesson:

Our forbears believed that they did not have to be perfect to be good. To them, war, like poverty and depression, was another of the tragedies of the human experience where there were no good choices, the least ghastly being victory at all costs.

Really, Professor Hanson? Is this true of all of our forbears at all times? In Hanson-world History teaches that Americans never opposed brutal military tactics during Vietnam or the Spanish-American war. Thoreau never wrote "On Civil Disobedience." In Hanson’s past, we were a unified, martial, and brutal people. Those were the days.