We have a winner!

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

German lessons

Bush should not mess with history

Leader

Friday February 28, 2003

The Guardian

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.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com