September 8, 2006

Iran is the new what?

Jonah Goldberg writes:

The Bush administration — and quite a few lifelong liberals — are determined to convince the public that it is 1938 in Iran and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Hitler. Or that it's 1917 and Osama bin Laden is a new Lenin. Others see Spanish Civil Wars in Iraq or on Lebanon’s southern border. And I shudder to count up all the folks who claim that Iraq is Vietnam...

Nonetheless, there are two problems with all this historical cherry-picking. The first is our own collective ignorance about history. As a culture, we have a tendency to look for our car keys where the light is good. Our usable past is the past that is illuminated to us. One of the main reasons we leap to analogies about World War II and the Cold War is that it’s the only history most of us know....

But what if there are historical parallels lurking in the shadows of our ignorance? What if the jihadists are more like the Muslim Barbary pirates made famous in the Marine hymn with the line about “the shores of Tripoli”? Or maybe they're more like the Thugees, an 18th century murder cult in colonial India? Or the Panslavist Black Hand? ... The point is, we don’t know. But surely the ocean of human historical experience cannot be summed up in terms of the tributaries of Vietnam and Nazi Germany.

That's all very wise, but surely there is one other analogy to Iran lurking out there?

Iran is the new Iraq.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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