Bush is now claiming that questions about his justification for the invasion of Iraq are coming from “revisionist historians.” Saddam was a threat, and that’s that. Apparently he was the kind of threat who can be ousted in about two weeks flat — but maybe pointing that out is revisionist history. It’s probably also revisionist history to point out that Iraqis are killing more Americans per week now than they were in 2002.
Perhaps this would be a good time to refer once more to Robin Cook’s resignation speech. Again: “We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat.”
Not surprisingly, Bush is getting called on it. But you know, I think there’s a little more to Bush’s speech than just the desire to strike out at the smart people who’re picking on him. (That’s irony. I don’t actually think Bush was pouting at all; I think his choice of words was carefully made. Onward.)
I just searched for “revisionist historians” on Google. Top result: Revisionists.com, a site dedicated to explaining why the Holocaust wasn’t so bad after all. Not all of the top ten results are about Holocaust revisionism, but it’s sure a constant theme. I kinda don’t think that’s an accident.
Bush is deliberately implying that those who claim the Holocaust never happened and those who claim Bush misrepresented the reasons for attacking Iraq are in some way similar. This implication goes nicely with the argument that we invaded Iraq in order to restore civil rights. It’s a good thing that Saddam’s out of power, but we didn’t invade Iraq because of the mass graves; we invaded because they were a threat.
However, linking the mass graves of Iraq to the mass graves of Germany is great spin. And linking anti-war activists to Holocaust revisionists? That’s icing on the cake.
While I am not inclined to cut our only President any slack, I do think it’s a little far-fetched to link historical revisionism with Holocaust revisionism.
That may be because I’ve done some post-grad history studies and have some idea of what revisionism means in the jargon of the discipline. I doubt Bush means it in the technically correct sense (especially since revisionism isn’t always a bad thing in and of itself). He certainly means it as an insult, and to the extent that revisionism is in the sights of conservatives, they ddon’t like it. But I’m not sure the link to Holocaust revisionism is a fair cop.
Color me paranoid, perhaps… but it’s just too damned convenient when considered with the emphasis on mass graves. It’s in a direct line with a lot of other talking points emanating from the White House these days.