In her most recent Wall Street Journal column about the war in Afghanistan, Peggy Noonan actually tries to rewrite history twice: first, regarding President Bush's role in that war; and second, regarding her own role in relentlessly cheerleading the invasion of Iraq -- an invasion Noonan claims distracted the United States from finishing the battle in Afghanistan. (Now she tells us!)
Noonan's inelegant, heavy-handed attempt to alter reality on the opinion pages of the Journal doesn't surprise me. War hawks like her have to find some way to wipe the slate clean. They still, even in 2010, have to find some way to pretend they weren't universally wrong about the war in Iraq, about Bush's divine-like leadership (i.e. "President Backbone"), and how the misguided invasion hindered the battle in Afghanistan.
They have to at least try to rewrite history because if they let the true facts go unchallenged, that means liberal doves were right about U.S. foreign policy. That means conservative pundits, who pride themselves on their deep, deep understanding of all things military (not to mention the Middle East), were the ones who misread everything. They were the ones were got outsmarted by anti-war activists. (Not that that kind of once-in-a-decade blunder seems to hinder the careers of right-wing pundits.)
So yes, re-writing history is an absolute must. And I'm sure Noonan's latest column wasn't the first, and won't be the last, time that she tries to re-arrange the facts regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. And specifically, it won't be the last time she does her best to let herself, and other Bush-era media hawks, off the hook for completely bungling the question of Iraq. But I am sure that attempts like Noonan's need to be forcefully met and pushed back to maintain an honest debate.
And the easiest way to prove Noonan wrong? Simple -- just cite her work from the glory (war) year of 2003.
Read the full Media Matters column, here.