James Jay Carafano: History and the Blame Game Ten Years After IraqRoundup: Talking About History
tags: conservatism, George W. Bush, Iraq War, James Jay Carafano
James Jay Carafano is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
...As the world marks the 10th anniversary of the war in Iraq, essays assessing what happened in that conflict and the “lessons learned” abound. But the lessons drawn are likely to tell much more about how Americans feel about their place in the world today than what really happened a decade ago.
As a practicing historian, I know how historians practice. Rewriting history is our stock and trade.
There are only two reasons to restate the past. The first is the recovery of important new information. In 1974, for example, the U.S. and British governments acknowledged the Ultra secret: that for much of World War II, the allies had been able to read the top secret messages of both Germany and Japan. That revelation sent scholars back to rewrite, because new accounts were needed to interpret what the allies did based on what the allies really knew.
The second rationale for rethinking the record is to accommodate how those in the present think about the past. Every generation has its own questions. Those questions usually tell us more about us, however, than they do about the past. In the aftermath of Vietnam, for example, there was a wave of bitter revisionism that trashed America’s participation in every war. Even the World War II, the “good war,” came in for its share of bashing....
comments powered by Disqus
- Congress Has a History of Legislating in Secrecy
- At James Madison’s home, slaves’ lives matter as much as the man who owned them
- Destroying Great Mosque of al-Nuri 'is Isis declaring defeat'
- At Watergate, Recalling a Burglary That Toppled a President
- Hidden Trove of Suspected Nazi Artifacts Found in Argentina
- Researcher: "Actually, Yes It Is a Discovery If You Find Something in an Archive That No One Knew Was There."
- The Trump team is obsessing over Thucydides, the ancient historian who wrote a seminal tract on war
- Historians defend scholar who studies Poland and Holocaust
- Max Boot Says "Donald Trump Is Proving Too Stupid to Be President"
- Historians called on to write books that impact the public