In this week's New York Times Book Review, a historian reviewing a major new work of 20th-century history, Oxford and Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson's "The War of the World," notes that "Ferguson argues that the Western powers should have gone to war in 1938, which would most likely have avoided much of the horror of World War II . . . . "
Imagine that. The New York Times publishes a favorable book review of a book arguing that a pre-emptive war in 1938 would have saved tens of millions of lives aside from preventing the Holocaust, "without parallel . . . the most wicked act in all history."
You have to wonder if the Times' editors and all their allies on the Left, who have spent the last four years mocking the very notion of pre-emptive war, read this review.
Whatever incapacity for self-doubt George W. Bush's critics charge him with, it has been more than matched by his political enemies. They are as certain as human beings can be that the invasion of Iraq was wrong from the outset because no nation should ever engage in a pre-emptive war, since such wars, they contend, are inherently immoral, not to mention illegal.
They know that Saddam never had weapons of mass destruction, and they know that even if he were working on acquiring such weapons, he would never have used them or shared them with Islamic terrorists. They know this despite these facts:
Virtually every intelligence service believed that Saddam either had or was working on attaining WMD.
Saddam Hussein had already used biological weapons against his own people.
Saddam refused to allow UN inspectors unfettered access to Iraq, even when he had every reason to believe that America would attack him.
Saddam gave $25,000 to the families of Palestinian terrorists who blew up Israelis.
Saddam had already invaded two countries, attempting to eliminate one from the map (Kuwait) and killing a million in the other (Iran).
President Bush had very good reason to believe then, and we have very good reason to believe now, that Saddam was indeed seeking uranium from the African country of Niger.
Given these facts, George W. Bush believed that a pre-emptive strike was the moral thing to do, just as any moral person now understands it would have been moral to do against Hitler's Germany in 1938.
Given the same facts, his critics were/are at least as certain that such a war has been wrong strategically and morally.
They now argue that obviously they are right.