Sunday, March 04, 2007

History Doesn't Repeat Itself, But It Rhymes

Lewis Lapham called my attention to this Mark Twain line. But is it true? Consider these quotes in The Nation about a misguided use of American military power:

"The dirty war may not be lost by the United States, but neither will it be won. At the expense of mounting American casualties, it will drag on."

"Despite our arsenal of weapons we do not have the power to 'win' this war."

These comments, offered in 1961 and 1963 respectively, refer to Vietnam. In September 1963, the magazine observed, "The odds are that the Communists will eventually win in South Vietnam, their patience is more durable than America's enthusiasm for an expensive, futile war."

If we switched out a couple of proper nouns in this sentence, would it not apply to Iraq today?


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