Thursday, October 09, 2008

Military Historian ponders

I've thought of the British journalist and war historian Max Hastings as writing from a rather right-wing, bomb-the-Hun point of view. And there does seem to be more than a little of that in his new history of the war against Japan in 1944-45. He calls it Retribution, after all. But even Max Hastings... well, here, from a recent interview, is the money quote:
I'm not a pacifist at all; I believe we must be willing to use force in the right cause. But equally, the study of history confirms how ghastly the consequences of the use of force are, as well as the limitations of force. The great mistake of the neocons was to believe that they could leverage the military power of the United States to do things that nobody who understood anything about Middle Eastern cultures thought for a moment were viable. What one has got to hope is that the next president of the United States has a better understanding of the possibilities and limitations of military power than President Bush.
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