There’s been a contest running in my head between the anti-war and the pro-war sides for the distinction of making the stupidest, most offensive argument. The warbloggers were doing well with their vituperative attacks on all things French, which was no stupider than the “Give Peace a Chance” hot air but much nastier. (If the French government has an obligation to follow the lead of the American government out of gratitude for D-Day, don’t we have an obligation to cut the French some slack in gratitude for Lafayette and the fleet off Yorktown?)
But all that is now irrelevant. The Guardian wins it for the anti-war side, hands down. [Full text of the Guardian editorial below.] No comment of mine could do anything but detract from its pluperfect dim-wittedness. Just savor on your own the delicious irony of a Guardian leader-writer writing in praise of humility
Bush should not mess with history
Friday February 28, 2003
When America defeats its enemies, George W Bush said in his speech on Iraq this week, it leaves not occupying armies but democracy and liberty. “There was a time,” he went on, “when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong.”
In fact, it is Mr Bush who is wrong. Japanese men got the vote in 1925, not in 1945, as the president implied. And German men won the vote as far back as 1849, albeit subject to a property qualification, at a time when Mr Bush’s country practiced legalized slavery. Bearing in mind that America only became a full democracy in 1965, and Germany in 1946, there is a case for saying that Germans have at least as strong a democratic tradition as Americans. What’s more, there is no dispute about who actually won the last German election, which is more than can be said about the means by which Mr Bush came to office. A little historical humility would do the president no harm.