Saturday, July 14, 2007

  • Saturday, July 14, 2007
  • Elder of Ziyon
Alistair Horne is a well-regarded British historian, whose chronicle of the Algerian war has been complimented by Henry Kissinger as well as President Bush, and who was invited to the White House as a result.

As he writes in an article about that meeting:
In an earlier exchange of correspondence with the President, I had presumed to suggest that, in Iraq, he faced "perhaps the most daunting responsibility" of any US President since FDR, and in the Oval Office I threw out a remark of Harold Macmillan's: "You have no idea, dear boy, how lonely it is at the top."

The President parried laughingly, pointing at his aides: "You don't imagine I could be lonely with all these guys around me!"

He questioned me closely about the parallels between Iraq and Algeria. It was clear that he had read attentively what I had written.

I outlined four main points: the difficulty of combating insurgents with a regular modern army; porous frontiers (for Iran and Syria, read Morocco and Tunisia in the Algerian context); most important and dangerous, the ruthless targeting of the local police forces (and, now, the fledgling Iraqi army); and the difficulty of extrication.

I recalled that the Algerian War lasted eight years and, at the end, France's de Gaulle had lost his shirt, everything.

I omitted a fifth point, on which I personally feel most strongly: the vile issue of torture (or, in Iraq, read "abuse"). The President had, I was advised, already got the message, and was heeding the clamour which, with others, I had raised earlier on CNN, and was going to lead to the closing down of Guantanamo.

It would, I felt, be impertinent for a "limey" historian to tell the President how to conduct forward policy in Iraq. But I was at one with him on the appalling danger of a precipitate US withdrawal. That would be infinitely more dangerous than in either Vietnam or Algeria.

Clearly, this is no lightweight kneejerk liberal.

But a couple of paragraphs later, Horne throws this in his article:
Bush, an honourable man, might have made a good President - without Iraq. His fault was to heed too often the voices of the Zionist lobby in Washington. Never before has the Israeli tail wagged the American dog quite so vigorously; the results threaten to prove as disastrous for Israel as for the Western alliance.
I don't know if this is a reflection of pure laziness and ambient anti-semitism on Horne's part, or if the idea that the Iraq war is a purely Zionist adventure is so often repeated by the leftist press that he hasn't even considered how absurd this is.

If Israel had so much power over America then perhaps the idea of a terror-infested Palestinian Arab state would not be seen as such a foregone conclusion.

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