From 'Powerline' here.
One of my biggest peeves with the 'Bush is Evil' crowd and Left Wing Democrats has been the constant drumbeat (focus-group driven no doubt) that "mistakes were made" and that the President/members of his Administration "won't admit that mistakes were made". The drumbeat has died down somewhat with the ongoing successful efforts in Iraq, but I think the calm is more because the focus-group politicos feel they got the most mileage out of the strategy than because they changed their mind or think it was ineffective.
NOW I find out that Victor Davis Hanson will have an essay coming out in the Claremont Review of Books on a subject near and dear to my heart. As posted at Powerline:
Our friends at the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here) advise us that the upcoming winter issue promises to be one of the best yet, with essays by Victor Davis Hanson on the inevitability of mistakes (but not victory) in warfare...When I attended the 25th Hurley History Seminar last month, I was torn between asking Dr Hanson a long, multi-part question on this subject (or possibly one other question/suggestion on my mind) or focusing on what other people were asking or saying. I elected to stay silent and observe.
I guess after the next edition of the Claremont Review I will know if I should have asked him something to the effect of:
The constant pressuring of the President to 'admit mistakes were made' seems to me to be a "lose-lose" situation for the President. this situation is infuriating to me, and I would think be for anyone who understands such concepts as "fog of war", "friction", and "imponderables" in history. You have discussed and debated this war with many of its critics. Do you believe the pressure to admit mistakes is born from some kind of post-modern philosophical retardation that causes people to believe that ALL mistakes are preventable so therefore even decisions or actions that become known to be in error ONLY after the fact, must still be the result of flawed reasoning - a 'mistake'? To rephrase the question: Are the critics who demand an 'admission' generally ignorant of the fact that some things like the detailed course of a war are 'unknowable' beforehand? Or do you think most critics are simply being willfully ignorant to suit their politics?
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.
The other possible question/suggestion I had, concerned an alternative or additional strategy for dealing with the inevitable "Well I'd like to think we (humanity) has changed for the better" kind of argument without logical support for the argument that Dr. Hanson seems to always get when he points out (usually with effective examples and analogies) that mankind has not fundamentally changed over the last few thousand years. -- A post for another time perhaps?