The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Monday, October 31, 2005

Long Memories

Greg Djerejian is back at Belgravia Dispatch, with a burst of activity over the weekend. In the course of a well-balanced post on the past and near future of the Bush Administration, Mr. Djerejian says:
... I suppose it's no secret that this blog has become rather disenchanted with President Bush and his administration. Indeed, I no longer really count myself a supporter, truth be told, for some of the reasons I will spell out below.

These are words to conjure moonbats from the vasty deep: and indeed they have promptly appeared in the comments section. A couple of the canards which show up there seem representative, and widespread enough to merit rebuttal.

Let me start with this one, from one "Mitsu":
However, the political fallout of our actual Iraq debacle will be a continued association of the Iraqi government, however democratic, with American attempts to violently impose our will, with American torture, disdain for Islam, etc., etc. This will have massive political ramifications for us for an indefinite future --- Islamic civilization has a LONG memory when it comes to things like this.
Over and over we have heard how this "people" or that "civilization" has a long memory, never forgets a slight, and so forth. In everyday life, there is a simple word for people who never tire of holding a grudge. They are called losers.

This is doubly true for civilizations. A people in decline, which perceives its own decline and seeks to rationalize it, will latch onto and perpetuate extenuating explanations, especially those which shift the blame to some easily identified outsider. An Islamic world which is rotten to the core, mired in corruption and poverty despite the incredible oil wealth of its masters, will be filled with such peoples. One which has taken charge of its own destiny and accepted the responsibility for its own future will, quite frankly, have more important things on its mind.

[Snarky generalization to today's Democratic Party deleted.]

The Abu Ghraib debacle has certainly empowered our enemies. But it will only have staying power if Iraq is a failure in more general terms. Otherwise its mention will be on par with grievances about the Reconquista -- a sign as sure as that "L" on the forehead.