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He’s Becoming a Footnote

Fareed Zakaria, the man who initially called for an international army of 400,000 troops to invade Iraq has now determined that the U.S. is not a nation at war after all. And here’s how he figured this out:

Consider as evidence the behavior of our “war president.” Bush recently explained that for the last few years he has given up golf, because “to play the sport in a time of war” would send the wrong signal. Compare Bush’s “sacrifice” to those made by Americans during World War II, when most able-bodied men were drafted, food was rationed and industries were commandeered to produce military equipment.

And if Bush still played golf would we be at war? Then there’s this syntactical sleight of hand:

It is by now overwhelmingly clear that Al Qaeda and its philosophy are not the worldwide leviathan that they were once portrayed to be.

And how, pray tell, did that change in “portray[al]” come about? It couldn’t have had anything to do with the years of non-war and non-sacrifice on the part of coalition forces, could it?

Zakaria goes on:

But how you see the world determines how you will respond, and the administration has greatly inflated the threat, casting it as an existential and imminent danger. As a result, we’ve massively overreacted. Bush and his circle have conceived of the problem as military and urgent when it’s more of a long-term political and cultural problem. The massive expansion of the military budget, the unilateral rush to war in Iraq, the creation of the cumbersome Department of Homeland Security, the new restrictions on visas and travel can all be chalked up to this sense that we are at war.

Did I mention that Zakaria favored sending 400,000 troops into Iraq? In addition to that assessment, he wrongly identified al Qaeda’s 2006 Mesopotamian push as a Sunni-Shia civil war. Zakaria seems determined to apologize for his initial support for invading Iraq without saying he’s sorry. In his new book, he mentions his initial support–in a footnote. With his half-hearted apologies and off-base interpretations, Zakaria’s entire body of commentary is increasingly resembling something that’s best preserved at the bottom of history’s pages.


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