December 22nd, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson on Wars, Mistakes, and Perspective

Here's an essay by (classicist and military historian) Victor Davis Hanson1 that puts the fiascos and blunders of the US effort in Iraq into eye-opening perspective.

He provides much historical background, most of which I have not encountered before (not being much into military history), but his aim is to propose an argument about current affairs, one that calls on Americans to calm down and adopt a more tragic view of war and its vicissitudes. His thesis is, I think, worth mulling over.

The one thing I found lacking in his discussion of the Iraq war is any treatment of the aspects of sheer dishonesty in the agitation for war and its first couple of years. Blunders, mistakes, plain incompetence are all one thing, but wilful deceit is another.

Anyhow, a very recommended read.

1 Hanson also co-authored the book Who Killed Homer?, which I look forward to reading.
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    Wagner -- Tristan und Isolde [Böhm at Bayreuth 1966]