Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fools and their reputations are eventually parted ...

... especially when they open their mouths too soon. Back in 2002, Martin Van Creveld, a military historian of note, tried his hand at prognostication. In writing about his belief in the Telegraph, he noted:

"Few people, least of all me, want the following events to happen. But such a scenario could easily come about. Mr Sharon would have to wait for a suitable opportunity - such as an American offensive against Iraq, which some Israelis think is going to take place in early summer."

Though it didn't come about as easily, or otherwise, as Creveld thought and he misread how suitable an opportunity it appeared to others, I suspect Creveld thinks his outspokenness may changed history and averted disaster.

Now Martin van Creveld has turned his sharp eye on the history of the Operation Iraqi Freedom and its aftermath and, comparing the currently popular moods and beliefs about the war, as well, as his own selection of facts (which are few), found it was a mistake. But not just a mistake, a spectacular mistake of history list reordering magnitude. And he wonders how the war could have been undertaken when only a fool could have guessed Creveld people would see it as such three years hence.

He even found a fool in the newsweekly, Forward, to provide him space to publish his 'insights' and a blind fool at the Guardian to write his own story based on it.

Fortunately, both Martin van Creveld and Brian Whitaker have made the error of including in their respective columns predictions of the future which they can be held to when the future comes. And, indeed, the future waits for no man. It is not merciful to the ones that are wrong, either, particularly the ones that are spectacularly wrong.

I'm making a list. Put me down in the other column because I say history will judge the Iraq War the seed to a spectacular success in remaking the world for the better. Let's see who is the fool, shall we?


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