Wednesday, June 02, 2004


V.D. Hanson has an article here putting the recent terrorist attacks on Westerners in Saudi Arabia into perspective. He says a tough response is needed.

Daniel Pipes has a brief survey of Saudi Arabian history which manages to make some sense of the support GWB gives to the Saudi Arabian regime -- saying it is the lesser of two evils.

This article reports a poll of some American academic historians which produced the supremely unsurprising finding that they did not like GWB. One of my readers comments: "You will not be surprised by the overall results of the poll, but even I was startled at the level of sheer acrimonious bombast hurled at this president by historians trained to evenhandedly examine evidence (including the author, Prof. McElvaine). There is, for example, the repeated invocation of special treatment for Halliburton -- i.e. no competitive bidding -- even though the Clinton administration repeatedly awarded contracts to Halliburton in an analogous fashion; similarly, there is complaining about the administration's plan to cut down certain trees in national forests, even though there is ample evidence that old and rotting wood leads to forest fires." I myself was struck by this dotty charge against GWB in the article: He has supposedly "Overseen an economy in which the stock market suffered its worst decline in the first two years of any administration since Hoover's". That may be true. The economy does not change quickly. What went on in the early part of the Bush administration reflects what CLINTON did! And the Australian stockmarket hit an all time high a month or two ago so I imagine the Dow Jones did the same: The ASX tends to track Wall St. So GWB has in fact presided over a big economic recovery. What totally dishonest historians!

More crooked historians: "President Bush's nomination of Allen Weinstein - author of the definitive biography of Alger Hiss, "Perjury" - for the post of national archivist has triggered a furor. "The American people need a better custodian of their history," the Nation magazine editorialized. The Society of American Archivists and the Organization of American Historians are questioning Weinstein's credentials.... Far from being an unsuitable candidate, Weinstein is vastly more qualified for the job than the current archivist ... Weinstein brings a long record of first-rate scholarship ..... Weinstein has become a target for ... those who continue to insist that Hiss was never a spy for the Soviet Union".

"And in the most disgraceful essay of this new century, Susan Sontag, writing in The New York Times Magazine, associated the prisoner-abuse affair with the massacres in Rwanda and the Holocaust. Really? Does Ms. Sontag truly believe that Abu Ghraib equals Auschwitz? Does she know a single American soldier? How simple the world must look from behind her desk"

Muravchik, an honest historian: "On 9/11, however, the terrorists managed to kill us by thousands at a swoop, and what Bush understood was that our policy of passivity, like the West's efforts to appease Hitler in the 1930s, had only invited more audacious attacks. He saw that we had no choice but to go to war against the terrorists and their backers. If we did not destroy them, the terrorists would set their sanguinary sights higher until they succeeded in killing us by the tens or hundreds of thousands."


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