Thursday, September 21, 2006

Victor Davis Hanson at the University of Minnesota 

I was unable to get out of town to go see Hanson's talk at the University of Minnesota. Prof. Janet Beihoffer of Metropolitan State the U (my mistake, sorry) did so, and sends this report:
Tuesday, September 19, renowned history professor, Victor Davis Hanson presented his reasons for America staying the course in Iraq. The entire session was �off the cuff� with historical perspectives, facts and figures given with ready ease. More was learned in 45 minutes of listening to this professor than one could find reading any article. He emphasized two key points:
  1. All wars and battles, no matter how well-planned and designed, incur unanticipated problems. One key example Dr. Hanson gave was a review of some problems encountered by the Allies after the D-Day Invasion of WWII. Mistakes included accidental deaths, an inability to move forward after the initial onslaught, among others.
  2. When people are ignorant of history, going back to the Greeks, Persians, etc., people cannot place current conflicts and events in perspective. Emotional reactions, media hype and agendas replace facts and context. This lack of historical knowledge of the human concerns and military issues influence events and often result in only negative coverage when, in actuality, much good is occurring.
Not grasping these two concepts has resulted in a negative slant on our current struggles. Minutia is emphasized, the big picture is lost. If the Americans and the Coalition pull from Iraq, all fledgling democratic activity in that region (Jordon, Qatar, Kuwait, even Hamas, etc.) will come under severe attack. For the past 50+ years we have tried dealing with the dictatorships, thugs, bullies, tribes, religious extremists and others in the Middle East. All these efforts have failed. The Democracy approach is a last chance.

Of course someone had to ask the inevitable question about the 40,000 civilian deaths and the fact that Iraqis want Americans to leave?

The response was, 40,000 compared to what? There were a minimum of 250,000 Iraqis murdered by Saddam over the past 10 years. How many children died because of Saddam�s corrupt diversion of money from the UN sponsored �oil for food� program to build palaces? The enemy in Iraq doesn�t wear uniforms and thus are counted as civilian deaths. This enemy has murdered tens of thousands of Iraqs. As for Americans staying in Iraq, it is the Iraqi leaders begging the Americans to stay. Unfortunately for so many Americans, recent pleas by Iraqi leaders, made to the US Congress, are not covered in the mainstream media.

It is unfortunate that for 35 plus years American students have been taught only the negatives of our nation rather than its incredible role in the development of a Republic and subsequent democratic systems. When educators emphasize only problems, faith in a system becomes questionable. Churchill said, �It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.�

�Believe in the US (United States) system,� said Dr. Hanson. It is the best chance for that part of the world to become a true player in our current world system.