Saturday, July 19, 2003

How did it come to this?

What can one add to a nearly perfect essay by Victor Davis Hanson except the obvious? In The Corrections, Professor Hanson points out that the "radical" policies of the Bush administration are merely a return to the world of common sense after more than two decades of moonbat appeasement that began with Jimmy Carter and continued through Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton. For example:

The Bush administration was right to question why there are over 35,000 American troops on the DMZ targeted by 10,000 heavy guns — especially as we pay blackmail to neighboring butchers to behave. That strange policy too was the abnormality, not our new efforts to relocate our troops southward, apprise the South Koreans of the risks of their triangulating policies, and inform China, Japan, and South Korea that a nuclear creep was loose in their neighborhood — not ours. Such a past untenable condition called for such a restoration of sanity, and thus for a move back to the mean that was not imprudent, but long overdue.

Hanson knows when the strangeness all began.

... I would perhaps chart the pathology's birth with the Iranian hostage situation, whose precedent of appeasement in turn led to Lebanon, and then on to the murdering in Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, the first World Trade Center, Yemen, and so on, as bin Laden himself sometimes enumerated. Appeasement, empty rhetoric, blackmail — all that and more was the cheap substitute for resolute and sustained military action to prevent terrorists and their supporters from killing Americans.

But Professor Hanson never quite gets around to saying how and why the world went so far out of kilter. For surely it is not enough to say 'we have returned to the center' without giving any thought to how we nearly went off the edge. If only we could remember ... but maybe it is best to forget. Move on, as they say. Still, in some distant corner of our minds must echo Albert Camus' final warning from the Plague, to remember that:

"the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years . . . and that perhaps the day would come when . . . it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city"