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
- Previously untouched 600BC palace discovered under shrine demolished by Isil in Mosul
- Slate reveals that despite our apology, nothing’s been done to help Guatemalans infected in an experiment worse than Tuskegee
- Russian government website notes that game maker has sent “Secret Hitler” to every US senator
- Scholars debate the future of NATO
- Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War
- James Oliver Horton remembered as a pioneer for African American research
- Theodore Lowi, Zealous Scholar of Presidents and Liberalism, Dies at 85
- What LT. Gen. H.R. McMaster will offer as new national security adviser
- Fareed Zakaria hails historian Nigel Hamilton’s series as the memoir FDR never had the opportunity to write
- French Historian Says He Was Threatened With Deportation at Houston Airport