I think it was Alfred Kerr, the German critic nicknamed the “culture pope” in his day, who once said that he had been writing the same dozen pieces all his life. I suspect I have, too. Theatre critics keep returning to certain themes because playwrights keep returning to them; social critics do because life does. I’ve been writing for years that exporting democracy is importing trouble.
Can’t improve the Ten Commandments, but if Moses were to go back for another 10, the next set might include “Thou Shalt Build No Nation But Thine Own.” Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush was wise when he declared “no nation-building” during his first campaign for the White House. Had president Bush heeded candidate Bush’s sage advice, he would have disengaged his forces from Iraq after the capture of Saddam Hussein as rapidly as possible. Had he done so, chances are a) most coalition soldiers who lost their lives in the Second Gulf War would still be alive, and b) Mr. Bush’s approval rating would have stayed between 80% to 90% throughout his presidency.
Just think about it: Total coalition military fatalities were 580 at the end of 2003 when Saddam was captured. Fatalities in 2011, when Barack Obama pulled out the last American soldier from Iraq, stood at 4,802. It’s fair to say that 4,300 or about 88% died for no discernible military gain.