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The End of the Vietnam Paradigm?

- Abstract

Since the triumphant end of the war against Iraq, the predictions of those who had opposed it have become the object of much merry ridicule. For example, the Washington Times greeted the American victory with a daily feature inducting various false prophets into the “Desert Storm Hall of Shame.” The New Republic’s Jacob Weisberg, in a similar exercise, wrote: “Never in the field of human conflict have so many been so wrong about so much, so publicly.” And in the same jocular spirit, the Washington Post observed that “the hand-wringing of the doomsayers” now “all seem[s] farcically gloomy.”

Though most of the people cited in these articles deserve the ridicule, the accompanying merriment tends to point in the wrong direction, as if the lesson were about the human propensity to folly or the hubris of experts. The true lesson here, however, concerns a certain world view which has dominated the Democratic party and much of our foreign-policy debate since Vietnam.

About the Author

Joshua Muravchik, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is working on a book about Arab and Muslim democrats.