Saturday, October 4, 2008

don't throw your back out

tonight, cnn's new "beyond the politics" included a discussion of how the rest of the world views the united states of america. host bill bennet claimed opinion polls show "lots of countries in western europe aren't so sure" about us, but the highest opinion of america can be found in "certain african countries." quoting bill frist and daniel patrick moynihan, bennet said, "people who receive american generosity know what kind of country this is."

the discussion then shifted to the premise that the united states is at it's core a fundamentally moral while at the same time an incredibly humble country. neoconservative david gelernter had this to say about the u.s. being non-self-congratulatory:
"the fact is we do not brag. i mean, i think that's one of the reasons we are so poorly understood in the world. since when do we get up and claim credit for what we have done in iraq? we don't go around the world saying 'look at us, we have invested our army and our wealth in bringing democracy to this far-away arab country.' we don't say that. nor have we said it about afghanistan. i mean, you do need a bit of patting yourself on the shoulder – you gotta teach your children what your principles are."
so ultimately, the world should be thanking us for what we've done in iraq.

if in 20 years iraq has become strong, stable democracy and other middle eastern countries are following suit, perhaps history will judge the current war and the current administration differently. perhaps.

to suggest, however, that we are a humble country for not taking credit for an end result we might possibly reach far off into the future seems to me to be the epitome of arrogance. gelernter has already written the history book, given himself credit for democracy in iraq, and is at risk of throwing his back out "patting himself on the shoulder" for his own modesty.

let me also say that both gelernter and host bill bennet could stand to spend some time on a treadmill.

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