Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In our times of trouble, Dick Cheney draws lessons and inspiration from the past. As here, from a speech a few days ago to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:
Dr. Bernard Lewis explained the terrorists' reasoning this way: "During the Cold War," Dr. Lewis wrote, "two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: 'What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?'" End quote.
As others have noted, it might be that Cheney (and Lewis) have forgotten that the Communists lost the Cold War. But then again, maybe victory, per se, isn't the goal. To drag back a post from back in 2002:
When I was learning about the evils of communism in school, I didn't hear so much about the massacres, or even the gulag. It was instead the conditions of daily life that got to you --- people subject to search and arrest without any review, the informants, the restrictions on mass media, the inefficient, government-connected industries despoiling the environment (with a few apparatchiks at the top skimming off cash for a sumptuous lifestyle), the government agencies stocked only by the politically reliable, and the goons in the politburo able to impose whatever half-baked policy they liked, justify it with whatever lies they liked, enforced by a government apparatus stocked high with only those chosen to be politically reliable, and never be subject to any meaningful review. I'm starting to get the feeling that someone got the same lessons I did --- and thought to themselves, "Wow, what a neat idea!"
I thought I was joking.


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