Victor Davis Hanson Interview

John Hawkins has scored a second interview with Victor Davis Hanson.

VDH is still bullish on the Iraq War:

I think that if we look at it in the longer historical expanse from the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime and not concentrate on any two to three week period, then the idea that a year and a half after the regime was over with — we’d have elections pretty well under way and we would have over 2/3’s of the country pacified — then I know it’s a tragedy that we’ve lost that many men, that was not unexpected — but given history’s harsh judgment of other military operations and — we’re doing pretty well.

I think our main problem is that people don’t understand the extent of the revolutionary endeavor that we undertook — that we’re really trying to bring democracy to a place where it just simply did not exist — and there’s a lot of neutrals, enemies and allies that don’t want that to happen — whether that’s the Saudis or the Syrians or the Iranians, even the Jordanians. The second thing is we are empowering people who’re the proverbially despised of the Arab world, namely the Kurds and the Shia.

While I agree with Hanson’s analysis so far as it goes, it’s not clear that the Administration understood the nature of the endeavor, either. Certainly, they were not advertising this level of chaos when selling the war.

Hanson also rejects the Vietnam analogy:

Well, there’ only one modicum of comparison that works and that is whether the U.S. will continue to have the willpower and the tenacity to support a democratic government. We almost did in Vietnam and then right before the finish line we stopped, but otherwise the comparison doesn’t make any sense. […] There’s no draft; it’s not part of a national social movement. People try to make it that way — a social protest movement — Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, these people — but it didn’t find the resonance that the Vietnam protest movement did.

Hanson shares his thoughts on Iran, US-European relations, border security, and several other issues. He also promotes his new online journal, VDH’s Private Papers.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Democracy, Iraq War, World Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Certainly, they were not advertising this level of chaos when selling the war.

    To be fair, just who honestly expects “chaos” to be a selling point in favor of war?

    And to be slightly less fair, who in their right minds honestly believed, even for a minute, that everything was going to go perfectly according to plan?

    As far as I can tell, John Kerry is the only person running around loose who seriously believes that all you need is A PLAN and everything will turn out exactly as it should.

    And anyone who claims the Bush Administration didn’t expect trouble, is either blind or lying.

  2. James Joyner says:


    Sure. Clearly, though, the planners weren’t expecting an insurgency that would be killing dozens of people a month nearly two years out. Contrary to mythology, the Administration never promised a “cake walk.” They didn’t prepare the public for this level of intensity, either.

  3. anjin-san says:

    Another member of the 101st Fighting typists weighs in…

    Does Mr. Hanson have any plans to leave his quiet, safe hom to serve in the cause?

  4. McGehee says:

    [rolls eyes]

  5. John Thacker says:

    “anjin-san?” Way to look like an idiot with your posting. Nobody who speaks Japanese puts “-san” on the end of their own names. It makes you look like an arrogant fool.

  6. anjin-san says:


    I don’t speak Japanese. However, I am a big fan of the late author James Clavell. Hence the name. Most literate people get it.

    Don’t you have anything better to worry about? Get a life, dude.