Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Prof. Gaddis: The Past and Future of American Grand Strategy

It's a long speech, and worth every minute. Please go read it.

Briefly, it's the story of a history professor who, much to his surprise, found his scholarly criticism of the Bush administration taken very seriously indeed... by the Bush administration. He insisted that the invasion of Iraq involved some glaring errors -- and found the President agreeing with him, and assigning the Professor's work as required reading in the White House.

A few quick excerpts:
You’ve all been to movies that carry the disclaimer: “Contains material that some may find disturbing. This lecture may require such a warning.

So please be advised of the following: “This lecture will contain material that some may consider to be complimentary toward the Bush administration. It may, therefore, strike some listeners as unsettling, naïve, partisan, propagandistic, chauvinistic, muddle-headed, or paid for by Karl Rove.”
At the end of it, [Dr. Condoleezza Rice] casually asked: “Could you spare a few minutes for the President?” I allowed as how maybe I could, and so she took me into the Oval Office where the President and the Vice President were waiting. I expected, at best, a handshake and photo op. But the President said: “Sit down. Loved your book. Tell me more about Bismarck.”
So much for President Chimpy McHalliburton. (Indeed, Prof. Gaddis was astonished to discover that, not only did the President actually read scholarly books on his own, but that he read them before his own staff did.)

The Professor goes on to speak of President Bush's second inaugural address, which he was given the opportunity to influence, and the criticisms levelled at it.

As Harry Truman would have said, it's a crackjack. As Glenn Reynolds would say, read the whole thing.

(hat tip: Roger Simon.)


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