Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Wouldn't It Be Nice ...

If the Times archives were free, as they were until a couple of years ago. Then I could scan Simon Jenkins' old columns for disastrous Iraq forecasts as Mark Steyn has done.

"Baghdad Will Prove Impossible To Conquer". Simon Jenkins, The Times, March 29.

"The coalition forces confront a city apparently determined on resistance. They should remember Napoleon in Moscow, Hitler in Stalingrad, the Russians at Grozny"

"I Predict The Pundits Will Carry On Getting It Wrong", April 2nd

"Prepare for Beirut, the West Bank or Stalingrad". Our boys will be "trapped far from home and in hostile territory, like the Russians in Chechnya."

And in May, the 'looting' of the National Museum was "the destruction of the greatest treasure from the oldest age of Western civilisation, the greatest heritage catastrophe since the Second World War". As Steyn says, the story was "2003's Jenin Massacre".

But as Norman Geras among others has pointed out, "The real story of this past year is not Saddam, but something deeper, symbolised by the bizarre persistence of the "anti-war" movement even after the war was over. For a significant chunk of the British establishment and for most of the governing class on the Continent, if it's a choice between an America-led West or no West at all they'll take the latter. That's the trend to watch in the year ahead."

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