Historical Analogies Gone Awry

HISTORICAL ANALOGIES GONE AWRY....At various times, administration officials and their allies have offered a variety of historical comparisons for the war in Iraq. To hear war supporters tell it, the conflict is like World War I, World War II, the U.S. Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, and the Korean War.

Yesterday, Bush looked a little further back.

Facing renewed wrangling with Democrats -- and possibly some Republicans -- over continuing the Iraq war, President Bush on Wednesday took Independence Day as an opportunity to hark back to another bloody war with no apparent end in sight.Reading aloud from an article about the first Fourth of July celebration, in Philadelphia in 1777, and its "grand exhibition of fireworks," Mr. Bush told the audience of Air National Guard members and their families at the base here, "Our first Independence Day celebration took place in a midst of a war -- a bloody and difficult struggle that would not end for six more years before America finally secured her freedom."

Addressing National Guard members with the 167th Airlift Wing who were gathered in a cavernous airplane hangar here, he said, "Like those early patriots, you're fighting a new and unprecedented war -- pledging your lives and honor to defend our freedom and way of life."




Alas, this isn't the first time the Bush White House has alluded to the nation's first war. Conditions in Iraq have deteriorated since the downfall of Saddam? Things were bad here for years after we broke free of the British. We're suffering tragic military setbacks in Iraq? The Continental Army lost plenty of battles. Conditions in Iraq look bleak? George Washington probably heard the same talk.

Except, as Fred Kaplan explained not too long ago, comparing Iraq to late 18th-century America "should only intensify the hackles and horrors."

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